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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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