Once again we find ourselves celebrating the yom tov of Pesach – the same holiday we celebrated last year at this time, and next year we’ll be doing the same. Traditionally, Pesach commemorates the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt – a pivotal point in our becoming a people: we gained our freedom – physically, and very soon after, spiritually. We refer to the holiday as the time of our freedom – z’man chairusenu – and the Pesach seder, with all its obligations and practices, thoroughly stresses the message of freedom and God’s redemption of the Jewish people throughout the ages.
Good morning. Thank you, John (Loftus) and Bob [Dr. Robert Katz). The conference main theme is in essence: Our individual and collective survival amidst growing global chaos. With this in mind, the Irish poet Yeats reminds us: "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned."
Tanks keeping illegal immigrants from U.S. borders? Nukes dropped on terrorist sanctuaries? Iraqi insurgent strongholds barb-wired and then decimated?
Group solidarity is one trait that has earned Jews both plaudits and criticism. But according to a spokesman for a national Jewish organization, it’s long past time to stop the group-think. M.J. Rosenberg, the director of the Israel Policy Forum’s Washington Policy Center wrote on the eve of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington to register his disgust at the rituals of pandering politicians who seek to win Jewish votes. While he affirms that we should care deeply about Israel, he is down on those who seek Jewish votes by carrying on about their views on the issue.
The story of the Roosevelt administration’s response to the Holocaust has been chronicled in books and on film. Now, for the first time, it is coming to the stage. “The Accomplices,” an off-Broadway play written by former New York Times correspondent Bernard Weinraub and directed by Ian Morgan, will be performed by The New Group with preview performances starting March 20. After meeting earlier this month with the author and cast for more than two hours, I have no doubt this is one play that will not be soon forgotten.
We often hear about moderate Arab leaders. Do they exist? Let’s examine the record. PA president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is one of those touted as a moderate. Yet Abbas co-founded the terrorist Fatah with Yasir Arafat, served as Arafat’s deputy for 40 years and wrote a Ph.D. thesis and book denying the Holocaust. He has refused to implement Palestinian commitments under signed agreements with Israel and also the 2003 road-map peace plan to fight and arrest terrorists, confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it.
I recently read a truly fascinating study. It wasn’t a new study, but nonetheless it affected me. A team from England’s Newcastle University monitored how much money people would put in a canteen “honesty box” when buying a drink. Over the course of 10 weeks, a poster listing hot drink prices was placed at eye-level above the honesty box. Each week, the poster featured an image of either flowers or a pair of eyes looking directly at the person taking the items.
There are great teachers whose impact is limited to their students. Greater still are those whose students initiate students of their own. The greatest teachers, however, influence not only the direct line descending from them, but an entire climate of thinking. All of us are their talmidim.
"The more things change," goes the well-worn maxim, "the more they remain the same." Readers of The Jewish Press are already well acquainted with now incessant Iranian calls for the annihilation of Israel. What might not be so apparent, however, is that such calls to "wipe Israel off the map" constitute a serious crime under international law.
Half of the 20 tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Swidin were broken March 1, according to Albert Stankowski of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Warsaw. "This was done during the same time as the Claims Conference was visiting in Poland, and I have no doubt that the act against the cemetery was related," he said. Stankowksi was referring to a Claims Conference meeting last week with the government about compensation for Jewish property stolen by the Nazis and Communists.
Shortly after she became chief archivist at the American Jewish Committee in 2001, Charlotte Bonelli came to believe the material she was discovering should be shared with the world. “I would pull a box a box off a shelf, open it up, and find inside, for instance, World War II-era pro-democracy comics or scripts of radio broadcasts featuring stars such as James Cagney, William Holden, and Helen Hayes urging unity on the home front,” says Bonelli.
The New York Times’s Steven Erlanger had a lengthy feature in the paper’s March 12 edition about Palestinian youth, the “lost generation of Palestine: its most radical, most accepting of violence and most despairing.” Quoting a dozen Palestinians, the article, entitled “Years of Strife and Lost Hope Scar Young Palestinian Lives” tells a story of disillusioned youngsters “stymied” by “stateless[ness]”, an economy that is “shutting down,” “Israeli checkpoints, barriers and closures” and interaction with “armed” Israelis – “soldiers and settlers.”
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.