The office of the president of the State of Israel is largely symbolic, intended to unify the country and bring it enhanced stature. But from the outset the definition of the role, to “stand at the head of the state,” has been vague, leading critics to call for its abolishment on the grounds that it is unnecessary and costly.
The Israeli government is understandably upset with Washington’s decision to deal with the newly announced unity government formed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The anger and frustration is based on Jerusalem’s leaders being taken by surprise by the move and because the U.S. could have and should have based its acceptance on Hamas reforming itself.
We are proud to present the seventh annual edition of 36 Under 36 this week, with the State of Israel Bonds as sponsor in recognizing the importance of highlighting the creativity, commitment and accomplishments of the next generation of American Jewish trendsetters.
Much has been made of the controversy in recent weeks over which groups should and should not be participating in the 50th annual Celebrate Israel parade. It is set for Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, up Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street.
Shavuot, the most subtle of holidays, comes in on cat’s paws, often eluding the Jewish and general consciousness. (This year it is celebrated from Tuesday evening to Thursday night, June 3-5.) Jack Frost, Thanksgiving and department stores herald the coming of Chanukah. Passover’s multiple preparations begin with Purim, and model seders with our American neighbors. Sukkot, with its highly visible accouterments, rides the coat tails of the High Holy Days. Shavuot — meaning simply “Weeks” — is prefaced with the seven weeks of the Omer’s nightly blessing, a sign that, starting with Passover, we eagerly anticipate the holiday on which the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. But only the Lou Gehrigs and Cal Ripkens among us haven’t missed an evening’s count along the way.
Memorial Day, observed this Monday, was created to honor the memory of American soldiers who gave their lives for their country. Too often it is marked more by barbecues and consumer sales than with the somber dignity it deserves, a time to consider and give thanks for the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Services here and around the world to protect the homeland.