Jewish Journal

Michael Berenbaum

  • Elie Wiesel, the moral force who made sure we will never forget the evil of the Holocaust

    3 weeks ago

    Elie Wiesel, the world’s best-known and most-influential Holocaust survivor, is no longer. His death at 87, announced July 2, makes us ever more acutely aware that we are coming to the end of an era. Soon, all too soon, there will be no survivors.

    Elie Wiesel was a unique figure...

  • Jews could laugh everywhere, even in the Holocaust

    April 27, 2016 | 8:37 am

    Chaya Ostrower, “It Kept Us Alive: Humor in the Holocaust,” Translated by Sandy Bloom. (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2014) pp. 439.

    A personal confession: some 30 years ago, as I was lying on my living room couch reading a Holocaust diary, every few minutes I would break out in...

  • Sage advice from ancient sages, via a modern thinker

    April 20, 2016 | 1:48 pm

    One could review Irving “Yitz” Greenberg’s decadelong effort “Sage Advice: Pirkei Avot” in one sentence: “Sage Advice” (Maggid Books) is Yitz Greenberg being Yitz Greenberg — the rest is commentary, go and study it. But I suspect my (and the book’s) editors would prefer more than...

  • Marjorie Pressman, rebbetzin and philanthropist, 94

    April 5, 2016 | 10:36 am

    Marjorie Pressman, a notable communal leader and rebbetzin par excellence of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, where her husband, Rabbi Jacob Pressman, served as rabbi from 1950-1985, died at home April 4 after a period of declining health. She was 94.

    It is a stereotype of...

  • Remembering the November 1938 pogroms known as ‘Kristallnacht’

    November 4, 2015 | 3:16 pm

    What’s in a name?

    November 9, 2015, marks the 77th anniversary of the 1938 pogroms launched throughout Germany, a nation that, after March 1938, also included Austria. More than 1,000 synagogues were burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses were ransacked and looted and more than 30,000...

  • Hitler needed plenty of help to kill the Jews – but no inspiration

    October 21, 2015 | 3:07 pm

    In a speech to the World Zionist Congress, on Oct. 20, 2015, the prime minister of Israel said:

    “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time [Nov. 28, 1941], he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini [the mufti of Jerusalem] went to Hitler and said, ‘If you...

  • Rabbi Jacob Pressman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am, dies at 95

    October 1, 2015 | 4:55 pm

    Rabbi Jacob Pressman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am for 35 years, community leader and civil rights activist, died peacefully at his home on Thursday morning, Oct. 1.

    Funeral services will be held  Sunday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Beth Am, 1039 S, La  Cienega Blvd.,...

  • The Iran deal is done: What history should teach us

    September 2, 2015 | 4:27 pm

    Thirty-four senators — 32 Democrats plus two Independents who caucus with the Democrats — have come out in favor of the Iran deal, enough to sustain a presidential veto, so approval of the deal with Iran and five American partners is a foregone conclusion. The questions to ask now...

  • To those who hear anti-Semitism when it is not there

    August 19, 2015 | 11:00 am

    I’ve learned a new term: “dog whistle.” The term was used by Lee Smith, a political columnist for the online magazine Tablet, who wrote that President Barack Obama was “hinting broadly at anti-Semitic conceits — like dual loyalties, moneyed interests, Jewish lobbies — to scare off...

  • Geneva is not Munich, and President Obama is not Neville Chamberlain

    July 22, 2015 | 3:28 pm

    If I could wave a magic wand, I would ask the Jewish community to stop using Holocaust analogies. They simply don’t work. We are different and the world is different.

    Permit me a simple example. No one disputes that Israel has second-strike capacity and that anyone who...

  • Obama and Israel: rationality, self-interest and hatred

    June 1, 2015 | 11:44 am

    This past week President Barack Obama went on a Jewish offensive trying to gain support for the forthcoming agreement with Iran by giving an interview to Jeffrey Goldberg, the wise and deeply committed Jewish writer for The Atlantic, and by speaking at Adas Israel Congregation, the...

