A few years ago, I happened to be in Los Angeles for the fast of Tisha B'Av. Towards the end of the fast, between afternoon and evening prayers, the rabbi of the shul asked if I could say a few words to the congregation to explain the significance of the holy day and the fast.
No nation is perfect, and they all have skeletons in their closets. But the US does have a commitment to such things as individual rights, equality of opportunity, social mobility, democracy, rule of law, etc. Many other nations — perhaps most of them — don’t even pay lip service to these ideals, much less exemplify them.
I have always felt that the Daf Yomi would be the leader of that "Ahavat Chinam". In all my experiences attending those various Daf Yomis across the globe, nobody ever asked me what Kashrut I observe, how big my Kippa was or if my wife covers her hair. We were all one nation, one people studying the same page of Gemara. And then it came crashing down.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
Mr. Peter. A. Joseph, Chairman, Israel Policy Forum Mr. David A. Halperin, Executive Director, Israel Policy Forum Dear Mr. Joseph and Mr. Halperin, Permit me to introduce myself. I am Ambassador Alan Baker, a member of the Edmond Levy Commission established to examine the status of building in Judea and Samaria and to make recommendations to the government on this and related issues.
The Internet is a medium that has made its way in its short existence all the way to the center of contemporary life. Many of our daily tasks are now tied to it, and will be more so in the future.
It’s being called a game changer. Everybody seems to be talking about the recently released Jewish Community Study of New York and its surprising findings regarding New York’s changing Jewish demography.
This year, as Israel observes the traditional period of national mourning for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av, it has again been revealed that the Islamic Waqf is carrying out unsupervised work at the Temple Mount, potentially causing irrevocable damage to Judaism’s holiest site.
As the Levy Commission recently found, Israel is not in violation of international law, and it is not occupying or colonizing “Arab lands.” Jewish Voice for Peace's ideas of the ‘fundamental rights’ of Arab citizens of Israel goes far beyond what we normally think of as civil rights — for example, these ‘rights’ are said to be violated by Israel’s being a Jewish state — and UN resolution 194 does not require Israel to admit the grandchildren of refugees.
Yishai Fleisher, managing editor of JewishPress.com, appeared on L’Chaim, a show that has been running on ShalomTV for years. “Fear is everywhere,” he told the interviewer, Rabbi Mark Golub. “People go silent when I talk about fear because they realize how much fear they live with…we need to be proud.”
The recently highlighted "crisis of Zionism" is in fact a quandary afflicting Jewry and no new phenomenon. Rather, it has two sources, each centuries old.
Internet usage is something many of us have been thinking about in this post-Asifa world. I am not writing this to debate the effectiveness of Asifa-type events but only to suggest that since the Citi Field Asifa people aren’t as reluctant to talk about the Internet as they use to be. We are discussing, in a positive manner, Internet safety while projects such as the Internet Shiur series created by Rabbi Gil Student and Dovid Teitelbaum are educating and informing people about Internet use.
Many years ago when I was helping my congregation write a new constitution, I submitted a first draft to an expert who had been involved in setting up new shuls. One paragraph read, “All matters of halacha (Jewish law) will be determined by the congregational rabbi.” Pretty straightforward, I thought.
The Washington Post trod over some familiar territory this past weekend with a 7,000-word retrospective on the Obama administration’s Middle East peace process misadventures.
There is an old rabbinic anecdote about a rabbi who was called on to deliver a eulogy for someone who had no redeeming social value whatsoever. The rabbi was hard pressed to think of anything positive to say about this person. So when he spoke he solemnly pronounced: “No matter how evil the deceased truly was, he was still a far better person than was his brother!”
No matter what, some people simply cannot face the brute fact that there is no possibility of peace with the Palestinian Arabs and the larger Arab world in the foreseeable future. They have convinced themselves that yet another partition of the land of Israel will end the conflict. It won’t. It will only damage Israel’s ability to defend herself while providing a platform for more demands. Soon we will be hearing about “Arab Haifa, Yafo and Acco,” and then perhaps “Tel Arabiyya.”
On July 11, 1947, the SS Exodus began its journey, but never reached its intended destination. Yesterday, another Exodus story occurred: 229 Jews left the U.S. on a special flight organized by Nefesh b'Nefesh and the State of Israel. Of those on board, 99 were children. There were 38 families - and 59 singles. The oldest person on the flight is 86 years old, the youngest, only 6 months old. But this time, no one stopped them before they could touch down on Israeli soil.
The concept of a ‘belligerent occupation’ does not apply here. What country owned the territory that Israel ‘occupied’? Not Jordan, which was there illegally, nor Britain, whose Mandate had ended, nor the Ottoman Empire, which no longer existed. The nation with the best claim was Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who were the intended beneficiaries of the Mandate. Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, and the Jewish people have a prima facie claim.
Here’s a list of something exciting to do in Jerusalem each night of the week. This doesn’t have to be taken literally – choose...
The day school tuition crisis is not new. It has been brewing for years. School costs continue to rise while unemployment and underemployment remain high. And one also needs money to live in a neighborhood with shuls and mikvehs, to buy kosher food, to make proper simchas, to cover Yom Tov expenses, etc.
A watershed moment took place in Brooklyn last month on primary night. Those who care about private school education should sit up and take notice.
A recent CNN Money article focused on how more students than ever are requesting need-based financial aid from the private schools they attend. “Private schools are getting flooded with financial aid applications, and a growing number of the parents seeking help are earning $150,000 or more a year,” the article stated. It also pointed out that “overall, the average cost of tuition at private schools across all grades is nearly $22,000 a year, up 4% from a year ago and 26% higher than it was in the 2006-07 academic year, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.”
“The Scream,” a unique and evocative painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944), sold recently at Sotheby's for nearly $120,000,000. The price was attributed to its being the last of four editions still in private hands and the fact that it has been an icon of Western culture for over a century. The colors are vivid, the mood is stark, and the being on the bridge is overwhelmed by his surroundings. It captures a man alone in a world awry.
It’s human nature to hide our heads in the sand. That may be because we are mostly optimistic. We believe everything will be all right even when we know we are taking a chance.
Unfortunately, Israeli governments have not taken the correct line from the beginning. By not vehemently opposing Arab claims, insisting that the territory was disputed rather than occupied, and asserting Israel’s own rights under the Mandate, they allowed the PLO — with the willing connivance of anti-Zionist forces throughout the world — to make its point of view part of the conventional wisdom.