Item: A special bar and bat mitzvah ceremony for children with severe autism, held annually for the last 25 years by the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel, was canceled two days prior to the event last week. It was scheduled to be held in Rehovot, a city with a diverse population of about 100,000 in the center of Israel, but the ultra-Orthodox mayor there banned the use of the only Conservative congregation for the ceremony, forcing its postponement.
After Arab terrorists killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, I thought the world would see Israel’s plight in dealing with terrorists in a new light: a democracy subject to the violent hatred of those seeking to destroy “Big Satan” (the U.S.) and “Little Satan” (Israel), along with Western values of human rights and freedoms.
Last Wednesday night my wife and I saw the gripping Israeli film “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” about the years-long effort of a woman to receive a religious divorce from a husband she no longer can abide. On leaving the theater we heard a woman at the end of our row say in an accusatory way to a woman seated nearby, “I’m not Jewish but I understand that Jewish men thank God every day for not making them a woman.”
The spring of your senior year is an exciting time in your life. You most likely are feeling a well-deserved sense of accomplishment on the verge of completing your high school career and, for those of you going on to college in the fall, a sense of anticipation as you look forward to campus life and a new level of independence. But there may also be a healthy dose of anxiety as to how you will fare on your own.
Hang on, folks, the formation of the next Israeli government is getting a lot more intriguing and complicated than we thought, made even more so by the proposed Iran nuclear deal.
Remember when, a week before the elections last month, it seemed likely the results would lead to a national unity government including right-of-center Likud, led by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the left-of-center Zionist Union, headed by Isaac Herzog of Labor and Tzipi Livni of Tnuah?