For years I have been urging the greater Torah-observant community to discard the sort of questions that are typically asked of singles in the shidduch scene. (By now it is probably unnecessary to elaborate and provide copious examples of these questions; we all know what I'm talking about.) Indeed, it has been gratifying to see it become more mainstream for people to speak out about "crazy questions" and for popular opinion to begin to shift accordingly. But I made a mistake.
The singer and political activist Bono recently caused a stir when word got out that his California-based venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, invested around $300 million in Forbes magazine, and, more significantly, that his band's company, U2 Unlimited, which holds the rights to U2's master tapes, moved to the Netherlands to pay a lower corporate tax rate.
Israeli public opinion polls taken in the aftermath of the war in Lebanon reveal a dramatic erosion of popular support for the Olmert government and its policies.
A few weeks ago, Jimmy Carter gave an interview to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, mostly on the recent Lebanon conflict. It was classic Jimmy Carter - at once moralizing and morally confused, ill-informed and preachy - illustrating why the American people voted him out of office after just one term and the politically partisan Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize.
A drama is slowly but steadily unfolding in Israel that is rare for that nation or any other civilized country. Fresh from the Lebanon battlefield, Israel's citizen-soldiers, joined by families of the fallen as well as ordinary citizens, are mobilizing again - this time for a campaign of marches, letters, petitions and other public activities in regard to the recent unpleasantness up yonder.
Why do so many Americans refuse to face the fact that our country is at war with international terrorism?
Many readers no doubt took issue with the relatively optimistic tone of my recent op-ed column ("Things Worth Remembering," Aug. 18) on the war between Israel and Hizbullah. Make no mistake: The outcome of the fighting upset me as it did all of us who love our State of Israel and our Jewish People.
Most Israelis feel the cease-fire was imposed on us before we finished the job. Hizbullah is not disarmed, our kidnapped soldiers have not been returned, and Iran and Syria seem to have been let off the hook.
For generations of Diaspora Jews raised on the idea of an invincible Israel, the last month has been something of a blow. While historians will probably have better luck sorting out the results of the recent weeks of fighting between Israel and its Hizbullah antagonists than journalists, there is little question that the result was a lot less than most of Israel's supporters in this country were expecting.
Clichéd postmortems analyzing Israel's failure to deal Hezbollah a clear defeat miss the point in blaming Prime Minister Olmert's lack of military experience or native ineptness. The key reasons for Israel's poor performance are deeper and far more ideological.
It pains me to write this. But it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Israel, in so many ways on the front lines in the fight against Islamo-fascism, is actually a force promoting it.
If a truly independent Israeli government inquiry is commissioned to scrutinize all aspects of the Jewish state's recent war against Hizbullah, the two Israeli political leaders most likely to undergo the most severe grilling are former prime minister Ehud Barak and the current premier, Ehud Olmert.
It was a war Israel was more afraid of winning than of losing.
Here's a syndrome for the books: A renowned filmmaker gets stinking drunk. Angry and bizarre words then spew forth - from the lips (or pens) of others.
Undeterred by the Heathrow shutdown, I turned up for the Aug. 10 night flight to Israel. I had no business there and no formal holiday plans. I just felt I needed to be there, perhaps to help out friends and family whose breadwinners had been called up for reserve duty.
As the Hizbullah-Israel war wound down last week, pundits were quick to label winners and losers. Some said Hizbullah won because it survived, bombed Israel with 4,000 rockets, and earned the applause of the Arab "street." Others maintain that Israel won because Hizbullah was partially crippled, its leadership is in hiding, and the Lebanese will emerge from the dust furious at Hizbullah for a war they did not seek.
Our beloved Israel is engaged in an existential fight for survival. From the moment of its birth in 1948, Israel has been under constant siege. This latest war, however, feels different. It comes upon Israel after decades of non-stop terrorist attacks, large-scale military battles, and endless international boycotts and condemnation.
A general mood of depression has gripped Israel since the cease-fire in Lebanon came into force on Monday, August 14. It is unjustified. True, we again lost many precious sons in the quagmire of Lebanon. A large number of our soldiers and civilians are still crowding the hospitals, some of them seriously wounded. Our cities and settlements in the North suffered gaping wounds that will require months of rehabilitation.
It is as unpleasant as it is impolitic to point out - in wartime, especially - that, despite all protestations to the contrary, the emperor indeed has no clothes. Neither spin nor sloganeering can conceal from the Jewish public and world opinion the obvious deterioration of Israel's security situation.
One night last week I heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from upstairs. "Mommy!" Cries at that level of urgency, panic, and volume can mean only one thing: My children had seen a cockroach that had wandered out of a newly-formed hole hidden behind the bathtub.
Although we have been pressured into accepting a cease-fire, which will only give our enemies an opportunity to rebuild their war machine meant to destroy the Jewish people, this war has not come to an end. As with our previous wars, beginning with the war of liberation in 1948, we are continually forced to fight for the very existence of our people and the independence of the Jewish homeland.
During a recent trip to Israel, I couldn't help but notice the dearth of fellow visitors and think of the many religiously observant American Jews who stridently demand that Israel never cede any land.
There is a story told about the great Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt"l. During the Six-Day War a bombshell landed near the yeshiva, just missing it. No one was injured. Rav Shmulevitz decided to make a seudas hoda'ah, a festive meal thanking God for this nes nistar (hidden miracle) that spared his students any injury.
The war in Lebanon should not have surprised anyone. For many years, Hizbullah, which is funded, equipped and ideologically supported by Iran and Syria, has made it crystal clear that its goal is to conquer Israel, expel its Jewish inhabitants, and place the entire land under Islamic rule.
There is a good reason that Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has accepted UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which sets the terms for a cease-fire between his jihad army and the State of Israel.