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.
As concerned as I am about the outcome of this week’s scheduled Mideast peace conference (now downgraded to “meeting” and soon, perhaps, to be scaled down to “photo-op”) in Annapolis, Md., I must admit that I get a kick out of seeing international headlines every day referring to my small hometown on the Severn River.
Chanukah is that most pliable of Jewish festivals.
Pick a theme, superficial or substantive, and it’s all there in the ancient story of the eight-day observance that begins this year on Tuesday night. It’s a holiday that has as many messages as it does English spellings (Hannukah, Chanukah, etc.)
Remember UJA, more formally known as the United Jewish Appeal?
It had, and probably still does have, the most widely known brand name in Jewish communal life.
But when the national organization, founded in 1938, merged with the Council of Jewish Federations a decade ago, they morphed into a new entity and name: UJC, United Jewish Communities, for the umbrella group of North American Federations.
At the time, I was among the many who thought it was unwise to jettison the “UJA” acronym, since it was not only well known but was thought of positively.
Submitted by Gary Rosenblatt on Tue, 10/06/2009 - 00:00
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
The chances of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran in the coming months may have dramatically increased, if a report in The Sunday Times of London last weekend is true.
The Times said that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s secret trip to Moscow of Sept. 7 was to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin and hand over a list of names of Russian scientists helping Iran build nuclear arms.