Santa Clara, Cuba — For a decade after the Cuban government loosened its restrictions on religious practice, Salvador Levy and his wife Zoila Perez attended the Jewish community’s seders here, usually held in a member’s home.
Last year, for the first time, they came as Benjamin ben Abraham and Ruth ben Abraham.
The Obama administration’s willingness to expand its involvement in the United Nations has not attracted strong criticism from pro-Israel groups, despite the longstanding belief that the international body is decidedly anti-Israel.
In recent days, Washington has signaled a new effort to try to effect change from within the UN and its agencies, and Jewish leaders here, though somewhat skeptical, seem prepared to give the administration some latitude.
Anti-Israel remarks by Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadenijad are seen as rejection of closer ties with moderate Western governments
Monday’s anti-Israel tirade by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban II conference on racism could undermine Obama administration diplomatic outreach, several Jewish leaders who attended the controversial conference in Geneva said this week.
Tamped-down rhetoric on Iran seen as “accommodation” with Obama’s new policy shift on Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dialed down his intense rhetoric about the threat posed by a nuclear Iran in his long-awaited public response to a tightening squeeze from the Obama administration on Sunday.
The unfolding drama on the streets of Tehran vastly complicates the fight for sanctions against Iran. getty images
On Monday AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby group that has been at the forefront of efforts to impose and stiffen sanctions on Iran, distributed to reporters an interview with an Iranian demonstrator calling on the international community to apply “much more sanctions” on the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The best advice I ever received about a forthcoming interview concerned a septuagenarian cardiologist in Warsaw. I was about to interview Dr. Marek Edelman, the last-surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in 1993 for a series of stories commemorating the event’s 50th anniversary. A Polish Jew who knew him told me what to expect: Dr. Edelman would give me some time, but if he felt bored he’d probably walk away without warning.
To open a kosher restaurant, you have to lease the space, order food, buy pots and pans, train chefs in the laws of kashrut and hire a mashgiach.
In Athens on the eve of the Olympic Games, you also have to arrange for security guards.
“We’re very concerned about [security],” Rabbi Mendel Hendel said in a phone interview from Athens.
During an academic conference in Boston last month, Sasha Toperich, a multilingual native of Bosnia-Herzegovina, presented a speech on recent political developments in the Balkans.
That was appropriate — Toperich is a diplomat.
Toperich also gave a concert during the two-day conference.
That, too, was appropriate — he’s a concert pianist.
Buenos Aires — Ten years after a terrorist bomb destroyed the Israeli Embassy here and shook the confidence of Argentine Jewry, the Jewish community commemorated the tragedy that took 22 lives. And Jewish leaders, both local and from the United States, despite a declaration by Argentina’s president of his interest in the perpetrators’ capture and conviction, criticized the government for a decade of inaction in the case.
Buenos Aires — In the good years, Marcela would begin her Passover shopping a few weeks before the seders. The usual matzah and wine and fish, new clothing for her two children, some coins to be hidden around the family’s apartment for the afikoman search. “Everything,” she said.
This year, nothing. No clothes, no coins.