Mark Asher Evnin wanted to improve himself, and the world, too. At 18, after graduating from Vermont's South Burlington High School in 32 years, the well-liked student athlete and only child of Mindy Evnin joined the Marines.
So while his friends were taking freshman college courses, Mark was in basic training: much to his mother's chagrin.
"My son, a Jewish Marine, how bizarre," Evnin told The Jewish Week Tuesday. "We come from a professional Jewish family, rabbis, cantors and biochemists."
Kleinmachnow, Germany: Ron Brown suddenly became nervous. The Reform rabbi from Merrick, L.I., for weeks had been pondering how his delegation of 11 American rabbis should dialogue with a classroom of German teenaged students over such hot-button topics as the Holocaust, the state of anti-Semitism today, Israel and now the looming American invasion of Iraq.
Several Jewish groups don't care much for Switzerland's new crackdown on Islam.
This week Swiss voters approved a referendum banning the construction of minarets. The measure was pushed by the right-wing Swiss Peoples party, and passed by a surprisingly strong 57 percent majority.
Leaders of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were quick to condemn the vote.
At sunrise on April 8, the eve of Passover, a group of Jews from the Upper West Side will gather on the roof of the JCC in Manhattan. Organized by Hazon, the New York-based group that works for a “more sustainable Jewish community,” the early-morning risers will say some prayers, do some yoga and burn some chametz.
When the sun appears over the Atlantic that morning, a similar scene will take place on Miami Beach.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad continued his verbal campaign against Jews this week with the enthusiastic support of American anti-Semites, as one American Jewish official called on world leaders to speak out against the rising rhetoric.
The Anti-Defamation League reported this week that U.S. anti-Semitic groups are encouraging members to voice their support for Mahathir.
Despite President Bush's insistence that the war on terrorism is not a religious conflict pitting the West against Islam, prominent members of his administration and leaders of Islamic countries are pushing inexorably in that direction.
And as the president came to the defense of the Jewish community this week, Jewish leaders were warning of dire long-term consequences in the wake of the anti-Semitic tirade unleashed last week by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Nearly 40 years ago, Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” accused Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII of moral cowardice and indifference while millions of Europe’s Jews were being murdered.
The German playwright’s work triggered a worldwide wave of anti-Pius XII criticism, prompting the Vatican — in an unprecedented move — to unlock some of its secret wartime archives in an attempt to refute the charges, arguing he worked behind the scenes to save Jews and did not speak out for fear of a backlash against Catholics and Jews.
Since returning to Poland last June to serve as chief rabbi of Warsaw, Rabbi Michael Shudrich has been busy trying to resolve the country’s Jewish past, and also secure its future.
One moment he’s ensuring that the community has kosher food. The next, he’s trying to save abandoned Jewish cemeteries and mass grave sites left in ruins after World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, the short, bearded 45-year-old Bronx-born and Patchogue, L.I.-raised rabbi is trying to help Poles with Jewish roots return to Judaism.
Jewish leaders worldwide continue to express outrage and sadness over the Vatican’s action to bring 19th century Pope Pius IX — who called Jews “dogs” and conspired in the kidnapping of a Jewish child — one step closer to sainthood.
The return of Jewish property in Europe seized by the Nazis made progress on two fronts this week, in Poland and in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic, a bill to return Jewish property and art confiscated during the Nazi occupation awaits the signature of the president after being approved by the Senate last week.
Under the measure, land holdings and buildings seized between Sept. 29, 1938 and May 8, 1945 now owned by the state would be returned to Jews or their heirs.