President Obama would have better reflected American values in Cairo recently had he spoken with blunt honesty regarding recent Middle East history. Here’s the speech he might have delivered:
A news item appeared a few weeks ago detailing the refusal of an Austrian hotel owner to rent a summer apartment to Jews. The owner of the Haus Sonnenhof apartment hotel in the village of Serfaus in the Austrian Tyrol reportedly told a Viennese Jewish family the facility was no longer accepting Jewish guests. This is shocking and distressing, but according to my close relative who moved to Zurich 25 years ago, it is hardly newsworthy. As a matter of fact, it's almost routine in Switzerland.
The Israeli media and the Israeli Left (but I repeat myself) have been hysterical in recent weeks over a proposed bill that would make it illegal to hold anti-Israel "mourning" events on Israel's Independence Day, events that would declare Israel's very existence a "nakba" (or catastrophe in Arabic).
President Obama spoke with his usual charm, polish and eloquence in Cairo on June 4. But the speech was, like so many of his utterances since taking office, tarnished by a desire to be all things to all people.
The planets are not typically aligned. The Modern/Centrist Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America is for Markey, as is the haredi Igud HaRabbonim (Rabbinical Alliance of America). Meanwhile, the equally haredi Agudath Israel of America and Torah Umesorah are against Markey.
When discussing the current economic woes as they relate to Jewish education, it is important to note that there are two distinct crises, and that each of them requires its own strategy for solution.
Just a few weeks ago we celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria in the Six-Day War of 1967.
President Obama’s long-awaited speech in Cairo on U.S.-Muslim relations met expectations. It was passionately read and delivered (except for one stumble: calling a “hijab” a “hajib,” an understandable error), touched all the rhetorical bases and – typical Obama – actually said much less than it read.
President Obama's long-awaited speech in Cairo on U.S.-Muslim relations met expectations. It was passionately read and delivered (except for one stumble: calling a "hijab" a "hajib," an understandable error), touched all the rhetorical bases and - typical Obama - actually said much less than it read.
I’ve long maintained that the large number of people having a difficult time getting and staying happily married is only a symptom of deeper problems in the community. Consequently, efforts to get more singles to go out on more dates will be largely unsuccessful unless the deeper problems are addressed. This thesis has been validated in recent years, as more attention to the “crisis” and various schemes to create shidduchim have yet to result in meaningful change or much cause for optimism.
American Jews overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama, the Candidate of Change, despite credible warnings and ample evidence that he would obsessively seek to create a Palestinian state at Israel's expense and "engage" nuclear-arming, Islamist Iran.
The debate over the Markey Bill has been framed in the starkest terms on the Internet and in the street: If you are for the bill, you are for children; if you are opposed to it, you are a horrible person who is protecting child molesters.
While in the U.S. last month, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a number of interviews. The following is one he did not give, though I wish he would have.
Why is an egg an integral part of the Pesach Seder? I heard a beautiful answer from the beloved rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, shlita.
It happened because it had to happen, because history dictated that it happen. Barack Obama, the newly elected president of the United States and Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly resurrected prime minister of Israel, were fated to meet.
“Why is it,” Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was asked, “that Shavuot is also referred to as Atzeret? After all, the Torah uses the term atzeret only in association with the festival of Shemini Atzeret, not Shavuot.”
On May 12 I was privileged to be a witness to history when Pope Benedict XVI visited the Kotel. Earlier, while standing on Mount Nebo, Jordan, the spot from which Moses viewed the Holy Land, Benedict spoke of the “inseparable bond” between Catholics and Jews.
The impact of opera on contemporary politics is fairly limited these days. Unlike the 19th century when new operas by composers like Giuseppe Verdi would often be seen as important political statements, the contemporary lyric theater is usually the preserve of an elite that most people don’t care about. But every once in a while something can happen at an opera house that makes its way onto the news pages.
During the seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot we are commanded to count every day and make a daily blessing. This mitzvah of counting the Omer illustrates the process of advancing up the ladder of freedom which began by God redeeming us from Egypt and came to its culmination at Mount Sinai where the Torah was given.
The first Palestinian state, commonly called Jordan, was carved out of the Palestine Mandate and equipped with a refugee Saudi royal family. Today Jordan exists mainly under the protection of the U.S. and Israel, and the majority of its population of Palestinian Arabs supports Osama bin Laden at a higher percentage than do the citizens of Pakistan.
Seven hundred years before Israeli paratroopers restored the Old City of Jerusalem to Jewish hands, a great sage was rejuvenating Jewish life in the holy city, building the cornerstone for many generations to follow.
There is no question in my mind that so-called anti-Zionism serves as a fig leaf for Jew-hatred. There is no other explanation. I know of no other country whose legitimacy is as relentlessly questioned and undermined as is Israel’s. You would think that those who espouse the love of human rights and rejection of violence and government oppression would attack, with proper fury, countries like Congo, Sudan, Jordan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cuba, Libya, Dubai, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Venezuela, and of course the most repressive country on the planet, North Korea.
With renewed urgency, the Obama administration seeks to resolve the states of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and neighboring Muslim states on one hand, and America and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the other.
Today, under the Obama administration – as yesterday under the Bush administration – U.S. policy toward the Arab war on Israel is largely based on the notion that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction are genuine moderates who reject terrorism and accept Israel’s right to exist, and are therefore committed to building a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.
The Orthodox community should voice its strong opposition to the new proposals by the mayor of York City and the governor of New York State to legally redefine marriage.