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.”
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.
I don’t anticipate having a chance to write for next week’s paper– the week of Rosh Hashanah is just a little busy for rabbis in the pulpit– so I hope you’ll indulge me in sharing a thought that, though a few days early for the holiday itself, is actually timely for the Shabbat of S’lichot, the penitential prayers recited on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.
At first glance, the resemblance is unmistakable — the diction, gestures, cadences of the deep voice of author Mark Obama Ndesandjo seem uncannily similar to his brother, President Barack Obama. In fact, with his shaved head, Ndesandjo looks like a younger, hipper, more smiling version of the President. But as he shows in his just-published compelling memoir, “An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Revelation Across Three Cultures” (Lyons Press), he’s very much his own person, exploring issues of identity, race and family, along with his Jewishness. The two men share a father, Barack Obama, Sr., but they were born to different mothers; the president is the son of the second wife and Ndesandjo is the son of the third, a Jewish woman named Ruth Beatrice Baker. (Ndesandjo’s parents divorced when he was 7, and he later took on the name of his stepfather, only to reclaim the Obama name in recent years.)
Leipzig was a flourishing German city before World War II. In 1964, as part of communist East Germany, it was a desolate place, bomb damage still not repaired, store shelves bare and streets dimly lit. It was not a tourist destination.
With the revelation this week of a video clearly and unambiguously showing former Baltimore Raven football player Ray Rice punching his wife in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, knocking her unconscious, and then unceremoniously dragging her out of the elevator, a whole host of disturbing questions have come to the fore.