  • Time for a kosher hot dog and a beer and Dodger baseball

    April 8, 2015 | 4:07 pm

    Spring is upon us. The seders are over, the Iran problem endures. Romance is in the air and, with romance, some men’s and women’s hearts turn to baseball. 

    I dutifully bought my season-ticket package of 40 games to Dodger Stadium — 40, not 81, because I don’t attend on Shabbat...

  • Boehner invitation to Bibi signals Congress, White House showdown

    January 22, 2015 | 11:10 am

    The invitation by Speaker of the House John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the question of Iran is a crude interference in Israeli election politics. 

    The speech, scheduled for early March, and a fortnight before the...

  • Would you stay in France?

    January 21, 2015 | 11:43 am

    In the wake of the horrific terrorist killings in France, my heart took many turns. First there was shock, soon replaced by grief, then anger, followed by resolve. Now it may be time for reflection.

    The response from the French and then the Israelis to the two attacks raised some...

  • Learning Leadership from Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, z’l

    December 19, 2014 | 3:11 pm

    Much will have been written over the next few days about the massive contribution that Rabbi Harold Schulweis has made to Jewish life in our time. Yet as an observer, participant and shaper of Jewish life, I feel that there is still more than can be said. Permit me to focus on his...

  • Hero or traitor: The life, murder and afterlife of Reszo Kasztner

    December 11, 2014 | 3:02 pm

    Before there was Eichmann, there was Kasztner. 

    Now that I have your attention, permit me to explain. 

    The Kasztner trial, as it became known — the formal title of the trial was Attorney General of the State of Israel v. Malkiel Grunewald — was the first of two Holocaust trials...

  • So right, yet so wrong: The truth Sheldon Adelson told us

    November 19, 2014 | 3:20 pm

    The media has covered casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s address to the Israeli-American Council, a recently formed organization of Israelis who live in the United States, many of whom have truthfully become Israeli Americans.

    When asked what to do about the land and what to do...

  • Do Jews need more chutzpah? Does Judaism?

    November 19, 2014 | 1:46 pm

    I began reading Rabbi Edward Feinstein’s “The Chutzpah Imperative: Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life that Matters” (Jewish Lights) with two conflicting emotions — admiration and skepticism. Every time I have been in the presence of Feinstein, I have learned something — large or...

  • After the fog of war: An early assessment of the Israel-Gaza conflict

    August 13, 2014 | 4:23 pm

    It is far too early to assess the impact of the latest war in Gaza, but still some preliminary thoughts are in order:

    Anti-Semitism panic

    Judging by what I have been reading in the press blogs and emails, it seems as if many Jews are in a panic about the rise in anti-Semitism....

  • Yad Vashem and sirens

    July 16, 2014 | 3:23 pm

    I have been in Israel for the past several days attending conferences on the Holocaust at Yad Vashem and at the Ghetto Fighters’ House, near Nahariya — all amid the shelling. 

    Sirens go off in the morning and the evening, and we face a decision whether to hasten to the shelter or...

  • Odd Man Out

    April 30, 2014 | 4:02 pm

  • Celebrating the newest Roman Catholic Saints

    April 23, 2014 | 10:58 am

    Ordinarily, Jews have little interest in whom the Roman Catholic Church canonizes as saints. Yet, on the Sunday after Easter, the day that coincides with Yom Ha-Shoah, the 27th of Nisan, two men, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, will be elevated to sainthood, and both of them...

  • Begin biography moving, not convincing

    March 12, 2014 | 4:32 pm

    In his new biography, “Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul” (New York: Next Book, Schocken), Daniel Gordis writes passionately and poignantly about the life of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, from childhood in Brisk (now Brest-Litovsk) to the post of prime...

  • Living at the heart of a “Promised Land”

    December 12, 2013 | 11:16 am

    Ari Shavit, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2013) pp. 449).

    The anguish of the believer is not the same as that of the renegade, and Ari Shavit writes as a believer in the Zionist enterprise. Not Zionism in the mystical sense that...

