The shallowness of mainstream media was evidenced last week in its reporting on the major addresses to the United Nations General Assembly by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As we begin the new year, we offer this “stockholders” report on the state of The Jewish Week — its past year and future plans — to you, our readers and supporters. And we ask for your help so that we can continue to provide you with high-quality journalism, and more, in future years.
Ours is a unique role, seeking to both cover, and help build, our Jewish community. That is a delicate task, merging the tasks of outsider and insider. But we think it is vital, and well worth the effort.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Yom Kippur, but he won’t be asking for forgiveness. Instead, he will rail against the U.S. and Israel, perhaps repeat his call for the destruction of the Zionists and defend his country’s quest to develop its nuclear program, which he insists is peaceful.
No doubt a few delegates will walk out in protest, but otherwise the Iranian leader’s abhorrent behavior, in violation of the prohibition against incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention, will go unchecked.
Religious freedom is, naturally, of great concern to Jews everywhere. That is why there has been much consternation about a German regional court ruling in May that said circumcision of boys for religious reasons causes bodily harm and is unlawful. A rabbi in northern Bavaria was criminally charged for performing a brit milah as part of his duties.
It is usually a toddler that symbolizes a new year, but 5773 will be a year for grown-ups. Experts speculate about war with Iran. Yet in these next weeks it will all be inscribed, war or peace, as well as the future for all of us on a more personal level.
We were deeply disappointed, but not surprised, when the International Olympic Committee turned a deaf ear to the request that the Olympic Games in London hold a moment of silence for the 11 slain Israeli athletes of the 1972 Munich Games, on the 40th anniversary of their tragic deaths at the hands of Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists.
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.