Jeffrey Goldberg’s most recent piece in The New Yorker opens with him in Gaza during the fighting with Israel this summer. It is the middle of the night and he is meeting several Hamas soldiers in a dark basement to discuss their hatred of Israel and Jews.
It was not that long ago that Jewish leaders, and the Jewish media, for that matter, were captivated by the idea that Jews had to speak up against e-mails suggesting Barack Obama was anti-Israel or a closet Muslim, even though there was no evidence that those e-mails originated in the Jewish community.
Elli Kranzler’s not a cantor, and he’ll be the first to tell you. He’s a 57-year-old psychiatrist, who’s been moonlighting since his teens as a “shliach tzibur,” a leader of prayer, representative of the congregation, but more like a man plucked from out of the pews. He doesn’t have a cantor’s voice, one that thunders. His untrained voice filters through a room like, well, moonlight. If cantors’ voices are traditionally like tubas, his is more of a mandolin, more Art Garfunkel than the operatic model that still dominates the trade.
By this time next week, in the somber shadows of Yom Kippur and Wall Street, The New York Sun will live or die. The Sun’s editor and founder Seth Lipsky announced to colleagues and readers (Sept. 4) that the paper would likely “cease publication at the end of September unless we succeed in our efforts to find additional financial backing.”
When Diana Manber, as a girl growing up, asked her rabbi why he had not intervened to help her mother, who was a victim of spousal abuse, “the rabbi said he had suspected something was wrong but he didn’t have the words to ask,” she recalled.Now a rabbi herself, Manber is helping people “to find their voice.”
Every big-city Jewish and mainstream newspaper has steadily charted the Jewish vote in this presidential election, wondering at every step along the way if any Jew not voting for Sen. Barack Obama might secretly be motivated by his inner racist or Zionist doubt. Democratic supporters and Jewish leaders have reassured Jews, as best they could, that they know Obama, and he’s really a “great friend of Israel.”
Current polling suggests that most Jews are convinced, with almost 60 percent supporting Obama.
Los Angeles — The month-long war with Hezbollah this summer left Israelis feeling vulnerable and depressed, but it did reassert and solidify the bonds between the Jewish state and diaspora Jewry.At a time when the relationship between the two communities seemed to be growing apart, the war reminded many diaspora Jews of their deep connections to and spiritual dependence on Israel.
After two years of Zionist and Arabist scrutiny, President-elect Barack Obama united Jew and Muslim as never before - at least in the United States. Obama was supported by an estimated 78 percent of Jews, and 89 of Muslims.
Someone wondered: What effect would the Mumbai attack by Islamic terrorists have upon Chabad’s presence in dangerous places?
I never met Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg or Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg, martyrs of the Mumbai massacre, but I met more than a thousand of their spiritual brothers and sisters, the shluchim and shluchot, the rebbe’s emissaries, and here’s what they always told me when the situation was darkest.