As the State of Israel marked its 64th anniversary of statehood this week, with its population approaching 8 million, it has never seemed as powerful — or as vulnerable.
The Jewish state is a vibrant, messy democracy. It is the spiritual center of the Jewish people, having fulfilled one of Zionism’s key missions in providing a haven for persecuted Jews from around the world despite being in a state of war with Arab neighbors since the day it was founded.
One of the few undisputed facts in the bitter clash between the University of Chicago’s Hillel director and board, on the one hand, and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago that operates it, on the other, is that the school’s Hillel program was one of the best in the country.
“Was” because the federation has fired Daniel Libenson, the executive director of the Hillel, along with his 17-member advisory board, in a showdown over issues of power, independence and funding.
Yom HaShoah, the day declared by the Knesset six decades ago to serve as the Jewish people’s period of memorial and mourning for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, takes on a more vital aspect of a Day of Remembrance as the years pass. As the survivors of and witnesses to the horrors of the Third Reich’s near-annihilation of the Jewish people pass on, memory serves an increasingly important role.
Two influential American Jews praised and criticized for their assertive, sometimes aggressive, style in the public arena died this week. One was a champion of Jewish causes, the other far more problematic.
The leaders of Iran and Syria have learned the dirty little secret of dealing with an international community making demands them.
In the case of Iran, the U.S. and other countries are about to launch another round of negotiations with Tehran in an effort to prevent the Islamic revolution leaders from developing a nuclear weapon that threatens the region and the free world.
No doubt the Haggadah is the most renewable of Jewish texts because its message of freedom from oppression is so universal, so relevant in each generation. With more than 7,000 known variations, our guide to the seder is the most translated and published of all Jewish texts.
Yeshiva University’s challenges — financially and in competition with other institutions of higher learning, both secular and religious — are outlined in staff writer Helen Chernikoff’s thorough and sobering front-page report this week.
As she notes, the proud base of the Modern Orthodox community is seeking to increase flagging enrollment at a time of financial belt-tightening and when yeshivas to the right and secular colleges on YU’s left flank, are chipping away at the pool of possible students.
With a Supreme Court ruling this week, the chances have improved that Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in 2002, may have a passport by the time of his bar mitzvah that records his birthplace as “Israel” rather than “Jerusalem,” as it now reads.