  • Keene, Kaliningrad and Riga: Confronting the memory of Kristallnacht

    December 2, 2013 | 3:59 pm

    I travel for my work; I travel often -- my wife and children might say too often. Just before Chanukah, I was in Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Canada, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and then back home. A hectic schedule is of little interest, but what I experienced might be.

  • Rabbi Jacob Pressman turns 94: A community treasure

    October 23, 2013 | 12:06 pm

    For decades now, as Rabbi Jacob (Jack) Pressman celebrated a milestone birthday, there was a gala show and dinner starring Rabbi Jack and his myriad show-biz friends to manifest and celebrate the many talents and achievements of this extraordinary man. Five years ago, Temple Beth...

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talked the talk

    October 3, 2013 | 11:21 am

    As one who has studied a folio of Talmud each day for the last 14 months, I am tempted to present President Hassan Rouhani’s interview with CNN as a text to be studied, dissected point by point, sentence by sentence in talmudic fashion.

    According to the translator hired by the...

  • A work unworthy of Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker

    August 14, 2013 | 11:41 am

    What is a reviewer to do when a truly gifted writer writes a genuinely awful book?

    I suspect that I was invited to write this review because the editor suspected that I might be open to the author’s experience, moved by the power of her words, and might not dismiss her critique...

  • Memoirs of Chasidic masters’ liberated Scion

    June 6, 2013 | 2:42 pm

    A decade ago, distinguished Orthodox filmmaker Menachem Daum produced and directed the documentary “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America,” a restrained and loving effort to introduce the seemingly strange and alien world of Chasidism to outsiders. Several years later, he produced...

  • Senator Frank R. Lautenberg 1924-2013

    June 4, 2013 | 9:20 am

    Frank Lautenberg’s rise to wealth and prominence is a classic rags-to-riches story. Born in Paterson, N.J., the son of Polish and Russian immigrants who came to the United States through Ellis Island, his early life was unsettled as his parents moved about a dozen times while...

  • Jackie and the Jews [Irish, Italians, Blacks, Poles]: Ethnicity in post-war America

    April 8, 2013 | 11:06 am

    Jackie was the first. Jackie could not just play the game for himself. He was playing the game for every one of his race who had been denied a chance, whose future was closed because of racism and segregation. Indeed, as I remember it, Jackie played the game for every minority kid...

  • How the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum changed my life

    April 3, 2013 | 1:59 pm

    My daughter, Ilana, then a young college student, asked if she could go with me to the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on April 22, 1993 (the date was tied to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’s 50th anniversary). I said: “I will be leaving very early.” She...

  • Boy Avenger

    April 3, 2013 | 9:19 am

    I began reading Jonathan Kirsch’s “The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris” (Liveright Publishing Co., 2013) with considerable skepticism. As Kirsch, a prolific author, attorney and book editor for the Journal,  notes,...

  • A voice that was freed – and now is silence

    February 13, 2013 | 9:54 am

    Rabbi David Hartman has gone to his eternal rest, but not before he made a monumental contribution to Jewish life and a significant contribution to Jewish thought.

    Best known for his pioneering work as founder of  the Shalom Hartman Institute, which is a innovative and original...

  • Why the Sunday Times of London’s cartoon IS anti-Semitic

    January 30, 2013 | 3:04 pm

    Gerald Scarfe the British cartoonist who published the sketch of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall on the bodies of Palestinians and using their blood as cement, has denied that he is or ever was an anti-Semite. Scarfe said: "I am not, and never have been,...

  • ‘Where are we going?’: Against the lessons of history

    January 9, 2013 | 1:12 pm

    It is an oft-repeated cliché of the Holocaust that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” That statement — first made by Edmund Burke and usually attributed to George Santayana, who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — is too...

  • PRO: Should Chuck Hagel become secretary of defense?

    January 9, 2013 | 10:22 am

    Were it not so sad, so absurd and so stupid, I might be amused by the recent attacks against former Senator Chuck Hagel as being anti-Semitic for his failure to distinguish between the Jewish lobby and the pro-Israel lobby.

