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28 Tishri 5778 -
? Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Tisha B’Av: Festival Of Sadness

Unless things change drastically in the next few days, we will one again experience Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. Every year, while awaiting the Geulah, we reflect on our condition in the Diaspora and what this long, seemingly endless exile is expected to teach us.

The Question For Our Age

It is a question that marks the beginning of a new era in our history. Its enormous depth, concealed by its simplicity, penetrates all spheres – the past and the future, the tangible and the abstract, the individual and the nation. Yet it remains a question unanswered until this very day: “How?” Or in the language of Jeremiah the prophet, “eicha?”

A Memorable Night Among Israel’s Christian Defenders

Historically, we Jews have had few friends in this world. And the more grave our situation, the more scarce those friends seem to be.

Flipping And Flopping Along The Campaign Trail

In 2004, Republicans gleefully labeled former Democratic presidential aspirant and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry a “flip-flopper” for his numerous nuanced reversals. It was easy with Kerry, of course, given his tendency to sneer at his political opponents and a voice that dripped with disdain as it droned on monotonously above our heads. His annoying self-righteousness was as palpable as his wannabe Kennedy hairstyle.

The Agony Of The Agunah And The Convert

Judah Leib Gordon’s 1887 poem “Kotzo Shel Yod” (“The Point on Top of the Yod”) includes a description of cruel harassment by rabbis of an unfortunate agunah (literally, a “chained woman” whose husband deserts her or disappears without divorcing her, thus preventing her from remarrying). The description is vitriolic, wicked, dishonest, and disgraceful, in the spirit of the poets of the Enlightenment period, among whom Gordon was a central figure.

Breaking The Code Of Obama’s Mideast Rhetoric

If words are a window into the soul, then Barack Obama’s now famous comments to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2008 Policy Conference revealed much about his true attitude toward Israel and the not-so-secret agenda of his foreign policy advisers. Here was an opportunity for the great orator to set the record straight and disabuse his critics of the widely held notion that his sympathies are not with Israel’s enemies but with the safety of the besieged Jewish state.

The Peace Snake

The cult of the talking snake began in the town of Abonoteichus around the year 150 CE, shortly after the Bar Kochba revolt.

When Hope Is But An Illusion

Words come and words go. Some disappear completely, while others vanish into the jargon of our vocabulary. Few succeed in capturing center stage in our consciousness. One that has succeeded is a four-letter word that embellishes countless monuments, organizations, billboards and publications. Its sound enlivens the soul, its melody softens the heart.

Unanswered Questions

There are two characteristics unique to humans in the universe, separating them from the animal kingdom and perhaps also differentiating them from anything in the higher or trans-natural world.

Wesley Clark And His Mouth: Obama’s Stuck With Both

If you’re Barack Obama, and you’re looking for a retired general to make the implausible case that you’re ready to handle America’s national security concerns, you can’t afford to be choosy.

A Jewish Joker: From The Catskills To Gotham City

The release of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” will inevitably be overshadowed by the untimely death of one of its stars, Health Ledger, who played the Joker. The talented young actor (who actually lived a few blocks from me) had devoted himself to creating an original, multifaceted portrayal of the iconic character, arguably the most compelling villain in the Batman canon.

A World Of Make-Believe

During our recent trip to Orlando, which I wrote about at length in a front-page essay titled “What I Learned at Disney World” (Jewish Press, May 16), we visited Hollywood Studios. There we watched a series of stunt and adventure shows, including “Racing” and “Indiana Jones.”

Hizbullah’s Final Victory

By executing the so-called prisoner swap with Hizbullah on Wednesday this week, the Israeli government concluded its shameful role in shirking its responsibility for the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah almost two years ago.

No Criticism From Liberals As Obama Embraces Theocracy

“George W. Bush is a [expletive] theocrat!” If I only had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that over the past eight years. Having written a book on the faith of George W. Bush, I was pummeled by liberals for not conceding that Torquemada had risen from the grave and was now running America from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Seeking Our Brethren In A Land Far From Home

“Et achai anochi mevakeish” (“I seek my brethren”) was the theme of our whirlwind four-day visit to Buenos Aires in June. There are about 250,000 Jews in that country -- one of the largest Jewish communities after the United States and Israel -- almost all of them concentrated in Buenos Aires.

Israel, Iran, And The Point Of No Return

Ever since the article last month in The New York Times describing a major Israeli air force training exercise, analysts and prognosticators have been busy commenting, speculating, and, in many cases, downright fantasizing.

Kiddush Hashem In The Streets Of Jerusalem

Last week we experienced an extraordinary Kiddush Hashem when, on Wednesday, July 2, an Arab murderer armed with a huge bulldozer went on a rampage in the streets of Jerusalem. He flattened occupied cars, turned over a bus and ran over innocent pedestrians until his reign of terror was finally stopped by what was described as a passerby.

Proud To Be A Hirschian

“I don’t care what group you identify with, as long as you are ashamed of it.” There is much wisdom in the throwaway line with which Dennis Prager frequently challenges audiences to admit to the flaws of the groups with which they identify.

Jews Can Learn Something Important From Barack Obama

One of the mysteries of Jewish history is why Jews find so little pride in their identities and tradition.

Real Friends And Real Enemies

Two years ago, American Jewish community relations groups were busy patting themselves on the back for achieving a signal victory in turning back the attempt by anti-Israel radicals to hijack the Presbyterian Church USA.

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