The destruction that took place on the 9th of Av happened 2,000 years ago.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Special To The Jewish Week
Memorable events happen to everyone – and not just to individuals, but to groups, families, tribes. In most cases, the memory diminishes with time. When one is very close to an event, every detail is engraved on the mind, and of course, memories trigger an accompanying emotional response. But with time, the impact of such memories becomes less. We tend to forget almost everything; the sharpness and the colors of things past become tarnished. And even when they are written down or memorialized another way, events become smaller with time.
There is a narrative that Yeshiva University has shifted to the right, religiously-speaking. I attended the recent leadership retreat sponsored by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), an annual get-together in Orlando, FL at the ChampionsGate resort, where I encountered a whole other face of the Yeshiva and University that demonstrates how that perception is incorrect.
Within the past year, the Claims Conference has obtained approximately $700 million in pledged funding from the German government for homecare for Holocaust victims through 2014, the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations with one focus: to provide the help that Nazi victims need in order to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. Having been abandoned by the world in their youth, the Claims Conference has been determined that they shall not also be abandoned in their final years.
Recently I buried my stepfather in a Jewish cemetery in eastern Baltimore. He is now surrounded by his first wife, his machatunim (in-laws) and various friends and family members. In this cemetery, with its beautifully engraved headstones with Hebrew names, birthdates and Jewish stars, our close-knit family said Kaddish.
This is a time of year when Jews are expected to think back and lament the flames that ravaged its two holy temples in Jerusalem. The three weeks that began on July 19th, the 17th of Tamuz, and will culminate on the 9th of Av, mark the period between the breaching of the city walls of Jerusalem and the ultimate destruction of the Temple.
Something awful has happened to the campaign to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped more than five years ago.
The liberal Israeli media has transformed what began as a non-partisan consensus effort into a political confrontation. The media goal, alongside the rescue of Gilad, is to achieve the mass release of Palestinian terrorists.
The catch phrase “we must free Shalit at any cost" has come to mean at any cost that involves the release of Palestinian murderers from Israeli prisons. As if no other cost is a valid option.
For more than ten years now, Birthright Israel has succeeded in enhancing young people's Jewish identities and increasing their attachment to Israel. Like it or not, Birthright has been a silver bullet, the “it” brand in NextGen engagement, and the expectations have never been higher. Does Birthright Israel have the leadership in place to meet this new challenge?
Does Taglit-Birthright Israel have a political agenda?
Questions about Taglit trip’s content have come to the fore, perhaps a natural consequence of it becoming a rite of passage for diaspora young adults, magnified by the intensity of current debate about Israel. The questions are not new, and from the time the first planeload of participants landed in Israel, observers have been looking for the political agenda. But political agendas are more in the mind of the observers than the program.