Some years are more memorable than others. I can still recall the end of 1987, the year I moved to Israel and, six weeks later, the start of the first Palestinian intifada. I was living in Abu Tor, a Jerusalem neighborhood split right down the middle, with Jews on one side and Arabs on the other. I could smell the burning tires and tear gas from my apartment.
At the end of 1992, referring to a 12-month period of embarrassing family woes including three of her four children’s marital break-ups, Queen Elizabeth famously declared the year an “annus horribilus.”
Any Jewish leader reviewing the events of the past 12 months might well refer to 5769 in the more familiar vernacular as an “annus bloodytsuris.”
One morning this past July, I visited the bet midrash (study hall) of Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan. Nearly 50 young people were there, spending their summer in serious engagement with Jewish texts. The room pulsated with the vitality of a traditional yeshiva and the intellectual openness of a university.
Did anything good happen in 2009? It’s hard to find the silver lining in this year of crisis and shame for the Jewish world — as hard as finding a likable character in “A Serious Man,” a film whose dark Joban overtones of unjust absurdity fit the zeitgeist perfectly. Hope was most definitely last year’s poster. We’ve had worse years, to be sure, but rarely have we suffered so much from wounds that were primarily self-inflicted.
Three and a half years ago, Elisheva Diamond, a clinical psychology graduate student at Long Island University and clinical research coordinator at Mount Sinai, realized that those around her in the Orthodox community couldn’t see the terror right in front of them, the disease that was eating their children alive.
New York businessman and philanthropist Arnold Goldstein and his wife Arlene have donated $5 million to establish the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Satellite Center at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Goldstein said the center would be working with robots that could be used for warfare as well as for medical and humanitarian purposes.
When Sarah tested positive for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene five years ago, her decision to have both her breasts removed was a simple one — her mother had died of the disease at the devastatingly young age of 42 and her grandmother at 49.
A recent Facebook message from a total stranger, one of dozens and dozens Jessica Queller has received since she went public this year with an agonizingly personal medical decision, shared a familiar story.
The stranger, a woman in her mid-30s, was a cancer survivor, unmarried, with no immediate matrimonial prospects. She wanted to have children.
The cloud of breast cancer has loomed over Betsy Miller Landis her entire life. In her earliest memories, she’s playing on the floor of her mother’s hospital room. Two decades later, she lost her mother to a recurrence. Then again at 54, the age when her mother died, Landis’ thoughts returned to the disease, as she worried about apparent irregularities in herself.