Professor Rivka Carmi, the new president of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, actually views overseas Jewish donors to BGU as the real threat to academic freedom at her school. She says so in the Hebrew quarterly Academia (number 17, winter 2006-7), which is published by the Committee of University Heads, a sort of lobby group on behalf of the universities.
March 4 marked the 20th anniversary of the unprecedented life sentence meted out to Jonathan Pollard. It’s an appropriate time to take stock of the response of the American Jewish community and the government of Israel to his arrest, sentencing and continued incarceration.
In case you missed it, college campuses in the United States, Canada and Britain recently hosted an “Israeli Apartheid Week,” during which prominent scholars and artists all got together to agree about the State of Israel’s beastliness.
The first reference to Mount Sinai in the Torah occurs when our teacher Moses witnessed a strange phenomenon there. As he was shepherding his sheep he glanced up at the mountain and saw a thorn bush that was burning without being consumed by the fire.
The Righteous of France, the nearly 3,000 individuals who risked their lives to save Jews from mass deportation during the Nazi occupation, were honored by the French nation at a ceremony on January 18. The tribute at the Pantheon in central Paris was led by French President Jacques Chirac, who unveiled a plaque commemorating these heroes of the French Resistance.
A few years ago at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, we held a Friday night dinner for Beginners, a monthly activity that usually draws about 150 people. On that particular night there were 250 people who packed our Heyman Auditorium. The reason was that Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis joined us for dinner.
Every day I receive e-mails from people communicating their personal problems.
By now just about everyone in the Jewish world has heard about the blood libel affair that has emerged from Bar Ilan University in Israel.
The Torah tells us, in Parshat Ki Teitzei, Devarim 25:17, that we should “wipe out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And yet it immediately concludes with the statement “you should not forget.” In order not to forget, each year before Purim we have a special reading of the Torah reminding us of what Amalek did to us in the wilderness as we were fleeing Egypt. Twice a year in the weekly Torah cycle we are reminded of Amalek. On Purim we read Megillat Esther, which chronicles the evil deeds of Haman, a direct descendent of Amalek. Children in yeshivas regularly learn in Tanach about the wars of Amalek with the Israelite kings, which occurred centuries after the Hebrews’ initial encounter with the Amalekites.
The most esteemed of all the king’s men, dressed in royal robes, his head crowned in jewels, was mounted on the white stallion. Zeresh could never have imagined the rubbish destined for disposal on the disgraceful Jew hauling the royal carriage would land on her own wicked spouse, Haman.
It was the last time my sisters and I were to see the number A-9103 tattooed on my mother’s arm. On December 12, 2006, Lenka Leah Moskovicova was laid to her eternal rest in the old Jewish cemetery in my hometown of Kosice, Slovakia, next to my father, Avrum.
A good move, may it yield results: Thirty-five members of the Knesset recently signed a letter to IDF Central Command, asking that Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (called Nablus by the Arabs) be opened again to visits by Jews, with steps taken to provide security.
Sometimes, the most daring thing a scholar or an organization can do is mention the obvious. That is a lesson that Indiana University’s Professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld and the American Jewish Committee have recently learned to their sorrow.
The drive to live, the instinctive need that all people have to continue living, is irrational, writes the Torah giant Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. A believing Jew, for whom life after death is a certainty, should not logically fear death. Is not an eternity basking in the Divine radiance preferable to living in this temporal and secular existence?
Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism have become two sides of the same coin. How shall we react? Deborah Lipstadt, who famously succeeded in her case against Holocaust denier David Irving, set the tone by stating “We can do what we do best, we can educate.”
Since my son, Ariel Avrech, z”l, died, much of my waking and sleeping life – I dream of him often – is taken up with assembling images of him. Ariel was niftar almost four years ago, but I have experienced what I’ve come to call “post-traumatic loss syndrome.” These are stages of mourning, but they are more complex and baffling than the standard ones put forth in the research I’ve read.
It pains me to tell you this, but Ehud Olmert has actually done something right.
When questioned by non-Jews or the unaffiliated about the role of women in Orthodox life, I have sometimes found it helpful to explain how the Torah approach diverges from a seminal principle of American jurisprudence.
It’s no secret to those who know me that I have a great appreciation for chazzanut. I have written many articles about the wonderful cantorial concerts I’ve attended sponsored by Cantors World, an organization dedicated to bringing back the great role of the chazzan in Jewish life. But as enjoyable as those events are, it’s almost impossible to equal the amazing experience of the annual Shabbat Chazzanut.
I have been hooked on movies from the moment I saw “Fantasia” and “The Red Shoes” at the Windsor Movie Theatre in Boro Park when I was six or seven years old. Movie-going, like book-reading, became permanent habits and I eventually turned to foreign films in the same way that I turned to classical theatre, music, poetry, and literature: in order to understand the human condition. A little bit of dazzle and drama were fine too.