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.
The most encouraging aspect of the visit to Israel this weekend of Pope Francis is that such a papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land has become expected, if not routine, in recent years. Francis is the third consecutive pope to make the trip — the first foreign journey of his reign — following John Paul II in 2000 and Benedict XVI in 2009.
Show a Jew a silver lining, the old saying goes, and he looks for the cloud.
But one does not have to look far for clouds in a week when Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in jail for bribery, a new low point in political corruption in the Jewish State; former 92nd Street Y executive director Sol Adler apparently took his life after being dismissed last year for his involvement in a corruption scandal, a personal and communal tragedy; and the Anti-Defamation League, in its most comprehensive survey on anti-Semitic attitudes around the globe, found that 26 percent of the more than 50,000 people polled “are deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes,” which translates to an estimated 1 billion people in all.