Thane Rosenbaum

Yom HaShoah: Remembering the Wrong Thing

The new obsession with Jewish vengeance, and what it suggests.

Special to the Jewish Week
04/15/2010

In the topsy-turvy post-Holocaust world, genocide never ended and the Holocaust itself became a brand name. Yom HaShoah competed with Yom Kippur for mourners. A museum in Washington, D.C., doubled as a Jewish Mount Rushmore. And Anne Frank was adopted by every culture on earth as a metaphor for adolescence interrupted. Elie Wiesel, a precocious, sensitive boy from a remote region of Transylvania, ended up as a Nobel laureate, a worldwide celebrity, and an honored guest on “Oprah.”

Who would have imagined all that when the death camps were liberated in 1945?

Revisionist history obscuring truth? Brad Pitt as Nazi hunter Lt. Aldo Raine in “Inglourious Basterds.”

Can Our 15 Minutes Last?

The rewards and pitfalls of being cool in America’s eyes.

12/24/2003
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.

Anne, Still At Center Of Shoah Universe

Amid Holocaust fatigue and farce, Otto Frank’s letters pack a punch.

02/22/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

Last week, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research revealed nearly 80 documents showing that Otto Frank, the father of the world’s most famous diarist, Anne Frank, attempted in 1941 to emigrate his entire family from Holland to America.
 

Günter Grass’ Skeletons

On the eve of his N.Y. reading, questions about morality, concealment and truth.

06/22/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

Ah, to live in a confessional age. The fever to publicly acknowledge past mistakes is the latest craze of popular culture. Contrition, apparently, is in. With the television box as the new confessional booth, celebrities rush to repent on Larry King, Oprah and even Tyra — all as a means of public expiation and shrewd career management.

Augie March, In The Flesh

Norman Mailer could throw a punch, but as a writer he bobbed and weaved around his Jewishness.

11/14/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

One virtue of the novel is that fictional characters often outlive the novelist who created them. Actually, that’s one of the reasons why some people give up their day jobs to tell stories instead. Aside from having children, fiction writing is one of the best ways to leave evidence of oneself. And, in some cases — think Atticus Finch, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Tom Sawyer — it can even lead to immortality.
 

All You Need Is ... Hate

The moral contradictions behind the effort to pressure Paul McCartney not to play in Israel.

09/24/2008
Special To The Jewish Week

The theme song for radical Islam is not exactly “Let it Be.”
 

Salman Rushdie spent nearly a decade of his life with a fatwa hanging over his head for having written “The Satanic Verses.” To Muslim clerics the novel presented irreverent depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, which, in the Islamic world, is tantamount to signing your own death warrant.
 

A number of years later, Danish cartoonists suffered a similar fate after newspapers published cartoons that Muslims deemed to be mocking of Mohammad.
 

He Beat Us To It

Blacks, Jews and the house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

11/04/2008
Special To The Jewish Week

Everyone is familiar with the parlor game so fashionable among armchair Jewish and African-American politicos. You know, the one with the implausibly absurd question: Who will become the first Jew or black to be elected president, and which one will come first?
 

The Conning Of Jewish America

Madoff, Rosenblat and a communal trust betrayed.

01/08/2009
Special To The Jewish Week

As if things couldn’t possibly get any worse, being a Jew suddenly got even tougher.
 

Israel is being condemned for having unleashed its own version of “shock and awe” in Gaza. The unremitting rocket attacks inside Israel — during a purported cease-fire — generated little public outcry until Israel decided to do something about it.
 

Whose Money Is It?

A debate on who should get unclaimed Swiss bank funds.

05/07/2004
Special To The Jewish Week

Even when it comes to restitution for the living, somebody has to speak for the dead. The dead cannot make monetary claims, yet they have the right to assert moral ones - on all of us.

Throughout these recent restitution initiatives, there has been a lot of acrimony about money, but very little focus on dignity, which is a hallmark of social justice. The precedent that the Swiss bank case creates, the impression it leaves, the memory it honors, in many respects is as important as the money it distributes.

Into The Void at Ground Zero

Contemplating emptiness and loss, from Birkenau to Lower Manhattan.

01/16/2004
Special to the Jewish Week

Some holes, frankly, are not meant to be filled or tampered with.

Indeed, while equally empty, not all holes are the same. Natural geologic formations are one thing, man-made atrocities that claim human lives are quite another. One is a landmass of spectacle and curiosity; the other a burial ground and, therefore, especially sacred.

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