A year after the deaths, uncomfortable questions about Israel’s divisions.
A year ago, at a shallow grave in the West Bank, stone-cold reality set in. There, the corpses of three young men were found, and the “Bring Back Our Boys” campaign had reached the end of the road. They were coming home. But not as we wanted.
The mystical ritual of the red heifer [Numbers 19:2] is a chok, a commandment we follow not because it is rational, logical or moral, but because it is Divinely ordained. The very notion of the Kohen (Priest) purifying an individual who has been defiled by contact with a dead body, through the process of sprinkling him or her with the ashes of a red heifer mixed with spring waters, seems irrational.
I am in Poland. Sent here by the United States as Fulbright Senior Specialist whose mission is to teach and give lectures in my specialty: the sociology and anthropology of Jewry. I am to teach a short course to undergraduates in the Wroclaw (once Breslau, when the city was part of Germany) University Jewish Studies Program, offer lectures in Krakow’s Jagellonian University, and speak at other academic and community venues in both cities as well as in the capital, Warsaw. Except for a short weekend when I attended a conference here, I have never been to Poland — but Poland has been a part of my life since before my birth.
Edward R. Burns, Robert Goldberg, Laura Gutman, Robert Gutman, Edward C. Halperin, Allen M. Spiegel
Special To The Jewish Week
As Jewish physicians we feel a special responsibility to speak out on health matters that uniquely affect the Jewish community. The policy recently adopted by the City of New York to respond to herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection risk as a result of a certain form of ritual circumcision is inadequate. For Jewish medical professionals to remain silent during this discussion would be, in our judgment, inappropriate.
Last Shabbat in the Torah service we read the last words recorded in the Bible uttered by the people of the first generation that left Egypt but did not reach the Promised Land. After all of the struggles and challenges and the sins and death and destruction, they plaintively ask, ha-im tamnu ligvoah? -“Have we come to the end of our dying?” or, left unspoken, will such tragedies continue and continue?
Even the PLO recognizes Israel’s right to West Jerusalem.
Special To The Jewish Week
Maariv’s headline blared, “Final Judgment: U.S. Citizens May Not Register ‘Jerusalem’ as Place of Birth.” The news portal Walla! headlined its story, “Supreme Court in U.S. Ruled: Someone Born in Jerusalem Cannot Be Registered as Israeli.”
Daniel Kahneman, in his book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” pointed out that self-control requires attentiveness and determination. Most individuals, however, react promptly, even impulsively without taking the time to perform a clear analysis. Decisions made in haste are often made according to cognitive delusions we all have, two of them are among the most prominent: The Halo Effect and Cognitive Dissonance.
In the June 3 Editorial, “Promoting Disunity,” the editor calls out JCC Watch for “confus[ing] the public,” when it comes to the role UJA-Federation of New York plays in the Jewish Communal Fund’s grant allocation. Perhaps JCC Watch is using the commonly employed method of conveniently leaving out details to make its point more clearly in a short amount of space. The editor explains the JCF granting process and writes, “JCC Watch knows all that but prefers to confuse the public.”