IMPACTING MY WORLD: Driving Down J Street

By Steven Wenick

You cannot always tell about a street from the sidewalk. Sometimes you need to step off the curb and look at the signs in order to understand if it’s a one-way street or accepts traffic moving in both directions, whether or not you can make a right turn on red at the corner, and whether it leads to another street or culminates in as a dead end.

To answer such questions you need to do more than observe the flow of traffic—there may not be any, for one thing, or you may see some lost soul traveling the wrong way on a one way street, for another. To navigate any road without incident you need to observe the traffic lights and signs. They will not teach you how to drive, but they will tell you how to proceed correctly, safely, and in the right direction.

As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes wonder if we are heading in the right direction. That is especially true for those of us in the Jewish community who are concerned with the welfare of Israel.

Granted, there are differing views as to how Israel should plot its course so as to reach its destination safely and legally. To explore this often-controversial subject, let’s travel J Street, exploring that organization’s relationship with Israel from the perspective of two different drivers. Here are two letters I found in the Opinions section of the March 10, 2011 issue of the Jewish Exponent:

“Exponent Story Got Tone of J Street Event Wrong

The Feb. 26 J Street event reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the March 3 Jewish Exponent (Nation & World: “For J Streeters, Pro-Palestinian Is Pro-Israel”) does not describe the event I attended.

The overriding focus of the conference was peace for Israel, not pro-Palestinian issues. The 2,400 attendees of all ages (including 500 college students) believe that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state can only be achieved through her neighbors.”

Harold Jacobs




“J Street Is Pro-Israel Like War Is Pro-Peace

In your coverage of the J Street conference (Nation & World: “For J Streeters, Pro-Palestinian Is Pro-Israel,” March 3), many attendees explained that they think of themselves as pro-Israel and in favor of Palestinian rights, U.S. pressure on Israel, economic sanctions on Israel, an uprising of the Israeli people against their own government, and boycotting and divesting.

I can only conclude that most J Streeters would be right at home in the infamous Ministry of Truth.

J Street is pro-Israel like ‘war is peace,’ ‘freedom is slavery’ and ‘ignorance is strength.’

Mathieu J. Shapiro



Well there you have it. As you can see, this driving thing can be complicated. If you remain a passenger, however, you never will learn how to drive. So, I’ll put the car in park and change seats with you.


Now take your turn at the wheel and decide which points you want to drive home — I’d love to hear them.

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