I had several calls in the past few days expressing emotions ranging from anxiety to rage because of the Obama administration's rumored Middle East peace plan. And that made me wonder about how the other side – and J Street, in particular – will respond to the inevitable firestorm from mainstream pro-Israel groups when and if a plan is unveiled.
In a gripping new documentary that aired Tuesday night on PBS to mark National Holocaust Remembrance Week, historian and author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen makes a convincing case that genocide — the systematic effort to eliminate an entire group perceived of as deserving of death — is even more destructive than armed conflict, and yet often can be prevented.
Contemplating emptiness and loss, from Birkenau to Lower Manhattan.
Special to the Jewish Week
Some holes, frankly, are not meant to be filled or tampered with.
Indeed, while equally empty, not all holes are the same. Natural geologic formations are one thing, man-made atrocities that claim human lives are quite another. One is a landmass of spectacle and curiosity; the other a burial ground and, therefore, especially sacred.
When an ethnic group or race endearingly becomes the nickname for a sports team, does that signal their arrival or shame? Native Americans have long decried the way sports fans have adopted tomahawk chops and tribal chants as ways to either root for or ridicule the Indians, Braves, and Redskins. On the other hand, the Irish don't seem at all bothered by Notre Dame's celebration of the poetry to their more pugnacious side.
In a gripping new documentary airing on PBS on April 14, during National Holocaust Remembrance Week, historian and author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen makes a convincing case that genocide - the systematic effort to eliminate an entire group perceived of as deserving of death -- is even more destructive than armed conflict, and yet often can be prevented.
As a succession of disasters strike, Jewish relief organizations struggle to raise enough funds to respond.
Almost four years after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history, relief and rebuilding efforts in the affected areas are far from over.
But in the years since, disasters and crises in other areas of the world have also demanded attention and humanitarian aid, including the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in Sichuan, China, both of which hit in May of this year, and more recently the war in South Ossetia, Georgia. Add to that the damage on U.S. soil from a succession of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Tim Blake Nelson’s quirky version of
a hard-won tikkun olam on view in ‘Leaves of Grass.’
Special To The Jewish Week
Tim Blake Nelson’s new film has a title, “Leaves of Grass,” that has two meanings for its protagonists — it explicitly references both the Walt Whitman magnum opus and marijuana. That’s only appropriate for a film that is structured around doubling, doppelgangers, secret lives and identities.
Israelis fear ‘Obama’s intifada,’ return of the bad days.
Death is closing in. Jerusalem is ready to blow. A genocidal bomb is being built in Iran, and an intifada is brewing at home. My Jerusalem feels “like a war zone,” writes Yossi Klein Halevi in The New Republic (March 16). There “are clusters of helmeted border police near the gates of the Old City, black smoke from burning tires in the Arab village across from my porch, young men marching with green Islamist flags toward my neighborhood, ambulances parked at strategic places ready for this city’s ultimate nightmare.” Some are calling it the Obama intifada.
The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.