October 15, 2009 |
Young Jacob Rappaport's struggle to figure out his identity is not particularly novel. Except when that struggle and its many facets play out in a historical novel called All Other Nights, the tale of 19-year-old Rappaport and American Jews, north and south, during the Civil War. Who knew that Philadelphia was a hub of espionage in those days, or that American Jews, like Philadelphians in general, were divided over slavery and the war, said...
February 4, 2008
Welfare indicators I'm tired of hearing about indicators of our economy such as the Gross Domestic Product or the Dow Jones industrial average. Economists love to throw these numbers around, but what do they really mean? The purpose of an economy is to distribute resources (such as food, shelter, health care, education and the like) to the population. Therefore, the only way to measure how well the economy is doing is by measuring the welfare of the people the economy serves.
October 11, 2007 |
The issues surrounding the Middle East - what to do about Iraq, a nuclear Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the continuing threat of Islamic extremism and terrorism - are too serious to be subject to scapegoating and simplistic attacks. Unfortunately, we have seen in recent years the emergence of a number of such assaults, indeed, conspiracy theories, targeting the Israel lobby and the American Jewish community. It began with comments by Rep. Jim Moran (D., Va.) in 2003, in which he blamed the war in Iraq on neoconservative Jews.
November 13, 2005 |
Tucked at the edge of Gloucester County, outside Westville, is a quiet drive that wends 400 yards into the trees and leads 5,780 miles to Jerusalem. This is the home of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, a conservative evangelical Christian organization dedicated to supporting the Jewish state. With $8.5 million a year raised largely from evangelical donors, it airs pro-Israel broadcasts on 700 radio stations, publishes Israel My Glory magazine for 200,000 readers in 151 countries, and takes hundreds of American evangelicals each year to tour Israel.
June 23, 2005 |
For 41 years, the names James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were synonymous with the South's racial intolerance and the violence used to enforce it. Their names often blended into one, understandably. The three civil-rights workers were killed along the back roads of rural Mississippi in a crime that, until Tuesday's conviction of Edgar Ray Killen, remained unaccounted for, and they were lionized by a movement seeking sympathy for its cause. For me, as a child during those tumultuous years, Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner's names symbolized something else tangible and powerful: the alliance between blacks and Jews.
April 5, 2004 |
A line recited at the Passover table arguably is the most famous of all: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" That line again will be chanted around the world this week as Jews gather to mark this holiday, which celebrates freedom from Egyptian slavery. But this year, the question has a contemporary answer. This is the year of The Passion of the Christ, a film that has rocked the Jewish community and brought, in the view of many, what my grandmother would call tsuris - trouble.
June 22, 2003 |
"Jewish personalism," demographer Steven M. Cohen says, is one of the top challenges facing the institutions of American Judaism. Cohen recently surveyed "moderately affiliated" Jews. Here's what he found: "The individual feels entitled, with little guilt or hesitation, to decide what to observe Jewishly, and insists on a personal meaning for every observance. " The focus "is on practice rather than belief, home ritual rather than the house of worship. " Douglas Rushkoff, author of Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism, sees the same thing in his travels.
November 20, 2002 |
Tonight, more than 2,000 American Jewish leaders will convene in Philadelphia for their annual United Jewish Communities Federations of North America General Assembly. The keynote speaker will be Natan Sharansky, deputy prime minister of Israel. Sharansky will undoubtedly be greeted with warm enthusiasm. For many, he will bring back the memories of his arrest by the Soviet authorities in 1977 on trumped-up charges of treason and espionage, and the international campaign waged for his release.
January 27, 2002 |
Dick Dollinger is getting his number-punching finger ready, practicing his pitch, and polishing his best phone greeting. The 67-year-old retiree from Cherry Hill is preparing for next Sunday, when he and hundreds of other volunteers will spend the day making fund-raising calls on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. Working out of a phone bank at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, callers will ring more than 15,000 Jewish households in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Atlantic Counties whose names are registered with the federation.