As Israel celebrated its 60th anniversary last month, there were the usual voices raised accusing Israel of victimizing the Palestinian Arabs and “running them out” of the Jewish state.
On September 30, 2000, the world was electrified by a photo and video of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, apparently dying in his father’s arms after being shot by Israeli soldiers. The image would appear over and over again in newspapers and on television, videos, shirts, posters, mugs, and banners held aloft by Muslim students on Western campuses and Muslim mobs throughout the Arab world.
Ever since Superman touched down in that fictional Kansas field back in 1938, our comic book superheroes have tended to be stoic, self-confident and somewhat simple men. They bravely fight for “truth, justice and the American way,” and with their chiseled features and bulging chests, we just know our caped crusaders will always save the day.
The firestorm that erupted with the YouTube posting of excerpts from a 1990 sermon by Pastor John Hagee – reflecting his belief that the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel both reflected God’s will – is a case study of how certain religious views have been placed beyond the pale of permissible discussion.
In a mathematical equation, 1+1 always = 2. In an ideological equation, 1+1 can sometimes = 6+10. When it comes to the lives of its soldiers, Israel does not think mathematically, Israel thinks ideologically. And that makes the equation much more difficult to analyze, much more difficult to work out and much more emotionally laden. Ideological equations are not computed in our brains, they are wrenched from our hearts.
Recently, the part-time occupation of the part-time Jews in major media outlets has been to tackle Barack Obama’s Jewish problem head on, in the same way a major corporation tackles the revelation that its product is fatally toxic to babies – by a shaking of heads, some weak smiles, and an assurance to the public that it’s all in our heads.
We are now getting down to the homestretch as we wrap up the Democratic primary and begin the race to the November general election. We will be electing the next president of the United States, and almost everyone expressing an opinion, informed or uninformed, believes the Democratic candidate will be Barack Obama.
It's always a revelation when a world-renowned intellectual attacks religion as silly and juvenile only for us to discover that his or her own personal life might have greatly benefited from a commitment to the biblical values that they so casually dismiss.
There is a recurring theme associated with Jerusalem: that of Jewish unity. Jerusalem is the City of Peace, though it has been conquered thirty-six times in its long history. King David wrote, “The built-up Jerusalem is like a city that is bound together” (Psalms 122:3). The Talmud elaborates on the expression “bound together” that Jerusalem “is a city that binds one Jew to another” (Jerusalem Talmud, Bava Kama 7:7).
Every spring, a pair of swans build their nest on an island across from our home. For ten years we have seen them arrive faithfully. The mother sits on her nest for weeks. If she wants a little break, the father takes over. The nest is always in exactly the same spot, and every day we look out our window to check on the progress of this little family.
The laws regarding converts to Judaism are among the most astounding in the Torah. They teach us that any non-Jew who truly and earnestly seeks to join the Jewish people may do so.
My Feb. 22 Jewish Press op-ed article “Losing Rational Orthodoxy” seems to have struck a nerve. Much of the feedback was positive, some was negative, and even more was intensely ambivalent.
“Rebbi.” One of the most beautiful words in the Hebrew language is “rebbi” – “my Torah teacher.” It is a title earned through Torah knowledge the teacher must possess and then transmit, through love, to his students. The word is said with respect and affection of the highest nature. It bonds rebbi and student together like no other word.
President George Bush is singing his swan song. There are several verses to that song. One verse has decidedly Middle Eastern overtones. And that explains the president’s trip last week to the Middle East, occasioned by Israel’s 60th anniversary.
Shmuel Katz, a”h – underground leader, member of the first Knesset, publisher, historian, biographer and essayist – passed away May 9 in Eretz Yisrael at the age of 93. Katz was the most trenchant political thinker modern Israel has produced. His career was marked by a selfless political integrity; indifferent to personal advantage, he sought only the good of Israel and the Jewish people.
I have long believed the world would be much better off if Hollywood airheads would stick to entertainment and never pretend to be intellectuals, spouting off with their "ideas" about politics, diplomacy, etc.
I find the Orthodox Jewish approach to problem-solving fascinating, in a dark sort of way. It consists of a series of steps that looks something like this:
Recent congressional hearings about the destruction, by Israel’s air force, of a Syrian-North Korean nuclear facility has shed light on the mutually beneficial nature of U.S.-Israel relations.
In the course of a lengthy essay in The Atlantic, writer Jeffrey Goldberg quotes an encounter he had with a Gazan imam named Ibrahim Mudeiris, who had just delivered a sermon in which he had described the Jews as “the sons of apes and pigs.”
A recent CNN poll ranks President George W. Bush as the most unpopular president in modern American history. The key figure is not Bush’s 28 percent approval rating – which, though dismal, is not as poor as the all-time lows set by Harry Truman (22 percent) and Richard Nixon (24 percent) – but his disapproval rating, which has soared to 71 percent. No president had ever cracked the 70-percent ceiling.
Numerous historians consider the Spanish Civil War that broke out in July 1936 a prelude to World War II. Spain, with a population of 28 million, became a bloody battleground of conflicting forces testing their arsenals in preparation for the battle of the giants that was to emerge shortly.
The other day I met a young Orthodox Jew who approached me in Manhattan to say hello.
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.