Spring is the time of year when many Jews reflect on the condition and direction of the Jewish people. This period from Pesach through Shavuot to Tisha b’Av, and from Yom HaShoah through Yom Ha’Atzmaut to Yom Yerushalayim ties together the gravest moments of powerlessness in Jewish history in two millennia with the this era of our super-power and the mission to be a light unto the nations.
The current moment, caught as it is between tragedy and farce, invariably echoes the past.
Special To The Jewish Week
The week after Independence Day, I took the Number 18 bus to the Mahane Yehuda market, to run a few Friday errands. I got off at Davidka Square, where the Street of the Prophets meets Jaffa Road. In the midst of the square is a monument of the 1948 War, displaying a homemade mortar nicknamed “Davidka,” one of six deployed by Jewish fighters; the mortars were notoriously inaccurate but incredibly loud, so much so, the story goes, that Arab forces thought the Jews might have the atomic bomb. It’s been quite a while since we were David and they were Goliath, but we still cherish the myth.
Hawks and doves are both wrong when it comes to liberal Zionism. What’s needed is the reimagining of an ideology.
Special To The Jewish Week
It is in vogue to say that liberal Zionism is in crisis. Last summer’s war in Gaza provoked a spate of essays purporting that the confrontation between liberal values and the policies of a hawkish Israel were making the ideology untenable. In this portrayal, liberal Zionism was a precarious political ideology that entailed support for the State of Israel while believing that the state had to express progressive values, and that history and politics were conspiring to unmake an ideology and prove it to have been feeble and unrealistic all along.
A Jewish island in an Arab sea, Israel has always been a country on the edge. That edge appears to have gotten even more razor thin in the last year. The Jewish state’s ties with its main ally, the United States, have become severely frayed. The relationship between the Israeli prime minister and the American president is strained, to say the least, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress criticizing President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal adding to the mistrust between the two. Israel, for the first time in memory, has become a partisan wedge issue in the U.S. Congress. Israel’s commitment to democracy and pluralism are being questioned by a wide swath of American Jews, and Jerusalem’s new, tissue-thin right-wing government is only complicating the matter.
Are anti-vaxxers’ religious exemption claims grounded in actual religious laws?
Alina Dain Sharon
As the debate on vaccination heats up again in the U.S., some “anti-vaxxers” are requesting exemptions from vaccinating their chil-dren on religious grounds. But what do their faiths, including Judaism, actually say about the issue?
JScreen allows Jews to test for hereditary diseases with mail-in saliva test.
An innovative, Atlanta-based screening program for Jewish genetic diseases has expanded its geographic scope and medical capabilities since it was founded a year and a half ago — and, with the help of one supporter from Long Island, recently reached nearly 200 Jewish college students on one campus in one day.