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.
The war of aggression waged by Hamas, against which Israel has commenced a robust response, must not be seen in a vacuum.
On a windy day in Boro Park, if you listen closely you will hear the trees ( the few that survived the timberman's axe) rustling praises to their Creator - some in nusach Ashkenaz, others in nusach Sfard - but all rising to the heavens in unison with their human co-daveners.
For most of the past 16 years or so, a seemingly benign specter has been haunting the world - namely, the notion that there exists a New Middle East, one that plays by rules very different from those in the Bad Old Middle East.
Illuminating melancholic winter nights, Chanukah flames have been lit all over the world for better than two thousand years - whether in menorahs of resplendent silver or humble wood and metal, opulent homes or dreary surroundings, days of glory or times of oppression - commemorating our spiritual ascent from the darkness of the Syrian-Greek decadence.
The Chanukah story as we know it describes a wicked tyrant, Jewish resistance, and the miracle of oil that burned for eight days instead of one.
Today the Dominican Republic welcomes thousands of sun-worshippers to Sos?a, its popular North-Coast beach resort.
It's Saturday evening at the Broadwood Hotel and well over a thousand Philadelphians have flocked to the grand ballroom.
In September I attended a special screening of the movie "Defiance" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. The film attempts to depict the formation of the Bielski partisans and some of their early exploits in the dense forests of Belorussia during the Holocaust.
Albert Einstein's letter on God, in which he described the Bible as "pretty childish," sold not long ago for more than $400,000.
Based on her interview with Sen. Joe Biden, we may assume that WFTV (Orlando) Anchor Barbara West: 1. Did not graduate from a school of communications, 2. Will never receive an award from the Society of Professional Journalists, 3. Is unlikely to be employed by The New York Times in the foreseeable future, and 4. Will soon be working with Joe the Plumber, installing bathroom fixtures.
For days after the Al Smith Memorial Dinner, held in mid-October at the Waldorf Astoria, the media buzzed with clips of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama delivering hilarious routines that put many professional comedians to shame.
They did not sing "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Manischewitz," nor do they ever seem to appear in any of the Disney films about pirates in the Caribbean.
The day Israel released the baby-murdering Arab terrorist Samir Kuntar was without doubt the most disgraceful in modern Jewish history.