Following every suicide bombing in Iraq, one crucial point is always overlooked. This point is rooted in the confining space of each individual human body. It has to do with the general incommunicability of physical pain. No human language can ever really describe agony. In consequence, the monstrousness of terror-violence - never truly palpable - is generally reduced to an anesthetized inventory of "casualties."
Last week's column, mostly pictures, on the rededication of Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, could only partially describe the joyous event.
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 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.