Daniel Retter's father, Marcus Retter, z"l, escaped from Vienna to England in 1938 on the Kindertransport. His father's parents and sister were deported from Vienna to Riga, where they were murdered by the Germans and Latvians. He says that since his father should have been the one asking some of the following questions, the interview is dedicated to his memory.
MK Nissim Zeev (sometimes spelled Ze'ev) established the Shas Party in 1983 as a response to the discrimination faced by Israel's Sephardic population. He served as deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1983-1998 and has been a Member of Knesset since 1999.
In the less than two years since he gave up his full-time job as a print and radio journalist, Uri Orbach, 50, has distinguished himself as an indefatigable parliamentarian for the Religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, which sits in Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition government.
Non-Jews are no strangers to Israel's policy of inclusivity in its government. What is strange is finding a non-Jewish Knesset member who is more Zionistic than most of his fellow parliamentarians. Ayoub Kara, a Druze Likud Knesset minister, is proud to consider himself one of the most "right wing" members of the Knesset.
"From the age of 12," Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff told The Jewish Press in a recent interview, "I had one dream: to be a tzaddik, a gaon, and a melamed. I never became a tzaddik, I never became a gaon, but I did become a melamed, nodeh l'Hakadosh Baruch Hu."
A portrait of Ze'ev Jabotinsky may still adorn Likud conventions in Israel, but the ideas of this great Zionist leader - who passed away 70 years ago this week - are essentially forgotten and/or ignored.
The November midterm elections may well alter the political face of this country. Opponents of Obama administration policies have galvanized their forces and are eager to make their voices heard to the American electorate.
One of those people is Jay Townsend, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from New York who will be seeking to unseat incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer.
Many people knew him as Rabbi Hecht. His brothers called him Yank. To most of us he was J.J. - the man who, year after year, we saw standing at the Lubavitcher Rebbe's side for hours, no matter the weather, at the Lag B'Omer parade.
During the day, Shea Rubenstein works in real estate development. In the evenings he helps run the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park, an organization he helped establish, to meet the needs of the local community, as its executive vice president.
To some non-Jews, he is simply "America's rabbi." Rabbi Daniel Lapin - great-nephew of the widely revered mussarpersonality, Reb Elya Lapian - lectures across America to audiences both Jewish and Christian, produces audio CDs on such issues as marriage, the Ten Commandments, and the ill effects of vulgar speech, and disseminates a weekly e-mail called Thought Tools.
Though Sephardim are a small percentage of worldwide Jewry, they constitute a majority of Jews living in Israel today. Shas, the Israeli political party representing Orthodox and traditional Sephardim, has become a political powerhouse since its founding in 1984 by former Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
With the influence of news writers almost rivaling that of newsmakers, especially in the Middle East, Gil Hoffman has a pivotal position as chief political correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post. Hoffman is closely connected with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, has interviewed every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum, and is a regular analyst on CNN, Al Jazeera and other news outlets.
At the height of his musical success and while indulging in all the material abundance Hollywood had to offer, Yoseph chanced upon a Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch edition of the Chumash. Yoseph's life was transformed. He decided to reject the emptiness and egotism of the Hollywood lifestyle and embrace Yiddishkeit. Yoseph converted to Judaism and now lives in Brooklyn as an Orthodox Jew.
Perhaps it was inevitable. Ever since her address at the Republican National Convention two years ago, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been popular among many Orthodox Jews. A month after the convention, a "Sarah Palin Wig" went on sale on Sheitel.com. Now, as worry increases in the Jewish community over President Obama's Middle East policies, a group of Jews have banded together to create Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin (JewsforSarah.com).
Yechiel Spira is part of a new breed of Internet-based Orthodox investigative journalist. The native New Yorker, who made aliyah in 1984, is on the front lines of Jerusalem's "almost anything goes" kosher-food industry via his Jerusalem Kosher News website (www.jerusalemkoshernews.com).
Rael Jean Isaac was in the right place at the right time. Forty years ago, she found herself in Israel together with her husband, studying the various activist groups that had sprung up in Israel in the wake of the Six-Day War. Some argued for returning the lands won during the war; others, for keeping them. While researching the different movements for her doctoral thesis, she and her husband met veteran right-wing activist Shmuel Katz. The rest is history.
Sherwood Goffin has had a storied career. The cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue since 1965, Goffin started his musical career as a folk singer. From 1961-1995, Goffin sang on major stages worldwide, recorded six albums, and was known as the "Voice of Soviet Jewry," singing at all the major Soviet Jewry UN Solidarity Day rallies from 1964-1991.
The Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam, founded in May 2009, has held numerous political demonstrations, rallies and seminars aimed at bringing about a collective awareness of the perils of Islamic extremism. The Jewish Press sat down with Dr. Marvin Belsky, chairman of the board of HRCARI, to hear more about the goals and objectives of the group.
The New York Post called him "the nation's foremost journalistic expert on terrorism." Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism chief, called him the "Paul Revere of terrorism." For 16 years, Steven Emerson has been conducting research, reporting, writing, speaking, and testifying before Congress on the threat of radical Islam.
In 1947-1948 I lived in Boro Park where, against parental and rabbinic advice, I joined a Zionist group. By 1950 I was packing machine-gun parts for Israel in a home not far from the Young Israel. But what I did as a child does not compare to what my friend and colleague David Gutmann did for love of Zion at that very time on the dangerous open seas.
Have you read the blog Jewminicana? If you have, you are already familiar with Aliza Hausman, a recently converted Dominican-American blogger. She blogs about her childhood, upbringing, conversion, and a wide range of other topics. She and her husband, a semichah student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, also speak about life as a religious interracial couple.