Sitting here in Paris, where I am spending a month as a visiting professor at the Université Paris 8, Institut Français de Géopolitique, I’m struck by how, once again, American presidential candidates are denigrating their opponents simply by calling them “French” or “European.”
Americans' views on Middle East issues have not changed in recent months, despite major headlines from the region, according to a new poll.
A majority of Americans oppose a declaration of Palestinian statehood absent a peace agreement with Israel, a new poll finds. The poll released this week by the Israel Project showed 51 percent of registered U.S. voters oppose a proposal that the Palestinian Authority "unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state WITHOUT a signed peace treaty with Israel," while 31 percent support it.
In the days President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, everyone knew the economy would play a major role. What remains unknown is what will result for millions of vulnerable Americans once the applause dies down and the political maneuvering picks back up. What will tomorrow be like for the one in five American children who live below the poverty line? How will the 26 million unemployed and underemployed Americans feed their families? And when will our seniors receive the care they deserve but can’t afford on their own? The answers to these questions depend on the answer to the real mystery in Washington on Tuesday.
"Borat" release - will a mass, mainstream audience get the film's satiric sensibilities, or, rather, be offended by its political incorrectness and by its lead character.
7 days in the Arts
Since most Americans lose their dental insurance benefits when they retire, the majority of people over 65 pay out of pocket every time they visit a dentist. Medicare does not cover routine dental care (nor does Medicaid in most states) and more than 80 percent of older Americans have no private dental insurance, according to a recent report by nonprofit advocacy group Oral Health America.
Yet, older adults may need dental care more than any other age group.
"Patients age 65 and over will have potentially an increase in cavities or decay on the root surfaces of the teeth," said Dr. Matthew Messina, an American Dental Association consumer adviser and practicing dentist in Cleveland. "And that comes secondary to the medical condition of dry mouth -- a decrease in the amount of production of saliva because of age and certain medications.... We also see periodontal disease in patients of that population."
Messina advises his older patients to see a dentist at least once every six months for an oral cancer screening and recommends an annual visit for denture wearers.
Jewish Americans are only 2 percent of the nation's population, but they are 25 percent of its problem. That's according to Bernard Goldberg, whose new, bestselling nonfiction book is called, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is No. 37)."
More out of ethnic loyalty than any expectation of a great match, The Journal stayed late at the 78th annual Mercedes Benz Cup men's tennis tournament on July 17 at UCLA to watch a doubles semifinal between two Israelis and two Americans. The Americans, Bob and Mike Bryan, were the tournament's top-seeded doubles team, handsome identical twins from Camarillo who have been unstoppable lately. The Israelis' record was spottier. Yonatan Ehrlich, 28, is a native of Buenos Aries, Argentina, and a resident of Haifa. His partner, Andy Ram, 24, is from Jerusalem by way of Montevideo, Uruguay. They also are strikingly handsome -- they prepped for the match by running shirtless around a practice court, kicking a tennis ball as if it were a soccer ball.
Both are sports heroes in Israel, according to Hagai Ben Zvi, who covers tennis for the Israeli press. Their international careers were set back by three years (each) of army service, but both made the semifinals at Wimbledon last year and both have been invited to the Olympics in Athens.
Like thousands of others college-age Americans, my three friends and I were backpacking through Europe. We came straight from our year of study at yeshivas in Israel, and our travels had one important difference: We were eating kosher.
Anniversaries take on lives of their own. The further from the original event, the more laden they become with symbolism, meaning and portent.
Some Americans apparently believe that we have gone to war with Iraq "because of the Jews." Having written a book explaining anti-Semitism ("Why the Jews?
The Reason for Anti-Semitism," Simon & Schuster, 1983), all I can do is marvel at the durability of anti-Semitism and the eternality of the charge that the Jews are responsible for everything anti-Semites fear.
No group in the world has been the target of nearly as many twisted and ludicrous accusations.
As the weather warmed this week, the yard signs protesting NO WAR pushed up like crocuses through lawns from Santa Monica to Hollywood.
Not many, mind you -- but enough to signal that quite a few Americans are having second and third thoughts about a war against Saddam.
Nobody likes Saddam, but the Bush administration has failed to present incontrovertible evidence, or even very convincing arguments, as to why we must fight now.
The most enticing reason seems to be that by deposing Saddam, America will send a clear message that tyranny will not stand in the Middle East, and that regime change in Iraq will blow the winds of democracy through Iran, Syria, Libya -- maybe even Saudi Arabia.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev was asked: "What is the right spiritual path, that of sorrow or that of joy?"
