As our community has grown stronger and more self-confident and amassed numerous impressive achievements, we have embraced ever-more restrictive approaches that were not part of our mindset a generation ago when we were far weaker but were led by Torah giants of transcendent stature.
For a generation after World War II, particularly given revelations of the Holocaust, most American Protestant denominations embraced a more tolerant attitude toward Jews. Since the 1980’s, however, there has been a marked shift, evident in the anti-Israel positions adopted by more liberal denominations like the United Methodist Church (UMC); the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in America (ELCA); the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA); and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA).
In June 1982, in the pages of Ms. magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin earned her reputation as a Jewish feminist by writing about anti-Semitism among feminists. She did so by standing on the shoulders of other Jewish feminists who had been wrestling with this “problem without a name” since the early 1970’s and whose cries Pogrebin finally heard.
There is an allegorical story about a luxury passenger ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean that hits an iceberg and begins to sink. On the lower decks, the crew and passengers make a valiant but unsuccessful effort to plug the hole in the ship’s hull. On the upper deck, first-class passengers rearrange the deck chairs, sun themselves and play shuffleboard, seemingly oblivious to the disaster around them. Meanwhile, the ship’s band plays on.
In Ben Hecht’s autobiography, A Child of the Century, Hecht writes of a call he received from Rabbi Stephen Wise, the reigning Jewish-American leader of the day, who ordered Hecht to quit his activities on behalf of the Jews.
Have you ever wondered why the incidence of iggun, women or men unable to remarry due to the refusal of a spouse to give or receive a get (Jewish divorce document) is dramatically lower in some Orthodox communities than in others?
The world now knows that for nearly 20 years, Senator Barack Obama has attended Chicago’s Trinity United Church and that his pastor was Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In his March 18 speech on race, Obama criticized some of Wright’s statements but also essentially excused and rationalized his sermons on the basis that many African-Americans growing up in past decades experienced prejudice, discrimination, lack of economic opportunity, etc.
The irony doesn’t get any better than this. Barack Obama is supported by multitudes of Americans so eager to demonstrate their “liberal” benevolence that they gave him their votes on faith, before they had any substantial knowledge of who the man really is. Enter into the picture the images of Obama’s beloved minister of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, spewing his hateful venom to his delirious mass of followers.
The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin, a Jewish Press columnist, is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.
Eliot Spitzer personified success. He had it all: health, family, wealth, career, fame – everything a person can ever dream of and hope for. Then it all unraveled. A man at the zenith of life plummeted to the nadir of existence.
One of the many lessons the Purim story teaches us is how fast and far the powerful can fall. It is a fate even more fitting when they fall over a stumbling block placed in front of them by their own hand. Haman hanged from the very gallows he had prepared for Mordechai.
ITEM: The Jerusalem Post (March 10) vividly recounted the heroism of Capt. David Shapira, a former student at Mercaz HaRav, who, hearing gunfire at the yeshiva during the recent terrorist atrocity, grabbed his weapon, left his nearby home, and ran to the rescue of Jewish children:
Many conservatives, not to mention Clinton supporters, were smiling wide last month during the Democratic debate in Ohio when MSNBC’s Tim Russert asked Barack Obama about being praised by Louis Farrakhan.
The shock of the horrifying terror attack that took place at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva last Thursday will not wear off easily. Eight of our nation’s finest religious boys murdered in cold blood, some with holy books in their hands, by a resident of a nearby Arab village with free access to all parts of Jerusalem.
History – the remembrance and recording of the past – in the Muslim Arab world differs from history in the Western world. The Western world records past events and calls them history. The Muslim Arab world recalls myths, hopes, conspiracies and events and calls that history. In the Arab world history and memory merge into a psycho-cultural universe that informs and motivates and plots the future.
Turning on the news Thursday night, I expected to hear the wretched daily tally of Kassam/Grad rockets shot from Gaza to into Sderot or Ashkelon; instead, breaking news streamed across the screen about a terror attack taking place that very moment at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav.
Orthodox Jews are not a majority of the American Jewish population. It follows, therefore, that major communal institutions that claim to represent the views of American Jewry in the public square frequently do not voice the views and values of those committed to Torah-informed Judaism.
There is a sign hanging in my office that should be standard in the office of every rabbi, communal leader, worker for Klal Yisrael or activist of any sort.
Recently, after a particularly harrowing weekend in Sderot, Rabbi Avi Berman, director of OU Israel, told me, “That’s it; enough! I know we have invested so much in Sderot, we have raised funds, sent teams, and currently work more in Sderot than we do any other city in Israel, but still I can’t have us sitting here in Jerusalem while they are in so much pain. So that’s it, we are all going down to Sderot, in two days.”
I was actually starting to believe I was the lucky charm of Sderot. Over the past eight months I had been to Sderot on business nearly every other week, and each time I traveled down from Jerusalem, things were quiet. No Kassam rockets, no “red color” warnings, no Israelis fleeing for their lives.