One of the strangest and, at first blush, inexplicable aspects of the current social and political scene, remarked upon by many writers, is the “unholy alliance” that has been forged between the proponents of Western secularism and the armies of Islam ranged against it.
A few years ago I began an initiative at the Israeli Foreign Ministry aimed at opening a dialogue with Muslim communities in the West. When the first delegations of European and American Muslims started to arrive, they were amazed at the coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel.
Last year I spent part of Pesach in the oddest of places. I had been in the office of Kesher Israel Congregation of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania late one afternoon before Pesach when the phone rang. It was a chaplain (not Jewish) from Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. They had just received some new Jewish prisoners and were scrambling to meet their Pesach needs.
For a country that has fought for thirty years over the question of a woman's right to choose, we seem to all agree that once a child is born parents have no choice. They are not allowed to send their children to the school they prefer without incurring backbreaking financial penalties.
In the wake of another upsurge in activity and publicity surrounding Gilad Shalit, it bears remembering that there are compelling reasons for the Israeli government to think twice before agreeing to release hundreds of terrorists for his safe and overdue return.
Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not and upon the kingdoms that call not upon Thy name; for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his dwelling. Pour out Thy fury upon them, and may the kindling of Thine anger overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from under God’s skies.
One particular Passover for young Chaim Merimzon must have seemed like a dream. Merimzon was one of thousands of Jewish children – Cantonists – who were victims of Tsar Nicholas’s zealous obsession with forcing them to accept baptism.
Who can forget the Danish cartoon controversy ignited by an image of a wild-eyed Muhammad with a lighted dynamite stick protruding from his turban? Even those who decried the global overreaction – cynically exploited by Mideast demagogues whose stock-and-trade is defaming Christians and Jews – understood why decent Muslims of all stripes were offended.
An identifying mark of the Jew has been, and for many still is, his beard. The foundation for this is the commandment in the Torah: “You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shall you mar the corners of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27).
Passover is a festival of freedom, chag hageulah, when we remember our deliverance from slavery in Egypt. For my father, Chaskel Tydor, Passover was also a reminder of the slavery he experienced during his lifetime – of his five and a half years in the Nazi camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.
“People need money in their pockets to spend. That’ll get our economy going again.” -- David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama Drastic situations require drastic measures. Thus, to reach Axelrod’s necessary goal, we need to end Social Security as we know it.
Although he was gravely ill for years and could no longer fulfill his leadership responsibilities, Rabbi Elya Svei, zt”l, continued to influence many of us who are involved in Torah education, whether as principals or teachers or lay leaders.
During a recent visit to several university campuses in the U.S., I discovered that there is more sympathy for Hamas there than there is in Ramallah. Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber.
A recent poll from CBS News found that the tightening economy is forcing people to make some tough choices. Alarmingly, these kinds of decisions are spilling over into an area where they don't belong -- health care. More than one in three Americans is delaying care. Around 30 percent are skipping screenings, tests, and other treatments. And 27 percent aren't filling their prescriptions.
Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we prayed for redemption but our exile continued. On this night our prayers may be answered.
Over the years, some of my wildest critics seem to have assumed I am Jewish. At the same time, some of my closest friends wish I were.
Commenting on the role the sovereign nation-state plays in the western world compared with the Islamic world, the late Samuel P. Huntington, in his classic study The Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, wrote: “The structure of political loyalty among Arabs and among Muslims generally has been the opposite of that in the modern West. For the latter the nation state has been the apex of political loyalty.”
Once again, Israeli leftists, with assistance from the media, are composing songs, lighting candles and organizing dances around a new golden calf. This time it is the demand to do “everything possible” to bring home the captured soldier Gilad Shalit.
Who would ever have believed that Jews would be in such danger again? That Israel and Zionism would become such dirty words in the world, despised by western intellectuals and Islamist mobs alike?
Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Fathers roasting succulent hot dogs on a flaming grill; children frolicking carefree on the lawn, playing with their little friends; bees buzzing excitedly over their newest source of sweet, golden nectar; ducks quacking incessantly, splashing in a pond; white, puffy, cumulous clouds sailing through the clear blue skies like an armada of misty ships going out to sea.