He replied: "There are two kinds of sorrow and two kinds of joy. When a man broods over the misfortunes that have come upon him, that is a bad kind of sorrow. But the grief that comes when a man knows what he has lost is honest and good. The same is true of joy. One who chases empty pleasures is a fool. But one who is truly joyful is like a man who is rebuilding his house after a fire. He feels his need deep in his soul, and with each stone that is laid, his heart rejoices."
The High Holidays are a time Jews reserve for themselves. They don't seek the approval or participation of gentiles. What if African Americans stopped trying to get white people to celebrate with us and recognized that we have been essential in making this nation?
There's still no love lost between iconoclastic French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and Hollywood, as his new film, "In Praise of Love," suggests. The picture began stirring controversy at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival when the flick -- and its director -- dissed Tinseltown, Steven Spielberg and "Schindler's List."
Now a year has passed. We have bombed. We have infiltrated. We have analyzed and rallied and written.
And through it all we have avoided one sad truth: the terrorists have already won.
They haven't won the war, but they have won a crucial battle.
Natan Koenig was blotting up blood from the floor of the cafeteria named for Frank Sinatra at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Koenig worked for two hours on that 95-degree afternoon on July 31, arriving soon after a Hamas-made bomb exploded under a table, killing nine people, including two Americans, wounding some 90 others and shattering the lunchroom.
Washington's official response to the killings of five Americans at Hebrew University can be summed up largely in a word: words.
We've seen it before -- more than 20 dead and hundreds injured as a result of Palestinian Arab terror attacks in Israel within a week of each other. The death of five Americans at Hebrew University on Jerusalem's Mount Scopus brought the pain home to America once again. President Bush remarked, "We are responding to a murder of Americans. We're responding all across the globe to murders of Americans....The war on terror is fought on many fronts. And I just -- I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill...."
And following a wreath-laying on the Hebrew University campus, Daniel C. Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Israel, said, "We are very committed in the war against terrorism and, in addition to the support that we give to the State of Israel as a partner in this war against terrorism, we will do all that we can to fight against terrorists wherever they are."
You cannot remove other people's anxieties, but sometimes you can help them to understand their feelings of unease and find ways to cope with them.
For generations, Jews have viewed religious conservatives with a combination of fear and disdain. Yet the recent events in the Middle East -- and the steadfast support given Israel by religious conservatives -- has gone a long way to correcting many often exaggerated, if not misplaced, assumptions about this large, and politically significant, group.
Only 26 percent of Americans believe the Saudi peace initiative is sincere, according to a new poll of more than 1,000 Americans. Thirty-one percent believe the Saudis launched the initiative to improve their image in the United States. Sixty-two percent of respondents believe the Saudis are not ready to accept Israel's right to exist.
The plan calls for the Arab world to make peace with Israel in return for a withdrawal from all lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. The survey, commissioned by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, has a margin of error of 3 percent.
I believed Daniel Pearl was dead all along.
Weeks before the U.S. government confirmed his death, I thought it unlikely he would return alive. I returned in December from reporting for the Village Voice from Pakistan, exhausted from being stoned, punched and chased by Islamic fundamentalists. I was burned out -- and burned literally -- from being pushed into one too many burning George Bush effigies, weary from having to repeatedly explain that Americans do not hate Muslims, and that "no, it's not true that we enjoy seeing dead Afghan children on television."
The financial crisis facing Jewish Community Center (JCC) programs and locations this week will come as an awful shock to tens of thousands of area Jews, and it should (see story, page 14).
JCC officials and Federation lay leaders and staff stress there is no cause for panic. They believe they can work out a way to save the majority of JCC programs and locations. (The Federation is the largest donor to the JCC system.) But there is no question that without immediate community response, the JCC system faces severe cutbacks.
It is quickly becoming the largest philanthropic campaign ever mounted.
In past Yom Kippurs I've been known to bring a stack of books with me to synagogue, works both historic and intellectual, to focus on when neither prayer nor imagination can fill the time. Not this year.
Despite the abundance of Jewish filmmakers in the entertainment industry, Jewish Americans fall somewhere ahead of Asian-Americans and well below Anglo- and African-Americans as a group represented on celluloid. And no one is more aware of that than film historian and author Harry Medved, whose "Cinema Beshert: Meeting Your Mate at the Movies" film series at the University of Judaism focuses on love,Jewish-American style.