Politics in America is a contact sport. Passions flare and the rhetoric can get heated and nasty. Political parties stoke these fires, playing on people’s fears as a key fund-raising tactic.
The impact of the country’s economic crisis is being felt far and wide, and most, if not all, of us are being forced to cut back on non-essential spending. Being frum, however, is expensive. New clothes for Yom Tov; a lulav and esrog; fish, chicken, and meat every Shabbos; yeshiva tuition -- the list goes on and on. What results is a never-ending series of expenses that seems overwhelming and inescapable.
Although the presidential election is still several days away, it is safe to say that Democratic candidate Barack Obama has secured the lion’s share of American Jewish votes.
The California Supreme Court’s ruling last spring striking down that state’s ban against same-sex marriage created a tremendous uproar throughout the country. Religious groups, including Orthodox Jewry, railed against this fundamental challenge to the historically accepted definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
No doubt inspired by the perverse Holocaust conference sponsored two years ago by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, student members of the Islamist Basij militia published a book of cartoons mocking and minimizing the Shoah just in time for a festive distribution at a Tehran rally for Al-Quds Day. The annual hate-fest glorifies the Palestinian cause and is an opportunity for Iranians to wildly denounce Israel and America and bemoan the continuing presence of Jews in Jerusalem.
Why should Jewish parents homeschool their children? King Solomon said we must “train a youth according to his way.” In other words, we must teach a child according to how he or she learns best. Thus, the Torah’s basis for homeschooling.
When Ephraim Halevy has something to say, people listen. And Halevy, former chief of the Mossad, does not believe Israelis should be involved in American politics. The Obama camp, apparently, thinks otherwise.
I am a child of the ‘60s. I learned to play guitar to music from the Rabbis’ Sons, Shlomo Carlebach and Lennon and McCartney. When we had a kumsitz at our youth functions we would intersperse Simon and Garfunkel music with songs from the Six-Day War. In 1970 I accompanied Rabbi Carlebach when he played an impromptu concert at Zion Square in Jerusalem.
Last month, millions of Americans opened their Sunday newspapers and found amid the usual pile of coupons and advertising flyers something unusual: a free DVD of a documentary called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War with the West.”
As I had done every weekday morning for the past few years, I opened the door of my apartment on September 30 to pick up my copy of the New York Sun. Immediately, I spotted the headline above the fold announcing the paper’s demise. No surprise, of course. All of us who counted ourselves as the Sun’s friends knew this day was coming.
Why do liberal Jews have such a problem with Sarah Palin? One would think that the die-hard feminists in the Jewish community would trumpet the ascension of a woman to the second spot on a presidential ticket, much as they did over two decades ago when Geraldine Ferraro took center stage with Walter Mondale in a quixotic attempt to unseat Ronald Reagan.
A casualty of the Left’s hatred for President George W. Bush has been a destructive inability to separate fact from fiction in the ongoing history of the war in Iraq. The latest case, which, sadly, has dug its way into the head of the Democratic presidential nominee, is the allegation that American troops, when they liberated Baghdad in April 2003, were not welcome as liberators.
Here is the campaign speech I wish John McCain or Barack Obama would deliver: If I were a typical, hardworking wage earner uninvolved in the full-time practice of government and
As a patriotic Jewish American, I care deeply about Israel’s well-being and security as well as that of our own country.
On the threat from Iran, there is some good news, some bad news and some even worse news. The good news: Both presidential candidates think the prospect of Iran going nuclear is a bad thing.
The innovative idea for kashrut certification called Hekhsher Tzedek is now making inroads in the Jewish world and gaining the attention of the secular press as well. In a nutshell, Hekhsher Tzedek calls for a supplemental certification of a food company beyond compliance with the laws of kashrut to include certification that it conducts its business ethically.
I grew up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish community in Miami Beach. Nearly all of my childhood friends remain observant.
An interesting title perhaps – and maybe a bit misleading. But I believe there is an important parallel in the lives of the Republican presidential candidate and the martyred chassidic rebbe who perished in the Holocaust. Before I lay out my case, allow me to introduce to you Rabbi Klonymus Kalman Shapira, of blessed memory. It is really a moral responsibility to know the life of this saintly individual. (The biographical information below was adapted from Esther Farbstein’s Hidden in Thunder and Nechemia Polin’s The Holy Fire.)
When President Bush hosted the Annapolis Conference in 2007, Israel, the Palestinians, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left hoping that some resolution to the decades-old conflict would reveal itself by the end of 2008. The likelihood of such an outcome by the end of Bush’s presidency seems to be steadily evaporating, as Israel’s prime minister exits office in disgrace and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, though softening his rhetoric, is still adamant that “Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to their homeland” (as he recently asserted in his meeting with Hosni Mubarak of Egypt) and that "Jerusalem and the right of return are inalienable Palestinian rights, too."
No Jewish voices were invited as the World Council of Churches (WCC) convened in Bern, Switzerland this month "an international ecumenical debate" to consider the theological issues related to the Holy Land and help it formulate positions regarding "the Promised Land, the Church and Israel, justice and peace."
Assemblyman Dov Hikind deserves credit for his attempt to deal with the issue of abuse in the Orthodox community – a community where people still refer to cancer as "yener machlah" (that disease); where mental illnesses (even those that are not genetic, such as postpartum depression) are rarely spoken of publicly; and where some parents are still afraid to have their sons and daughters tested and registered with Dor Yeshorim even though doing so might prevent a marriage resulting in children with genetic diseases.
It has taken me a couple of weeks but I think I’ve finally gotten handle on why Sarah Palin’s bravado Republican convention speech was such a smash among conservatives: After nearly eight years of watching President Bush curl up in the fetal position each time he was savaged by the angry left, it was positively invigorating to see a conservative Republican finally fight back – and with wit and charm.
With the arrival of the new year, we must stop to reflect upon our deeds in order to pave the way for self-improvement. The current crisis here in Israel indicates that there is a serious problem. By drawing the necessary conclusions now, we can emerge from these difficulties into the light of solace and salvation.
It is used once in seven years. A small, innocuous legal oddity, it looms large in interdenominational diatribes and is often cited as the “proof of proofs” that the disingenuous Orthodox are being less than honest about the available flexibility in the normative halachic process. It is the prozbul.
We stand at the threshold of a new year. What will 5769 bring? Will we greet Moshiach? Will we see, God forbid, a world of troubles? Perhaps both.