In the wake of the presidential clemency awarded 11 Puerto Rican activists, imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is asking President Bill Clinton to apply the “same standards in my case” and release him.
“I can only hope that the president will see that by commuting my sentence, he would be underscoring his administration’s commitment to due process and fair play,” Pollard told The Jewish Week in a phone interview from the federal prison in Butner, N.C.
The tiny coastal town of Calais, Maine (pop. 3,963), just across the St. Croix River from New Brunswick and abutting the rugged Atlantic Provinces of Canada, has little in common, geographically or spiritually, with Kibbutz Sde Elyahu in Israel’s Beit Shean Valley, hard by the Jordan River about 90 miles north of Jerusalem. Little, that is, save for a gun and camping equipment salesman named Harold Silverman.
And a Torah.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s Mideast trip, scheduled for next week, isn’t shaping up the way administration officials had hoped. And the rumbles of discontent in Washington, along with the implied threat that she could cancel the visit entirely, may have played a part in this week’s sudden flurry of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.
The State Department is making it clear that despite Palestinian demands for more direct U.S. intervention, Albright will be mostly assessing the status of Israeli-Palestinian talks, not serving as an intermediary.
Synagogue officials across the country this week struggled with how to handle security arrangements for the High Holy Days, while bizarre bias acts occurred at two synagogues in Connecticut and in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, two weeks after a white supremacist gunman went on a shooting rampage at Los Angeles Jewish Community Center wounding five people, including three children, JCC officials are issuing a plea for help, saying they are feeling abandoned by the Jewish community.
When 15-year-old Ryan Green wore his new Star of David necklace to the first day of class at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss., it drew the attention of wary school officials.
The school superintendent, backed by the entire local school board barred the carrot-topped, freckle-faced boy from wearing the silver pendant, citing a school policy that prohibits students from wearing gang symbols.
The case swiftly gained national attention, spurring a federal lawsuit, charges of anti-Semitism and raising new questions about religious freedom in public schools.
The six-pointed star — the so-called Star of David — has been many things to many people over past several thousand years. But it only became a universal symbol for Jews — known as the Magen David — during the past 200 years, many scholars say.
The hexagram, formed by two superimposed equilateral triangles, is known to scholars from the Bronze Age, when it had magical implications for both Jews and non-Jews.
It first appeared on a Jewish seal found at Sidon from the seventh century BCE, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica.