Features

Tim Boxer At Appeal Of Conscience

10/07/2012
Jewish Week Correspondent

In introducing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Appeal of Conscience Foundation awards dinner, Henry Kissinger made note of his own public service as National Security Advisor in the White House and Secretary of State in the 1970s.

“The only reason I mention it,” he said, “is because never before and never since has the White House and the State Department been as amicable as it was then.”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepts World Statesman Award from Rabbi Arthur Schneier with Henry Kissinger.

ADL Chair On Monitoring Anti-Semitism

10/05/2012
Staff Writer

Robert G. Sugarman of Manhattan will be completing his three-year term Nov. 15 as national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League. Both his parents and his uncle were longtime ADL leaders, and Sugarman has served as a national commissioner for nearly 30 years.

ADL’s Robert Sugarman: “Anti-Semitism is alive and well.”

What Is The Definition Of 'Survivor'?

04/17/2015
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In the mid-1980’s, just a few years after I began my rabbinate at the Forest Hills Jewish Center, I traveled to Poland with a UJA-Federation Rabbinic Cabinet mission. It was shortly after my two older children were born, and from the moment that I entered the gate of Auschwitz and saw a display of clothing stripped from infants and toddlers who had been brought there for extermination, I was forever changed. Before that visit, the harsh reality of the Holocaust had been an abstract set of numbers and grainy images. When I returned, I had gained what I now understand to be an intuition of an infinitesimal fraction of the horror of what had transpired. I was shaken to the core.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Finding Death And Life In Poland

04/15/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

We came to Poland expecting to find death. And death we found in the death camp of Majdanek. It was situated with prewar homes and parks all around it, as if it were just any business in full view of the town’s population, which could never claim innocence.

Hugh Pollack

A Bike Ride Through History

04/14/2015
Staff Writer

For some elderly Polish Jews, a bike ride from Auschwitz to Krakow that began last year ended last month in Israel.

The 30 Polish seniors, most of them Holocaust survivors, visited the Jewish state in March as guests of a trip financed by a 2014 “Ride for the Living” under the auspices of Krakow’s seven-year-old JCC (jcckrakow.org). Nearly 20 riders, some of them from abroad, took part in the 55-mile trek through the Polish countryside last spring, from the infamous death camp to the American-style JCC, which has become a symbol of new Jewish life in the country.

The leaders envisioned the ride as a consciousness raiser, about Poland’s ongoing Jewish revival, and as a fund-raiser, to pay for the aging Polish Jews’ weeklong trip to Israel this year. Many of the participants in the trip, members of the JCC’s Senior Club, set foot in Israel for the first time; for others, it was a last chance.

The now-annual bike ride takes place under the patronage of Michael Schudrich, Poland’s Long Island-born chief rabbi. It was inspired by Robert Desmond, a JCC member who had ridden his bicycle 1,350 miles from London to Auschwitz, stopping at World War liberation sites along the way. He decided that future bike rides should end in a place of life, not death.

Last year’s bikers joined Krakow’s small Jewish community for Shabbat, then took part in the annual 7@NiteFestival, a cultural celebration organized by the Joint Distribution Committee.

Ishbel Szatrawska

Presenting Israel In Film, Warts And All

We think of the JCC as our living room, a place to watch and discuss, says film festival director Isaac Zablocki.

04/14/2015
Editor And Publisher

Isaac Zablocki, 38, plays a key role in determining which Israeli films, and others dealing with the Mideast conflict, are shown in New York. As a result his choices are the subject of praise and criticism, often based more on a viewer’s politics than sense of aesthetics. Born in New York and raised in Israel before settling here, he is director of film programs at the JCC in Manhattan; director and co-founder of the ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival, which had a successful run last month; founder and director of the Israel Film Center; and executive director of The Other Israel Film Festival, which seeks to bridge the Arab-Israeli cultural divide through film. Zablocki was interviewed at the JCC. This is an edited transcript.

Isaac Zablocki: Quality of a film, not its political message, is the main criterion.

History Amid The Magnolias

04/14/2015
Travel Writer

The rain came down steadily, at times in torrents, other times in a chilly drizzle under leaden skies. But the legions of marchers on their way from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to commemorate the recent 50th anniversary of that legendary civil rights march were undaunted by a little precipitation.

Maya Lin’s black-granite Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery. Wikimedia Commons

From Redemption to Despair, and Back Again

04/09/2015
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Although the transition from the High Holidays to Sukkot certainly brings with it more than a little cognitive dissonance, going from the solemnity of Yom Kippur to the joy of Sukkot, it pales in comparison with the cycle of Passover, Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and then Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). These communal observances fall but a few days from each other, and take us from the exhilaration of redemption to the utter despair of the Holocaust and then back again to the redemptive joy of the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Israel Celebrates Mimouna

04/07/2015
Staff Writer

After sundown on the last day of Passover, holiday dishes go into storage, exchanged for ones fit for year-round use. In some communities, chametz-starved Jews head to the local pizzeria.

Getty Images

The Cousins I Never Had

04/07/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

On a trip back home to Ireland where I grew up, I was thinking less about the modern bustling country of today and more about some letters of 77 years ago that recently turned up in my childhood family home.

Gideon Taylor
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