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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘obituary’

Frank Lautenberg, Senate’s Oldest Member, Dies at Age 89

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

World War II veteran and New Jersey Jewish Sen. Frank Lautenberg died Monday at the age of 89. His health had failed the past several months, and the Democratic senator has not been seen on the Senate floor for most of the year because of what his office said was “muscle weakness and fatigue.”

Republican Gov. Chris Christie will appoint a replacement until a special election this year, followed by another election in 2014, when Lautenberg’s six-year term of office expires.

Last week, the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus life honored Sen. Lautenberg for his contributions to the Jewish community and Israel. The celebration was broadcast to his home, where he was confined because of his illness, and his wife Bonnie accepted the organization’s Renaissance Award.

He was the son of poor but hard-working Russian and Polish immigrant parents in Paterson, New Jersey, and he succeeded in business and helped found the nation’s first payroll services company, Automatic Data Processing. He served in the Senate for 18 years, retired in 2000 and returned to the Senate in 2002.

Sen. Lautenberg was a strong liberal. He was pro-choice, supported gun control, introduced bills increasing penalties for carjacking and car theft, and criticized the Bush administration on national security issues.

He was vigorous in his opposition to the war in Iraq.

The senator was heavily involved in various anti-smoking and airline safety legislation and co-sponsored legislation to increase drunken driving penalties.

One of his best known bills that passed into law was the prohibition of smoking from most commercial airline flights.

He also authored the Ryan White Care Act, which provides services to AIDS patients.

Jewish Psychologist-Media Star Dr. Joyce Brothers Dies

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Millions of Americans this week are mourning Dr. Joyce Brothers, the Jewish psychologist and media start who died Monday in Fort Lee, New Jersey Monday at the age of 85. She was buried at the Beth David Cemetery on Long Island.

Born in Brooklyn, she earned degrees in psychology from Cornell and Columbia.

She broke ground in the 1950s by deciding to try to win the big prize on the popular $64,000 Question show and picked the subject of boxing, for which she did enough homework to make her a self-made expert.

She won the prize and later was a color commentator for boxing matches.

Dr. Brothers was mostly known as a psychologist who relaxed viewers and readers though her newspaper columns and thousands of appearances on television, dispensing advice on all areas of life.

She appeared more than 100 times on the popular Johnny Carson “The Tonight Show” and was syndicated in more than 350 newspapers.

Britain’s Rabbi Sacks Says Thatcher as More like Moses than Aaron

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher on the day of her funeral, saying that “in public, her leadership style was more like Moses than Aaron, more conviction and confrontation than compromise and conciliation.

“But we need both. Aaron was more loved than Moses. The sages said that when Aaron died, everyone mourned, but when Moses died, not everyone did. But without Moses, there would not have been a Jewish people. Sometimes leaders have to be strong at the cost of being divisive, because they see no other way of getting from here to there.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the funeral of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Wednesday, along with 10 other serving Prime Ministers from around the world.

Ten of Thousands at Funeral of Son of Rav Ovadia Yosef

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Tens of thousands of people participated Friday afternoon in the funeral procession of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and of the most influential rabbis in Israel.

Yaakov Yosef died Friday afternoon at the age of 66, succumbing to a long struggle with cancer, after being hospitalized at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. He was buried in Jerusalem before the start of Shabbat.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of Yosef, calling him “a great teacher and adjudicator of Jewish law who followed in the path of his father.

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger, eulogized Yosef, saying his passing is “a great loss to the people of Israel, to the land of Israel, and to the world of halacha.”

Yosef, the rabbi of the Haredi Givat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem and of the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva, was one of the most influential right-wing rabbis

Princeton’s Rabbi James Diamond Killed in Traffic Accident

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Rabbi James Diamond, the retired director of Princeton University’s Center for Jewish Life, has died in a traffic accident after leaving a breakfast Talmud study group.

Rabbi Diamond, 73, who retired from the center 10 years ago, was killed when a speeding car crashed into a parked car which the rabbi was entering on the passenger side. The driver of the parked car, Rabbi Robert Freedman, who also attended the study group, was hospitalized. He is expected to recover from his injuries.

Diamond was the director of the Center for Jewish Life from 1995 to 2003. He also served as executive director of the Hillel at Washington University in St, Louis from 1972 to 1995, and at Indiana University from 1968 to 1972.

