David Mamet recently asked the following questions of “Jews planning to vote for Obama.” Herewith, my responses.
Just eight weeks before the American presidential elections, Palestinians are furious over comments by Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The private remarks were made in May to wealthy donors but released only now.
David Suissa wants us to believe that settlements aren’t an obstacle to peace because their physical “footprint,” their built-up area, represents “only” around 1% of the West Bank.
I am devoting this column to responding to letters published in response to my last column, “Our Golden Calf” (March 9), because the topic is so important. If American Jewry’s embrace of leftism has not been a blessing for the Jews, then Jewish life is in trouble. On the other hand, if this embrace has been a blessing, Jewish life should be in great shape. It is hard to imagine, however, that many concerned Jews believe that American Jewish life is in great shape.
In my two columns on why thoughtful people might be skeptical about the apocalyptic global warming/climate change scenario, I addressed the issue with a seriousness and respect that Joey Green does not exhibit in his response. He apparently felt that sarcasm and put-downs comprise an adequate response. They don’t.
Evaluating the responses to the US action against Osama bin Laden is an important element in understanding who the West's true enemies really are. There have been four significant voices speaking out against the killing of bin Laden. The most obvious voice is that of the Taliban. The most vociferous belongs to Hamas, followed by a very significant group of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and finally, as one would expect, Iran.
Letters to the Editor
I've spoken to many groups all over Los Angeles during extremely volatile times. I've never seen such rudeness, narrow mindedness and just plain boorishness.
Waters' performance received much acclaim in Israel, but it is his spray-painting stint at the security fence in the West Bank the day before the showcase that is making lasting waves there and abroad.
In this week's double Torah portion, Tazria-Metzorah (Leviticus 13, in particular), God instructs Moses and Aaron on the role of priests when people take ill.
Pedersen said that since anti-Danish rioting began, several people have called in long-distance orders and mentioned their desire to "buy Danish." Consumers in heavily Muslim countries, in contrast, are boycotting Danish products, reportedly costing Danish business up to $1 million a day. In response, European and American free-speech supporters have been advocating a less well-known "Buy Danish" campaign.
My senior students suffer from short-term memory loss, a condition less severe than Alzheimer's and dementia but nonetheless frightening. They can recall exact moments from decades past, but in the present, from one moment to the next, many don't remember who or where they are. Sort of like elected officials.
It's unfortunate that David Klinghoffer sets up a number of straw men in his condemnation of my speech warning about certain efforts to Christianize America.
By pointing out the various Muslim anti-Jewish activities during the week I made my remarks, Klinghoffer suggests I'm focusing on the wrong threat.
We will be admonished not to make politics out of tragedy, but we have a responsibility to figure out what went wrong with the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Today, far too often, tragedy is employed as an incantation to ward off responsibility. (Try Googling the phrase, "The events of today were tragic, but ..." to get a taste of what I mean.)
Tragedy is an idea we get from the Greeks -- human life as a grand, hopeless struggle against our own flaws and unloving celestial forces that conspire to bring us down. Tragedy is a spectacle, provoking a catharsis composed, in Aristotle's phrase, of "pity and terror" in the spectator -- but not outrage. To call something tragic is to take a stance of elegiac distance. The world view that produced the idea of tragedy also produced great thinkers and artists, but it did not produce prophets.
In response to the three clerics who made the front page of The New York Times, in just one week several hundred clergy, mostly from the United States, signed on to a letter of support for WorldPride in Jerusalem, saying, among other things, that "Jerusalem, a living, holy city, a pilgrimage site for people of many faiths and many beliefs, increases in holiness when all are welcome within her walls."
With the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we recall once more the destruction wrought by Nazism, the chaos, desolation, the machinery of death. We peer unflinchingly at the ovens and gas chambers, the cattle cars and the concentration camps, we stare at the heart of darkness and swear, "Never Again."
Last October, a man called with a complaint. Before I could ask what was the matter, he launched into a tirade about a biased and
inaccurate article. He said he couldn't believe a serious newspaper would print such lies. He was so angry, he was this close to canceling his subscription.
