Bathed in light, wrapped in a tallit and kittel, the soul of a middle-aged New York Jew speaks to his earthly body on a Queens side street late one night last week.
“Chaim, Chaim,” calls the soul, flanked by a pair of large menorahs, an ark of Torah scrolls behind him, “good Shabbos. Did you have a good week?”
A plaintive voice — of Chaim himself, who is mentally disabled — is heard answering, “Nobody likes me.”
Don’t despair, answers the soul. “Soon it will all be over.”
To open a kosher restaurant, you have to lease the space, order food, buy pots and pans, train chefs in the laws of kashrut and hire a mashgiach.
In Athens on the eve of the Olympic Games, you also have to arrange for security guards.
“We’re very concerned about [security],” Rabbi Mendel Hendel said in a phone interview from Athens.
A public opinion pollster is interviewing people on the street. He stops four people and asks, “Excuse me, what is your opinion of the meat shortage?” A Russian says, “What is opinion?” A Pole says, “What is meat?” An American says, “What is shortage?” An Israeli says, “What is ‘excuse me’?” My first time in Israel was an education. But not in the way I had anticipated.
The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week.
The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.
It was an opinion from Israel's top judge that American Conservative Jews would have preferred to read in a judicial ruling. But it was enough to put a smile on their faces.
"The lack of civil marriage in Israel is a major violation of human rights," Supreme Court president Aharon Barak told more than 30 members of United Synagogue's Project Reconnect, an organization of former United Synagogue Youth members, during a group visit to Israel last week.
Surrender is usually less about treason than about exhaustion, and the Jews are an exhausted people. After centuries of being killed, there are Jews suggesting we die not with a bang but a whimper. Better to live in Canaan than in Zion; better intermarriage than to be thought intolerant; better oblivion than being eaten alive.
This just in from the Jerusalem Post: President Barack Obama’s failure to name a special envoy on anti-Semitism “raises questions about the importance the new administration attaches to the fight against anti-Semitism,” according to Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington DC-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.”
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
On a day dedicated to remembering exile and expulsion, here’s an excellent film, “Home Game,” about the “disengagement,” the surrealistic self-ethnic cleansing, of Jews from Gaza — four years ago, this week.
A new poll by J Street, the pro-peace process political action committee and lobby, contained good news for President Barack Obama, worrisome signs for incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some predictably bad news for Jewish organizations facing an unprecedented economic crisis.