A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things.
You can take the Jew out of Ethiopia, but you canít take Ethiopia out of the Jew.Even if the Jew is in Israel.Even if the Jew is in Jerusalem.Even if the date is the 29th of Cheshvan, which Ethiopian Jews marked for centuries as Sigd, their unique holiday that expressed their desire to live in the Promised Land. Now that they live there, thousands of them still celebrate Sigd each year, in Jerusalem itself.In Ethiopia, they would make a pilgrimage to the nearest hilltop, which substituted for Jerusalem, for a half-day fast and prayers and dancing and a festive meal.
Lublin, Poland — On the first two nights of Passover, the ground floor of a former medical academy near Lublin’s historic Old City was crowded by early evening with members of the Jewish community. Children played for hours in the hallways while senior citizens schmoozed in a small office. After sundown, joined by other members of the community and a Jewish choir from Warsaw, they filed into a social hall for the seders; afterward, they stayed to play and shmooze some more.
If you go to a seder these days in the United States, you may hear the Four Questions read in Yiddish as a sop to the Old Country. At an annual model seder in lower Manhattan this week, everything was in Yiddish.The event sponsored by the Yiddish Artists and Friends ñ Actors Club was held, ironically, at The Hebrew Actors Union Hall.About 100 people, from children to senior citizens, attended the model seder, which included an old-style Yiddish Haggadah and a kosher meal with lots of matzah.
They were showing the flag a lot in Israel this week. And a lot of flags.
Preceded by Yom HaZikaron, the annual day of remembrance for the soldiers who have fallen in Israel’s defense, Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, marked the country’s 60th birthday.
There were fireworks and torch lightings, concerts and speeches, a bike race and Bedouin festival, TV documentaries and parachute shows.
And it all began with the raising of the state flag at Mount Herzl.
Which candidate will Yeshivas Lita, an institution of advanced talmudic learning here, choose as its new leader: the elderly and learned son/grandson of the school’s previous roshei yeshiva, or the younger and more charismatic faculty member who has no family ties to the yeshiva?
To find out, you’ll have to read “The Search Committee.”