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.
The recent rash of cases in which rabbis have allegedly molested young children going back decades has moved one group that usually bristles at government involvement in Orthodox schools to envision shifting its stance.
For Israel this week, the outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia has been all about Iran.
As Tblisi and Moscow agreed to a cease-fire Tuesday in their five-day conflict over two disputed territories, Russia was still bristling with anger over U.S. policies and statements on the issue. But thanks to Israel’s decision to limit its arms sales to Georgia, the Kremlin had only kind words for Israel, Washington’s closest ally, as the guns of war died down.
With some 53,000 residents in the state’s rural north-central flatlands, Monroe, La., is not the kind of town that would normally expect to play host to the mayor of Jerusalem. But in October 2002, Ehud Olmert came to the county seat of Ouachita Parish to urge 500 to 1,000 Evangelical Christians to give, and give generously, to support victims of terrorism in the Holy City he then governed.
They were neighbors once, in suburban Washington. Their wives were close friends. Their children played together. And both were senior staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby.
But M.J. Rosenberg and Lenny Ben-David are now definitely on the outs over Israel. And it's up-close and personal.
The grand rebbe of the Satmar chasidic sect, who presided over its huge expansion and its split into two factions, lay near death in Mount Sinai Hospital this week with his two contending sons at his bedside.
Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, who assumed leadership of the world's largest chasidic sect in 1980, was rushed to the Upper East Side hospital on March 30, according to Satmar sources.
"Conservative Rabbis To Vote on Gay Issues," trumpeted The Forward last week, inaccurately, about a meeting this week. More correctly (though still less than completely) The New York Times followed Monday with a story headlined: "Conservative Jews to Consider Ending a Ban on Same-Sex Unions and Gay Rabbis."
In truth, it will almost certainly be many months before the Conservative movement decides whether to allow gay rabbis and gay unions, according to Rabbi Sue Grossman, head of the rabbinic subcommittee that has been wrestling with the issue.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first questioned whether the Holocaust had taken place, in a speech last December, much of the Arab world (convinced that Israel exploits the tragedy to compel international support) cheered.
But in the pages of the London-based, Saudi-owned Arab daily, Al Hayat, senior columnist Hazem Saghiyeh once again assumed the mantle of a lonely Cassandra.
In a surprising move, a leader of Brooklyn's large, generally hawkish Syrian Jewish community has lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for refusing to talk with Syria, as pressure built on multiple fronts on Washington and Jerusalem to dialogue with Damascus.
Jack Avital, a longtime confidante of Ariel Sharon and chairman of the Sephardic National Alliance, told The Jewish Week last week he planned to publish an open letter to Olmert laying out his case against Israel's rejection of such talks to the Syrian Jewish community.
For a man witnessing a debacle in real time, Rev. Louis Sheldon, a leader of the Christian Right political movement, sounded amazingly sanguine Tuesday night: even as an early AP exit poll indicated that almost one-third of white Evangelicals chose a Democrat for Congress.
"We know that in America the people are with us," insisted the founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, one of the largest groups in the Christian right. "They're just confused."