Details of Rabbi Shalom Emmanuel Muyal's mission and death in the Amazon remain obscure, but that's nothing compared to the mystery of his afterlife.
The old truths by which we in the Jewish community have
ordered our political alliances are being shaken to the core.
Recently, a friend told me that his brother and sister-in-law flew from Newark, N.J., to Israel. The plane was filled with Christian church groups traveling on a Holy Land pilgrimage. When his sister-in-law got up to walk in the aisles, a fellow passenger stopped and inquired, "And what church are you from?"
When she said that she was Jewish, the lady remarked, "I think you are the only Jew on this flight."
Where have all the Jews gone? Not to Israel.
Nearly twice as many residents as last year intend to participate in the We Stand With Israel trip next month, Federation Executive Director Bunnie Mauldin said,adding that "despite what's going on politically or war with Iraq on the horizon, our aim is the same."
The trip is an opportunity for people to show their support.
Anne Frank's house, a fabulous 17th century synagogue and an excellent heritage museum give Amsterdam special appeal for Jewish visitors. But they are all sites whose very existence reflect the city's incurable split personality, making for a sightseeing experience that constantly provides food for thought.
Jews here persevered with their annual Lag B'Omer celebration this week in spite of a recent terrorist attack that rocked their tiny island community. The numbers were down from past celebrations, but still hundreds of tourists came to join the 1,000 Jewish Jerbans for the pilgrimage festivities.
Catalina is only 22 miles across the sea from Los Angeles, but to many visitors it feels like a distant land. For one particular community of Sephardic Jews, it's that very feeling that has kept them coming back over the past 75 years.