nazis

Can The Swastika Be Rehabilitated?

What do you do if you see someone wearing a swastika?

Do you confront the offender? Inquire why the person is displaying the hated sign of the regime that perpetrated the Holocaust? Educate? Walk away?

The decision is harder if the person in question obviously means no harm and is apparently oblivious to the Swastika’s emotional impact on Jews, if not on anyone who grew up in the era of World War II or has some historical consciousness.

I faced this dilemma a few weeks ago.

Message from the Raelians.

Oy, Sonja.

Once upon a time – about seven months ago – in a land far, far away (Sweden), where there aren’t many Jews, the government decided for PR purposes to give a different citizen control over its Twitter account every week, the only real requirement being that the Twitterer tweet in English.

The idea was that the tweets would naturally broadcast the essence of Sweden as it conceives of itself: open, creative, progressive, eclectic.

@Sweden/Sonja

Poles And The Holocaust: Another Side Of The Coin

Have you ever heard of Wincenty and Lucja Baranek, Adam and Bronislawa Kowalski or Josef and Wiktoria Ulma?

If not, you’re not alone.

They’re not well-known either in Poland, their homeland, where each of the couples risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Poland has taken a step to recognize the heroes, recently issuing commemorative coins to honor them: all Catholics, all killed for their actions.

The significance of the gesture transcends the world of numismatism.

A Polish coin honors Irena Sendler, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Matylda Getter for saving Jews.

Tim Boxer At Dr. Ruth's Birthday Bash

06/11/2012

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, America’s favorite sex therapist, keeps reinventing herself. She’s next coming out as a vintner with her own private label California wine with an appropriate  brand name, Vin D’Amour (grapes of love).

“It will be sold in Costco and grocery stores,” she said. “That’s because the alcohol content is only 6 percent, half the usual amount.”

“Avengers” Stays True To Anti-Totalitarian Theme Of Comics' Origins

Books have been written about the role of many immigrant-offspring Jews in creating the comic book universe and such colorful, tights-clad denizens as Superman, Spiderman and Captain America. So there’s no point in predictable shepping nachas about how The Tribe has helped capture the imagination of three generations with inspiring tales of preserving truth, justice and the American Way.

Marvel's latest blockbuster, "The Avengers," pits a group of heroes against a would-be dictator from another world.

"Mein Kampf" Goes Back In Print--in Germany. Good for the Jews?

For years, German scholars and the country’s most prominent Jewish organizations have argued that Germany should allow “Mein Kampf” to be published in Germany before the copyright expires, in 2015.  It is not illegal to publish the book in Germany, but the state of Bavaria, which holds the copyright, had adamantly refused for decades, saying that the longer the book was out of print, the better.

Yom Hashoah Thoughts

04/19/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Re-entry from Israel to New York is always a surreal experience for me.  Where I live in central Queens is one of the most densely populated Jewish areas in the United States. There is little Jewish that is lacking here.  Outside of Israel, there are very few, if any, places in the United States where you can get quite as many Israeli products as my greater neighborhood, But after spending ten days in Jerusalem, I am reminded of just how much New York is not Israel.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Polish Jews: This Land Is Our Land

To read the recent headlines from what most Americans blithely refer to as Eastern Europe -- an expanse of territory that more accurately is Central and Northern and Southern and parts bordering on Western Europe -- one might think that the cauldron of Nazi-era anti-Semitism is boiling over again.

A Hungarian legislator invoking the centuries-old blood libel accusation. Neglect of a small Jewish cemetery in the former Yugoslavia. Restaurant patrons in Ukraine who get hats with attached side curls that mock payot.

J'Accuse! Robert Alter on Nathan Englander, a New Literary Feud

When I saw that the new issue of The New Republic had Robert Alter reviewing a new work by Nathan Englander, I instinctively thought it’d be of Englander’s new translation of the Passover Haggadah.  Given that Alter is a widely admired translator of the Hebrew Bible, it was only natural for me to assume as much. 

On Peter Novick, Albert Abramson, and the Death of Two Feuding Holocaust Figures

This week brought news of two shocking deaths: the first of Albert Abramson, 94, an important figure in building the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  And then there was Peter Novick, 77, an historian who wrote a withering attack of the Holocaust’s undue influence on American Jewish identity.  The two would probably have had little to agree

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