    There is real anti-Semitism in the world; openly...

  • What’s the Strategy?

    December 25, 2012 | 8:41 am

    A couple of years ago a private conversation between then French President Nicholas Sarkozy and President Obama was caught on a live mike. Sarkozy said I can't bare Netanyahu, he's such a liar." Obama responded: "You're fed up with him but I have to deal with him more than you do."...
  • Five Jewish takeaways from the 2012 election

    November 8, 2012 | 9:44 am

    The prime minister of Israel does not speak for the Jews of America, nor do many of the Jewish organizations.

    One of the most significant losers of Election Day was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who openly opposed President Barack Obama from the very beginning of his...

  • U.S. response to a cry for help during World War II

    October 24, 2012 | 12:07 pm

    A prosecutor by training and a historical novelist by avocation, Gregory J. Wallance has written books of historical fiction and historical nonfiction. In “America’s Soul in the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR’s State Department and the Moral Disgrace of an American Aristocracy”...

  • What was President Obama’s mistake?

    May 31, 2012 | 1:45 pm

    The President made a simple and very basic mistake when he spoke of Polish death camps.

    There were death camps and they were situated in Poland – deliberately so – but there were no Polish death camps.

    The most accurate way to refer to these camps is “Nazi death camps in...

  • President Obama's diplomacy has been given a chance

    May 4, 2012 | 10:34 am

    According to Jewish tradition, prophecy ceased with the end of the Biblical era, but it doesn’t take a prophet to predict that Israel will not be attacking Iranian nuclear installations, at least not for a while.

    The conventional wisdom had been that the Israelis had a window of...

  • Time for a (kosher) hot dog, a beer and dodgers baseball

    April 18, 2012 | 11:36 am

    I just attended the Dodgers’ opening day celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium and the wonderful baseball game that followed, a 2-1 thriller marked by excellent pitching, daring base running and a game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth by Andre Ethier,...

  • Paideia Conference Considers Jews in a Multicultural World

    October 26, 2011 | 12:07 pm

    Recently, I attended a three-day conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of Paideia, the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. The brainchild of Barbara Spectre, an American-Israeli-Swedish philosopher who has led the program since its inception, Paideia brings...

  • Holocaust truth is told on Muslim soil

    September 27, 2011 | 11:15 am

    While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was spewing hatred and denying the Holocaust from the floor of the United Nations, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were trading charges as to who is responsible for the nonexistent peace...

  • Jews saving Jews

    April 26, 2011 | 5:51 pm

    As I was finishing reading Andrew E. Stevens’ memoir, “Rebel With a Cause: The Amazing True Story of Urban Partisans in World War II,” in collaboration with Meir Doron (Allied Artists, $9.99), I received an e-mail from a former colleague reminding me of a promise I had made to...

  • COUNTER-POINT: How best to support an imperfect Israel

    January 5, 2011 | 4:24 pm

    What a wonderful idea. Let us counteract a boycott by engaging in a boycott of our own; let us boycott the boycotters who in turn can retaliate by boycotting the boycotters of the boycott.

    There are several problems with the arguments advanced in...

  • Why Jewish community executives make so much money

    December 15, 2010 | 5:32 pm

    The Forward newspaper has done a service to the American Jewish community by publishing the salaries of major executives of American Jewish organizations. They are essentially Jewish communal civil servants, and, as do all civil servants, they sacrifice a measure of privacy — and...

  • Master historians take use of oral history to new level

    November 3, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    “Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp” by Christopher R. Browning (W.H. Norton and Co., 2010)

    “The Death of the Shtetl” by Yehuda Bauer (Yale University Press, 2010)

    Among the great privileges of reading contemporary Holocaust history is seeing the...

  • Dennis Prager’s false debate

    September 22, 2010 | 1:27 pm

    Two weeks ago, The Jewish Journal published a column by Dennis Prager titled “A Question for ‘Progressive’ Jews Who Support the Ground Zero Mosque.” In it, he argued that there are similarities between plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in Manhattan...

