On Monday, President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.7 trillion budget outline that includes significant cuts to a number of human service programs. Congressional Republicans quickly countered that the cuts are insufficient to rein in a runaway deficit that is projected to hit a staggering $1.65 trillion this year.
Much has been written in recent days about Israel’s unease over the pro-democracy surge that led to the ouster of longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak. Critics have accused the Jewish state of hypocrisy — always touting its status as a genuine democracy and arguing that peace can be made only with other democracies while tilting in favor of Mubarak’s repressive reign in the interests of security and stability.
In his article on the latest crisis in the Conservative movement, “United Synagogue Turns Inward” (Feb. 11), Stewart Ain lists as one of the reasons “that the best and brightest” are migrating to post-denominational or Modern Orthodox settings.
I fully agree, and point out one example why this is happening.
How are we to respond when Jewish cultural institutions are accused of hurting Israel’s cause by presenting exhibits, films or performances critical of particular aspects of the Jewish state’s policies?
These complaints have been heard of late from a small but vocal number of critics of the JCC in Manhattan and the Foundation for Jewish Culture, two institutions with a proud record of supporting Israel and Jewish artists, nurturing their work and helping to create and strengthen Jewish identity, culture and community.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives, but Natan Sharansky — a Russian “prisoner of Zion,” and now an Israeli public figure — has had an exquisite second act to rival the agony of his first.
History doesn’t often provide happier endings and beginnings than the one experienced 25 years ago this week, Feb.11, 1986, when Sharansky was freed after nine brutal years in the Soviet Gulag, crossing the Glienicke Bridge over the Havel River, walking from East Germany to West Berlin and freedom.