According to legend, it was John Foster Dulles, secretary of state under President Eisenhower and not known as a friend of Israel, who is most responsible for the creation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which celebrated “five decades of leadership and achievement” with a gala dinner attended by 1,200 people at the Waldorf Astoria last week.
The Red Sox were on the precipice of a sweep of the 2004 World Series, and all the TV commentators could focus on during in Game 4 was when their team would blow it. After Boston won that night, fans complained that the media ignored the excitement and action on the field because of their predetermined story frame. What the media also failed to notice was the bigger picture — in that game, the Red Sox established a strong organization that was built to compete for the foreseeable future.
My mother’s favorite story: Two Jews in post-Anschluss Vienna are walking through an anti-Semitic neighborhood. They see that they are being followed by two Nazi thugs. One of the Jews says to his friend, “We’d better make a run for it; there are two of them, and we are all alone.”
A wild and dangerous “spring” is raging in the countries surrounding Israel. Egypt, Syria and Lebanon face internal battles for control that are motivated by religion, nationalism, tribal loyalties and financial gain. The situation in Jordan is precarious and may similarly deteriorate into war. The toll, in Syria at least, has been high. According to estimates, over 100,000 civilians have been slaughtered in Syria alone, and its land is drenched in Arab blood. In Israel, by contrast, the situation is relatively calm and stable. Despite the proximity, life on the two sides of the borders seems to be taking place on different planets.
We would like to thank Rabbi David Eliezrie for describing the new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Jews as “a treasure house of information” on contemporary trends in Jewish life.
Unfortunately, however, Eliezrie’s Opinion column also mischaracterized the survey’s results, including some findings that actually support the points he was trying to make about Orthodox Judaism in America.
The most recent Pew Study on American Jewish life reveals a treasure house of information about modern Jewish trends. The rising numbers of intermarriage amongst the non-Orthodox are a foreboding sign for the future vitality of American Jewish life. It seems that when it comes to measuring the Orthodox Jewish community the study falls short. Its methodology of denominational self-identification, effective decades ago when Jews fit in to neat categories of Orthodox Conservative and Reform, fails to reveal the real trends in a complex post denominational era.
The Opinion piece, “When Judaism Becomes Kmart” (Oct. 4), by Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, echoed many of my own sentiments regarding the plethora of “garage” and “pop-up” synagogues cropping up on the North Shore of Long Island.
As a Conservative Jew and a mohel certified by the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical Assembly, in practice for more than 25 years, I was somewhat dismayed at the content of Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Not Too Late To Push In-Marriage?” (Sept. 13). While Professor [Jack] Wertheimer has done extensive work in gathering data on Jewish demographics, I am afraid that he “chooses and picks” his data to suit his points of view. I disagree that intermarried families have lower chances of raising committed Jews, and I believe my statistics and follow-ups prove him wrong.