On Purim eve, as Jews across the city attended megillah readings and costume parties, about 80 Jewish young professionals — dressed in business attire — gathered at the American Jewish Committee headquarters for PR Bootcamp for Israel, a teach-in sandwiched between a sushi dinner and a dance party. Michael Shannon, a conservative public relations guru and an Evangelical Christian, was the drill sergeant of sorts, instructing attendees about how to make a case for Israel to their non-Jewish friends.
Jerusalem — On Friday afternoon, just a few hours after two horrific explosions rocked the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, First Sgt. Ilan Cryton received the call he had been expecting.
“I’d heard about the explosion on CNN but had to go out, so I kept my mobile phone open,” says the 25-year-old reservist, a member of the Israel Defense Force’s crack search-and-rescue team. “I had two hours to get ready, but luckily I live close to the base.”
Director Oren Moverman leans on his Israeli military experience in making his new film.
Special to the Jewish Week
‘The Messenger,” the critically acclaimed film now playing nationally, follows two U.S. Army casualty notification officers as they visit families to inform them that their loved ones have been killed in combat. Clearly, it is a subject ripe with political possibilities, but it is one director and co-screenwriter Oren Moverman knows well.
Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.: Francelia Morales, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant living in a roach-infested, leaky apartment with mildewed walls, has been thinking a lot about the crisis in the Middle East lately.
"I feel a link to the Palestinians I never knew before," she said as she sat with her husband and three children amid the cardboard storage boxes, children's toys and English-language instruction video cassettes that crowd her small living room.
Her neighbor from just a few doors down feels similarly.
A U.S. Army reconnaissance unit parachutes into Vilna in 1943.
Surrounded by the Nazi and Russian armies, under heavy shelling, the American soldiers rendezvous with a Lithuanian partisan, a bearded hulk of a man named Bear. Stepping out of the rubble, Bear declares "We got package for you, very valuable, very ... breakable."
Stuart Wolfer, who grew up in Dix Hills, L.I., surprised his parents on a visit back home during his freshman year in college when he announced he was going to join the ROTC military training program and eventually serve in the U.S. Army.
“We’re not army people. This is not your personality,” his father, Len, told him.
“I only go around once. I want to try everything,” Stuart Wolfer answered.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.
Marcus Kranz escaped Hitler's gas chambers by working in a labor camp in Romania while the rest of his family (his sister and parents) perished.
But in a cruel irony, he and five others in his son's Long Island home succumbed to another kind of gas, carbon monoxide.
Police said the central air conditioner in the Roslyn Heights home of Kranz's son, Andrei, apparently circulated the deadly fumes from an improperly vented furnace that had been left on.
The tires of three cars parked at the South Huntington (L.I.) Jewish Center were slashed while their owners attended pre-High Holy Day services Saturday night, and a few hours later in Centereach, L.I., other vandals scrawled swastikas and anti-Semitic and anti-black epithets on a public school.
When he first proudly donned a badge as a Suffolk County cop three decades ago, Howard Mandell walked a beat in Huntington, L.I. He made headlines a few years later when he and his partner foiled a bank robbery in Northport, shooting and killing the gunman.