Sending his son Adam some stamps, Saul Bellow wrote in the accompanying note, “Countries sometimes disappear leaving nothing behind but postage stamps.” Anyone who has studied history must indeed be mystified at what endures — the shopping lists of ancient Sumer or obscure graffiti scratched on a prehistoric cave. As in Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” what we think will survive often disappears with barely a trace.
The deeply upsetting news from Israel this week that several Jewish extremists are being held in connection with the murder of a Palestinian teenager should not be as shocking as it has been for many, particularly in this country.
Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It began officially on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo when a Serbian nationalist murdered the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife. It ended four years later with the world a different place than it had been. There have been many commemorations of the war in the media, yet for all the words written and spoken about it, relatively few have focused on what for many Jews was its most significant result — the creation of the State of Israel.
After receiving the bitter news about the murder of the three kidnapped boys, a cloud of mourning has descended upon the entire Jewish nation. The only bit of consolation is that probably they did not suffer long, and that now they are attached to the Almighty's mantle, in a closeness of everlasting fondness and permanent remembrance before Him.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe has not been with us physically for 20 years. But his message of love, of areivut (serving as a guarantor for other Jews), of love of God and His people, of never judging fellow Jews and valuing their tiniest actions and steps, continue in perpetuity. (“Twenty Years After, Rebbe Still Inspires,” June 27)
In reference to the Klinghoffer opera, composer John Adams felt it was a way to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Firstly Mr. Klinghoffer had nothing to do with the conflict. He was not even an Israeli, but a handicapped elderly American who happened to be Jewish. To stereotype a race or religion is prejudice. Hiding behind artistic freedom doesn’t make it less so.
“The Murder of Emmett Till” might, if properly constructed, be a true work of art. But if canceled [because it portrayed a lynching in the South], Anthony Thomassini of the New York Times would probably lament that it “could have been an invaluable teaching moment for the Met and its audiences.” That’s what he wrote about the cancellation of the simulcast of “The Death of Klinghoffer.” (“High Drama Over ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera,” June 27.) It would have been a valuable opportunity to consider the feelings of the white supremacists and “explore their suffering.”
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.