The so-called Geneva Initiative, a peace proposal unveiled this week by former and current Israeli lawmakers and Palestinian officials, is designed to demonstrate to the Israeli public that "there are decent people on the other side, that there is what to talk about, and basically whom to talk to."
That was the assessment of Colette Avital, a Knesset member from the Labor Party who at one time participated in the effort to formulate the proposal. She insisted that at no time was it an attempt to replace or circumvent the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Auckland, New Zealand: Roy Netzer first came here as a backpacker, after finishing his five years in the Israeli army and university studies, because he wanted to "experience another country."
He liked what he saw.
Netzer married and worked for a year in Israel, then returned here eight years ago with his wife and without a job lined up.
"I got the 'New Zealand bug,' " he says. "We came with four suitcases."
Sydney: A nearly capacity crowd filled the sanctuary of North Shore Temple Emanuel on a recent weeknight. In the seats were Jews, Christians and "a few Aborigines," said Rabbi Allison Conyer. As part of a forum, "The Aboriginal Challenge: Where To Now?" sponsored by the congregation's Social Action Group, a series of Aboriginal speakers discussed the native Australians' history and current social problems, and the event's Jewish moderator urged the Jewish community to get involved.
Sydney, Australia: One by one, the elderly men with white hair or bald heads raised their hands.
Sitting in the sunlit Terrace Room of the Australian National Maritime Museum, at the edge of Sydney Harbor, they listened as Henry Lippmann, a fellow octogenarian, stood with hand-written notes and microphone in hand reading brief snippets of their life stories, asking each to acknowledge his presence.
The proprietors of the small kiosks in The Diamond Exchange on West 47th Street, the heart of Manhattan's Diamond District, decorate their working areas with artifacts to give each an individual touch. There are family photos, religious icons and homeland decals.
John Kaufmann, a native of Germany, has attached a pair of small stuffed koalas to the spine of his desk lamp. They're a reminder of Australia, where as one of the Dunera Boys he spent eight years.
by Daniel Belasco |
Special to The Jewish Week
Frankfurt, Germany: Amsterdam has long been a place of education and remembrance of Anne Frank. But in her hometown of Frankfurt, Germany, Frank's life and death for years have been marked only with a plaque on one of her two former homes and an elementary school renamed in her honor. Annual ceremonies were held on her birthday from 1957 to 1970, but until now there has never been an ambitious permanent site dedicated to telling the story of one of the most famous and eloquent victims of the Holocaust.