This week brought news that Obama is reading David Grossman's novel "To the End of the Land" while summering on Martha's Vineyard. It was one of the best reviewed book's last year, and that it focuses on an Israeli mother whose son is killed in yet another Arab war, is probably lost on no one. Certainly not Jews.
Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side is a neighborhood of towering rents, but the Orthodox Ramaz school is using 18,000 square feet of Reform Temple Emanu-El’s space for a cool $1 for two months.
Homeless after the July 11 fire in the 85th Street building that houses both Ramaz and its parent synagogue, Kehilath Jeshurun, the school’s first through fourth graders will study through October in Temple Emanu-El’s afternoon Hebrew School in the synagogue building at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The easy thing to do after Kanye West's poorly chosen words this weekend--in which he likened the noxious stares he gets these days to ones people might give Hitler--is to ask for an apology. No word yet on whether any Jewish groups are asking for one, but my bet is that it's in the offing. But perhaps a better thing to do is to ask: are his comments a reflection of philo-semitism?
On the weekends, I like to get away from work. One of the places where I like to do that is museums. And what better one to visit, if you're looking to avoid Jews (for me, that's my job; not anti-semitism), than the Asia Society? Surely there'd be nothing on view there that would make me think of writing, deadlines and blogging about Jews--that is, work.
A sign like that would be infuriating. How about a presidential candidate saying he would be uncomfortable appointing Jews to his cabinet, you know, with all those dual loyalty questions? Outrageous bigotry, you say? Now substitute Muslim for Jew and you have Republican presidential wannabe Herman Cain.
The latest Gallup poll shows a "solid majority of Jewish Americans still approve of Obama," and they may be his most loyal segment of the population. President Obama's Jewish approval level was 60 percent in June, about 14 points above the general public. Among Jewish Democrats his rating was 85 percent, compared to 51 percent among observant Jews, who attend synagogue at least once a week and tend to be more conservative than most other Jews.
It doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative--if you're European, "mutliculturalism" has become a dirty word. The New York Times ran an op-ed today by a British writer attacking multiculturalism as form of public policy.
Two mayors in the north, looking for a grass-roots connection.
Editor And Publisher
‘Even if there is peace between Israel and the Arabs, it will not solve our problems,” Nazia Masrawa, the mayor of an Arab Israeli town in the north called Kfar Qara (population 17,000), told me in a soft, matter-of-fact voice during a recent interview here.
He cited the lack of interaction between Arabs and Jews living in close proximity, based on fear and distrust, and the economic gap between the societies that has widened since the first intifada almost 24 years ago.
New York magazine has a great chart comparing two adjacent New York City congressional districts in this week's issue. One is District 14, which includes all of the Upper East Side, parts of Murray Hill, Long Island City, Astoria, and a few other less affluent places too. The other is District 16, just north of the Upper East Side, and covers much of the South Bronx. The stats they line up are startling: the average income in District 14 is $79,385; in D-16 it's $23,073.
On Monday the Upper West Side outlet of the venerated bagel store H&H closed, and not since the death of Michael Jackson has a New York summer seen so much grief. "There Goes a Piece of the Old Neighborhood, Again" ran a New York Times headline in a story dripping with pathos.