In reading Parshat Zachor (Deut. 25:17-19) we fulfill the commandment to remember what the nation of Amalek did to us. The sages instituted its reading just before Purim in order to link this mitzvah to the feast day on which we celebrate the blotting out of Haman, who was of Amalekite genealogy.
No sooner had we recovered from our bout of laughter over Turkey criticizing Israel for its actions in Gaza ("Talking Turkey," op-ed, Feb. 6) than an even more Orwellian event took place when it was reported that Jordan planned to file a criminal lawsuit against Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.
The night of December 8, 2008, was exceptionally cold, but those who attended a special reception for Sam Domb at Abigael’s on Broadway in Manhattan felt only the warmth of this indefatigable man’s love for the Jewish people.
From time to time I read various polemical articles concerning the problems with Jewish education in today’s school system. These are usually written by educators or those aspiring to be educators, though some are vastly more qualified than others. Some of them argue that traditional methods of studying texts need to be taught more vigorously, while others insist that newer approaches need to be taken.
It may not be a “basic law,” Israel’s set of semi-constitutional laws, but the Law of Return is probably the most fundamental law of the state. It certainly is the most Jewish and Zionist of all Israel's laws.
Coming just weeks after the explosion of global anti-Semitism that followed Israel’s military action in Gaza, the timing couldn’t have been better for the London Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, held Feb. 16 and 17.
Our natural inclinations would have us believe that individual actions, whether errors in judgment or extravagant demonstrations of bravery, generally do not affect the course of human history.
In what is yet more evidence that universities have become, as Abigail Thernstrom has described them, “islands of repression in a sea of freedom,” Toronto’s York University witnessed a near riot of some 100 pro-Palestinian Israel-haters, as police had to be called to usher Jewish students to safety after they had been barricaded inside the Hillel offices and were “isolated and threatened” by the physically and verbally aggressive demonstrators.
When I was asked to assume a pulpit in San Jose, California, about a year ago, I was not quite aware of the many new experiences I would find here.
What’s the state of the republic one month into the Obama presidency? It’s a state of deep confusion. Here are some polls to ponder. Brace yourself.
There are two types of people in the world – those who are inspired by Mussar and those who are turned off by it. Mussar is a school of study that teaches religious self-improvement. Traditional Mussar, as practiced in many yeshivas to this day, has a rabbi exhorting his listeners, often yelling at them, to be more careful in their actions and attitudes. This is frequently accompanied with a Torah insight and maybe even a good parable. But it can be scary: fire, brimstone, judgment day – all the horrible implications of religious failure, in graphic detail.
Rabbi Avraham Isaac HaCohen Kook (1865-1935) was an extraordinary Torah giant. His genius was astounding – there was no field of Torah study he had not mastered. His recall was astonishing – great scholars related that no matter what Torah subject they discussed with him it would appear as if he had just recently learned the issue in depth.
The Israeli election was on the surface a tie between Likud, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, and Kadima, led by Tzipi Livni (who replaced Ehud Olmert as party chief). While Livni loudly proclaimed victory because Kadima had come out one parliamentary seat ahead, the election was largely a victory for the Israeli Right.
Jimmy Carter’s recent comments about Israel are another chapter in his book on how not to be a former president.
Dear Mr. Madoff, Having kissed my daughter goodnight, I sat in the final quietude of the raucous street crowd’s secular New Year's celebration. I could not help but hear her earlier words as we watched the fireworks in Central Park from the roof of our building.
The United States and much of the rest of the world are in a depression, a word that apparently must be avoided, perhaps in the hope that if we do not say it the bad news will go away.
It’s very difficult when a democratic country has to confront an illegal terrorist group. Whatever we do is being photographed; whatever they do, nobody sees. For example, when they throw a rocket on a settlement in Israel, it’s not being photographed. You cannot see a mother trying to defend her child and the resultant sleepless night. Have you ever seen on television a sleepless night?
Initially dismayed at the phenomenon, we have by now grown used to seeing pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas demonstrators behave like Holocaust-era Nazis. These haters goose-step, Nazi-style, and shoot out their arms as they deliver the Hitlerian sieg heil salute. They also chant and scream such charming slogans as “Jews to the ovens,” “Hitler did not kill enough of you” and “Jews to the gas chambers.”
Other than God Himself, Judaism values nothing greater than life. Life is the ultimate gift from God. Without life, none of the riches of creation is available to us. Without life, the great adventure of our lives – our embrace of the Holy – is impossible.
Moshe was looking for employment (he wasn’t cut out to learn full-time), and was having a difficult time finding the right fit. Sometimes he went weeks without even landing an interview, and he rarely made it past the first round. People began to speculate that there was something wrong with Moshe, and his self-esteem took a blow every time he heard of someone else who found a job.
I regret to report on the ascendance of an American Jewish version of Replacement Theology and a corresponding new American Jewish Bible. These have been adopted primarily in the Reform and secular sectors, as well as in the overlapping wider societal groups of Democrat Party faithful, academia, and the media establishment.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a temper tantrum at the Davos forum on world economics.
There is no rain in Israel. The weather is sunny and warm.That is bad news.
Everyone knows the story. Moshiach finally arrives and goes from shul to shul telling the Jews it’s time to go home to Eretz Yisrael. But wherever Moshiach goes he is rejected because of his dress, his yarmulke, his hat or his accent. Eventually, in frustration, he simply leaves.
Do you “get shul?” Do we as a community of people praying in shul for thousands of years actually get what it is, or what it is supposed to be? A year or two ago I would have answered one way. Now, having served as director of the Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services at the Orthodox Union for almost a year and a half, my answer has changed.