A look back at 2011, from Anthony Weiner to Gilad Shalit to Occupy Judaism.
JTA and Jewish Week Staff
The following is a review of the news highlights of 2011.
Jews worldwide mourn the passing of Debbie Friedman, a popular singer and songwriter who is widely credited with reinvigorating synagogue music and best known for her composition “Mi Shebeirach,” a prayer for healing that is sung in many North American congregations.
A host of problems — Iran, foremost among them, but domestic threats too — promises to have Israelis on edge in 2012.
Jerusalem — The Iranian threat. Political unrest in Syria and Egypt. Relations with the Palestinians. Israel-diaspora issues. And, internally, angst over the ever-growing gap between the country’s haves and have-nots, and anger over religious extremism.
Add to this the American presidential elections and possible elections in Israel and the Palestinian-ruled areas, and 2012 promises to be a quite a year for Israel.
The top Jewish applications of 2011 and a look to the future.
Rabbi Jason Miller
Special To The Jewish Week
As I walked around the recent International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, one thing was impossible to miss. Mobile applications are being integrated everywhere and into everything. Smartphones are no longer the only devices on which users are downloading their favorite apps.
Our culture critic looks into his crystal ball for some likely trends.
The year 2011 seems safely behind us, but cultural events never quite adhere to strict calendar years. For that reason, many of the things we’d like to remember as triumphs in Jewish culture from last year — the return of a near-universally praised Woody Allen film, say, or a major new history of Jerusalem — will garner plenty of attention in 2012. Allen’s 2011 film “Midnight in Paris” will be a hot topic at the Oscar’s in late-February, having been nominated for four awards, including best director and best film.
Rejecting purist ideology, a thinker argues, is best for America and American Jews in 2012.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield
Special To The Jewish Week
Tell me what’s going on in the world, and I’ll tell you what’s going on with “the Jews.” There really are no “Jewish trends,” at least not in contemporary America. There are human trends that manifest themselves within what is often called “Jewish life.”
2010 was a record year for foreign tourism to Israel.
Jerusalem — Like many other Israelis who experienced the 1990-‘91 Gulf War and the first and second Palestinian uprisings — all of which devastated tourism to Israel, and especially Jerusalem — I’m always a bit amazed when I see busload upon busload of tourists praying at the Kotel or walking the Via Dolorosa.
With a record 3.45 million visitors, 2010 was the best year ever for Israeli tourism, but it’s taken me, and other Israelis, a while to get used to the fact that outsiders finally consider our country a desirable destination.
From Israel to Iowa, Hollywood to Ground Zero, a recap of the top Jewish stories of 2010.
JTA, Jewish Week Staff
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces the construction of a border fence with Egypt to help prevent illegal immigration, saying that illegal immigration is a huge threat to Israel’s economic and social livelihood.
President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union address. Many Jewish groups are upset over his lack of specifics on health care and the threat of Iran.
The top 10 moments (in no particular order) of 2010 in arts and letters.
PETER BEINART FIGHTS FOR LIBERAL ZIONISM
As the former editor of The New Republic, a liberal magazine, but one with a strong pro-Israel bent, Peter Beinart shocked Jews of all stripes when he published a scathing critique of the organized Jewish community in May in The New York Review of Books. Beinart, 39, argued that groups from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, to the Anti-Defamation League have failed to make Zionism an attractive ideal for young American Jews, who are mostly liberal.
2010 marked a turning point in the relationship between diaspora Jewry and Israel. Although philanthropy and tourism remain essential components of that relationship, diaspora Jews signaled that unquestioning support could no longer be taken for granted and demanded, as never before, a voice in shaping the values of the Jewish state.