Many of us are convinced that language has been a weapon of mass destruction during Israel’s four years of war. But wait a second –– what’s the name of that war, anyway? Israelis can’t figure it out. For a while HaMatzav, or the situation, was the Hebrew euphemism of choice. Last month, the Jerusalem Post actually ran a name-that-war item, with the headline, “rename the intifada,” indicating that even the J-Post editors couldn’t think of an English or Hebrew word that matched the perfect branding of the Arabic word.
For almost five months, Columbia University has been at the heart of the campus wars over just how the Middle East ought to be taught in universities where both students and professors are overtly political, in disagreement, and possessing more passion than the pristine objectivity to which academia aspires.
It’s all up in flames—-our reconciliation with the world, with the church, with the Palestinians. Yossi Klein Halevi writes in The Los Angeles Times (April 8) that all the dialogue and advancements are “threatened by a one-sided Christian approach to the Middle East conflict.” Despite the “outrageous invasion of the Church of the Nativity by several hundred Palestinian gunmen and wanted terrorists...
These past few weeks have underlined the power of the gruesome visual image.
For months there were news briefs about prison perversity in Iraq, but the story would not have vaulted to the top of America’s agenda without the photographs with which we are now so familiar. In the Middle East, the Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera news stations showed footage of Palestinians playing catch and soccer with Israeli body parts, and Palestinians displayed bits of flesh and a severed Israeli head as some sort of trophy testifying to Israel’s weakness.
“How the city sits solitary that was once full of people.”
Back when bandleaders played clarinets, and overhead fans whirled over rattan subway seats, the Bronx streets looked like Easy Street for Jews once removed from the Lower East Side or Europe itself. “The Goldbergs” radio comedy was fictionally situated in a Bronx walk-up. In the 1930s and ’40s, the borough was 44 percent Jewish, but some neighborhoods topped 70 percent, a higher percentage of Jews than in Jerusalem today.
In 1902, on the 11th of Nisan, in the Ukrainian village of Nikolaev, Chana Schneerson, the mother of newborn Menachem Mendel, the future and seventh Lubavitcher rebbe, receives a telegram from her cousin, the fifth rebbe, Sholom Dov Ber. Before feeding the baby, he writes, she should ritually wash her hands as if before meals or prayer. When the baby cries, his parents, by candlelight, pour water over his little hands and into a small basin by his cradle.
To walk through certain Teaneck neighborhoods on Shabbat is to think that everyone is Orthodox. Nary a car disturbs the serenity of curving, tree-lined streets and private homes. Synagogues are standing-room only.