  • Purim Government

    March 12, 2010 | 1:45 pm

    I have just breathed a sigh of relief. Good news: the world is a less dangerous place; the Jewish people are more secure.

    If I understand what happened in Jerusalem last week: the Government of Israel has just informed the world that all the reports of a nuclear Iran being an...

  • The Scales of Justice and the Angel of Death

    February 1, 2010 | 4:33 pm

    “Operation Last Chance: One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice,” Efraim Zuroff (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) pp. 238.

    The spiritual heir of Simon Wiesenthal, Efraim Zuroff, and Eli Rosenbaum of the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) of the U.S. Department...

  • Who Owns the ‘N’ Word?

    October 28, 2009 | 8:26 pm

    This week, we have finally reached Holocaust overload.

    It began Sept. 23, 2009, when the General Assembly of the United Nations featured a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust. In a speech widely cheered in Jewish circles, both in Israel and the...

  • Has Justice Returned to the Justice Department?

    May 6, 2009 | 9:11 pm

    The Obama administration has decided to drop the charges against Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former AIPAC officials who were to be tried under a rarely used section of the 1917 Espionage Act that makes it a crime for civilians to receive and disseminate secret information.

  • Justice Has Returned to the Justice Department

    May 1, 2009 | 4:22 pm

    The Obama Administration has decided to drop the charges against Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former AIPAC officials who were to be tried under a rarely used section of the 1917 Espionage Act that makes it a crime for civilians to receive and disseminate secret information.

  • Has Federation Abandoned Its Central Role?

    April 23, 2009 | 3:00 am

    Having just completed the Passover seders I realize that the attitude with which one asks the question is often as important as the question itself. The distance between the wise and the wicked child is not that great — it is the distance between “we” and “you,” between...

  • 20th Century Zionist Asks: ‘Has Jacob Become Esau?’

    March 4, 2009 | 2:55 am

    “Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz” by David N. Myers (Brandeis University Press, 2009).

    In the Middle East, questions endure for generations; answers elude the generations.

    For some time now the relationship between Israel and its neighbors has centered...

  • Politicizing Word ‘Holocaust’ Trivializes It

    February 4, 2009 | 4:09 am

    Names make a difference, and names must be used with precision, or they are abused.

    Naming is the most human of deeds. It was how Adam ordered the animal world; it is how scientists control disease and identify phenomena.

    I fear that we have spent a generation building up the...

  • Israel and its relationship to the Shoah

    March 20, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    What can we learn from the history of the establishment of the State of Israel as to its relationship to the Shoah?

    Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer argued, "The reason why survivors turned to Zionism is not hard to understand. The murder of the European Jews seemed to vindicate the...

  • Books: Wartime memoir a lesson in finding family treasures

    March 6, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    "Every Day Lasts A Year: A Jewish Family's Correspondence From Poland," edited by Christopher R. Browing, Richard S. Hollander and Nechama Tec (Cambridge University Press, $28).

    Over the past several years, a new genre of original Jewish documentation has emerged in closets and...

  • Diaspora must face painful realities in Jerusalem’s future

    January 24, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    The 'emotional approach': Ofra Haza: Yerushalyim Shel Zahav
    So in the end, it has come down to Jerusalem.

    The Jewish community is now openly discussing whether Jerusalem should be on the negotiating table for a Palestinian-Israel peace agreement.

    • Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky was widely...

  • The Yavneh incident was stupid but not quite anti-Semitic

    October 11, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Last month, Kol Nidrei services on the evening of the Day of Atonement held at a local Hancock Park yeshiva were interrupted by the government officials pressing a zoning violation.

    It was an act of stupidity and insensitivity, not anti-Semitism.

    On the contrary, it signified how...

  • The leaders of Israel and of the Jewish people are failing us

    May 24, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I write in sadness -- deep sadness.

