Social Issues

Changing Images Muddy Picture Of Zionism, Israel

For young American Jews, it’s a long way from ‘Exodus’ to the separation wall.

05/26/2010
Staff Writer

 In 1960, the film “Exodus” was nominated for three Academy Awards. Based on Leon Uris’ novel about the founding of Israel, it seems hard to believe that such a film, drenched in Jewish military heroism and suffused with Holocaust imagery and Arab aggression, could have such broad and unambiguous appeal. But it did. It not only won an Oscar, it also starred a Hollywood icon, Paul Newman, as the heroic Jewish fighter, and even made a commendable showing at Cannes.

But almost a half-century later, a very different film about Israel won an Oscar nomination. “Waltz With Bashir,” (2008) directed by the Israeli Ari Folman, put a spotlight on the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps during the first Lebanon War.  

Two images of Israel, two generations: “Exodus” and “Waltz with Bashir.”

Jewish Soldiers Fighting Enemies, And Stereotypes

A meditation on Memorial Day.

05/26/2010
Editor And Publisher

This Monday is Memorial Day.

For most of us that means no work — a holiday that is more about family barbecues and shopping sales than remembering those who gave their lives to protect our freedom. 

That’s especially true for a Jewish community that knows few who serve in today’s all-volunteer military. Can you name even two people in active service? How about one?

Gary Rosenblatt

Living By His Wits: New Play Highlights Eastern European Folk Hero, Joker

05/25/2010

Call him the Robin Hood  of Eastern European Jewish culture.

Hershele Ostropolyer was an exuberant trickster who roamed the Ukrainian countryside at the turn of the 19th century, playing jokes on the rich to help the poor. The Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre’s new production, “The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer,” stars Mike Burstyn as the legendary joker who always has another trick up his sleeve.

Bad Blogger, Good Jew?

I’ve been a very bad blogger recently (a whole week without posting), but a very good Jew: in the past 10 days, I’ve gone to services at three congregations, and attended a Storahtelling event. Plus, this Saturday morning I’ll be in shul (a fourth one!) yet again, for my niece’s bat mitzvah.

Those who pray three times a day, or are at least weekly shul-goers, may laugh at such modest accomplishments. Indeed, I’m sure someone will send me a nasty e-mail or post a comment saying this (along with being intermarried) is further evidence of my moral laxity. Nonetheless, for me, four synagogues in two weeks — not during the High Holidays — is something of a record.

The BP oil spill, President Obama, Jewish environmentalists - and mixed-up voters

Isn't the disaster that's still unfolding down in the Gulf of Mexico an almost perfect illustration of what's wrong with American politics?

Everybody's complaining about the lax federal response – including those factions that want to cut government until it's small enough to drown it in the bathtub, to use one of their popular expressions.

Jewish Groups: Rebuke Libyan Envoy for Nazi Comments

05/23/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish and international groups called on the United Nations' Secretary General to rebuke the Libyan envoy, who currently leads the General Assembly, for likening Israel to Nazis.

Ali Abdussalam Treki’s "comments are an outrage, a blight upon the United Nations and his high office, and an impediment to historical truth and to peace," B’nai B’rith International President Dennis Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel Mariaschin wrote Tuesday in a letter to Ban Ki-moon.

Newt Gingrich, President Obama and the latest on the Nazi allusion front

I'm beginning to think all the major Jewish “defense agencies” like the ADL and both AJCs need full-time departments just to respond to shameless politicians using inappropriate Holocaust and Nazi analogies.

The latest: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who, although he's purportedly an historian, doesn't have the historical sense to distinguish between policies he doesn't like and the vilest, most dangerous political system in history.

Being Our Own Masters

05/21/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

In the religious world, there has been much discussion over the past few years, and rightly so, of the struggle between what sociologists like to call the “commanding presence” and the “sovereign self.” The “commanding presence” is an outside source of authority- in the larger religious sense, God, or in a lesser religious sense, rabbis. The “sovereign self” is the autonomous individual, who chafes at being told what to do.

Anti-Semitism In The Backyard

Local anti-Jewish incidents spur community response.

05/21/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

 Swastikas. Anti-Semitic leaflets littering the grounds of a synagogue and the lawns of private homes. Anti-Semitic comments at a sporting event. Anti-Jewish jokes circulating at a middle school. 

These aren’t exactly the sorts of things that Westchester’s Jewish residents expect to encounter.

Such bias is especially disturbing for Jewish residents who live in some of the county’s prettiest communities, like Rye, Scarsdale, Irvington and Edgemont, where these recent incidents occurred.

Stephen Gordon, left, co-chair of the “Understanding Differences — Respecting Diversity”

With New Manifesto, Left Looks To Recharge

‘Peace camp’ grasping for a new vision and way out of political wilderness.

05/21/2010
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — The post-Sabbath demonstration in Jerusalem’s Zion Square this week was a metaphor for the political wilderness that the Israeli “peace camp” finds itself in these days. 

Many held blue and white placards reading “Zionists Aren’t Settlers” and “Stop Settling.” Others held up banners of the dovish group Peace Now.   

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