A professor, said Bergen Evans, is one who speaks in other people’s sleep. Anyone who has taught knows how difficult it is to keep the attention of students. Perhaps we can take some comfort in the report of the Midrash that Rabbi Akiva once noticed his students were falling asleep in his class. If one can fall asleep on Rabbi Akiva, who are we to complain?
Other issues on the Jewish agenda pale before a series of looming showdowns for Jerusalem, from major addresses by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Mideast, to another flotilla setting sail soon for Gaza, to the Palestinian drive for statehood at the United Nations this fall.
Rabbi Daniel Gordis has maligned a generation of rabbinical students as being insufficiently Zionist (“Alienation From Israel Is Hitting Liberal Seminaries,” Editor’s column, May 6). Because I know and respect these students, I find his criticism to be not only inaccurate but also insulting to people who have collectively dedicated their lives to spreading the love of God, Torah, and Israel.
It turns out that much of the tragic devastation that has so desolated Japan could have been avoided. More importantly, this is not Monday-morning quarterbacking — nor is it future projection on the magic potential of “what if” technology, or wishful 20/20 hindsight.
In fact there is no technology involved; the solution assumes that a tsunami, once triggered, cannot be stopped or averted and the answer was in plain sight for all to see.
A Story Book Version for Children (and maybe for their parents too)
Martin J. Raffel
Special to the Jewish Week
Once upon a time, there was a family, the Isaacs, that lived in a little house. A big bully, from a land far away, came along and threw almost all of the family members out. Some stayed and never left. For many, many years most members of the Isaac family were forced to wander from place to place, often being treated very badly by their neighbors. All the while they yearned for the day they might return to their beloved little house. Alas, they thought this dream could never be achieved.
On the surface, the incident that grew into a major story — first reported on our website, by the way — pitting Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels In America”) vs. the trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY) who first denied and later granted him an honorary doctorate was about freedom of speech.
According to that version, Kushner is a great talent, his views on Israel may be offensive to many supporters of the Jewish state but he is being honored for his body of artistic work, not his politics. End of story.
I am writing to correct a misconception that your article, “For Staten Island Jews, A Central Address” (March 4), may have created. The Jewish community of Staten Island has indeed had a central address since 1968 in the form of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island. The Council is made up of representatives of many of the local Jewish organizations, especially the interdenominational synagogue community.