For Israel, the pressure has lifted — for now. After weeks of escalating criticism, the Clinton administration has suddenly taken a more benign tack in its dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s meetings with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority chief Yasir Arafat last week reset the clock for the two leaders to make some fateful decisions — decisions that so far they have studiously avoided.
Who will speak on behalf of world Jewry in its evolving relationship with the Vatican? Should it fall to a coalition of secular and religious Jewish organizations meeting with stated goals and guidelines?
Or, should every Jewish organization hold its own separate dialogue, without an umbrella group to provide a unified stance, and without accountability to the larger Jewish community?
How best to honor the memory of half a million Jews buried in the horrific and long-neglected Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland?
That's the heart of a running dispute pitting several rabbis and Jewish organizations that support the approved design plan against New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, who insists the plan desecrates the victims and violates Jewish law.
The dispute echoes the debate in New York City over the memorial for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center victims.
British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was hardly surprised when it was revealed that the suicide bomber who murdered three people in a Tel Aviv jazz club April 30 was a British Muslim.
"We have been warning the government for some years that extremist [Muslim] groups were operating in Britain, taking advantage of the extreme tolerance that Britain has," Rabbi Sacks said in a phone interview. "It isn't a complete surprise. But it is a wake-up call."
Jonathan Sacks closed his eyes and cupped his salt-and-pepper bearded chin. England's urbane chief rabbi was asked to explain the state of Orthodox Judaism in light of the publicized censoring of books about Judaism by fervently Orthodox representatives of the "People of the Book."
Columbia University history professor Simon Schama stood at the podium in the Center for Jewish History's auditorium Sunday night relating how the desecration of hundreds of Jewish graves in England last week had affected him personally.
"The headstones of my uncle and great-aunt were turned over," when 386 Jewish graves were damaged in East London, he said.
Thus began a three-day international conference in New York on the rise of global anti-Semitism.
Chanukah 5769 is one for the books — the Guinness Book of World Records.
Around the world this week, several Jewish communities vied to establish various records – largest menorah, largest crowd, largest number of menorahs concurrently lit – at their public celebrations of the Holiday of Lights.
Marking its 10th anniversary as an annual event in the United Kingdom, Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated as usual with prayers, solemn ceremonies and candle-lightings.
And, at one London synagogue, a glimpse at part of pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Europe.
The return of Jewish property in Europe seized by the Nazis made progress on two fronts this week, in Poland and in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic, a bill to return Jewish property and art confiscated during the Nazi occupation awaits the signature of the president after being approved by the Senate last week.
Under the measure, land holdings and buildings seized between Sept. 29, 1938 and May 8, 1945 now owned by the state would be returned to Jews or their heirs.
Who holds the keys to true salvation? In recent years, Jewish interfaith leaders have been carefully parsing new statements of Christian theologians on the subject, raising objections when the Vatican or Evangelical leaders declare that everlasting salvation can come only through belief in Jesus.
More recently, militant Islamic clerics have labeled those who don’t believe in Muhammad and Allah as infidels.