His parents gave Misha Pemble-Belkin a pacifist, “hippie” upbringing, forbidding him and his two brothers from playing with toy guns or watching violent films.
But both of them, including his Jewish father, were “very proud” that he enlisted in the Army, says their son, now a sergeant at Fort Polk, La., and one of 11 soldiers interviewed in “Restrepo,” a new documentary about one company’s grueling tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Irene Hizme, an Auschwitz survivor who suffers from multiple sclerosis crafts, hand-lettered cards
to benefit aging Holocaust victims.
In the basement of her Oceanside, L.I., home, next to a window and a hand-lettered “Patience” poster, Irene Hizme sits at a drawing board, creating works of intricate calligraphy and flower-filled branches.
A Czechoslovakia-born Holocaust survivor in her “early 70s” and retired biochemist/computer programmer, she spends much of her free time these days making thank-you notes and birthday cards. She does many of her works as a volunteer for The Blue Card, an organization that offers financial assistance to aging Holocaust survivors.
So now we have the editor of a major Jewish newspaper actually making the case that a Dawn Festival in San Francisco is simply another way of celebrating the holiday of Shavuot (“Shavuot’s Big Tent,” Between The Lines, May 14).
Shavuot, like Passover, Yom Kippur, etc. is a Jewish religious holiday — it is not a comedy club for gays or a rock concert. And if next year some group of nominal Jews decides to slay and eat cats to celebrate Shavuot, will that be just another good option?
Sitting on a train approaching Manchester, England, recently, my friend Arron and I leafed through a copy of MetroNews — Britain’s biggest free paper — and came across an article about recent violence in Jerusalem caused by the latest settlement controversy.
I began to read the article aloud, nonchalantly voicing the words “Israel” and “Palestinians” as they passed by in the sentence.
Regarding “Can We Afford To Make Others A Priority?” (March 12), I have conducted religious services at senior residences for close to a decade. In order to qualify for government funds, beds had to be full, forcing historically Jewish institutions to admit non-Jews. At first these admissions were limited in order to maintain their Jewish character, but gradually many institutions became Jewish in name only, catering basically to non-Jews, but still receiving Jewish communal funds. Fewer homes schedule services for remaining Jewish residents.
Last year the Avi Chai Foundation published a watershed study on Hebrew school education. One of the most intriguing findings was the emergence of a new force in this arena: Chabad-Lubavitch. The report, authored by former Jewish Theological Seminary provost Dr. Jack Wertheimer said that Chabad has taken a bold new approach to Hebrew school. Committed teachers, creative curricula, and a new program are infused with excitement and vitality.
Some of the best applications of Jewish wisdom are not necessarily found in our own community but rather in the broader secular community —from Jeffrey Sachs’ work on poverty to Eli Broad’s support of charities and the arts. A great example from the tri-state area is Andy Ackerman, who has made a major impact as executive director of the Children’s Museum in Manhattan (www.cmom.org). He was honored this week for his 20 years of service by the museum and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We spoke with Ackerman about how he applies Jewish wisdom through his work.