Philadelphia — They were there to celebrate George W. Bush and all things Republican, but the New York delegates at the party’s national convention here seemed to be thinking as much about the state’s U.S. Senate race as the presidential duel.
Many in that contingent wore anti-Hillary Clinton buttons. Some appeared even more intent in working to defeat the first lady in her Senate bid than in trying to elect Bush, whom few expect to take New York State in November.
After an exhausting two weeks of peace talks in the Maryland mountains, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak returned home Wednesday to hurriedly form a new coalition government before Wednesday’s Knesset recess and to begin addressing domestic issues that have been subsumed by peace efforts.
Although in the past Barak has shifted his peace efforts to the Syrians when Palestinian peace efforts waned — as they did Tuesday in the collapse of the Camp David summit — Colette Avital of Barak’s One Israel Party said this would not happen now.
After no more than 20 minutes in a Nazi concentration camp, Polish diplomat Jan Karski had to leave. “I couldn’t take it,” he recalled later. Karski, who in 1942 would provide the West with the first eyewitness accounts of Holocaust atrocities after secretly entering the camp and the Warsaw Ghetto, died last week in Washington. He was 86.
“I cried when I read he had died, not just because I had lost a friend but imagine what could have happened if people had listened to him,” said Michael Berenbaum, a prominent Holocaust scholar.
After eight days of tough negotiations on a host of thorny final-status issues, it was not surprising that the deal-breaker issue of Jerusalem set the Israeli-Palestinian summit at Camp David spinning into crisis on Wednesday.
With Israeli officials saying the Palestinians had shown no flexibility on the Jerusalem question, Prime Minister Ehud Barak threatened to leave the presidential retreat on Wednesday.
Philadelphia — The government of Israel is on the verge of recognizing “the legitimate rights of Conservative Jews,” the movement’s president in Israel, Rabbi Ehud Bandel, revealed here this week.
The breakthrough would come over the right of Conservative Jews to hold religious services with mixed seating at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred sites.
Philadelphia — A project hailed as the “most exciting Jewish educational idea in a generation,” one that would mark a radical departure from the way young children are taught, was unveiled here this week by the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
“If it works, it would effect a systemic change in the entire educational system,” said Rabbi Ismar Schorsch at the annual convention of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly.
At a time when U.S. authorities are warning Americans about the potential danger for Y2K terrorism, Jewish leaders said there was no indication that Jews are being singled out for attack.
“Sources in law enforcement have not indicated to us that there are any credible threats against Jewish targets in New York,” said Michael Miller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in New York.
Atlanta — Citing figures showing that more than half of those who arrived in Israel this year from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return are non-Jews, Orthodox Jews are demanding a change in the law. But Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir said that what is needed is a new approach to Judaism.
“What the Law of Return tells us is that to share the Jewish faith one need not be halachically [according to Jewish law] Jewish,” she said in an interview here while attending the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.
When he was a senior at Byram Hills High School in Westchester in 1970, Doug Berman was asked by a state senatorial candidate to arrange a small gathering of friends for him to meet. To help attract an audience, the candidate arranged for a guest speaker — Bill Bradley, the Hall of Fame forward of the New York Knicks.
“Because it was Bradley, I said yes, absolutely,” recalls Berman, a 6-footer who was captain of his basketball team. “He was my boyhood hero.”
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.