With loss of Turkey — once a leading vacation destination — life in the Jewish state feels even lonelier.
Jerusalem — There was a time, not very long ago, when Israelis had a friend in the Muslim world. As bad as things got with the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese, Israelis could point to Turkey as a solid bulwark against near total isolation in the Muslim world.
The rewards and pitfalls of being cool in America’s eyes.
Special To The Jewish Week
A favorite inside joke among American Jews has always been their disproportionate influence on American culture. Although small in absolute numbers, their contribution to cultural achievement has been indisputably vast, to the point where some American art forms would almost not have existed were it not for Jews.
There is plenty of commentary to be offered on the obsessive response of America’s media to the death of Michael Jackson. You have to hand it to Congressman Peter King, who, albeit it in a very undiplomatic way, expressed what many are feeling. At the very least, Michael Jackson was an accused pedophile, a bizarre caricature of a self-loathing Black man whose hatred of his own skin and features led him to multiple acts of self-mutilation, a serious substance abuser, and, to put it generously, a very, very strange version of an adult. From whence all the adoration?
It feels as if we have been bombarded these past few weeks with news of celebrities who have died, all of them too soon: Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, John Hughes, and others too. Each made a mark on our society and culture in ways more and less significant, and each left behind fans and admirers who have felt their deaths as a personal loss.
For me, the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver this week outweighs them all. As one of her grandchildren said recently, she never ran for office, but she changed the world. How true!
The contrast between the American spectacle of celebrity death worship and the Jewish tradition of mourning has rarely been as sharply defined as it is this week.
I write these words 12 days after Michael Jackson died, his funeral arrangements and burial site still undecided. The star’s death has become as big a phenomenon as his troubled life. His family members hold press conferences, appear at music awards ceremonies and allow tickets to be distributed through a lottery for a huge, public memorial ceremony.