Patience is something we sometimes have too little of, but when it comes to history it is often a trait we need in abundance.
Earlier this month, at a Los Angeles event for the national African-American fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, the keynote speaker launched into an anti-Semitic tirade – directed at the fraternity’s guest of honor. The shocking episode shows just how far we’ve strayed from the original vision of the civil rights movement – and how far we have yet to travel to realize that vision.
The Democratic Party’s preoccupation with the question of when America will leave Iraq rather than with how America will win in Iraq reminds me of how and why this nearly lifelong liberal and Democrat became identified as a conservative and Republican activist.
It’s about 6 p.m. on May 14, 1948, and a friend and I are leaving a UNESCO conference in San Francisco to catch the train back to Berkeley.
Over the past few years, the term nakba (also spelled naqba) has become the favorite nonsense word of the Anti-Israel Lobby.
Israel is about to turn 60 and the silence, outside of the Jewish community, is deafening.
I wrote in early 2001, “Now we are all Israelis.” The Intifada against Israel the world chose to ignore became a global Intifada against civilization. In 2002-2003, I wrote that anti-Zionism was the new anti-Semitism, that decades of increasingly lethal propaganda against Israel had finally turned the Jewish state into the Jew of the World.
Israel’s behavior in recent decades reminds me of three anecdotes. The first concerns a businessman, a teacher and an engineer who were captured by enemy forces and condemned to death by hanging. Each was asked how he preferred to be hanged – head- or feet-up. The businessman replied that head-up was preferable. He was hanged accordingly, but the gibbet collapsed and he was freed. The teacher followed the businessman’s choice; the gibbet collapsed again and he was also saved.
We are in the month of Nissan, the month of Redemption. How we yearn for the geulah. As our Exile becomes more painful and our hearts ache with sorrow, grief and fear, many of us find ourselves crying out to our Father in Heaven:
It has been estimated that more than half of the millions of Jews caught up in the Holocaust observed the mitzvot, the commandments of the Torah, in their daily lives prior to the advent of the Nazis. Did this commitment to halacha, the “way” of Jewish religious law, crumble and disintegrate under the pressures of the Final Solution? Or did halacha continue to bring not only some semblance of order, but of meaning, sanity, and even sanctity, into their lives?
In 1924, a rabbinical conference was held in the city of Grodno, then located in Poland. The sages had gathered to discuss matters pertaining to Russian and Polish Jewry and to establish a program of action for the Va’ad haYeshivot, the council of yeshivas.
Nearly 52 years ago, on October 5, 1956, a newly released movie billed itself as “the greatest event in motion picture history.”
A young construction worker lies in bed, the shrill shriek of his alarm still echoing in his room. He groans. He doesn’t want to get up to confront the day. He’s comfortable under the blankets, with the early morning sun streaming in through the crack in the drapes and landing across his face. Another few minutes … that’s all. When the alarm’s “snooze control” wakes him from his renewed slumber, he reluctantly pushes aside his blankets and begins his daily routine of shaving, showering, brushing his teeth.
Warsaw Ghetto: a name, a phrase, familiar to most people today only as a matter of history. Important history, yes, but dry and impersonal just the same. Because even the most vivid of photographs and the most descriptive of texts, whether found on the pages of books or the walls of museums, cannot begin to describe the abject terror and suffering experienced by those who were there.
Conflicts between the religious needs of minorities and those of the rest of society always have the potential to take a reasoned debate off the tracks.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Senator Barack Obama wants the best of both political worlds, claiming to disagree with while refusing to sever ties to his pastor and (as Obama calls him) “uncle” – the unrepentant anti-U.S., anti-Israel, anti-white Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Though the ranks of single-issue pro-Israel Jewish voters (they comprise perhaps one-fourth of the Jewish electorate) have contracted as a result of mounting assimilation, those voters have nonetheless learned a lot over the past sixteen years.
Most Christians, including many (if not a majority of) members of the mainline Protestant denominations, support Israel. Nevertheless, the Christian Left persists with its sometimes vehemently anti-Israeli and unabashedly pro-Palestinian sentiments. Why?
Israel has a dual justice system. While operating within a single overall structure of courts and related legal institutions, two separate justice systems exist in the country: one for leftists and the other for everyone else.
Our family has arisen from sitting shiva for Horav Chaim Eliyahu ben Horav Avrohom Yaakov zt”l. There was an uninterrupted flow of friends, neighbors, former and current students, and distinguished rabbis and community leaders who came to console us from 7:30 a.m. until close to midnight.
Sderot. Where innocent Jews live under the constant threat of rockets. Where parents make bedrooms out of bomb shelters for their children so they won’t have to lift them up and out of bed each time. Where kids won’t play more than ten feet from their apartment for fear of a tzeva adom, a red alert. Where people – children and adults – are constantly on the lookout for shelter, whether walking to shul or going from the car to the grocery store.
I am dumbfounded that there has been no drop in Barack Obama’s standing in the polls following revelations that he sat in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and did nothing, publicly or privately, to voice disagreement with Wright’s hate speech.
As our community has grown stronger and more self-confident and amassed numerous impressive achievements, we have embraced ever-more restrictive approaches that were not part of our mindset a generation ago when we were far weaker but were led by Torah giants of transcendent stature.
For a generation after World War II, particularly given revelations of the Holocaust, most American Protestant denominations embraced a more tolerant attitude toward Jews. Since the 1980’s, however, there has been a marked shift, evident in the anti-Israel positions adopted by more liberal denominations like the United Methodist Church (UMC); the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in America (ELCA); the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA); and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA).
In June 1982, in the pages of Ms. magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin earned her reputation as a Jewish feminist by writing about anti-Semitism among feminists. She did so by standing on the shoulders of other Jewish feminists who had been wrestling with this “problem without a name” since the early 1970’s and whose cries Pogrebin finally heard.