Maurice Levy, a Jewish Baltimore lawyer in The Wire(Wikipedia)

• “There’s no pretense of progress,” but the administration is scrambling to come up with some new ideas on the stagnant Mideast peace process in time for the State of the Union address. [Politico]

• Probably isn’t helping that two of the administration’s point-men, George Mitchell and Dennis Ross, can’t stand each other. [Forward]

• Charm City experienced a sharp rise in Jews and an even sharper rise in Jewish households over the last decade. [JTA]

• In the largest-yet settlement stemming from the Bernard Madoff affair, a bankruptcy judge approved $7.2 billion to go to the firm’s customers. [LAT]

• Ben Harris takes stock of the Debbie Friedman controversy, noting that the New York Times obituary mentioned that she was gay, although it buried near the end. [JTA]

• A volunteer at the world’s largest private Holocaust archives—which is in San Antonio, Texas—was arrested for allegedly stealing documents, including a handwritten letter from Heinrich Himmler, and selling them online. [JTA]

The author of Hereville presents: “21 Drawings of a Young Zero Mostel.” We present: Zero Mostel doing Tevye.