Disaster

Tu b’Shvat And A Planet In Peril

01/26/2010

It’s become almost a cliché: every year progressive Jewish groups use the festival of Tu b’Shvat, which falls on Saturdy, to make the point that Jewish law and tradition demand concern about our endangered planet. And then it’s business as usual until next year, when the festival prompts another outpouring of concern.

Guardians Of The Documents

Israeli, Palestinian archivists honored,
accompanied by high-profile keynoters.

01/28/2010
Staff Writer

On the face it, the CUNY Award for Archivist of the Year doesn’t exactly grab one’s attention. But this year the award, given by the Scone Foundation, and held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue on Monday night, came with some star power.

Columbia’s Rashid Khalidi, left, and UCLA’s David Myers: Championing the work of archivists, with a little politics thrown in.

Lighten Up

04/03/2009

One day, millennia ago, next to a fire or hearth, someone found that their flatbread dough — a dough made daily, eaten at every meal — had gone bad. Dough that should have been firm was misshapen. It was puffy and elastic. It would have smelled of something unfamiliar, and, to an inexperienced nose, probably unpleasant. Most likely, they tossed it to the birds or dogs, and started anew. But this “off” dough, had it been baked, would have been one of the first leavened breads. 

Journal Watch

05/01/2009

What’s the Jewish language? Or, more to the point in 2009/5769, what is not? Seventy years ago, Yiddish was the lingua franca of the Jewish people. Today it is not Hebrew, it is not Yiddish, it is not Ladino, it is not Russian (a small flowering of Russian literature in Israel notwithstanding) — it is English.

Israeli Team’s Efforts Stand Out In Haiti

As IDF rescuers and doctors save lives,
rare praise for a disproportionate response.

01/21/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

Israel’s rapid response to the disaster in Haiti and the success of its experienced emergency team in saving many lives has drawn extensive media coverage, and has become a major source of pride in the Jewish community.

The Israel Defense Forces sent 220 personnel to the Caribbean island on Jan. 15, three days after a 7.0-scale earthquake devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The team included 40 doctors, 20 nurses and paramedics, search-and-rescue teams with trained dogs and other specialists.

Rescue workers on Jan. 15 carry an injured survivor of the earthquake in Haiti to the Israeli field hospital, where some 40 doct

Israel After Bush

05/16/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

Now that the love-fest is over and President Bush has “left the building,” so to speak, Israelis are left to ponder life after him. The conference on tomorrow organized by Shimon Peres afforded the Israeli government the chance to say thank you to the man who has been, in his gut, arguably the most sympathetically inclined towards Israel’s precarious security position of any American president in recent memory.

More on Haiti: the good, the bad and the ugly

It’s no secret that great disasters bring out the best and the worst in people – the selfless rescuers who put their own lives on the line to save people they don’t know on one hand, the looters who use catastrophe as an opportunity for larceny, petty and otherwise, on the other.

So it is with the unimaginable tragedy in Haiti.

Hearing What It Sounds Like

05/05/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

For those of you who follow this blog, I ask that you allow me an “excused absence” for not having posted last week.  I was in Israel, having left on very short notice to join my sister in attending to my critically ill mother.  She remains extremely critical as of this writing, and I expect to have to return to Israel within a few days…

Lives of Quiet Desperation

10/09/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

Henry David Thoreau famously said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.  I never really understood that line when I first read it many years ago, and as I was growing into maturity, it always seemed to me a bleak assessment of the human condition.  ”Quiet desperation” seemed to negate the very possibility of living a meaningful if not joyous life.  In my youth, hearing those words made me feel distant at best from what Thoreau was trying to say.

Haiti: Staring at Disaster

01/15/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

In the bad old days of the second intifada, when it seemed like every other day provided another incidence of a bomb blowing up somewhere in Israel with predictably horrific results, I remember hearing for the first time the concept that Israelis called a mega-pigu’a.

A pigu’a is the term they use for a terrorist attack.  A mega-pigu’a

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