What is the conventional wisdom today among some of the leading Islamic thinkers and opinion leaders about Israel and the Jews?
At a groundbreaking meeting here between seven of these figures and leaders of the American Jewish Committee, the unquestioned truths came tumbling out:
“Jews, in the eyes of the Torah, are the master. And non-Jews, regardless of nationality, are their servants,” complained Ahmed Abu Halabia, dean of the faculty of religion at the Islamic University of Gaza. He cited the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as evidence.
Surrounded by wooded hilltops, the wide-open spaces and low-lying buildings of the College of Staten Island seem a world away from the urban tensions that sometimes embroil campuses in the boroughs on the other side of New York Harbor.
But the appearance of Leonard Jeffries there last week left the normally serene campus riddled with the type of racial tension associated with the City College professor since his controversial views on slavery and other topics were made public in 1989.
Former Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) believes it is time for religious leaders to unite and take a stand against a growing social ill in America — poverty. The former Democratic presidential candidate with the trademark bow tie notes that it has been more than a generation since religious leaders such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Berrigan Brothers and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel joined together for causes of moral concern.
Leonid Bereslavskiy asks every day, “Where’s Papa?” Yulia Bereslavskiy gets “kind of jealous when I see other kids talking with their fathers.”
Riva Bereslavskiy, their grandmother, just cries.
Leonid, 5, and Yulia, 9, are brother and sister. They immigrated to Brooklyn 51/2 years ago from Latvia with their father, Vitaly, a single father whose wife died while giving birth to Leonid a few months before.
For the second straight year, a report on black-Jewish relations across the country paints a rosy picture of cooperation overshadowing conflict. The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s annual analysis of black-Jewish interaction in 1997 found that, despite tensions caused by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, relations are “markedly improving.”
But the timing of the report made it impossible to analyze the fallout from differing views on the crisis in Iraq, a subject of concern according to Foundation president Rabbi Marc Schneier.
Several major national Orthodox rabbinical groups this week repudiated the work of a New York City rabbinical court that has gained popularity with women by “freeing” chained wives, or agunot, stuck in bad marriages.
Strongly worded statements were issued separately on Tuesday by both the rigidly Orthodox Agudath Israel of America and the increasingly right-wing National Council of Young Israel, asserting that the rabbinical court was operating outside the bounds of halacha, or Jewish law.