Brooklyn’s Syrian-Egyptian Jewish community has prospered even as it has retained its Old World traditions and tight-knit feel.
I was only 16 when I left my community of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn, convinced I was on an upward trajectory. I was, after all, trading the prospect of Brooklyn College for Vassar, abandoning the staid, simple streets of Bensonhurst for the lush opulence of the quad in Poughkeepsie and later Manhattan, leaving behind the little shul where I sat with my mom in the obligatory women’s section for the vast progressive egalitarian temples that were sprouting everywhere in America.
In 1980, he played a key role in secreting a homing device in Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility so Israeli bombers could target it unerringly.
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he dived daringly into Beirut’s harbor and blew up the underwater communications cables connecting Syria and Egypt.
How does the State of Israel figure into the crisis for the soul of Islam?
These questions are raised, and more importantly answered, in an important double edition of Bill Moyers' critically acclaimed "NOW" weekly news show airing July 12 on PBS.
Did Arab leaders secretly conspire to expel Jews from their native Arab homelands after 1948 in retaliation for the creation of the State of Israel?
Did this "collusion" of Arab nations create a large but little-known refugee population of nearly 900,000 displaced Jews: more than the approximately 650,000 displaced Palestinians at the time?
That's the conclusion by a coalition group called Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.
The ongoing hunt for Nazi war criminals made news last week when evidence emerged that Aribert Heim, the wartime “Dr. Death” in Mauthausen who conducted experiments on prisoners, was given haven in Egypt and presumably died there. Efraim Zuroff has been searching for information about Heim throughout his two decades as director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
In Mick Fine’s classroom, the sixth-graders are creating cartoons and board games and posters for their family’s upcoming seders. In the classroom of Nicole Levy and Vanessa Miller, the kindergarteners are putting the finishing touches on artworks that will be bound together into mini-Haggadot to be shared with their families next week. Throughout the classrooms of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, the K-8 students are learning about the traditions of Passover in other non-traditional, hands-on ways.
Despite President Bush's insistence that the war on terrorism is not a religious conflict pitting the West against Islam, prominent members of his administration and leaders of Islamic countries are pushing inexorably in that direction.
And as the president came to the defense of the Jewish community this week, Jewish leaders were warning of dire long-term consequences in the wake of the anti-Semitic tirade unleashed last week by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
With Islam’s top religious leaders publicly sanctioning suicide bombings against Jews, outraged New York rabbis plan to protest the behavior of their religious counterparts at a demonstration in front of the Palestine Mission next Monday.
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, the tragedy briefly united the war-torn Middle East — in grief.
For many it was the death of hope, an American president whose innovations in Middle East diplomacy, including the first U.S. commander-in-chief to sell major arms to Israel, brought him credibility “as a progressive with no grudge against Arab nationalism.”
So says Warren Bass in his new book “Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance (Oxford).
In the past few days, Zalman Shoval’s popularity has soared with colleagues and strangers he bumps into around his Washington office.
“There isn’t a single person in the [U.S.] State Department that hasn’t tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘thank you,’ ” related Shoval, Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States. “It reminds me of the good old days of Israel’s restraint in the  Gulf war.”