It has been said that Poland is a country of ghosts and for the past 68 years, since the invasion of Poland by the Germans in 1939, there has been little to celebrate.
My daughter once worked on a kibbutz near Eilat, so the suicide bombing on January 29 in that normally tranquil Red Sea resort is especially sobering. This Palestinian "freedom fighter" struck a small bakery, killing three shoppers who had stopped by for bread and cakes. The two groups taking responsibility for the terror, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, were ecstatic about the success of their "military operation."
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.
As President Bush likely realized in his recent speech, the true state of our union is intimately intertwined with the state of our whole world. Our fate as Americans will depend upon our willing identification as citizens on an imperiled planet. Surely we now have the Iraq War to re-evaluate, but even so substantial and overwhelming a problem is just the tip of much larger iceberg. This "iceberg" is the always-universal nature of humankind.
One of the factors that hindered the proper early development of Judaism in America was a lack of qualified religious functionaries.
It was one of those American Jewish dust-ups that play out along predictable lines and concluded with a predictable outcome. The left outrages the right, and the right responds in knee-jerk fashion by calling for banning the left from something that most people had never heard of. In the end, the left emerges with its right to speak triumphantly undiminished while the right skulks away muttering. Seen that movie already? So have we all. Ad nauseam.
Governments around the world seem to believe the solution to the Arab war against Israel is to create a sovereign Palestinian Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza alongside Israel. The idea is completely flawed and mistaken. Under current conditions, a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state, bringing more war and terrorism. After all, sovereignty does not make a population and its leaders peaceful. Iran, North Korea and Syria are all sovereign states – are they peaceful and lovely?
There was just something so false in the universal acclaim for King Hussein on the occasion of his death eight years ago this week – false because most media accounts failed to offer a full reckoning of the Jordanian monarch’s life, with journalists whitewashing or ignoring its many inconvenient chapters and plentiful examples of ugly rhetoric.
Jews and justice can never be uttered in the same breath. So it is too for the Jewish State, always the individual Jew in macrocosm. Whether it wishes to acknowledge the existential danger or not, Israel's only hope for survival now lies in a well-reasoned and coherent nuclear strategy for dealing with nuclearizing enemies.