Defenders of “The Death of Klinghoffer” argue that many of the opera’s critics have not seen it (“High Drama Over ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera,” June 27). But this work gives offense even before the curtain goes up. The opera’s very title papers over of an act of barbarism.
It is troubling that Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman asserts that because one of many anti-Semitic passages was removed, the “Death of Klinghoffer” opera to be performed at the Met is no longer anti-Semitic (“High Drama Over ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera,” June 27).
Professor Louis Ginzberg was the greatest scholar of rabbinic Midrash in his day, with a vast range of learning in many languages. My father told me that once, at a reception at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where Ginzberg taught, a woman approached him and in the course of discussion, began arguing with him about a point in Midrash. After a long, fruitless argument, Ginzberg said, “Why don’t we check the ‘Jewish Encyclopedia’ — would you accept that as an authority?” The woman agreed.
A friend in Israel bemoaned the fact this week that the world loses its moral bearings when it comes to Israel. Tragically, examples abound. One wonders whether it will make any difference to critics of the Jewish state that Hamas refused to abide by the proposed cease-fire that Israel had accepted on Tuesday. No doubt the media focus will continue to be on the damage inflicted by Israel, as it seeks to eradicate the rocket launchers and munitions factories in Gaza, rather than on the fact that Israeli citizens have been under ongoing attack for years — a situation no country would tolerate.
Last Tuesday was yet another oxymoronic push-me-pull-you day that seems as anomalous yet ubiquitous in modern Israel as the brutal summer sun and the year-round high-tech and pharma miracles. On July 8, Israelis were in double-mourning: still reeling from the evil outsiders who murdered three innocent Israeli teenagers; now horrified that some fellow Israelis responded with an equally evil revenge killing. Both events transcended the usual political battle lines. Just as Israelis, left to right, embraced the Israeli kids as their own, Israelis, left to right, repudiated the barbaric revenge-murderers. Israelis were worried, watching Hamas’ escalating rocket barrage. But they were were also determined to continue living life fully and contributing to the world creatively, profoundly.
At a conference, scholars rejoice in a rabbi's achievements and wonder why his vision failed to take hold.
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The scene was Yarnton Manor, an estate outside Oxford and home to the British University’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Professors Adam Ferziger of Bar-Ilan University and Miri Freud-Kandel of Oxford recently convened 16 scholars from the U.S., Israel, and the U.K. for the Centre’s inaugural Oxford Summer Institute in Modern and Contemporary Judaism to assess the work of Dr. Yitz Greenberg, the rabbi, scholar and teacher, and his impact on Modern Orthodoxy.