Undoubtedly the two most vexing theological questions are the issues of bad things happening to good people and free will versus destiny.
While most of us are all too aware of the randomness and injustice in the world, we nonetheless are quick to credit ourselves for our good fortune and blame ourselves (and others) for bad fortune.
Fundamentalists are especially good at this little exercise. 9/11? God’s punishment for permissiveness and homosexuality. The Holocaust? A punishment for assimilation and Reform Judaism. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War? Divine intervention.
LONDON (JTA) – With Britons uncertain of how the country’s first coalition government since World War II will go about governing, the country’s Jewish community appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.
During the campaign, many Jews expressed alarm at Liberal Democratic positions on Israel.
Israel’s brain power is increasingly global and mobile, and the country is moving to keep academics at home.
Special To The Jewish Week
T el Aviv — Israeli Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz announced recently that the country was unintentionally subsidizing the entire Western world to the tune of some $3 billion with its exported brain power.
“We have one tremendous resource and that’s our human capital,” Hershkowitz told a recent conference on education, basing his estimate on the amount Israel invests in training its academics, thousands of whom are working abroad. “But we are bearing witness to brain drain abroad.”
Between Israel and many younger Jews here
stands a gaping cavern. Needed: a new narrative
to bridge the divide.
A nyone checking out some popular Jewish websites a few weeks ago learned a subtle lesson about American Jewry. On “mainstream” home pages, which appeal mostly to an older demographic — affiliated members of the Jewish community — were these: travel missions to Israel (jewishfederations.org); articles about “Israel’s Ethical Defense” and media coverage of the Middle East peace process (aish.com); several essays about relations between Israel and the United States (jewishworldreview.com).
The current Israeli-Palestinian situation seems a tolerable — even a desirable — alternative,
but perhaps only for now.
The main shopping mall in Kfar Saba, a suburb of Tel Aviv, was bombed by a terrorist in 2002 during the most recent Palestinian uprising. It’s been more than seven years, but glass barriers still ring the mall’s perimeter, forcing shoppers to pass through a security check — a reminder of the uncertainty that nags Israelis even though the uprising has long since died out.
The recent exchange of letters between Elie Wiesel, on one hand, gently reproaching the White House over its Jerusalem policy, and dovish Israeli politician Yossi Sarid, on behalf of J Street, on the other, seems to encapsulate the debate American Jews are having these days over what it means to be pro-Israel in 2010.
Keeping non-haredim in Israel’s
poorest city is an increasingly difficult task.
A September 2009 New York Times travel article (“West Jerusalem Shows its Hip Secular Side”) praised the many “secular” attractions the city has to offer, from trendy new shops and restaurants to cutting-edge architecture.
While Israelis were gratified to read a positive article about their country for a change, portraying Jerusalem as a capital of tourism and not terror, many were amused by the use of “secular” and “Jerusalem” in the same sentence.
Five Towns and Sderot teens connect with
each other regularly via teleconferencing equipment.
Ties between young American Jews and Israel — if studies are to be believed — are increasingly fraying. Don’t tell that to the students at the Rambam Mesivta yeshiva in the Five Towns and their counterparts 6,000 miles away in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.