Even as efforts continue to gain freedom for 13 Iranian Jews jailed by their government on suspicion of spying, new information is surfacing about 11 other Jews who vanished while attempting to flee Iran illegally between 1994 and 1997.
The information, some of which emerged at a public meeting in Los Angeles last month, is threatening to further fracture an Iranian Jewish community in the United States caught between the impulse to protest, and to stick to silent diplomacy in its efforts to help imperiled brethren.
It seemed to be a typical Tuesday morning for Mordechai “Larry” Etengoff, a 42-year-old Brooklyn locksmith supply salesman. His wife of 16 years, Sandy, watched him leave their squat, gray, single-family stucco house in the multiethnic Kensington section to drop off their youngest of five children at the babysitter.
He stopped at the local Independence Savings Bank near their Avenue C home to make a deposit. He returned home to move his blue Ford Taurus for alternate side-of-the-street parking.
Israel’s standing in the United Nations continues to deteriorate as the Palestinian voice grows stronger. The overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly Tuesday (124 to 4) upgrading the Palestinian’s status gives Palestinian representatives the power for the first time to raise issues regarding the peace process before the 185-member international body.
Sandi DuBowski’s new project is a kind of cinematic thumb in the eye to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president famously announced last year while speaking at Columbia University that there are no gays in Iran. A new documentary, “A Jihad for Love,” about the struggles of gay Muslims from Egypt to India, in South Africa and yes, in Iran, shows a different story.
A veteran of international relief work for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Amos Avgar has a set routine when he leaves for points overseas. He gets a visa, makes his hotel reservations, checks that his inoculations are up to date, does some research and puts a "Lonely Planet" travel guide in his suitcase.
And, if the country where he is headed may pose some dangers, he kisses the front-door mezuzah on his apartment in southern Jerusalem.
Two weeks ago Avgar kissed his mezuzah.
Visitors to Salt Lake City during the Winter Games have seen the first signs of the city’s effort to change its public face — tree-lined mediums on major streets, a light rail system, more parks.
And some visitors have met the man behind the changes — Stephen Goldsmith, Salt Lake City director of planning and fourth-generation Salt Lake City Jew.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip throughout the Middle East last week found him in Israel on Easter — he joined thousands of pilgrims at a service in Jerusalem — but his visit there was no holiday.
During his three days in Israel, Cheney met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, voiced the Bush administration’s continued support for the Jewish state, urged all sides in the Middle East peace process to make further concessions and criticized two belligerent governments in the region.
Just days before the two countries were to participate in a NATO military exercise this week, Turkish officials informed Israel that it would not be allowed to participate. The U.S., the Netherlands and Italy then withdrew in protest and the exercise was canceled.
Turkey, one of the few Muslim nations to have diplomatic relations with Israel, has had a testy relationship with the Jewish state since January.
“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Adolf Hitler, to his generals, before the invasion of Poland in 1939
In the coming days, a people nearly annihilated during the last century will pause to remember its losses.