We play the odds all the time, don't we? We may not consciously think about it as such, but in effect we do. Hashem rules the world and controls the odds; we have to do our hishtadlus. We get behind the wheel of a car, board a plane, or cross the street knowing there are risks such as car accidents, plane crashes and pedestrian injuries.
"It's not easy being labeled religious these days," a friend confessed to me a few weeks ago. My friend may be right - so-called religious people have committed some of humanity's most horrific crimes, casting a dark shadow on religion - but what is religion? What is the definition of a "religious person"? What was he referring to? Can religion and evil really co-exist?
Jews have long been accused of studying anti-Christian texts supposedly contained in the Talmud. Such allegations have been made for so many centuries that even some civilized and fair-minded individuals accept them at face value.
The threat of the infiltration of Sharia, or Islamic law, into the American court system is one of the more pernicious conspiracy theories to gain traction in our country in recent years.
Editor's Note: On July 30, the firm of Lewin & Lewin, LLP, filed in the Supreme Court its brief in Zivotofsky v. Clinton, No. 10-699, on which the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in early November. The constitutional issue in the case is whether Congress had the authority to enact a law in 2002 that directs the Secretary of State to permit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to record their place of birth in their passports as "Israel." Because the State Department has consistently refused to recognize any part of Jerusalem as being in Israel, the government has refused to implement the 2002 law, claiming it violates the President's constitutional authority to "recognize foreign sovereigns." This is the Introduction to the Zivotofsky brief written by Nathan Lewin, followed by a Summary of Argument.
A number of years ago I attended a "Kiddush Club" gathering in the basement of a synagogue. Right when the haftarah reading began, several older men snuck out the back and in a small dark room in the basement opened multiple bottles of alcohol. They drank excessively until the sermon was over and then, not so inconspicuously, returned back for the final portion of the Shabbat morning service.
The two despicable terror attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoya carried out by Anders Breivik propelled Norway onto center stage. Norway is a country that normally draws little attention - even Swedes and Danes who can read Norwegian are generally uninterested in what happens there. The only annual event that regularly generates publicity for Norway is the awarding of the Noble Peace prize.
There are so many events about which one ought to write. So much is happening on a daily and even an hourly basis. Slaughter in Norway, unrelenting turmoil in the Middle East, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, revolutions and the threat of a nuclear apocalypse emanating from the maniacal regime in Iran.
The Gaza flotilla and the flytilla may have been failures, but they were also missed opportunities for Israel. It's no secret that a portion of Israel's tourist trade comes from "protest tourism" - philosophy students and poetry Ph.D.s who want a chance to visit the Holy Land, throw some rocks at a soldier and have their pictures taken with AK-47-wielding terrorists. And it's time the Israeli tourist industry took their business seriously.
As reported last week in the Jerusalem Post, "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel and the U.S. were working on a document saying the parameters for returning to negotiations with the Palestinians would be based on the speech U.S. President Barack Obama gave at AIPAC in May, and spelling out in greater detail what Obama meant by a return to the 1967 lines, with mutual agreed swaps."
Five thousand evangelical Christian supporters of Israel from throughout the U.S. and Canada filled the halls of the Washington, D.C. Convention Center July 18-20 for the sixth annual Washington Summit of Christians United for Israel.
The decision by the Israeli Supreme Court in the matter of Mustafa Dirani (sometimes spelled Durani) has once again shown the world that Israel's judicial system is a clear and present danger to the country.
A recent article in The Jewish Week brought to light something that has been afflicting the Orthodox community for some time now: teenage texting on Shabbos. The practice is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially but in no way exclusively, among Modern Orthodox teens.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?" Baby Boomers would ask, "When President Kennedy was shot?" Thirtysomethings would respond, "When the space shuttle exploded?" Today's teenagers would reply, "On 9/11?"
We are now in the Three Weeks, a time of national mourning for the Jewish people. Of the numerous tragedies that occurred throughout history during this period, the central one we grieve is the destruction of both Temples; they were destroyed on Tisha B'Av, the culmination of the Three Weeks.
It's been a bumpy road for the Palestinians lately. Recent staged spectacles that were supposed to whip up sympathy for them and put Israel in a bad light again - the Nakba Day (May 15) and Naksa Day (June 4) marches on Israel's borders, the flotilla, the flytilla - have been disappointments at best, if not outright flops. And the Palestinians' long-hyped independent-statehood bid at the UN in September is meeting growing opposition from the West.
In March 1941 - nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor impelled America to enter the Second World War - one colorful American hero already had joined the battle: Captain America.
As Israel's leadership digs in its heels in the face of escalating Palestinian demands for statehood, the Jewish state faces a new, rapidly changing dynamic. The Palestinian Authority's intent to seek United Nations recognition of a new Arab state based on pre-1967 borders, coupled with reconciliation between the PA and Hamas, further complicates the issue.
There was a lot of attention given to a Gallup poll last week showing Jewish approval for President Obama has remained fairly steady at around 60 percent since the beginning of the year (though it has also dropped by 20 points since 2009).
The ongoing Turkish request for an Israeli apology over the killing last year of nine pro-Palestinian flotilla activists has been a major hindrance in efforts to improve Israeli-Turkish relations.