    Almost 25 years ago, I read a one-line description of Jewish leadership that has haunted me ever since. The author, whose name I have repressed, wrote: "Only a confirmed anti-Semite could believe that the Jewish people have the leadership they...
  • Books: Part history, part mystery—the passengers of the S. S. St. Louis

    April 12, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust" by Sarah A. Ogilvie and Scott Miller (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).

    Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller set a difficult task for themselves. Writing their book was easy. So, too, was researching what happened on the...
  • Prager’s presence no longer benefits Holocaust Museum

    February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    "Wise men be cautious with your words" is the admonition of the Talmud.

    Even a wise man can say foolish things. Dennis Prager is no fool, but he certainly made a foolish remark in insisting that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) take the oath of office on a Christian Bible.

    Permit me...

  • William Styron, an appreciation

    November 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Bill Styron died last week at the age of 81. The author of the "Confessions of Nat Turner" and "Sophie's Choice" was indisputably a great writer, a writer's writer. His words were carefully, painstakingly chosen and anyone who loved the English language enjoyed the pure...
  • Books: Kristallnacht’s memory revealed and recovered

    November 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Nov. 9, 2006 marks the 68th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogroms throughout Germany and Austria, then incorporated into Germany, that set fire to the synagogues in towns and villages, pillaged Jewish shops, and led to the arrest and incarceration into concentration camps of...
  • Painful Lessons Emerge From War in Lebanon

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    We are now four weeks into the war in Lebanon, five weeks into the crisis in Gaza, and it is time to consider what we have learned -- if anything.

    For Jews on the left, a position where I comfortably situate myself politically and morally, this was a war that should not have...

  • New U.S. Stamps Honor Friends of Jews, Israel

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    On May 30, the United States Postal Service issued a series of new stamps honoring six career State Department diplomats who earned the gratitude of this nation for taking "risks to advance humanitarianism...[and] peace," even if their actions put themselves "in harm's way."


  • AIPAC Is Guilty—But Not of Spying

    October 27, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    As some 1,250 delegates gather in Los Angeles under the banner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to celebrate the deepening ties between the United States and Israel and to strengthen those ties through political activities, I am mindful of two who...

  • Nostra Aetate:

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    When Pope John XXIII convened Vatican Council II, he initiated the process that led to Nostra Aetate, which 40 years ago this year essentially dropped the charge that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. Nostra Aetate accorded fundamental respect to Judaism, not only...

  • Entrapment, Surrender and Silence

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    If recent press reports regarding the government case against two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employees are to be believed, then I am increasingly outraged at the government's case, AIPAC's response and the silence of the American Jewish community.

    A word...

  • Three Faces of Shoah Interpretation

    April 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    “The Destruction of the European Jews” (Third Edition) by Raul Hilberg ( Yale University Press, 2003).

    “The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy September 1939-March 1942” by Christopher R. Browning, with contributions by Jurgen Matthaus (...

  • What It Takes to Create a Museum

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The opening of a new museum by Yad Vashem is an event to be honored by the entire Jewish world whether in Israel or throughout the Diaspora.

    For Jerusalem to maintain its primacy, its centrality, the brilliant creation of the 1950s, which was then far ahead of its time, had to be...

  • History on Trial

    February 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    "History on Trial: My Day in Court With David Irving," by Deborah E. Lipstadt (Echo, 2005) $25.95.

    For five excruciating years, from the moment that David Irving sued her for libel in England until the appeals process ran its course, Deborah Lipstadt had to remain silent....

  • Righteous Anger Fuels ‘Auschwitz’

    October 14, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Escaping Auschwitz: A Culture of Forgetting" by Ruth Linn (Cornell University Press, $20).

    There is a fierce anger at the core of Ruth Linn's work, the anger of a woman who suddenly and irrefutably discovers that the story she has been told by her Israeli teachers, Israeli...

  • Chabad: To Change But Not Be Changed

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Chabad telethon is an appropriate occasion to consider one of the anomalies of contemporary American Jewish religious life. Chabad will be appealing for funds by skillfully using television, a medium that fewer and fewer of their Chasidim officially have in their homes -- they...

