Growing up was never easy for copper-skinned Rebecca Walker, the trophy baby of a new America. Born in 1969, the “Movement Child” of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and activist Alice Walker and civil rights lawyer Mel Leventhal, Walker spent the first two decades of her life failing to fit into a country that still assumes fixed racial categories.
Social scientist Gary Tobin acknowledges that some Jewish leaders think his bold idea to help save the future of American Jewry is part of a "lunatic conversation.
"Having said that, the San Francisco-based demographer launches into a carefully reasoned presentation of his multibillion-dollar proposal called "proactive conversion" to make Judaism more attractive to Christians, agnostics, non-Jewish spouses of Jews and children of mixed marriages.
New York University's Office of Student Life was the scene of a peace negotiation last week that Colin Powell can only dream about.
On one side of Sally Arthur, assistant vice president for student life, sat two leaders of a pro-Israel Jewish student group called TorchPAC. On the other side sat two officials from the pro-Palestinian Arab Student Union, the largest Arab student group at the Greenwich Village institution.
With tensions mounting on American campuses over anti-Semitism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, hundreds of college presidents have signed onto a landmark petition calling for "intimidation-free" campuses.
But the document itself has become the subject of controversy.
That's because the statement, released by the American Jewish Committee, specifically mentions only intimidation against Jewish students.
As a result, some university presidents have declined to sign.
Three prominent liberal New York rabbis have abruptly resigned from the advisory board of a new national Jewish peace group after their names appeared in a controversial full-page New York Times ad that likened Israel to the Passover story’s evil Pharaoh, and also used a Nazi allusion to describe the Sharon government’s military actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Islamist rhetoric blaming Jews for the Sept. 11 attacks on America has gotten bad enough that President George W. Bush and other national and international political leaders need to counter the anti-Semites and quell the growing anxiety of Jewish citizens, says the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“President Bush should publicly put his arms around the Jewish community,” Abraham Foxman said. “Some leaders don’t think it’s serious, but as Jews we take it very seriously.”
When Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb rose to speak before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here last week, “You could hear a pin drop,” she said.
The only rabbi, and one of just a handful of Jews to attend a dinner dialogue between Ahmadinejad and a coalition of religious peace groups during his visit to address the UN last week, Gottlieb knew her words would weigh heavily in the air — not least with the Quakers, Mennonites and other peace churches that sponsored the gathering.
Painter and poet Alan Kaufman has long worn his Zionism on his sleeve. And the 15 paintings of his that San Francisco gallery owner David Himmelberger hung this summer were imbued with it.
But last week, the artist and Himmelberger’s tony Union Square gallery fell out angrily over the dealer’s refusal to publish a catalog to accompany Kaufman’s paintings entitled, “Visionary Expressionism: A Zionist Art.”
Just last week, in a pricey Chelsea accessories boutique, Danielia Roberts encountered an attitude that she finds herself getting used to. As she purchased some candleholders, it somehow came up that the sales clerk was Jewish.