When the sons of Jacob went to Egypt for food they became victims of a cruel ruse. As we recently read in the weekly Torah portion, when the provisions the brothers had acquired were loaded on horse and wagon for the return trip to Canaan, the Egyptian viceroy's cup was stealthily planted into the sack of the youngest, Benjamin.
For all the undoubted statesmanship implicit in Arthur Balfour's Declaration of November 1917, promising "a National Home for the Jewish People," Britain has never been much more than a fair-weather friend to Jewish national aspirations.
On Rosh Hashanah it is a mitzvah to assume a bowed posture as we offer tearful prayer to God and beg for His mercy and forgiveness. We are hopeful that our humility and remorsefulness will earn us a favorable verdict, but should we, Heaven forbid, fall short, Hashem in His infinite kindness extends our time of teshuvah through the duration of Chanukah, when it is a mitzvah to light the Chanukah candles that give rise (literally) to the flames that shoot straight upward, in affirmation of our spiritual ascent.
Various types of fruit cross our doorstep during the course of the Jewish year. But for me, the symbol of Judaism is the apple. Not the Rosh Hashanah apple dipped in honey but the one I learned about from my father, which began a chain of events that became a lesson of faith during the darkness of the Nazi years.
Once upon a time, your bubbie would have cooked up her flavorful masterpieces by throwing in a pinch of this, a handful of that, recreating recipes passed down from her own bubbie, which she had learned at her mother's side.
Between 1920 and 1944 there were nearly fifty attempts on the life of Adolf Hitler. Many of the would-be assassins sacrificed their own lives as a result of their determination to free the world of one of history's worst monsters.
Editor's Note: On Nov. 26, 2008 - the Hebrew date was Cheshvan 29, which this year fell on Monday, Nov. 16 - Islamic terrorists went on a savage killing spree in Mumbai, India, murdering 179 people including Chabad emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg. The following tribute to the Holtzbergs was written by Rabbi Holtzberg's sister.
With the history of twentieth-century science and technology largely a saga of Jewish accomplishment, in retrospect it might seem foreordained that after World War II the rising Jewish nation in the Middle East would emerge not only as a financial power but also as a scientiﬁc and technological leader.
Fall arrived late this year in Budapest, where I am visiting from Israel, and it is still very warm on Yom Kippur. The largest Orthodox Yom Kippur services in the city are being held in a downtown hotel. A plaque marking what had been the offices of controversial Judenrat leader Rudolf Kastner is on a building just a few steps away.
The following is the complete transcript of Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Sept. 24.
If only each of us paid heed to the words of the powerful prayer we silently read through remorseful tears, perhaps we would think twice before allowing negative emotions - such as envy - to bring us to ruin.
Melitz (or Mielic) was a small shtetl in Poland. The following article is based on authentic Yiddish quotes from the original Melitz archives (courtesy Yad Vashem in Jerusalem). All the names are real.
"I was arrested by the Gestapo on the 9th of September 1939, and taken out of the house to a prison in Frankfurt a/M. There I met quite a number of people in the same situation who had been arrested in and around Frankfurt and they knew as little as I did about what was happening, except that we have been arrested by the Gestapo."
Breckinridge Long, the State Department official in charge of refugee matters in the 1940s, did not think much of Jews. He called them "exponents of Communism and chaos."
The creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel would be a major step in the escalation of the Arab war against Israel even if the resumption of that war is delayed for a brief time while the world celebrates the outbreak of a Potemkin peace in the Middle East, produced by the end of Israeli "occupation" of Palestinians.
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.