He was ordained in 1963 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and later taught courses in modern Hebrew literature and Judaic Studies at Washington University, Princeton University, and in the Princeton community.

Diamond was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judy, three children and six grandchildren.

“If I’ve touched lives and given some people an idea that Judaism is broad and deep and a source of great meaning, and that being a Jew is a great gift, then I’ve succeeded,” Diamond said of his work with Jewish students in an interview with the New Jersey Jewish News after announcing his retirement in 2003.

Chavez and the Jews: a Sorry Tale

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Like one of those telenovelas that are so popular on Latin American television stations, the slow yet inexorable deterioration of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, was soaked in drama and cloying sentimentality.

Chavez died March 5 following a two-year fight with cancer. For most of that time, he claimed – falsely – to have been cured. But less than two months after winning a fourth term in last October’s election, Chavez was spirited back to Cuba, where Fidel Castro’s doctors treated him.

Now, Chavez’s death affords the opportunity for a critical reassessment of his tenure. In his fourteen years in power, Chavez turned Venezuela into the Latin American hub of a global network of anti-American, authoritarian rogue states. There is scarcely a fellow dictator he didn’t befriend. Some, like the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, are no longer with us. Others – among them Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe – remain alive and in power.

The closest relationship of all was the one forged with the Castro brothers in Cuba, Fidel and Raul, whose ailing economy is kept afloat by heavily subsidized oil from Venezuela, Latin America’s biggest producer.

With allies like these, it should come as no surprise that Chavez became an arch-foe of Israel. In one of the last foreign policy statements he made before returning to the hospital in Cuba in December, Chavez denounced what he called the “savage” Israeli attack on Gaza. In 2009, on the previous occasion Israel responded militarily to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, Chavez told the French newspaper Le Figaro that Israel had launched a “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Such incendiary statements won Chavez the admiration of the Arab street. In 2006, during the conflict between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Arab satellite network Al Jazeera praised Chavez for beating Arab leaders to the punch when he became the first head of state to condemn Israel’s actions. Similar words of admiration greeted his decision to expel the Israeli ambassador to Caracas in 2009.

In attacking Israel, though, Chavez inadvertently undermined the arguments of those who say anti-Zionism is one thing, anti-Semitism something else entirely. In many ways, Chavez’s attitude to Israel mirrored that of the Soviet Union. Just as the USSR marked its own Jews out as a fifth column during its decades-long propaganda campaign against Zionism, so did Chavez.

Before Chavez came to power there were 30,000 Jews in Venezuela. The community has now dwindled to fewer than 9,000. The Chavez years ushered in a set of new and frightening experiences for Venezuela’s Jews, from cartoons in the press that could have been lifted from the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer to the vandalism of the main synagogue in Caracas in 2009.

As a depressing summary by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism noted last September, “Recent years have witnessed a rise in anti-Semitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.”

Members of the Venezuelan opposition I’ve spoken with over the past year have all remarked on the virulence of Chavez’s anti-Semitism. In 2012, Israel was temporarily displaced by the emergence of a domestic Jewish target in the form of the rival presidential candidate to Chavez – the youthful and energetic Henrique Capriles. While Capriles is a practicing Catholic, his mother’s family, the Radonskis, arrived in Venezuela after surviving the Holocaust in Poland. Other members of the family perished in the Nazi concentration camps.

In their attacks on Capriles, Chavez and his press lackeys referred to him with an array of derogatory terms – “gringo,” “bourgeois,” “imperialist,” and, above all, “Zionist.” There was no doubt that by “Zionist” the regime meant “Jew.”

Why did anti-Semitism become such a potent force in a country that eschewed it for so long? Some analysts regard it as the inevitable outcome of Chavez’s alliance with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah.

Yet there is another factor. The main ideological influence on Chavez was a relatively obscure Argentinian sociologist, Norberto Ceresole. A Holocaust denier and all-round conspiracy theorist, Ceresole’s theories became the basis for what Venezuelans know as chavismo, the matrix of social institutions and values created by the Chavez regime. The first chapter of a book in which Ceresole extolled the virtues of such a system, under which the relationship between the “leader” and the “people” is privileged, was titled “The Jewish Problem.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/chavez-and-the-jews-a-sorry-tale-2/2013/03/13/

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