As we near the end of the first decade of the new century, I wonder which books we’ll later look back on as best capturing our present time.
This season, several new books are fine period pieces, conjuring other eras. Non-fiction narratives depict a particular time and place through research and documentation; novels do so through invention, embellishing actual events.
Rabbi Steven Burg reaches out to unaffiliated teens wherever they are — public schools or a certain coffee joint.
At Francis Lewis High School on Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens, the hallways ring with calls of “L’Chaims” and “Mazel Tov” from the jean-clad, largely non-Jewish teenagers watching as Rabbi Steven Burg, dressed in a suit and a yarmulke, ambles along with his rabbinic colleagues carrying pizza, donuts and Coke. Together the rabbis enter a classroom, bearing food and Jewish lessons for a meeting of the Jewish Student Union, a national project that hopes to bring a measure of Judaism to unaffiliated students in public schools.
American-born settler Jack Tytell is charged with multiple murders and hate crimes. A look into his upbringing in the U.S. reveals some surprises.
Special to the Jewish Week
His fellow students at Akiva Hebrew Day School, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Mich., had Jack Tytell pegged.
He was “creepy,” one remembered, someone with “crazy eyes.” Another recalled Tytell walking through Akiva’s halls acting out imaginary combat scenes and jumping over tripwires that existed in his head only.
As their “Last Will and Testament” in the Akiva Class of ’90 yearbook, his classmates left him an “Uzi and a grenade ... and a Valium.”
Some philanthropists focus on Jewish continuity. Others devote themselves to promoting Jewish educational opportunities. Mandell (Bill) Berman, a Jewish philanthropist based in suburban Detroit, gives generously to both of the aforementioned causes. But what makes him unique among Jewish philanthropists is his love of data, particularly Jewish data.
Campus battles over the Middle East conflict and rising anti-Semitism are heating up on several fronts:
# A national pro-Palestinian student conference declaring that “Zionism is racism” is slated for Oct. 12 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with plans to increase pressure on college officials to drop investments in Israel.
There’s nothing more predictable than politicians (and their followers) saying “my opponent is playing to people’s fears,” as if that disccredits the reason people are afraid in the first place. Opponents of William Thompson have warned that if elected this Democrat might turn New York back into the Fort Apache anarchy of the David Dinkins years, or into the Detroit or Newark of this year.
Reports from the field will be grim when delegates to this year’s Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum gather in Washington on Sunday — the first major Jewish meeting since the economic furies hit full force and the first since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
In Detroit, soaring unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies are battering a proud, prosperous Jewish community, and local agencies — already facing budget cuts — are scrambling to keep up.
It was quiet this week in Piazza della Repubblica.
In the streets around Republic Square, the center of the growing Arab neighborhood in this city playing host to the Winter Olympics for two weeks, commerce reigned. In the winding alleys, in the warrens of an open-air market, in front of halal food stores and Arabic travel agencies, flocks of bundled-up tourists, some wearing distinctive blue-and-white Israeli warmup jackets, vied for space with TV crews.