This Rosh Hashanah, Israel stands on the threshold of its 60th anniversary. Still we are fighting for survival, and, despite the passage of time, face the threats of war and terror. Yet Israel stands strong. And the collective support of the Jewish people makes us even stronger.
Rudy Giuliani’s article in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs (“Toward a Realistic Peace“) marks an important statement about the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.”
“What kind of job is that for a Jewish boy?” These were the words that greeted a friend and mentor when he chose the profession of Jewish educator almost 50 years ago. Two basic assumptions stand behind such a question: (1) Jewish boys are destined for greatness; (2) Jewish education is certainly not the path to achieve that greatness.
The revisionists are still hard at work in their attempts to recast the history of Israel’s birth. Without fanfare the Israeli Education Ministry has approved a textbook for Arab third graders in Israel that concedes the war that gave birth to Israel was a form of ethnic cleansing.
In 1890, William Blackstone organized a conference in Chicago of Christians and Jews to respond to the pogroms then occurring in Russia. The group unanimously passed a resolution urging world leaders “to stay the hand of cruelty from these time-honored People which have given them as well as us our Bible, our religion, and our knowledge of God.”
One year after the second Lebanon War, Israel’s north is back in business. Where 12 months ago the region was shaken to its core by the impact of hundreds of missile hits from Hizbullah, traces of the damage are now hard to find.
The Feldman Affair, by which I mean both the New York Times Magazine article and its aftermath, is a significant event in the development of American Orthodoxy, encompassing important issues about Modern Orthodoxy that have not been sufficiently explored, intra-Orthodox divisions, and our approach to intermarriage.
Once upon a time, I only read and wrote for the most radical, Left, and feminist media on the face of the earth. Reluctantly, suspiciously, I read just one establishment, “grown up” paper: The New York Times. After all, it was my hometown paper – and being as provincial as most Manhattanites, I somehow still believed (you imbibe this in the drinking water) that the Times covered issues in an objective, sophisticated, and leading-edge manner.
The Israeli Labor Party recently selected Ehud Barak, who had been prime minister from 1999 to 2001, to serve as its party chief and contender for prime minister in the next election, probably in 2008.
For the past several years, whenever anyone asked me which American political party was best for Israel, my answer was: both. Even AIPAC, in the weeks before the 2006 Congressional election, stated that both parties are equally good for Israel. This of course has been and will continue to be ignored by the Republican Party, which attempts to use Israel as a wedge issue in the Jewish community.
Having recently returned from a three week trip to Israel, I’m sorting out the information and impressions gathered from traveling throughout the country and meeting with many good friends, all dedicated to preserving Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.
If President Reagan were to give a speech today, what might he say? Perhaps something like the following. Let’s hear one more from the Gipper:
The road to Hebron was nearly deserted as I drove to the town Monday night, August 6. The Avraham Avinu neighborhood, however, one of the Jewish enclaves inside the PA-controlled city, was alive with hundreds of young people when I arrived. They had come to protest the destruction of several Jewish homes by the Israeli government, slated for early the next morning. Several thousand police and anti-riot troops had been deployed in nearby army camps to carry out the action.
I stood outside the Nitzan Caravilla site on a warm summer afternoon and watched the golden hay being baled. The heavy machinery grinded loudly and spat out large, square sweet-smelling bales.
The wide open spaces, the winding country roads and breathtaking sunsets, the deer that live in harmony with the rabbits and the lone stray cat that gets along with the groundhog – these are but a few of my favorite things that make the daily commute from Manhattan (where I am employed) worthwhile.
Recently in Jerusalem, I participated in a moving religious service to honor one of Israel’s most celebrated heroes from last summer’s war against the Hizbullah terrorists.
In last week’s Jewish Press, an op-ed column of mine – “It’s One A.M. Do You Know Where Your Children Are? – described the “scene” in and around the pool hall in Monticello, New York, where hundreds of unsupervised teenage boys and girls were hanging out, drinking, and using drugs. I noted that some of the kids in the pool hall said they and their friends rent bungalows in non-Jewish colonies or motel rooms throughout the Catskills where they regularly party from Thursday night until Monday morning – including Shabbos.
We just observed Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple. With the Holocaust being so recent and such an enormity, I could not help but turn my attention to it as I contemplated the destruction that has befallen the Jewish people over the millennia. In particular, I thought about what happened to my father-in-law on that day many years ago, as well as the events leading up to it. Its message is timeless.
Initially, Professor Noah Feldman’s “Orthodox Paradox,” an article appearing in the July 22 issue of The New York Times Magazine, may seem entertaining. But on further reading, a very disturbing message emerges – a message that calls into serious question the intent of the author and the judgment of The New York Times in publishing the piece.
This past Sunday evening I received a frantic call from a close friend, a 52-year-old father and grandfather who has spent the past 27 summers in the Monticello area. He pleaded with me to inform the frum public of what his eyes had seen – and his heart simply did not want to believe.
Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.
Ayatollahs in business suits is what Noah Feldman would have the world believe we all are. If the Orthodox were going to leave him out of his alma mater’s reunion picture just because he married out, then Noah Feldman was going to out the Orthodox.
his past Shabbat Chazon, the hesder yeshiva of Kiryat Arba traveled to Sderot as an act of identification with the local hesder yeshiva and the courageous residents of that besieged southern border town.
In the long run, history may take a kinder view of George W. Bush’s presidency than that of the majority of the American people who now see him as a failure. But anyone in Washington who thinks that he can boost his poll ratings or score a foreign-policy triumph on the heels of the Arab-Israeli conflict to divert attention away from Iraq is just dreaming.
Born a few years prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, I still feel the thrill of its emergence on the stage of nations.