Prof. Amnon Rubinstein is an interesting guy.
Former presidents hold a place like no other politicians in a democracy. Regardless of their politics, they are honored for their service. And their choice of activities after their presidencies immediately raises the profile of the debate and calls us to arms for good causes.
The throngs of tourists passing Big Ben are unaware of the tunnel beneath their feet, which connects the parliamentary committee rooms in Portcullis House to the British House of Commons. When the division bells ring, members of parliament sprint along the passage to cast their votes in the chamber. It was in one of those committee rooms last Thursday evening that a group of MPs met with foreign lawmakers to discuss boycott, divestment and the indictment of a sovereign nation with the arrest of its officials for breach of international law.
Dr. Steven Fries was just 55. He was my pediatrician, personal doctor, adviser and friend for fifteen years.
Just when it looked like Ehud Olmert could not mess things up any worse than he already had, it was reported that he and his mates had been secretly negotiating a deal with Syria.
For all the talk in recent years about problems with the way shidduchim are happening or not happening, not nearly enough attention has been given to the disordered state of shadchanus.
Tenuous reports of renewed Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations have begun circulating. Before concrete proposals are put forward, however, certain conditions must precede serious talks.
Reading Rabbi Saul Berman’s moving front-page essay (“Martin Luther King and the Exodus Narrative”) in last week’s Jewish Press struck an emotional chord. Particularly since earlier in the week I’d attended an “Evening of Solidarity in Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” which took place at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in association with Reverend Roger Hambrick and the Green Pastures Baptist Church.
A recent Gallop Poll found that 56% of Americans think the media’s coverage of events in Iraq is inaccurate, nearly two-thirds of those believing that the media portray the situation as worse than it is. A biased, always bad-news-baring mainstream media trying to discredit our war effort is a disgrace. But worse is the blatant manufacturing of news through editorials disguised as reports.
The war started last July with Hizbullah’s cross-border attack on an Israeli patrol and the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers. The daring move, across the internationally recognized, UN-ratified border with Lebanon, gave rise to an immediate sense of purpose to most Israelis in uniform, both regular army personnel and your average citizen-soldier like me.
For years, Israel’s critics have excoriated the Jewish state’s plans to build a temporary barrier on its border with the West Bank. It was counterproductive, they would say. It would not protect Israelis, and it would cause undue hardship for Palestinians. Last week, the critics were proven wrong.
In 1844, a biblical scholar and professor of Hebrew at New York University published a pamphlet urging the establishment of a Jewish state in the place then known as Palestine. The name of this early Zionist who argued for the recreation of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel: George Bush.
Jews throughout the world recently celebrated the festival of Chanukah. Each year we are told Chanukah represents the quintessential Jewish value of absolute religious freedom: the right to worship anyone or anything – or to worship nothing – according to one’s own personal inclination. This is a strange interpretation of a festival celebrating the victory of religious fundamentalists over modernizers and whose story begins with Matityahu’s beheading of a fellow Jew who was exercising his “fundamental right” to worship as he pleased by sacrificing a pig.
We recently marked the secular new year, and while there’s nothing inherently Jewish about it, perhaps one of the practices associated with January 1 can help ameliorate a shortcoming not at all uncommon among Jews in the workforce.
Superficially, Jewish history is a maze of uncorrelated events with the Jewish people zigzagging throughout the globe and interacting with different nations and cultures in widely diverse conditions.
On April 27, 1987, as director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in the Justice Department, I notified the INS that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim was to be placed on the “Watchlist” of persons barred from entering the United States.
The recent reunion, in Washington, D.C., of activists from the Soviet Jewry protest movement was an opportunity to see old friends and reminisce about a bygone era. But for Philadelphia attorney Joe Smukler, it was also a time to reflect on the lessons to be learned from their unique, history-changing experiences.
Saddam Hussein grew up barefoot in a mud hut in the town of Takrit, north of Baghdad on the Tigris River. He never met his father. His mother, Subha Tulfah, was deeply disturbed, suicidal and homicidal. She repeatedly tried to kill the child in her womb. According to one, probably apocryphal, account, she jumped in front of a bus and screamed: “I am giving birth to the devil!” Some witnesses recalled the pregnant woman banging a door against her extended belly.
Gerald Ford, who passed away last week at age 93, was considered a solid friend of Israel throughout his long Congressional career.
Ten years ago I was newly married, newly immigrated to Israel, and newly enrolled as a Masters student at an Israeli University. In most of my classes I was the only Orthodox student, and at least once a semester every pro-fessor could be counted on to make a derogatory comment or two about Jews like me. We were hypocritical, primi-tive, etc.
“Kotzo Shel Yod” (“The Point on Top of the Yod”), the 1887 poem by Judah Leib Gordon, includes a de-scription of the cruel harassment by rabbis of an un-fortunate agunah (literally, a “chained woman,” whose husband deserts her or disappears without divorcing her, thus preventing her from remarrying).
Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congres-sional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.
The domestic and international debate about the Palestinians has become thoroughly detached from reality. On the one hand there are the friendlies. These include the Olmert government, the Israeli media, the Bush administration and some European governments. The friendlies say that the “moderate” Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah terror organization commander Mahmoud Abbas is the key to peace. Everything must be done they say, to strengthen Abbas against the Hamas terror organization, which they oppose.
They number in the millions and wield increasing power and influence across the United States. From year to year their voice grows stronger and more resolute, as their role in shaping policy, and the future of American society continues to expand.
A proposal for changing the laws of taharat hamishpachah (family purity) was recently raised in the Israeli newspaper HaTzofeh, based on the observation that adherence to these laws may be responsible for many couples experiencing difficulty conceiving. Healthcare professionals have named this phenomenon “Orthodox Infertility.”