Most of the 750 young adults who packed a cavernous room in Manhattan’s Puck Building last week wouldn’t have come near a UJA-Federation of New York event three or four years ago, one of the function’s organizers said. And half of those who came last week, he added, will never again be seen by federation leaders.
As the military government in Myanmar continued its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, a Burmese Jew now living in the United States expressed his sorrow over the killing of civilians — a number that could be as low as the 10 acknowledged by the government or as high as the hundreds claimed by human-rights advocates.
Sammy Samuels, a New York-based employee of American Jewish Congress, also said he witnessed one of the largest demonstrations preceding the crackdown while visiting his family in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, for the High Holy Days.
The Center for Jewish History is currently showing an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Raphael Lemkin. If his name isn’t quite familiar to you, rest assured, you’re not alone. In any event, you certainly know the one word that’s become synonymous with him: genocide. In 1943, Lemkin invented the term. And in 1951, he saw to it that the United Nations make it a punishable crime.
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
In the end, of course, “Hair” is a Broadway musical, a superficial story with superb songs that just happen to be about drugs, dropouts and draft dodging. Some teenagers, from a yeshiva, told an old man (me) that seeing “Hair” made them wish that they were “activists,” too, like the kids in “Hair,” which is as connected to real life as wanting to be a nanny after seeing “Mary Poppins,” or a horse after “Equus.”
Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
The recent arrest of an Israeli spy, Ben-Ami Kadish, brings Jonathan Pollard to mind, and one of the weakest, most infuriating arguments on Pollard’s behalf: “He spied for a friendly nation,” Israel.
As DeGaulle once said, nations don’t have friends, they only have interests.
A year ago, Jill Savitt found herself in a scorching refugee camp in northern Africa, holding the hand of a boy whose family had lost its home in the Darfur genocide, and thinking of her own 9-year-old son who was safe at home in Brooklyn.
Savitt’s visit to the camp in Chad, her first on-site encounter with the victims of the five-year campaign of murder and enslavement conducted by the government in neighboring Sudan, was another step in a mid-career change that brought her from nonprofit communications consultant to advocate for genocide victims.
Tikkun olam,” the powerful Jewish concept of repairing the world, has long been heralded as the rallying cry of Conservative and Reform Jewry. But a growing number of Orthodox 20- and 30-year-olds are trying to revive social justice responsibilities among their Orthodox peers — not as a liberal, humanistic-driven concept, but as one steeped in Jewish tradition and halacha.