Amnesia of the past foreshadows amnesia of the future. Forget yesterday's tragedy and the threat to tomorrow is denied. Forget the first genocide of the 20th century -- the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 -- and the memory and atrocities of the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur turn invisible, and the world response is muted.
The question is whispered and must be answered in a forthright manner: Darfur or Israel? Is your loyalty to your people or to humanity? Is your loyalty to Judaism or to mankind? Are you essentially a Jew or a human being?
Institutions change. Change is not spontaneous, easy or automatic. It requires face-to-face encounters and a determination to dialogue. As Martin Buber famously put it, "All real life is meeting." Absent dialogue, the vacuum creates disinformation and resentment.
"The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones." Shakespeare's comment remains pertinent in our times.
Evil acts enjoy great publicity. Every inch of graffiti on the walls of schools is photographed, and every ethnic or racial outrage resonates in the public media.
In a passage from the Talmud (Makkoth 24a), Moses' blessing in Deuteronomy is cited: "And Israel dwells in safety alone." The Prophet Amos arose to revoke that dubious blessing: "Oh God, cease, I beseech you!
Don't throw away the newspaper! Newspapers are the day-to-day records of history. Judaism has a passion for meaning. Events have meaning.
Claire Luce Booth, the wife of the owner of Luce Publications, reported a frank conversation with a Jewish friend. Booth said, "I must admit being positively bored by all this talk of the Holocaust and its constant repetition of Jewish suffering." The Jewish friend replied, "I know just how you feel. I feel exactly the same way about the Crucifixion."
Each would like to see the other's story go away. But neither will go away. Golgotha and Auschwitz, the Crucifixion and the Holocaust, remain the dybbuk of our culture. They must both be confronted and understood.
From my own experience and from the reports in The Jewish Journal, it is evident that it has become more and more difficult to plan for a dialogue between fellow Jews on the subject of Israel -- much easier to organize a discussion between Christian and Jewish leadership or even between Islamic and Jewish representatives.
It was unseasonably cold on the eve of the New Year. The lakes were frozen; the sun retreated from the heavens on erev Rosh Hashanah. A group of porcupines noted for their rugged individualism were caught shivering in wintry storms. They decided to huddle together and thereby find warmth in each other. But as they drew closer, their sharp, stiff quills tore into their flesh and caused them considerable pain. They then separated but were again punished by the icy winds. Such is the dilemma of porcupines: isolated they freeze, united they suffer.
Colleagues in faith, we must act together now. We owe it to our respective faiths and our common calling.
The conscience of the Jewish state has spoken through the recent landmark ruling of Israel's Supreme Court. It has taken an important step toward removing the pariah stigma from tens of thousands of Jews who converted to Judaism by the rabbinic authority of non-Orthodox rabbis, but ignored by the Jewish state.
Religion is multifaceted. The task of every responsible religious observer is to sort out the healthy from the unhealthy elements within faith, to distinguish the moral from the immoral aspects of belief.
We have a tendency to either divinize or demonize our heroes. Either extreme is dangerously misleading.
Pity the children. Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai declared "Throw yourself into a blazing furnace rather than shame a neighbor in public."
Once again, the anniversary of the Holocaust is upon us (April 13), and, once again, the commemoration taunts me. "Go preach the goodness of God." "Go praise the crown of God's creation made but little lower than the angels." "Speak to the world of faith and hope in the wake of the terrifying knowledge: 1.5 million children murdered because of their Jewishness, nine out of every 10 European rabbis slaughtered, one third of a people decimated."
have learned from the Clinton affair how unprepared our technologically sophisticated society is to deal with moral issues, and specifically how to transmit moral wisdom to our children.
I begin by expressing my admiration and respect for Monsignor Vadakin whom I have known for close to three decades. I have reason to know of his integrity and moral courage, his deep respect for Judaism and his love for the Jewish people.
It is not with anyone that I would broach the sensitive topic of the Holocaust and the call to repentance.
To deal with the Holocaust is to touch a raw nerve in world history.
Pope John Paul II himself referred to the Shoah as "the nightmare of our century." It is worse than a nightmare.
Abraham Joshua Heschel said that he prayed for one thing: the gift of wonder. He prayed for astonishment, for the capacity to be surprised. As he wrote, "I try not to be stale. I try to remain young. I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendously surprised at life and at ideas. This is to me the supreme Chassidic imperative."
Jews celebrate the New Year, 5758, a date that hasnothing to do with a Jewish historic event -- neither the birth ofAbraham nor the flight of Moses from Egypt to the promised land.