The eruv — that ethereal yet physical boundary enabling observant Jews to push strollers and use wheelchairs on Shabbat — fosters community even as it sparks tensions.
Before the Internet Age rendered geography irrelevant to community there was the eruv, the rabbinic response to spatial separation. A strategically placed wire here, a natural hedge border there, the inclusion of a fence or a highway, turns a neighborhood into an imaginary walled community of halachic intent, as such a deliberate remembrance of pre-diasporic Jerusalem.
When a commission investigating Holocaust-era life insurance policies ended its work in March after nine years, it boasted that it had awarded more than $300 million to survivors and their heirs.
Now, a former commission arbitrator is criticizing the group’s work, alleging that a “phantom rule” was used by some of the dozens of arbitrators, accounting in part for the denial of 84 percent of all claims filed. The arbitrator, Albert B. Lewis, who is also a former New York State insurance superintendent, is calling for a reopening of these cases.
Two months after apparently squelching an insurrection, the leadership of the World Jewish Congress is facing renewed calls in its ranks for an independent audit and increased accountability.
Isi Leibler, a senior vice president of the organization whose public appeals for improved governance and transparency regarding WJC financial dealings prompted his dismissal in September, has refused to step down, and he seems to have found allies among the leadership of the Swiss branch of the WJC.
In an alleged financial fraud that has ensnared Orthodox Jewish investors from New York to Florida to London, a Lakewood, N.J., businessman is accused of bilking them out of more than $200 million through phony real estate deals, according to complaints made in multiple lawsuits across the country.
At the turn of the 20th century, the presence of acculturated Jews in the renowned literary and artistic Viennese cafés was so pronounced that a proverb claiming that “the Jew belongs in the coffeehouse” was widely circulated in the city. Today, a hundred years later, the city of Tel Aviv can lay claim not only to serving some of the best coffee available anywhere, but also to fostering and sustaining a thriving café culture; a culture with heritage that goes back to the 1930s and the immigrants who came from cities like Vienna, Berlin and Warsaw.
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Israel’s war against Iran is underway. Over in London, the Telegraph headlined (Feb. 16): “Israel Launches Covert War Against Iran.” The sub-head: “Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran’s nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed.”
Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
The first rule of pride is this: When they run you out of town, walk like you’re leading the parade.
I’ll give Israel this: When international pressure got to be too much, Israel left Gaza as if it was Israel’s bright idea, “a unilateral ceasefire.”
Monday, December 29th, 2008
I condemn Israel’s disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted a few days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for eight years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.
Monday, July 28th, 2008
Everyone one of us who cares about news is familiar with Reuters. But until I heard “The Writer’s Almanac” on NPR the other day, it never occurred to me that there was a man, Paul Reuter, who started it all, let alone that he was the son of a rabbi who converted to Christianity. You can hear Garrison Keillor tell you about the man by clicking here:
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.