Text Context

Editor’s Note

11/29/2011

There’s leadership training and young leadership councils, political party leadership and rabbinic leadership; there are professional leaders and lay leaders and so many books that promise to teach strategic leadership skills. The other day, I noticed a truck parked opposite my office with a bold headline, “The undisputed leader in event drapes.”

Out Of Control

For a variety of reasons, Jews are underrepresented in the U.S. military and its leadership.

11/29/2011

They knew all about his military exploits, his extraordinary record of combat in both the Second World War and Vietnam. But Mick and Barrie, the two sons of Melvin Zais, who rose to become a four star general in the United States Army with battlefields named for him all over the world, did not know that their father was Jewish. “It was easier for him to go along with my mother, a Southern Baptist who insisted on raising her sons as Christians,” Barrie, who also went into the military, recalled. “It was better for his marriage and better for his career.”

Hand-Sewn American Flag Handmade by two sisters in the French Resistance.

Text Context December 2011

This month, our distinguished contributors pursue the nature of Jewish leadership, whether communal, military, rabbinic, political or wishful.

11/29/2011
Text Context December 2011

Journal Watch

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

In discussing optimism, the well-established metaphor of “lemons and lemonade” is invoked: the optimist has the tendency to view the lemon as the source for the lemonade — and not only is it lemonade, but the glass is half-full, rather than half-empty, of the yummy drink.

Being Chaim Grade

The Yiddish writer and his particular view of the Jewish past and future.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

“Nu, what do you come here for? To sit shiva?” a beleaguered and emotionally drained Chaim Grade asks a long-lost neighbor, Balberishkin, as they wander through the empty Jewish streets of Vilna. “A shiva that is, apparently, never over,” Balberishkin replies as the two continue to explore their memories.

Hope, USA, 1945 From the collection of Dan Lenchner

Long View

At a book festival in Sicily, admiring a tranquil lifestyle and remembering a father’s bedtime stories.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

The pleasant-voiced captain apologizes again over the loudspeaker. The plane was scheduled to take off two hours earlier and we still haven’t left. “Our crew still hasn’t been able to determine the problem with the plane, so we need to ask our passengers to disembark. We will update you as soon as we can.”

TAL SHOCHAT. Barosh #2 (Cypress), 2011, 	C-Print, 67.75 x 33.75 inches, edition of 6. 	Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York

Absolute Citron

A look at the etrog, the lemony fruit that helps define Sukkot.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

By 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur, the corner of Essex and Canal streets on New York’s Lower East Side was coming to life, as vendors on different corners set up makeshift tables. They proceeded to display the fruit, leaves and branches that comprise the biblically mandated Four Species — myrtle, lulav or date palm, willow and citron for sale in advance of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seven-day harvest and ingathering feast better known as Sukkot.

MICHAEL DATIKASH President Street, Brooklyn, 2008

A Place Called Hope

Seeking out the reservoir of optimism.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

It’s at the moment when the plane begins to bump and roll, when it feels as if we’re in nothing more than a tin can, lurching around 36,000 feet up in the sky, that the singing begins. The experts on anxiety teach that distraction works well, so I am religious about bringing my iPod on every flight.

Teenagers sing in a choir. Netanya, Israel, 1950s. Courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives.

Prayer As Act Of Optimism

Worship helps our internal compasses point to a magnetic north of being-ness.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

Is there such a thing as engaging in an act of optimism? We often talk about feeling optimistic. I can feel hopeful. I can generate a positive outlook, if I am not already blessed with a cup-half-full feeling.

TAL SHOCHAT. Rimon (Pomegranate), 2010, C-Print, 48.25 x 51 inches, edition of 6. Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York.

The Sounds Of Hope

Although penned by an alcoholic poet who moved to America, Israel’s national anthem still lifts the spirits of many Jews.

Special To The Jewish Week
10/04/2011

Many great authors were famously alcoholic — Fitzgerald and Faulkner come swiftly to mind — and so were other writers of lesser stature. Among these was the vagabond Hebrew poet Naphtali Herz Imber, who was born in Galicia in 1856. He lived for four years in Palestine, wandered (he claimed) as far as Bombay, and spent his final 17 years in America, where he earned a paltry income as a freelance writer for the Anglo-Jewish press, reinvented himself as a purveyor of popular Kabbalah and died at the age of 53. Pretty much everything he ever wrote is forgotten today.

Tel Aviv, c. 1949 From the collection of Dan Lenchner
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