In Olympic years, some People of the Book become people of the backstroke, the clean-and-jerk, and the high hurdles.
The Games, Summer and Winter, serve as a showcase for the best athletes, Jewish and non-Jewish. From A (Ruth Abeles) to Z (Eli Zuckerman), names like Mark Spitz and Kerry Strug are in the record books as well as Jewish history texts.
Beginning with 10 medals won by Jewish athletes at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, Jews have been a steady presence at the international competition.
Only a few thousand Jews live in Utah, international center of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons.
But, says a researcher in Salt Lake City, several thousand Jews are on the Mormon Church’s membership rolls — Jews who were posthumously baptized and converted into the Mormon faith.
Yossi Goldberg played soccer and basketball as a boy growing up in Israel, but figure skating was in his blood — his mother was a figure skater in Lithuania.
That, says Goldberg, founder and president of the Israeli Figure Skating Association, is why he has devoted a dozen years to a winter sport in a Mediterranean country.
A group of French Jews who made aliyah last week to be part of Israeli life avoided one of the less-enjoyable parts of Israeli life — a nationwide strike, the third in eight months.
Histadrut, Israel’s major labor federation, exempted Ben-Gurion Airport from a general strike that paralyzed the country for 24 hours. Workers at the airport remained on the job to handle the arrival of more than 600 French citizens, the largest single-day aliyah from France since 1972.
Sixty-five years ago, France tried to show its loyalty to the Nazis.
Last week, France showed its loyalty to history.On the anniversary of the July 1942 deportation of some 13,000 Jews by Vichy police from a bicycle stadium that served as a transit camp, French officials took part in a series of memorial events.
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, who has been appointed to mediate a survivors' suit against German and Austrian banks, is calling all parties together Jan. 7. But how much clout he will wield is open to question.
Yehudit Moch of Park Slope walked into St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village last week sporting a T-shirt embroidered with a large Star of David.
"You'd better close your jacket," said the receptionist, who was half-Jewish. "It's not safe to be wearing that on the streets of New York."
Henreich Heine, the German-Jewish poet, wrote more than a century ago, ìder vorhang fallt, das stuck ist aus,î the curtain falls, the play is done. Then, in that tragic coda, the ax fell, too. Yet the drama goes on, a few German-Jews puttering around on a stage they refuse to leave, enchanted by that language.ìWir haben viel fur einander gefuhlt,î how deeply we were wrapped in each otherís lives, wrote Heine.
Friday, October 17th, 2008
James Besser in Washington
The Rev. Jesse Jackson may have nothing to do with the Barack Obama presidential campaign, but that isn’t stopping the Republicans from using Jackson’s latest bizarre outburst to tar the Democratic presidential nominee.