An urban legend going around the community says that a major rabbi placed a curse upon the Kennedy family, unto the end of generations, because Ambassador Joseph Kennedy was not a hard-liner about Hitler. Kennedyís son died fighting Hitler, but no matter: the curse was on. To many Jews, this eternal curse makes perfect sense.Other Jews refuse to say a kind word about Franklin Delano Roosevelt for his mishandling of the Holocaust. He led the war against Hitler?
The existential problems of synagogue worship, let alone the more terrestrial problems of religious illiteracy, alienation, displeasure with sermons, and annoyance with cantors, has basically been solved by American Jews: 89 percent simply stay away.But on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur there is no avoiding the culture clash: Nearly 60 percent of American Jewry jam into pews across the land, an influx of nearly three million Jews who would otherwise be gone.
Philip Roth, in the 1950s, wrote a story about Ozzie, a Jewish kid who knew, just knew, that if God could make the heaven and the earth in six days, God could do anything. Ozzie would say, ìthe light especially, thatís what always gets me, that he could make the light. ... Making fish and animals, thatís pretty good ó but making light ... and He could pick the six days he wanted right out of nowhere.îThat sense of wonder is one of the gifts of Jewish childhood.
Israel is currently engaged in an intellectual civil war between historians who see Zionism as a heroic enterprise and post-Zionist historians who say that Jewish schoolchildren ought to know the family secret: Israel wasnít immaculately conceived but born of ìinfamy and sin,î as Haíaretz reports (Sept. 16).
Up in an attic are faded photos of old Joe Kushner ó young and dashing Joe Kushner in the picture ó on a wide, sloping Catskill lawn, near tall flowers by the casino porch. It is a 1930s August. You can feel the heat, the languor, the clockless afternoon of a hotel summer. Kushner, in light jacket and white ducks, stands behind his drum kit, hair slicked, sticks in hand.In another photo, heís with his klezmer band on that same lawn.
Abe Katz, a parent from Queens and a graduate of Bostonís Maimonides school as well as Yeshiva University, writes: ìI am the father of 17-year-old triplets (two boys and a girl)who have always attended a day school so that I feel a little bit like an expertî on Jewish education.
In the last week, the governments of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic have assured Israel that they are committed to opening Holocaust-era archives, according to Bobby Brown, Israel’s diaspora affairs adviser.
Prague — As Sam Levine of Manhattan entered the Pinkas Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter here, his eyes darted about the room, scanning the names painted on the walls of Prague Jews killed in the Holocaust. Opposite the bima, his eyes rested on the names of Abraham Grunberg and his family. There was a lump in his throat. He reached out and kissed them with his hand.
“My mom told me to look for them,” he said, taking out a pen and paper to write down each member of the family.