  • In 2003, We Are STRONG

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Item 1: I received a call the other day from a journalist employed by a respected Jewish magazine working on a story titled, "Is a Second Holocaust Brewing?"

    Item 2: Arthur Cohn, a well-respected and talented filmmaker repeated in The Jewish Journal and The Forward the canard first...

  • The Top 10 Reasons Why Today Is Different

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    The top 10 reasons why the vulnerability of the 1930s cannot be compared with contemporary Jewish vulnerability:

    10. Hitler ruled most of Europe; Arafat can't move beyond the rubble of his compound.

    9. In the 1930s, Jews were without adequate power to defend themselves. Those with...

  • Explosion of Love in Encino Defeats Hatred

    May 29, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    The response to the attacks in early May against four houses for worship in Encino -- two synagogues, a Baha'i Community Center and a Protestant Church -- shows that the way Americans handle what seemed to be an explosion of hatred defeats that hatred and reinforces our sense of...

  • Day of ‘Reckoning’

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair" by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. (Knopf, 2002). $25

    After provoking a furious debate over the role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust with his book, "Hitler's Willing...

  • An Old Murder Is a Tale for Our Times

    January 2, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town" by Helmut Walser Smith (W.W. Norton and Co., $25.95).

    One of the most depressing of the many depressing aspects of the second year of the new millennium has been the resurgence of anti-Semitism and the importation into...

  • Bridging the Gap

    December 12, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The announcement that Richard Joel has been named as president of Yeshiva University (YU) is an important and salutary development in American Jewish life. Joel is a gifted leader, able spokesman and prolific fundraiser. He has been able to establish the national Hillel organization...

  • The Bigger Picture

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "The Holocaust: A History" Debórah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, $27.95).

    There is great modesty -- appropriate to the subject and to the stage of our knowledge -- in the title of this work: "The Holocaust: A History." Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan...

  • A Jewish World Without Denominations

    November 7, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    A new president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) was inaugurated in a moving ceremony held Oct. 13 in the ornate Plum Street Temple in downtown Cincinnati. Rabbi David Ellenson, a native of Newport News, Va., and a long-time resident of Los Angeles,...

  • Expressions of Evil

    March 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    I have seen each of the works planned for the "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art" exhibit slated to run March 17-June 30 at the Jewish Museum in New York. I have seen the video and have most recently, after the exhibition became controversial, been party to the discussion....

  • An Enabler of Genocide

    March 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Edwin Black's new book, "IBM and the Holocaust" (Crown) has generated significant interest. Full-page advertisements in the New York Times and other prestigious newspapers and interviews on the "Today Show" and other prominent television programs have all been part of its marketing...

  • Rescuing the Spiritual Elite

    December 14, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The Response of Orthodox Jewry in the United States to the Holocaust: The Activities of Vaad-Ha-Hatzala Rescue Committee, 1933-1945, Efraim Zuroff, Yeshiva University Press, 316 pages, $39.50

    Efraim Zuroff is Israel's preeminent Nazi-hunter, the best of the younger generation....

  • Promoting Holocaust Denial

    June 1, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    To quote Yogi Berra, it is déjà vu all over again. There is an eerie consistency to the mishandling of the David Irving story in the Los Angeles Times, which again on May 30, as on January 7, allowed itself to be used as a propaganda instrument for Holocaust denial.

    From the teaser...

  • The Diminished Assault on Truth and Memory

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    In the wake of the Littleton shooting tragedy, a nation of finger-pointers has rounded up the usual suspects: media violence, guns, video games, the Internet. But for Jonathan Kellerman, this laundry list -- inevitably brought out in the wake of such violence -- omits one major...
  • Misleading, Inaccurate, Distorted, and Uninformed Reporting

    January 13, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Kim Murphy's article "Danger in Denying the Holocaust" could be dismissed as amateurish at best were it not the Jan. 7 Column One story of the Los Angeles Times. Because of where it appeared, some of the issues it raised must be addressed. She doesn't present the stakes in the Irving...