In world events, as in human relations, “reality” can be debatable, since we view it through the prism of our own values, beliefs and convictions. One man’s gesture of friendship is another’s excuse for antagonism.
Can you name the Top 10 religion stories of the past 1,000 years? As the second millennium rushes to a close, the people at "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," the PBS TV show, decided to compile such a daunting list. The results, selected by staff after consultation with scholars, are a fascinating journey through the world's significant religious developments: many of which have resulted in untold pain and suffering. Jews were profoundly affected by virtually all of these stories.
Presented in chronological order they are:
Washington — They came from Memphis and they came from Midwood. They bused in from Bayside and they rode the rails from Richmond. There were Hoosiers and Bluegrass Staters and a soul or two from Alaska who took a long day’s journey into the Lower 48 wearing their love of the Jewish state — and their fears over its future — on their sleeves.
On the eve of Yom Kippur, a dispute between two groups of Jews leads to a divider being placed at Judaism’s holiest accessible site, the western retaining wall of Herod’s Second Temple.
But Muslim sheiks, who “own” the Wall, demand the divider be removed, calling it an unacceptable alteration to their site. They suspect that the Jews are trying to find a way to give the Wall the status of a synagogue “as a first step in taking it over.”
Eric J. Greenberg is a staff writer. James D. Besser is the Washington correspondent.
Washington — Since its opening in 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here has tried to position itself as a respected national institution, not an instrument of Jewish politics.
But this week it became ensnared in just what it hoped to avoid when its top lay and professional leaders spurned an administration request for an official welcome for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat during his trip to Washington.
As a prisoner swap for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was said to be closer than ever this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly poised to declare a 10-month settlement freeze.
“Netanyahu is set to announce in the coming days that he will accept a construction freeze in the West Bank settlements for 10 months but will exclude [Palestinian east] Jerusalem,” Yossi Beilin, a former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, was quoted as saying.
A newspaper ad by a Yeshiva University-linked Orthodox rabbinical group is denouncing the Wye agreement as a violation of Jewish law that threatens the lives of all Jews in Israel.
But the rabbinic group called Ichud Harabonim, or Union of Rabbis, is itself being criticized for using language some say evokes the violent rhetoric used against the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin — who was assassinated three years ago this week.
Jerusalem — At about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff in the history of Catholicism to recognize a State of Israel on its own soil.
Clutching his wooden staff under a steady rain, the stooped, white-robed Pope stood at a lectern at a festively decorated Ben-Gurion Airport landing strip, and in a hoarse voice said in English: “I greet all the people of the State of Israel.”
While Evangelical Christians are capturing headlines for their fervent support of Israel, going virtually unnoticed is how the nation’s “mainline” Protestants have been strongly advocating an anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian position during the current Middle East crisis.