While insisting there is no particular cause for alarm, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sought to assure the Jewish community Tuesday that extra security measures would be in place for Passover.
They also called on the public to go about their business as usual, reporting anything suspicious via a police hotline.
As the war on Iraq entered its first Shabbat, reactions from area synagogue pulpits ranged from staunch support to somber reflections and prayer.
At the progressive-minded Conservative B'nai Jeshurun on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon and Marcelo Bronstein abandoned their weekly discussion before the Torah reading to read an anti-war essay by the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Deborah Lipstadt says that for all the emotional, spiritual and professional pain she endured standing trial in England this winter, accused of defaming Holocaust denier David Irving, she considers the experience a blessing.
A few days before Tuesday’s verdict, which Irving lost — castigated by the judge as a bigot and anti-Semite — Lipstadt told The Jewish Week in an exclusive interview, “My life has been disrupted by this case for several years, but I feel I was blessed.”
As contributions for Asian tsunami relief through Jewish organizations soared to $13 million and counting this week, a newly formed alliance with a unified bank account began mulling who will get the money — and not everyone appears on the same page.
Some of the 36 members of the Jewish Coalition for Asia Tsunami Relief are urging that Israel-based organizations working in disaster-plagued areas get first crack at the funds, helping them carry out operations that have generated positive publicity for the Jewish state and opened new diplomatic ties.
Jewish aid agencies were overwhelmed this week as money poured in from across the community in response to the tragedy of biblical proportions unfolding in Southeast and South Asia, where tidal waves have claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people.
In the first 36 hours after Sunday’s catastrophe, the American Jewish World Service raised some $200,000, an official said Tuesday, while the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) said it had to hire temporary employees to accept a torrent of phone donations.
Martin Fletcher wasn’t alive during the Holocaust but, in a way, he’s spent his entire career covering it.
Fletcher’s parents fled Austria as the Nazis came to power, settling safely in England. But they lost almost their entire families, the once-comfortable lives they left behind and, in a sense, their faith in the world.
Jewish and Israeli institutions around the world are shoring up security this week as terrorism experts warn of a near-certain attack to avenge the killing of a top Hezbollah leader in Syria on Feb. 13.
And while the threat of an attack in New York is considered low, police and community officials are taking precautions.
Concern was increased on Monday when a firebomb was tossed at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, although no one was hurt and the facility was not damaged.
Rocks tossed through a kosher bakery’s windows, Sabbath worshipers harassed on the way to synagogue and violent attacks by bat-wielding thugs would seem to fit reports coming out of Europe amid growing concerns there of resurgent anti-Semitism.
But increasingly, such tales are coming from a less likely source, Australia, where the South Pacific nation’s 100,000 Jews are facing a wave of anti-Semitism that last year exceeded, by 8 percent, a previous record set five years ago.
When Holland imposed a ban recently on a type of kosher slaughter, international Jewish leaders worried about far more than the difficulty observant Dutch Jews might face in obtaining rabbinically certified steak or cholent meat.
Noting that such a ban was an early step of Hitler’s Third Reich, some fear the action is part of a growing assault on Jewish life linked to the spread of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe.
As more details emerged this week about Israel’s surprise air strike against a Syrian target two weeks ago, there were heightened fears that a miscalculation by either side could lead to the all-out war that some had predicted would occur this summer.
Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East adviser to six secretaries of state, said he believes the Sept. 6 air attack increased the chances for war more than three decades after the 1973 Yom Kippur War was ended by a truce that has been scrupulously adhered to by both sides.