The 14th of Sivan (May 27) marks the tenth yahrzeit of my father, Zechariah Schwarzberg, z"l, a man who experienced the worst humanity had to offer and responded with the best the human spirit could muster.
It seems the only nation not allowed to ban people with belligerent, racist or hostile political views is Israel. Recently, MIT professor Noam Chomsky was prevented by Israel from entering the country via Jordan. Chomsky was on his way to give an anti-Israel speech at a university in Ramallah in the West Bank. (Instead he gave the speech by videoconferencing from Jordan.)
Fearing that the Jewish community now perceives him as hopelessly unsympathetic to Israel, President Obama has launched a Jewish charm offensive. Last week alone 15 rabbis and 37 Jewish members of Congress were invited to the White House.
As Jews in Israel and all over the world prepare to celebrate Shavuot, it is incumbent upon us to take the time to reflect on the meaning of our traditional values and history with regard to our current challenges and goals.
Former president Jimmy Carter's controversial twining of Israel and the "apartheid" epithet created quite the fuss, as has the Biden construction affair and its aftermath of bloodying the Israeli nose. Unsurprisingly, if leaky reports are true, lurking in the background of both stories is the second-rate theorist Zbigniew Brzezinski, still hoping somehow to overcome the frustration of not being Henry Kissinger.
Finding a classmate has never been easier, with online tools rekindling long-lost childhood friendships. For those whose last school exams took place more than 70 years ago, only to be followed by the ravages of the Holocaust, a long-distance reunion leads to an outpouring of emotion.
Megilas Ruth narrates the origins of King David, who was born on Shavuos, who died on Shavuos and whose offspring, Mashiach ben David, we hope to greet soon. In the third chapter, Boaz awakens on the threshing floor to find a woman lying at his feet. In the darkness, Ruth explains her mission. Boaz replies, "There is a closer redeemer than I. Stay the night. In the morning, I will go to the city gate. If the closer redeemer will redeem you, well and good. But if not - Chai Hashem! - I will redeem you!"
Judaism is meticulous about the manner in which it celebrates Festivals. We eat matzah on Pesach because it recalls the suddenness of the Exodus that happened so quickly there was no time for the dough to rise. On Sukkot, we leave our homes and establish residence in a sukkah to remember, "In sukkot did I house the children of Israel when I took them out of Egypt."
Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis all disapprove of President Obama's policies toward Israel. One reason for the disapproval that emerges in these polls is that the Obama administration pressures and criticizes Israel, while giving Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority a free pass.
After eight wonderful years living in Jerusalem, my wife and I recently picked up the keys to our new house in a community located within the Gush Etzion "settlement" bloc.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters: There is nothing more pitiful than a condemned man asking his executioner for the sword so that he may do his work for him.
There are times when it becomes truly difficult to explain the obtuseness of Israelis. And, for a change, I do not mean leftist Israelis, who by and large are simply beyond cure.
I would like to be dan lekaf zechut – give the benefit of the doubt – to the Tennessee woman who, wishing to “return” her seven-year-old adopted son to the country of his birth, put the boy on a plane by himself and sent him back to Russia.
I went to a sentencing several weeks ago - my first ever. The man being sentenced, William Hill, was convicted by a jury of brutally beating Jacob Gerstle, an 81-year-old member of my community in Washington Heights, in 2006.
After months of uncharacteristic silence, New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, finally voiced his concerns - and it could not have come at a more crucial time for American-Israeli relations.
I attended my first tea party on tax day, April 15, outside the steps of the James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan. There I was, on 8th Avenue and 31st Street, smack dab between the uber-liberal West Side to the north of me and Greenwich Village to the south. And I was surrounded by signs that read, "Free markets, not free loaders", "Redistribute my work ethic, not my savings," and "Government does not solve problems, it subsidizes them."
Had Judge Richard Goldstone only issued a distorted litany of accusations against the Jewish state - dayenu. Had the British government only issued an arrest warrant against Kadima leader and former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni - dayenu.
There they go again. Palestinian Media Watch reports that the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, announced Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan for an upcoming fencing tournament for youth named after terror chieftain Abu Jihad.
We are seeing the "world coalition" forming and we can well imagine what the next steps will be. Perhaps the only comfort in this difficult world is that all the events we are witnessing have been predicted by our prophets. What else gives one the strength to endure what would otherwise be unendurable?
Elie Wiesel and Ronald Lauder recently criticized the Obama administration in separately placed newspaper advertisements. Instead of listening to Wiesel and Lauder's concerns, Haaretz reported, administration officials expressed "harsh criticism" over their ads.
Of the many intellectual perversions currently taking root on college campuses, perhaps none is more contradictory to what should be one of higher education's core values than the suppression of free speech.
The silence continues to be deafening with no Democrat in Congress to my knowledge crying out against President Obama for continuing to try to diminish America's closeness to Israel.
We've heard from many Israelis who feel demoralized and abandoned due to the lack of any strong and meaningful statements or vigorous public demonstrations sponsored by major Jewish organizations in support of Israel's position on Jerusalem.
In February, Yachad/the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, an agency of the Orthodox Union, presented NAIM -- North American Inclusion Month - as a national initiative to develop sensitivity and knowledge of what it means to live with disabilities and to educate communities on how they can do their part to make sure all Jews are properly included in all aspects of Jewish life.
Last month, I took a quick, five-day trip to the Unites States to visit my grandfather at the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital, an assisted living facility in North Miami Beach where he is (hopefully) recovering from several strokes. While I was pleasantly surprised by the generosity shown to my grandfather by complete strangers (staff members and volunteers) and the extreme emotions exhibited by our family's usually unflappable patriarch, I was simply stunned by my own feelings toward the "Old Country."