When I was a kid, the prospect of catching polio was terrifying. We could not dive into a public swimming pool for fear we would spend the rest of our lives in an iron lung. Two Jewish doctors vanquished that disease and removed such fears forever.
The confrontation at sea this week between pro-Palestinian activists seeking to end the international blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israeli forces seeking to enforce the closure has put Israel in a difficult position.
Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis disapprove of President Obama's policies toward Israel. They oppose his administration's condemning Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem; his UN speech supporting linkage of U.S. support for Israel's security to Israeli concession to the Palestinians; his comparing Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews in his June 2009 Cairo speech.
As an Englishman living in New York, I've become rather ambivalent toward the Royal Family over the years. The latest scandal rocking Buckingham Palace hasn't changed my attitude.
As millions of gallons of oil continue to leak into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the impatience and helplessness of Americans continue to grow. Never before has such a significant issue relating to our country's environmental health been at the mercy of a faulty valve. This unprecedented experience has humbled engineers, scientists and bureaucrats alike.
On the eve of the Six-Day War, Israel stood alone. The events of June 1967 came just a decade after the 1956 Sinai Campaign waged by Israel, France and Great Britain to protect international passage through the Suez Canal.
Not since the height of the Cold War has our nation been this wary of foreigners, or this uncertain as to how to best respond to external threats to our national security.
Moishe Rosen, the Jewish convert to Christianity who founded the evangelical missionary group Jews for Jesus, died on May 19 in San Francisco after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 78. His passing presents an opportunity to reflect on the devastating effect he had on Jewish lives.
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.