I wasn't sure which article he was referring to, so I gently asked him to be more specific. He went on to describe a piece I had absolutely no memory of.
"Are you sure you read this in The Jewish Journal?"
"The Journal?" he said. "No! This was in The Los Angeles Times."
"The Times?" I said. "So why are you calling me?"
"Because they won't pick up the phone!"
At the Jewish Children's Bookfest at Mount Sinai on Nov. 14, children were given a journal and asked the following question:
"What does being Jewish in America mean to me?"
As early as March of this year, humanitarian organizations were issuing warnings of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan.
In choreographer Roni Kosmal-Wernik's piece about the aftermath of a suicide bombing, a dancer prowls the stage as if searching for a lost loved one. Her movements become heavy, brooding, as if she is burdened by an invisible weight.
Inspired by a family friend's death in a 2001 attack, Kosmal-Wernik's work will help kick off a June 20 event at Temple Emanuel to support other victims of terror. Performers such as pianist Sha-Rone Kushnir will appear to benefit ATZUM, a Jerusalem-based charity that provides necessities for families not covered by Israel's overburdened welfare system.
"Artists for ATZUM," is the latest Los Angeles response to Israel-based violence.
The index-card box is one of the most important items in your home and is referred to each time an affair is coming up -- as well as when you need a gift for that person's party.
The Conservative movement may continue to attract those for whom Orthodoxy remains "too restrictive" and Reform "too acculturated," but a more likely outcome will be "the demise of the Conservative movement," Rabbi Paul Menitoff wrote.
Limmud, which means learning in Hebrew, is a name that for many in the Jewish and non-Jewish educational world has become synonymous with an inclusive, bottom-up approach to education.
This week, while fires raged, strikes festered and three or four wars smoldered, most of the urgent phone calls I received were about Chaim Seidler-Feller.
Speaking from his London home, the droll, precise Harwood -- who won a screenwriting Oscar for "The Pianist" -- said he tried not to take sides while writing the play and the film.
We are standing before God and God is standing before us -- especially during this particular time, when certain fundamental liberties are being denied individuals and when justice is being withheld from specific groups -- all in the name of "homeland security."
Amit Duvshani, who is completing his master's degree in molecular biology at the University of Tel Aviv, e-mailed Andrew Wilkie, a geneticist at Oxford University, asking to work in Wilkie's lab to continue his research into HIV.
Wilkie's e-mailed response has since seen the world via the Internet. He rejected Duvshani's request on the grounds that the young man served in the "oppressive" Israeli army, as is compulsory for all Jewish Israeli men.
A week ago, the path to peace seemed bright following the formal launch of the "road map" peace plan at a summit in Aqaba, Jordan.
Eat-4-Israel was the brainchild of Monique Grunberger, a high school senior at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, who developed the idea with two local Yeshiva University of Los Angeles students, Yitz Novak and Zvi Smith.
As I write these words, with our nation just over the brink of war, it is clear that once again the country is color-coded.
"Divine Intervention" has been embraced by European and most American critics as a brilliant absurdist comedy, recalling the style of French director Jacques Tati, and the silent movie performances of Buster Keaton and the early Charlie Chaplin.
During Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's mid-December visit to Washington, U.S. officials went out of their way to try to convince the Israeli delegation that the United States would do all it could to defend Israel, and that there would be no need for Israel to get involved in the war.
"It highlights the fact that the myth -- that all terror against Israel is because it occupies Palestinian territories -- is wrong," said Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
To address the needs of congregants not fully comfortable with Hebrew liturgy, Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell, along with a group of lay leaders, spent eight years developing a new siddur.
Q: What's better than a piping hot Krispy Kreme doughnut?
"For bioterrorism, we're about as prepared as we are for snow," said City Councilman Jack Weiss, who has spent a year working with security experts and local officials to figure out what Los Angeles needs to do to prepare for and prevent terrorist attacks.
"It's not someone else's problem. It's our problem." The problem Devorah Shubowitz is talking about: poverty.
The topic was terrorism. "How underprepared are we in the U.S.?" "Very." That exchange, between an emergency care physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Dr. Jonathan Halevy, director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, was part of an ongoing effort in Los Angeles to change the answer.