I’d like to commend Sid Schwartz for his Opinion piece criticizing censorship in the Jewish community, especially around matters regarding Israel (“Limiting Debate On Israel Will Only Hurt Us,” Feb. 7)
Kudos to Paul Shaviv and the Ramaz administration (“Ramaz Israel Row Points To Larger Trends,” Feb. 28) for rescinding a student group’s speaking invitation to Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia University professor who has spouted anti-Israel rhetoric and hatred.
Most American students, including most Jewish students, unfortunately know very little about modern history (“Ramaz Israel Row Points To Larger Trends,” Feb. 28). Before inviting or disinviting speakers of any persuasion, Jewish day schools have an obligation to expose their students to the full story of the 20th-century experiences of Jews from Arab/Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya and more — which can be done quite effectively in a visual medium through painstakingly made documentary films, all easily available from the National Center for Jewish Film.
The human mind inclines toward certainty. Having been involved in my share of arguments, beginning with the childhood dinner table (an excellent place to learn both the skills of debate and the fine art of going only slightly too far), I know that arguing is mostly a process of persuading oneself that one was right in the first place. Who has not heard scientists extol the certainties of scientific knowledge, religious people astonishingly secure in their understanding of God, and all of us pronounce others “simply wrong” with no more prompting or expertise than the skill of thumping a fist and nodding a head?
'We haven’t adapted. New communities need to be created and re-invented.'
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Miami Beach, Fla. — “This room has the key to solve the crises” facing the Jewish community, asserted Andres Spokoiny, president of the Jewish Funders Network, speaking to the more than 350 members of the group here this week at its three-day annual international conference, its largest ever in the U.S.
George Orwell said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Israelis sleep well because other Israelis — barely older than boys and girls, actually — are willing to serve when called. Serving in the IDF is “a mitzvah,” said Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of religion.
I have a memory from childhood of two women who lived close by me, but whom I never got to know. They were sisters who came from Berlin to stay in the home of my best friend, Naomi. Refugees — a word we were just beginning to hear often — from Hitler’s Germany, they had been brought over from Europe to our Borough Park enclave by Naomi’s mother, their second cousin. I don’t remember their names or the year they came, but I remember how they looked: straight-backed, rarely smiling, wearing thick heeled shoes and carrying black pocketbooks that hung rigidly from their hands. But what I remember most is Naomi’s anger that she had to share her bedroom with these two unfamiliar relatives, who seemed to her ungrateful for the help her parents had given them.
A prominent rabbi apologizes and reflects on his diagnosis and arrest by police during a manic episode.
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Eight months have passed since the beginning of my experience with the criminal justice system. (I was arrested in June and accused of impersonating a police officer and was ultimately charged with non-criminal violations.) My involvement in that system is now well settled and gratefully behind me. These eight months have also given me the respite to reflect deeply on what took place, the challenge of being bipolar, and how to use this difficult and painful experience, and my diagnosis, to derive something positive.
This year’s trending Purim parody topic is the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado. President Obama’s recent public admission about getting high will no doubt fan these flames. And when there’s fire, there’s smoke. There will be, no doubt, lots of non-medicinal smoking going on, in and out of Colorado, this Purim.