Amid all the angry accusations, posturing and bluster of the two national political conventions, it’s worth noting the level of diversity achieved in this country when the presidential election will feature an African-American incumbent running against a Mormon, and each having a Catholic as his running mate.
Ever since the tragic death more than nine years ago of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American woman who had come to Gaza to support the Palestinian cause, harsh critics of Israel have insisted that the driver of the Israel Defense Forces bulldozer that crushed her acted deliberately. This week’s ruling in Haifa that the death was accidental will do nothing to change that point of view, though the facts suggest otherwise.
Two rabbis affiliated with Yeshiva University are in the news this week, one delivering the opening prayer at the Republican National Convention in Tampa that will send a devout Mormon and devout Catholic off on the campaign trail, and the other criticized for expressing views that appear to be unaware or dismissive of the major positive changes toward Judaism within the Catholic Church of recent decades.
Two major philanthropists who were born in Europe, achieved great financial success through the real estate business, and gave back to the Jewish community by supporting numerous yeshivas and other Jewish educational institutions here, in Israel and around the world, died in recent days, and their contributions cannot be measured in dollars alone.
Sami Rohr, 86, and Zev Wolfson, 84, were quite different in temperament, but they had much in common.
There is no excuse for the deeply disturbing act in Jerusalem’s Zion Square last Thursday night when a number of Jewish youths chased an Arab teenager and beat him into unconsciousness, with large numbers of people looking on, not intervening.
The incident made the front-page of The New York Times on Tuesday, coupled with news of the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi, allegedly by Jewish extremists. The Times report suggested a growing mood of contempt for Arabs, particularly among younger Israeli Jews.
With the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, this year’s presidential election is shaping up as a sharp confrontation between radically different views of the federal government and economic policy. And a Jewish community that shares the general concern about the fragile economic recovery but also remains committed to an array of critical social programs will also be faced with the clearest choices in many election cycles.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is offering to search the state’s unclaimed funds account to see if any of its nearly $12 billion belongs to Holocaust survivors or their heirs.
The money was in accounts that were turned over to the state by banks, brokerages and other financial institutions after years of inactivity. Some life insurance companies also turned over death benefits when they were unable to find the beneficiary.
The latest report issued by the division of the State Department that monitors anti-Semitism on an international basis contained an upsetting amount of news, which is not unexpected — any update, besides a total eradication of the phenomenon that is often called the “world’s oldest hatred,” is certain to be of concern.
While there is no excuse for the International Olympic Committee’s decision to deny holding a moment of silence to honor the memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered 40 years ago at the Munich Games, it was thrilling to watch Alexandra (Aly) Raisman, the Jewish teenage gymnast on the U.S. team, perform this week to “Hava Nagila,” the traditional Jewish song of joy, at the London Games.
The Talmud has been compared to the seas, for it is vast and deep and, like the oceans, there is no real beginning or end to the study of Shas (an acronym for the Talmud). Few among us have circumnavigated its 63 tractates and 2,711 double-sided and oversized pages. It can take days to fathom even a few lines, and so familiarity with the entirety of Shas had become rare over time, and several of the less popular tractates fell into obscurity.