Now that the horrific fire in Israel’s Carmel forest has been extinguished and Israel has buried its dead, Israeli politicians and pundits have begun the inevitable process of assessing blame for this unprecedented tragedy. I have heard many referring to it as the “blame game,” as if this can be treated like just another episode in which an oversight or omission on the part of some careless government functionary caused a blackout, or a monumental traffic jam. Find the most likely suspect, the reasoning goes, hang him/her out to dry, and go on with your lives.
Throughout Jewish history various numbers have played important symbolic roles — the Three Patriarchs, the Four Matriarchs, the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and so on.
The big numbers this week were 618 and 2,197,813.
Those are, respectively, the numbers of people who took part in a dreidel-spinning event at Yeshiva University that set a Guinness-certified world record, and the number of times a Chanukah video by the school’s Maccabeats a capella group was viewed on YouTube since it was posted last month.
Angelica Berrie, a New Jersey-based businesswoman and philanthropist, was honored recently by the Nadav Foundation with its annual Jewish Peoplehood Award for “promoting dialogue between Jews of different backgrounds.” Founded in 2003 by Leonid Nevzlin, the foundation is a major force behind the effort to revive and rebuild Bet Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, in Tel Aviv.
A scantily clothed man sprints along the shore, fire blazing from the stick in his hand. As he pauses to light each of dozens of torches, the sound of ukuleles wafts from a hotel patio, and the flickering fires cast a shimmering golden glow across the lapping waves.
My 3-year-old nephew, his voice raspy from a recent cold, has been directing a long-winded narrative my way. I catch only a few words, but they startle me: Santa will be sliding down chimneys, and then there will be presents.
“Oh really?” I say, my eyebrows rising, inwardly vowing to speak with my sister.
Former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee got a standing ovation when Dr. Joseph Frager introduced him at the 28th annual dinner of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center on Dec. 5.
“I’ve never had that kind of reception from Baptists, so I am very glad to be here,” the former Baptist minister, Arkansas governor and presidential aspirant said.
“I think Joe announced my candidacy for president. Thank you Joe, but I’m not yet ready to do so.”
“As soon as I saw Marvin, I liked him,” says Oshrat Kidron of Petah Tikva. She liked his look – a baseball cap with a skull cap underneath. Marvin's attentions were on someone else. When Oshrat asked for his phone number, he replied: “I lost my phone.”
She didn't think he was telling the truth (he was).