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.
For many American Jews who love Israel, Mitt Romney said all the right things this week during his visit to the Jewish State. Standing with the Old City of Jerusalem as a dramatic backdrop for his major address on Sunday, he did not parse his words, asserting that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that one of his first moves in office if elected President would be to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and that he would unabashedly espouse his unwavering support for Israel.
Jerusalem has been a bustling, even joyous city for the better part of a century, the destination of choice for visitors to Israel, most certainly for American Jews and thousands of our students. The Kotel is never lonely, and the real estate is so in demand that it has attracted foreign speculators and local resentment, understandably, by the have-nots.
One thing Jerusalem is not is that city described on Tisha b’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar year (and observed Saturday night and Sunday), as a city that sits desolate and solitary.
It is a comfort to know that on the eve of the XXX Olympiad, which starts Friday night in London, the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games will be recalled at memorial services here and around the world.
So much for Israel’s coalition government, which lasted all of two months.
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz announced Tuesday that he was taking his party and its 28 Knesset seats out of the government over the failure to reach a compromise on the proposed draft law that would have done away with many of the existing exemptions for haredim and Arab Israelis.
Milton Gralla, a longtime former member of the board of directors of The Jewish Week who died last week at the age of 84, combined his love of journalism and the Jewish people to make a lasting contribution to both.