Every year about this time, I remember Samuel Beckett’s enigmatic play, “Waiting for Godot.” Beckett refused to identify Godot with God, but this period of the Omer is when Jews wait for God, and the parallel is compelling.
In a recent speech to the Jewish Agency, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed challenges to the Jewish future and said, “The loss of identity through assimilation or through intermarriage or through both is the greatest toll-taker of Jewish numbers in the last half-century.”
Netanyahu is not the first and won’t be the last to use the words “intermarriage” and “assimilation” interchangeably. A Google search for “Jewish intermarriage and assimilation” produces more than 500,000 results.
With registration for the fall semester just days away and scholarship application deadlines long passed, five future Jewish leaders found themselves scrambling to replace the tens of thousands of tuition dollars a Jewish program had suddenly revoked.
But the day before Passover, Moishe House founder David Cygielman appeared with a strong hand, an outstretched arm — and a band of anonymous donors.
The Passover story is about the Jewish people gaining their freedom from slavery in Egypt. This year, two Jewish groups are connecting the holiday to a campaign to free American children from the bondage of hunger.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger are helping communities around the country hold a “Child Nutrition Seder” to both raise awareness of the issue of proper childhood nutrition and build support for the reauthorization of congressional legislation providing billions of dollars for federal nutrition programs.
Washington, D.C. — Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had just begun hitting the shores in 1883 when a small group of American professors founded the Modern Language Association to advocate tongues other than ancient Greek and Latin. But they probably weren’t thinking of Yiddish, Hebrew or Ladino.
In what one arts advocate called the "ritual mating dance" that starts off months of fiscal back-and-forth, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recommended slashing 6.2 percent from the Department of Cultural Affairs, a decrease that arts advocates calculate will translate into much larger cuts for some institutions and groups. Gov. George Pataki recently proposed slashing 15 percent from the New York State Council on the Arts, while New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey has proposed a temporary freeze on all grants to arts groups.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is preparing to return to Ethiopia, just four months after it virtually shut down its operations in the African nation at the request of the Israeli government. Reports of death, illness and impoverished conditions among the thousands of Ethiopians who have flooded into the capital city of Addis Ababa and Gondar City prompted the move by the relief agency.
Indiana U. launches contemporary anti-Semitism center, the second major academic institution of its kind. Will politics compromise its mission?
In recent years, Jewish intellectuals have sometimes bemoaned the anti-Zionist views heard on college campuses, and among liberal intellectuals generally, but have failed to do much about it. But that may be changing.
Last month, the chair of the Jewish studies department at Indiana University in Bloomington, Alvin Rosenfeld, announced the foundation of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism. His goal is to study, in a dispassionate, scholarly way, what he thinks is just a new version of a very old kind of hate: anti-Semitism.