In a gripping new documentary airing on PBS on April 14, during National Holocaust Remembrance Week, historian and author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen makes a convincing case that genocide - the systematic effort to eliminate an entire group perceived of as deserving of death -- is even more destructive than armed conflict, and yet often can be prevented.
Have you heard that President Obama, in his private meeting at the White House on Tuesday, urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to call on Jews around the world to refrain from singing or reciting “Next Year in Jerusalem” at their seders next week?
Apparently the administration views such prayers as “unhelpful” to the peace process, and even “provocative,” given the political sensitivities of the moment.
"I happen to be in Iraq and am looking for a place to spend Passover," read the e-mail message I received Monday night. That got my attention.
It was from a Jewish woman from Washington, D.C., who said she had arrived in Baghdad two days earlier as a consultant for USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). She wrote she had come on short notice and had "no time to plan for Passover, aside from bringing a couple of boxes of matzah ball soup mix. No one else who is here is Jewish."
The words of the Prophet Isaiah to be read in the synagogue this Shabbat take on a particularly poignant meaning this year, resonating in our hearts and instructing those of us removed from the Mideast conflict how best to be helpful at this painful time: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,” says the Lord, following the destruction of the Holy Temple.
“Speak comfortingly to Jerusalem and tell her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.”
We are entering 5768 with any number of reasons to worry about the future of Israel and Jewish life in the U.S. and around the world. But we would do well to encounter these challenges with an attitude similar to the one with which we are taught to approach Yom Kippur: a mixture of reflection, humility, repentance, resolve and, with it all, confidence.
Amid all the kvetching (including my own) about the fear of losing disengaged young Jews, so many of whom show little concern for Israel and affiliating with American Jewish organizations, let us offer a word of praise for their parents and, more likely, grandparents who make up the majority of attendees at so many mainstream Jewish events.
Sadly, diplomatic amnesia has descended on Washington once again. And while I, of course, favor a two-state peace solution between Israel and the Palestinians, for now I find myself agreeing more with Hamas than with Condoleezza Rice — at least in believing that the planned peace conference set for Annapolis in the near future is a waste of time, and could lead to more bloodshed.
Nashville, Tenn. — The tone of this year’s General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish Communities was set from its opening moments when 300 college students marched into the vast ballroom of the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center on Sunday, waving school pennants, to the loud cheers of the adult delegates.