Your editorial on “Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation” (April 1) asks some of the right questions. Some years back, I recall the then-leader of Meretz, Yossi Beilin, pointing out that the Bush administration had blown it at the time because without endorsing the principle of peace with Israel, Hamas had not qualified under the Oslo Accords to run in the elections of 2006. The requirements of Oslo could have been used as leverage to try to moderate Hamas.
I was deeply moved by Jonathan Mark’s story about the Fogel family (“A Long-Distance Shiva For The Fogels,” March 25). Especially the way in which he imagined the last Shabbat night that the Fogel family spent together before the horror engulfed them.
His stories are written with such sensitivity and earnestness that they remain with me even months after I read them. He is somehow able to penetrate to the heart of the matter in the most remarkable way. I look forward to future articles.
A quiet revolution is taking place in the second generation of women's Torah study. Originally women's Talmud learning was modeled after the male yeshiva: students were detached from the surrounding world and were expected to confine themselves to the Beit Midrash in order to achieve a total absorption into the world of Torah. There was also methodological aping: analyses that required a thumb stirring the air and intellectual hair splitting of the Talmudic topics dominated.
We are relieved that congressional Republicans and the Obama administration were able to avert a government shutdown last week that would have hurt the U.S. economy and disrupted countless services. But there was something deeply disturbing about the process that led the nation to the brink of a shutdown — a politics-plagued process that is only likely to accelerate as Congress turns next to the issues of raising the nation's debt limit and next year’s federal budget.
Gilad Shalit will be getting a visitor next Monday night — Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah). In the comfort of our own homes, the rest of us can and should remember this Fifth Son — wise and able to ask but unable to be heard. At the seder on this night of memory, with its promises of Redemption, it would be appropriate to remember Shalit, a slave awaiting a miracle all his own.
Alexander Machkevitch, 57, is a Jewish billionaire little known in America, and from a country virtually unknown in the West — Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim republic of the former Soviet Union. He was in the U.S. last week, seeking a higher profile in announcing his plan to launch an international news network that would rival Al Jazeera and “deliver true information all over the world.”
During the 20th century, Jews suffered terribly under right-wing, chauvinistic and nationalist governments, whether in Romania, Poland, Hungary between the two world wars or in Germany after 1933. Historically speaking, Jews have flourished and achieved success under liberal democratic regimes.
As Steve and Cokie Roberts, the journalists and authors, have crisscrossed the country promoting their new interfaith Haggadah and celebrating interfaith marriage as “the new normal,” I’ve been thinking back on my encounter with Steve in 2008.