Samuel J. Wurzelbacher of Toledo, Ohio, became the most famous plumber in the United States during this year’s presidential campaign for a question he asked then Sen. Barack Obama about the candidate’s tax policies.
Now Joe the Plumber is Joe the War Correspondent.
In the Haftorah reading in synagogue last week, Ezekiel prophesizes a united Holy Land: “And they shall no longer be divided into two kingdoms.”
For lovers of Israel, for residents of the Jewish state, for anyone fearing the threat of a two-state solution advanced in the peace process, for this soldier saying his morning prayers this week overlooking Gaza, the ancient promise has contemporary resonance.
Chanukah 5769 is one for the books — the Guinness Book of World Records.
Around the world this week, several Jewish communities vied to establish various records – largest menorah, largest crowd, largest number of menorahs concurrently lit – at their public celebrations of the Holiday of Lights.
For two millennia the Jews of Ethiopia celebrated a unique holiday, Sigd, 50 days after Yom Kippur, which marked the ancient giving of the Torah by reciting Psalms, fasting, dancing, hiking to the nearest mountain and longing to return to the Promised Land.
Now returned to the land of Israel, Ethiopian Jews continue to celebrate Sigd.
Normally, the image of a soldier in uniform in Germany is frightening to Jews.
These pictures are comforting.
The uniforms, and the soldiers, are Israeli.
Each year Israel sends several hundred active-duty soldiers — most of them sergeants — and police officers to Europe to build ties with the Jewish communities in such countries as Germany, Poland and Hungary, and to give the Israelis an on-site education about the Holocaust.
Imagine there’s no controversy.
It’s not so easy in Israel, but former Beatle Paul McCartney, on his first visit to the Jewish state last week, tried.
Forty-three years after the Beatles were to give a concert in Israel — the concert fell through because of either conservative politicians or dueling promoters — Sir Paul performed in Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park, ignoring protests by Palestinian politicians and threats by Islamic clerics.
The Greenpeace slogan: “Come to Israel, be arrested with friends.”
Fourteen activists in the environmental organization, aboard the Rainbow Warrior ship, were taken into custody by Israel’s Coast Guard in the Ashkelon harbor last week when they spray-painted the words “Quit Coal” on the side of the cargo ship Cape Heron, which was unloading coal bound for an existing power plant.
The month of Elul, which precedes Tishrei and the High Holy Days, is accompanied by a shofar blast in many synagogues during morning services.
Some new Israelis got a personal concert on Monday.
Adam Mayer-Deutsch, above left, part of a delegation of 235 Jews from North America who made aliyah under the auspices of the Jewish Agency and the Nefesh B’Nefesh program, blew the shofar as part of a welcoming ceremony on the Ben Gurion Airport tarmac.
Over the last 18 years Rabbi Anchelle Perl has officiated at some 300 bar and bat mitzvah celebrations at Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad in Mineola, L.I.
But last week was a first.
The Matuszak triplets, brothers Alec and Ian, below left and right, and their sister Sydney, below center, marked their religious coming of age together.
Alec and Ian have cerebral palsy. Using walkers, they stood on the bima, made the blessings for their aliyot, read sections of the week’s Torah portion and delivered short speeches of thanks.