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Israel’s Destiny: From Sorrow To Joy

11 Av 5767 – July 25, 2007
his past Shabbat Chazon, the hesder yeshiva of Kiryat Arba traveled to Sderot as an act of identification with the local hesder yeshiva and the courageous residents of that besieged southern border town.

Faith In Abbas Will Lead To Another Dead End

In the long run, history may take a kinder view of George W. Bush’s presidency than that of the majority of the American people who now see him as a failure. But anyone in Washington who thinks that he can boost his poll ratings or score a foreign-policy triumph on the heels of the Arab-Israeli conflict to divert attention away from Iraq is just dreaming.

Israel’s Ain Breira Syndrome

Born a few years prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, I still feel the thrill of its emergence on the stage of nations.

Feiglin Wants To Lead

In New York last Wednesday for an emergency fundraising dinner, Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin – one of three candidates running in the Likud party’s August 14 primaries – expressed tentative hope regarding his prospects. While he would consider anything above 20 or 25 percent a success, Feiglin said “we are in this race to win … and this miracle can really happen if we work hard.”

All The News That’s Fit For Pinch

About The New York Times it has been possible for a number of years now to declare, comfortably and without risk of contradiction, that relying on the once-formidable newspaper as one’s sole, or even primary, source of information can be hazardous to one’s intellectual health.

Intimations Of Mortality, A Paradoxical Basis For Israel’s Survival

Jorge Luis Borges sometimes happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although without any apparent basis in Halachah, he obviously felt himself a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges At Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."

An Idiot’s Guide To Diplomacy

The simple fact that a state's foreign ministry's job is to use the tools of diplomacy to advance the state's national interest has escaped the attention of Israel's Foreign Ministry and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Finding The Old Shtetl

Since I started writing this column I have been inundated with questions from my readers about various shtetlach. Often the places mentioned are well-known cities and, possibly, places I have visited.

The Difference Between ‘Non-Jewish’ And ‘Un-Jewish’

Not long ago posters appeared in a number of synagogues in Brooklyn banning a recently published book that, according to the posters, contained misleading halachic rulings.

What Mourning Means: Reflections of the Rav on Tisha B’Av

4 Av 5767 – July 18, 2007
We have become so used to living in a world without the Beit HaMikdash that it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to begin the "Three Weeks" with the observances of shiva.

The Pope’s Got A Point

The pope has generated a bit of controversy. First, he permitted congregations to go back to the old custom of praying in Latin. (More about that later.) Then he announced that only the Catholic Church qualifies as a real church. Protestants, as far as the pope is concerned, simply don’t make the grade!

Two Headaches In Search Of A Cure

Tom Segev is one of Israel’s more distasteful post-Zionists, which is saying a lot, considering their generally unappetizing nature. His newest book, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, is as one-sided and tendentious a work as one would expect from Segev, a columnist for Haaretz whose stock-in-trade is books blaming Israel and Zionism for every conceivable ill in the Middle East.

Aiding Fatah To Eliminate Hamas: Bush/Olmert Missing The Point, Yet Again

Israel and the United States still think of counter-terrorism as a narrowly military and geopolitical task. What both fail to realize is that Arab/Islamic terrorism in general, and Palestinian terrorism in particular, are driven by religious notions of sacrifice. As these notions are common to both Fatah and Hamas, the developing Bush/Rice/Olmert plan to aid the former against the latter is misconceived. This plan will fail promptly and calamitously. Othman Abu Gharbiya, Deputy Chief of the National and Political Guidance Bureau of Fatah (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, May9, 1998)

Six Thousand Miles (Part I)

Like many other New Yorkers, during my 35 years of living in Brooklyn, I had rarely traveled outside the tri-state region and had never been to Florida, California, the National Parks or to most states outside the East Coast.

Honoring Noteworthy Poles

One of the most frequently asked questions, regarding the situation in Poland, is about the local Polish attitude towards Jews and the Holocaust.

‘Then Maybe They Will’

For the past 30 years the Israeli political establishment has been prisoner to the "Then Maybe They Will" doctrine.

Conversion To Judaism: The Need For A Uniform Standard

2 Av 5767 – July 16, 2007
Three weeks ago, Rabbi Marc Angel, the retiring spiritual leader of Manhattan’s Congregation Shearith Israel, argued in these pages (“Conversion to Judaism: A Discussion of Standards,” op-ed, June 22) that: (1) there is a multiplicity of standards for conversion within halacha; and (2) the determination of what standards to apply is best left to the discretion of every individual rabbi.

The Spiritual Sickness of Avraham Burg

26 Tammuz 5767 – July 11, 2007
At the dawn of the modern period, as the issue of granting civic rights to Jews was broached in the states of central and western Europe, every objection raised by those opposed to such rights found its Jewish supporters.

Pandering Won’t Be Enough In ‘08

If there were any doubts about the fact that one-time Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson was about to run for the Republican nomination for president, it was not due to his recent tiff with filmmaker Michael Moore, appearances on Fox News or various other public appearances.

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