N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.
As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.
“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.
The skies over Israel were clear on Monday night, clear enough for the annual fireworks on the eve of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Independence Day.
But for some Israelis, the celebration of the country’s 62nd birthday was overcast.
“62, Under a U.S. Cloud,” a headline over an editorial in the Jerusalem Post declared.
The newspaper said the current chilled relations between Israel and the Obama administration because of the pace of Middle East peace negotiations, added to the threat of a nuclear Iran, cast a pall over Independence Day.
I had several calls in the past few days expressing emotions ranging from anxiety to rage because of the Obama administration's rumored Middle East peace plan. And that made me wonder about how the other side – and J Street, in particular – will respond to the inevitable firestorm from mainstream pro-Israel groups when and if a plan is unveiled.
With talk continuing about a possible U.S. Mideast peace proposal, the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl has a thought provoking analysis suggesting this is exactly the wrong policy for the current situation.
You know about the zillion or so Jewish blogs out there in cyberspace, but there are also plenty of blogs that are not focused primarily on Jewish issues – but which provide a lot of content about Israel, U.S. Middle East policy and a range of domestic issues that Jews love to debate. Here are five that are consistently interesting:
The new obsession with Jewish vengeance, and what it suggests.
Special to the Jewish Week
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?
Blacks, Jews and the house on Pennsylvania Avenue.
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?
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.
The World Jewish Congress has become the first mainstream Jewish organization to speak out against the Obama administration's recent treatment of Israel, scheduling full-page ads to appear in tomorrow's editions of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post that criticize Washington for placing the Mideast impasse on Jerusalem.