Billy Crystal has something he wants to share with you.
When the Reform movement published its new "Mishkan T'filah" last November, the prayer book looked comfortably familiar to Reform rabbinic students in Los Angeles. It was clear to them that a homemade siddur they had created for their own use had influenced the first official prayer book published by the Union for Reform Judaism since 1975.
Once again, the L.A. branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) had made its mark on the Reform movement. The new, official prayer book, like the homemade siddur, includes traditional prayers in Hebrew, as well as new alternative readings and meditations -- changes in keeping with Reform's adoption of more traditional practices.
Hitler knew in detail about the attempted extermination of the Jews. That's according to "Das Buch Hitler" -- "The Hitler Book" -- a newly published German translation of a work written in Russian for Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1949.
Keeping its commitment to promoting "homemade Judaism," The Shalom Hartmann Institute has published "A Day Apart, Shabbat at Home" ($24.95), a step-by-step guidebook containing everything from helpful hints to spiritual reflections on how to make Shabbat meaningful.
Pride in American Jewish life, from the ivory towers to the country club greens, has centered on "Making It," as longtime Commentary Editor-in-Chief Norman Podhoretz unabashedly titled his 1968 memoir. More recently, popular oversized books like "Great Jewish Men" and "Great Jewish Women" adorn coffee tables and assure us that, though we disembarked from refugee ships, we have arrived. For the last 50 years, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg has railed that we ought to busy ourselves less with how many of us sit in the Senate or nab Nobel Prizes -- and more with how many can read a page of Talmud. Hertzberg notes that Podhoretz's memoir includes not a single reference to the Holocaust and that we have "made it" to a better than 50 percent intermarriage rate.
In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved from Los Angeles to Israel. It was supposed to be just for a sabbatical. But after being there for a while, the family decided to become permanent residents. It was a time of euphoria in Israel. The economy was booming and peace seemed just around the corner.
Physicians played a significant role in the Holocaust, and today's doctors can learn from the ethical failures of that period, according to an article recently published by Dr. Joel Geiderman, co-chair of the emergency department (ED) of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In "Physician Complicity in the Holocaust: Historical Review and Reflections on Emergency Medicine in the 21st Century," Geiderman sets out a series of moral failures he attributes to German physicians before, during and after WWII. Published in the March issue of Academic Emergency Medicine journal, the two-part article enumerates ethical challenges requiring greater vigilance from today's physicians.