Released in 1987, Where’s Waldo? was the first of illustrator Martin Handford’s Waldo series of books to become a sensation. Where’s Waldo? introduces readers to the eponymous hero, a distinctively dressed young man who sets off on a worldwide journey. Waldo travels to everyday places, like the beach, ski slopes and the zoo, each of which is detailed by two-page illustrated spreads filled with people and activities. Somewhere amidst the intricately crowded scene is the camouflaged Waldo, and readers are asked to scour the detailed illustration to locate the lost traveler.
Some three-and-a-half years ago, former Prisoner of Zion and Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky was George W. Bush’s favorite author. Sharansky earned an unexpected boost when the president invited him and co-author Ron Dermer to the White House and told the world that everyone should read their book, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.
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.