The idyllic countryside of Sobibor bears no resemblance to the large, efficient extermination camp once located in that remote corner of eastern Poland. Among the 250,000 Jews murdered during its 18 months of operation were the members of my mother's family. I didn't learn the details of their deaths until I was an adult, but I understood at a very young age that I had no grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins because someone called Hitler had killed them.
Sometimes it's hard to tell which is worse - the vast and growing number of frum singles, or the equally vast and growing number of newspaper articles trying to address the problem. Seriously, though, it's not even close; our unusual system of shidduch dating inflicts significant damage on some members of our community. That's why I'm taking the risk of adding this piece to the glut of shidduch-dating articles already on the market.
A week from Friday will mark the third anniversary of the cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War. And while the fortunes of war run to infinite varieties of the unexpected, there is one thing of which we can all be certain. Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah will appear, if he hasn't already by the time this article is published, on a video screen from the secret bunker he is afraid to leave, and in between chants of "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" he and his supporters will again proclaim glorious victory over the infidel Jews.
The Obama administration's high-profile focus on Israeli settlements and demand for a total freeze of construction beyond the pre-1967 armistice line have delighted many around the world, some of whom may even believe that settlements are the major obstacle to peace. But such views, like the administration's slant on the issue, are based on false premises and oft-repeated misinformation.
Everyone seems to be obsessed with Jews. Although numerically we are an insignificant minority of the world's population, the media focus like lasers on everything we say and do.
I am about to deliver a lecture in a glamorous building in Riga, one of the best examples of the Art Nouveau architecture style that makes the capital of Latvia so famous. The large seminar room is filled beyond capacity.
The change came rather quickly in terms of history's long sweep and, from our vantage point, may seem like something of a mystery.
In 1943, a Bulgarian baker named Rubin Dimitrov was at work in his Sofia shop when he saw Jews running from the police. He saved a group of them from a deportation roundup by hiding them in his oven. When asked about the incident, Dimitrov modestly replied, "One couldn't sit idly by, arms crossed, doing nothing. A true human being is obliged to help . So, I opened the door of my bakery oven to hide these people."
The Aseres HaDibros, the Ten Commandments, comprise the cornerstone of our edifice of life. Every clear-thinking individual is cognizant of the fact that a home built on a shaky foundation is in danger of crumbling. Absent the divinely communicated belief system that forms the basis of our day-to-day existence, our humanity would be diminished and we would become malleable, essentially physical creatures - much like a heartless and soulless golem.
It has been four long, thrilling years since I first arrived as a journalist in the Middle East. I've reported for months on end from the rocket-battered Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip and the war-torn Israeli-Lebanese-Syrian borders. I've stood in the trenches during massive nationalist protests and Israeli evacuations of Jewish homes.
On March 27, before a huge crowd in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall, the mock trial team of Boston's Maimonides School won the championship for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and became eligible to compete in the national competition scheduled for Atlanta on May 8 and 9.
I was almost inexpressibly saddened to read the comments made week before last by President Obama at a Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. In a mostly lyrical and affecting speech, I very nearly missed the significance of the following key passage:
If asked, "Who created the modern state of Israel?" most Jews would offer such names and institutions as David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, the Jewish Agency, and the United Nations. A newly translated memoir, however, completely upends this popular perception.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 As our plane lands in Caracas I think about why we've come. Our objective is to express solidarity; to learn facts on the ground; and to speak with community leaders, rabbis, and clergy of other faiths with the goal of helping to map out future policy.
Once upon a time, somewhere in the steppes of Eastern Europe, in the Pale that contained many a Jewish village, there roamed two beggars. One of the hobos was a Jew, the other a gentile.
The humble-natured sheep symbolic of Nissan (Aries), the first month of the year, recognizes the shepherd to be its guide, just as the Jewish people place their faith in their Shepherd, the Creator of the universe.
Much has been written in recent weeks of the Obama administration's possible tilt toward a more evenhanded U.S. Middle East policy. Contrary to popular perception, however, if such a change were indeed implemented, it would constitute not so much a new and revolutionary approach as it would an old and reactionary one.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn was the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe (widely known as the Frierdiker - Yiddish for "previous" - Rebbe). He served in that position for 30 years, from 1920 until his passing on Shabbos morning, January 28, 1950. He was buried at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York.
Throughout our history, the survival of the Jewish people has depended upon the courage of Jewish women. With their unassuming femininity and modest morality - not to mention their wills of steel - they have led us by the power of their personal example for thousands of years.
The month of Adar is the final one on the zodiacal cycle in the year that begins with the month of Nissan (Aries), which marks the birth of creation and is symbolized by the gentle white ram.
The ritual is as familiar as preparing your taxes, and about as tedious. An American president leaves office and Israel is asked to make territorial concessions in one "final" attempt to make peace; a new American president takes office and Israel is asked to make territorial concessions in order to jump-start his peace efforts; Israel prevails militarily in a conflict and is asked to make territorial concessions as a "good-will gesture" to the vanquished; a new Israeli government comes to power is asked to make territorial concessions to show its good faith.
Editor's Note: Several years ago, the bestselling novelist Christopher Buckley, accompanied by his late father, the writer and iconic conservative intellectual William F. Buckley Jr., visited Auschwitz. He had never published his haunting account of that experience, but the current furor over Bishop Richard Williamson's claim that the Holocaust is largely a myth and "not one" Jew was gassed at Auschwitz compelled him to do so on The Daily Beast website, where he is a regular contributor.
Delectable, delicious, delightful - and available to us in a smorgasbord of flavors and consistencies.
The great untold story of Operation Cast Lead was the level of euphoria and national unity that gripped Israel.
The world's reaction to Israel's defensive assault on Gaza was predictable and quite telling - predictable in its hostility and revealing in its utter contempt for the lives and redemptive process of the Jewish people.