I was apprised of the fact that a renowned rav and posek in Flatbush dedicated his Shabbos morning drasha to the plight of a young lady who was recently dismissed from her Brooklyn Bais Yaakov. It seems she vexed the administration because she asked her teacher incisive questions about the nature of Gan Eden. Thankfully, due to the intervention of this prominent rav, she was reinstated to her school.
Summer 1946. His high school days over, my father, Mordechai Schwartz, was faced with a decision that would affect not only his life but the lives of generations to come.
As Super Bowl weekend approaches the signs at the local takeout stores in Modern Orthodox neighborhoods (and even some haredi ones as well, but I limit my discussion here to the former as that is my community) abound with signs advertising gigantic food package options with catchy names such as the "Linebacker" or the "Halftimer."
For months now, every Friday in Zion has seen screaming and violent leftist rioters attacking Israeli soldiers, engaging in hooliganism, and breaking the law. The thugs are a mixture of foreign pro-terror "anarchists" Israel foolishly lets into the country, joined by some members of Israel's own "Leftists for the Extermination of Israel."
On his radio program last week, Rush Limbaugh touted Norman Podhoretz's excellent new book Why Jews are Liberals. As the title suggests, Podhoretz attempts to answer a question that is often asked of Jewish conservatives. Limbaugh distills his analysis down to its essentials: Liberal Jews are liberals first, last and always, and their political liberalism trumps all their other "isms," including Judaism.
As I write this, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is here in Israel again, and it's not stirring much excitement or even interest. On Sunday he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the latter saying Mitchell had "interesting ideas" on how to get Israeli-Palestinian talks going again but not saying what the ideas were.
The terrible disaster in Haiti has shown the world not only nature's raw power but the power of the human heart as well. From all over the world, aid has been pouring in to rescue trapped survivors and provide medial services to the hundreds of thousands of victims.
With the outgoing and endlessly embattled Bush administration showing signs of exhaustion in 2008 and the onslaught of an unforeseen financial crisis, Democrats won the U.S. presidency while gaining an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives and 60 veto-proof seats in the U.S. Senate (thanks, in part, to a disputed Minnesota election putting TV comic Al Franken over the top in his state and the inclusion of Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman).
What is so special about Tu B'Shevat? Historically, nothing memorable occurred on this day. Why do we celebrate the New Year of the Trees?
Turkey has long been one of Israel's most important allies. While one is predominantly Muslim and the other Jewish, the two countries have prided themselves in maintaining their secular democracies. But our friendship has been strained recently with an appalling level of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of Turkey.
This past Chanukah, which of course commemorates the Jews' revolt against Greek attempts to destroy Judaism, the Supreme Court here in Great Britain issued a ruling that attacked as racist and made illegal a fundamental principle of Jewish life: that Judaism is transmitted through the mother.
Having received a number of comments regarding my Jan. 1 op-ed article "Its Time to Bring Back the Communal Cold Shoulder," it's apparent that I need to clarify my position.
The Stories 1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team's stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed.
Like the general who hones his military strategy by fighting the last war, America's politicians and some of its counterterrorism experts are engaged in thwarting future terrorist threats by diligently preparing for the past. Muslim-Arab terrorists hijack planes (this actually dates back to the 1960s, not 2001), and all passengers and luggage must be carefully searched.
Back in the early 1980s, I was just becoming a journalist - in the democratic underground, for no self-respecting person would serve as a mouthpiece for the military regime that was running Poland at the time.
Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether "to be or not to be." Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that "that is the question."
A few weeks ago I was completing the silent amidah at the morning minyan I attend in my local shul. Suddenly, a cold breeze shot through the room. I headed back to the door of the bet midrash where we pray and saw that a young observant woman I know had propped the door slightly ajar in order to hear the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei and the reading of the Torah.
Everyone remembers Israel's wars - in 1948, 1967, and 1973 - against the Arab states that vowed to destroy it. Its wars against the terrorist regimes embedded on its borders - Fatah and then Hizbullah in Lebanon and, most recently, Hamas in Gaza - are now memorable largely for the protests they provoked from liberal and anti-Zionist critics.
In 2004, I supported George W. Bush for a second term as president because I believed the most important issue facing the United States was the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, a life or death issue.
At the same time the Obama administration was condemning the lawful construction of apartments in a Jewish section of Jerusalem, the president was giving his blessing to illegal settlement elsewhere, seemingly unaware of the troubling irony.