As Jewish soldiers recited the Ten Plagues and spilled wine from their cups at a seder table in a tent in the Kuwaiti desert, Rabbi Joshua Narrowe observed that the spilled wine was not only "for the Egyptians who died in the Exodus, but also for the Iraqi conscripts and civilians who died" in the 26-day Iraq War.
In a unexpected development, the bitter confrontation between Jewish groups and the Polish government over Christian symbols at the Auschwitz death camp moved a few steps closer to resolution this week with a letter from Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek outlini
Washington — In a unexpected development, the bitter confrontation between Jewish groups and the Polish government over Christian symbols at the Auschwitz death camp moved a few steps closer to resolution this week with a letter from Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek outlining the steps his government is prepared to take to end the conflict.
In the letter, Buzek pledged that his government will “remove all new crosses” as soon as possible.
Despite efforts by Jewish groups to provide kosher-for-Passover food to as many as 2,000 Jewish troops involved in the Iraq War, several Jewish soldiers and chaplains complained to The Jewish Week that there is not enough for the eight-day holiday that begins Wednesday night.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said he heard some of the same complaints but has been rebuffed in his efforts to get the Air Force to fly more Passover provisions to Kuwait and Iraq.
The fall of Baghdad is similar to the Six-Day War, Israel's lightning military defeat of its Arab neighbors in 1967, because both left the Arab world humiliated and in shock, according to a foreign policy and defense specialist at the Ben-Gurion Research Center.
"The Arab world can't figure out how to handle this traumatic situation," said the specialist, Zaki Shalom. "And nobody can tell how long this traumatic situation will last."
Maj. David "Bull" Gurfein, a Long Island native who re-enlisted in the Marines after 9-11, is carrying with him in the battlefields of Iraq a small chunk of concrete from the remains of the World Trade Center.
"It was 9-11 that triggered his desire to go back, especially after he went to Ground Zero," said his mother, Vivien. "He showed his [military] card and the police and firemen there handed him some pieces of concrete. He was weeping when he saw what happened there. ... They said to him, 'Go get 'em.'"
Even as American and British troops continued fighting in Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in the United States this week in part to press the Bush administration to finally release the "road map," a Palestinian-Israeli peace plan leading to a Palestinian state by 2005.
Israel's new foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, also arrives this week to meet senior administration officials. The road map is expected to be a prime topic of discussion.
In deciding whether the United States should attack Iraq, rabbinic leaders from the different streams of Judaism are drawing upon Talmudic and biblical sources such as the Exodus story in which Moses and Aaron ultimately resort to "force" to win freedom for the Jews.
And while the rabbinic leadership appears largely behind President George W. Bush, the Jewish community as a whole is deeply divided. Except for the Orthodox, leaders of the other movements said there was no consensus among their congregants about whether to go to war now.
Jewish leaders are promising to raise questions about the human rights record of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev when they meet with him this week.
"Most countries are accused of human rights abuses, and it is an issue we will discuss while there," Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said of the group's five-day trip to Kazakhstan.
The so-called Geneva Initiative, a peace proposal unveiled this week by former and current Israeli lawmakers and Palestinian officials, is designed to demonstrate to the Israeli public that "there are decent people on the other side, that there is what to talk about, and basically whom to talk to."
That was the assessment of Colette Avital, a Knesset member from the Labor Party who at one time participated in the effort to formulate the proposal. She insisted that at no time was it an attempt to replace or circumvent the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Auschwitz last Sunday triggered mixed reaction from the Jewish community — praise for adding the stop to his schedule and criticism for failing to even mention the anti-Semitism that laid the foundation for the mass killing of Jews there, hatred that continues throughout Europe today.