Paris: Mohamed Sifaoui has a price on his head and a book on the best-seller list.
Three years after he left his native Algeria, the Muslim journalist began to serendipitously infiltrate France's extremist Islamic circles last fall. Sifaoui spent four months with the followers of al Qaeda, praying with them and listening to them discuss attacks, secretly taping them.
The result was a book and two television documentaries: and a new life as a marked man.
Clichy-sous-Bois, France: A rabbi is stabbed in nearby Paris and Jack Bouccara thinks about the safety of his own congregation's rabbi.
A car explodes near a Jewish school in Paris and Bouccara worries about his synagogue, a three-minute walk from his home.
French President Jacques Chirac announces that 700 French synagogues and other Jewish sites will need police protection if the American war against Iraq breaks out, and Bouccara fears that his synagogue might come under attack.
In deciding whether the United States should attack Iraq, rabbinic leaders from the different streams of Judaism are drawing upon Talmudic and biblical sources such as the Exodus story in which Moses and Aaron ultimately resort to "force" to win freedom for the Jews.
And while the rabbinic leadership appears largely behind President George W. Bush, the Jewish community as a whole is deeply divided. Except for the Orthodox, leaders of the other movements said there was no consensus among their congregants about whether to go to war now.
The looming war with Iraq has long ago taken on the language of a religious crusade, in Arab capitals as well as the White House. But the Jewish messianic excitement that grew out of the first Gulf War back in 1991 is more muted now, humbled after a decade of the crash and burn of the peace process, controversy over the Lubavitch messianic aspirations, and Israelís Palestinian war that has shown little evidence of anyoneís grand plan, let alone Godís.
Paris: On a pair of aisle seats in the ornate ballroom of City Hall here, with a white-haired cantor intoning in the background and an Israeli flag hanging on the front stage next to the colors of France, Sylvain and Ninette Smadja talked about life for Parisian Jews in recent weeks.
Kleinmachnow, Germany: Ron Brown suddenly became nervous. The Reform rabbi from Merrick, L.I., for weeks had been pondering how his delegation of 11 American rabbis should dialogue with a classroom of German teenaged students over such hot-button topics as the Holocaust, the state of anti-Semitism today, Israel and now the looming American invasion of Iraq.