As I read the Torah portion last Shabbat, I couldn’t help but smile at the contrast in style between Moses, in his first appearance as the future (and greatest) leader of the Jewish people, and Barack Obama, as he becomes president of the United States and Leader of the Free World.
Could two men be more different in accepting the mantle of responsibility?
While the tragic violence in Mumbai was still unfolding on Nov. 27, a Washington Post report noted: “It is not known how the attackers seized on the low-key Chabad House.”
It was one of several press reports at the time that professed surprise when the best-known Jewish site in the city became a target for the gunmen, later identified as Pakistan-based Islamic terrorists.
The basic ground rule for a two-hour roundtable discussion last Thursday sponsored by The Jewish Week and JInsider.com, a Jewish news Web site, on “Jewish Philanthropy in Crisis: Creative Strategies for Moving Forward,” was that the 18 participants could not use “the M word,” as in Madoff.
Establishment organizations should take note of a little-known but international phenomenon in communal living among Jewish twentysomethings called Moishe House.
Professional executives and big-time philanthropists would be wise to explore, especially now, how a tiny operation could have such a wide reach, touching Jewish lives in important ways while spending relatively little money.
And the key may simply be to trust and empower the right young people to determine how they want to express their Jewishness, and pay close attention to the results.
Jerusalem — The potential silver lining from last week’s inconclusive national elections — resulting in a frustrated electorate without a clear-cut leader or stable government — is that the country’s voting system, finally exposed as disastrous, will be overhauled.
I’ve just finished reading a book called “New York Jews and the Great Depression.” Sounds all too current, I know, but it’s a study of the Jewish community here in the 1930s — how it suffered from and responded to the economic crisis that plunged this country into the depths of destabilization.