Annual Fifth Avenue ‘Salute’ attracts ‘hundreds of thousands,’ but questions about unity linger.
Special To The Jewish Week
Standing at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, near G.M. Plaza and the start of the annual Salute to Israel Parade, Marilyn Chandler apologized Sunday for being a little disoriented by all the hoopla around her.
“I just got off the plane from Greensboro, N.C., and it’s overwhelming to see all the blue and white,” the colors of the Israeli flag, said Chandler, executive director of the Greensboro Jewish Federation.
Walking along the route of the Israel Day Parade yesterday, from 72nd Street down to 59th Street along Fifth Avenue, I was reminded once again, and in dramatic fashion, how the expression of Zionism in American has become increasingly the purview of the Modern Orthodox community.
The crowd appeared to be made up primarily of relatives and friends of the marchers – many of the large contingents were day school children – and other observant Jews.
Some Jewish leaders are already dismissing former New Republic editor Peter Beinart’s harsh treatise on American Jewish leadership because of its venue: the New York Review of Books, a high-toned outpost for the Israel-is-always-wrong crowd.
That would be unwise. Even while we disagree with some of Beinart’s analysis, his essay points to critical challenges facing Jewish leaders as our community, like the nation as a whole, becomes more bitterly polarized and as Israel faces growing pressures, both internal and external.
Before heading to bed last night, I logged onto the New York Review of Books Web site. On the front-page was a powerful article by former New Republic editor Peter Beinart that lambasts American Jewish organizations -- AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and so on -- for letting their steadfast support for Israel trump the liberal ethos that informs broader American Jewish identity. I was sure this would cause a storm.
From deep in the political wilderness, from the “bluest” fringe of America, Rabbi Michael Lerner this week saw the writing on the wall.
“We have a tough fight in front of us” to influence American politics while being outside of many positions of power, Rabbi Lerner, editor of the San Francisco-based Tikkun magazine, told The Jewish Week.
Monday, November 3rd, 2008
James Besser in Washington
Over the weekend the blogosphere was filled with speculation about this question: would Sen. John McCain now be leading Sen Barack Obama if he had more actively raised the issue of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Democratic nominee’s former pastor?
Opinion is divided, with many analysts saying that the issue of the sinking economy would still trump all others, but one question has not been actively raised: what about the Jewish community?