Israeli academic Miriam Shlesinger received a devastating e-mail last May from her old British friend and editor Mona Baker.
Shlesinger, an interpreter at Bar Ilan University, was checking to see whether she should finish a writing assignment for Baker, editorial director of St. Jerome Publishing in England. St. Jerome publishes the prestigious journal The Translator, where Shlesinger sat on the editorial board.
In response, Baker told the Israeli to get lost.
The poster advertising the first Palestinian film festival at Columbia University seemed innocuous: a map of Israel with four white doves perched on tree branches and the numbers 1-9-4-8 running the length of the map.
But in the Middle East, and on college campuses these days, little is simple or innocuous, least of all a map.
On closer inspection, the map promoting last week's festival, called "Dreams of a Nation," was in the colors of the Palestinian flag: red, black and green. And there was no West Bank: all of Israel was symbolically Palestinian.
Yeshiva University is facing an aggressive challenge to its standing as the primary facility where Orthodox high school boys can attend college while continuing intensive Jewish studies.
In recent weeks, two rabbis and two professors have defected from YU's Washington Heights campus in Upper Manhattan to join the soon-to-be opened Lander College for Men, being built on seven acres in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.
Come September, several dozen Orthodox Columbia University students, men and women, will be paid to learn Torah near their Upper West Side campus. The yeshiva will be housed at Ramat Ora, a revitalized Orthodox synagogue on West 110th Street, several blocks from the university's main campus on West 116th Street.
Already, 47 Columbia undergraduates have enrolled for the intensive, 10-hour-a-week program offering classes in Talmud and Torah, in addition to their regular secular studies during the academic year. Men and women will study separately in the program.
Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger Thursday night criticized as “grotesque and offensive” a faculty-sponsored petition calling for the university to divest from Israel.
“The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive,” Bollinger said in a statement. “As president of Columbia ... I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal.”
Columbia University is the latest battleground in a national drive to persuade universities to stop investing in Israel because of its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.
Dueling petitions are circulating on the Internet this week on both sides of the divestiture issue.
A group of faculty members from Columbia and Barnard College launched a petition Oct. 26 calling on Columbia to use its “political and financial influence to encourage the United States to suspend military aid and arms sales to Israel.”
After months of deliberation, a group of Orthodox scientists and Jewish law experts this week announced its endorsement of cloning cells for therapeutic purposes, but opposed cell cloning for reproductive purposes.
The ruling, by a team of Orthodox experts assembled by the nation’s two largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella groups — the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America — appears to put all three major Jewish denominations in agreement on the complicated issue of cloning research.
Prominent black leaders and activists had mixed reactions this week to a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League in which African Americans were four times more likely than whites to harbor attitudes the ADL termed “most anti-Semitic.”
When Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb rose to speak before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here last week, “You could hear a pin drop,” she said.
The only rabbi, and one of just a handful of Jews to attend a dinner dialogue between Ahmadinejad and a coalition of religious peace groups during his visit to address the UN last week, Gottlieb knew her words would weigh heavily in the air — not least with the Quakers, Mennonites and other peace churches that sponsored the gathering.
Representatives for a powerful roster of academics and writers this week rejected the Anti-Defamation League's invitation to meet and discuss their charge that the ADL applied pressure to shut down a prominent critic of Israel's New York lecture.
Professors Mark Lilla and Richard Sennett, organizers of a protest letter to ADL signed by 113 intellectuals, rejected ADL's denial that it had not, in fact, threatened or pressured the Polish Consulate to deny a platform to New York University historian Tony Judt.