Loving Us to DeathI believe the reservations we Jews have <I>vis a vis</I> Christian charitable intentions and expressions of support transcend theological differences, historical angst, an aversion to End-of-Days fervor, or fears of missionary activity and hidden agendas.
When Tolerance InvadesIt was always cute when one of my young children would jump out of the bathtub and run around the house naked with underwear on his head. But it's a pathetic, tragic and obscene display when a fully grown adult demands the right to do the same in public.
A Scent of Dreyfus, a Trail of JihadI'm unsettled because three Jews, who had enough of a conscience to question the media and call them to order over the role played in disseminating information regarding an event which sparked and spurred world-wide protests, unrest, violence and death, are being individually called before a French court of justice on defamation charges.
Of Wars and WeddingsI sent my eldest son off to war and simultaneously planned his wedding. This was done to the accompaniment of the relentless, albeit distant, sounds of Katyushas and artillery.
There's Something About QanaHad Hizbullah scored a similar devastating hit against Israel (and they're relentlessly trying to do so), it would have been with deliberate malice, and much of the Arab world would be firing celebratory fireworks accompanied by exuberant rooftop dancing and plentiful platters of sweets.
Breaking the SilenceI haven't written since last spring. Things seemed to get a little redundant. I mean, how many times and in how many ways can one utter the same warnings to a public already over-saturated with a deluge of information, and downright fatigued by a torrent of earthshaking events?
The Security Ticket: A Guaranteed WinnerMyths die hard 'round these parts. But the legend of the battle-weary Israelis, who would rather rest in peace than fight life's battles, bit the dust this Purim.
The Anti-Poll: An Unscientific StudyNow, the nation of Israel has no deficiency of smart numbers people. I imagine we have a glut of accountants, statisticians and demographers. At times, it seems that the entire country is caught-up in the spell cast by some obsessive compulsive people who toy day in and day out with figures and percentages.
Cartoon Mania and ManiacsThere's a lot of power in the pen. Like today's controversial cartoons, the plans, accords, contracts, scripts and speeches drawn up on simple paper are capable of either bringing our worst nightmares to life, or actualizing our best dreams.
Ho-Hum, Hamas WonPlease world, spare me the shocking reactions and earthshaking headline stuff.
The Year of the StrokeIt's been barely a week since the clock struck 2006, and yet the world has already received enough ominous strokes from the finger of G-d, and man-made wallops, to fill an entire edition of <I>Time</I> magazine's "Year in Pictures".
The Ignoble and the NobleEvery once in a while, a flicker of light does shine forth from the North and the academic world gets it right.
The Swap That Wasn'tWhat was originally heralded as a soon-to-be <I>historic visit</I> by President Moshe Katsav to Vatican City, followed by international and Catholic press reports of an <I>historic swap</I> giving control of the Mt. Zion tomb of David to the Vatican, ended up being a "friendly" discussion about tax issues? (Don't believe it.)
Follow the Papal Paper TrailWhile there have been a wealth of columns ushering in a new and brilliant era of Catholic-Jewish dialogue here in Israel, there has hardly been a footnote addressing the price Israel may have to pay for the dramatic upgrade in relations.
Vatican'tWith all of the rantings over our recent failures at securing Gush Katif and certain communities in Samaria, there are some activist leaders who... may not comprehend that Jerusalem is on the line, nor realize how important it is to unite, raise a public outcry, and apply immense pressure on President Katsav before his November 17th trip to Rome.
Inconsolable HopeHow can we move on? How can we accept the unacceptable? Are we to be condemned to a state of perpetual mourning and incessant mistakes?
Civil Blitzkrieg in GazaWith all due respect to a very wise King Solomon, there is something new under the sun. It's the kind of upheaval that could have only been initiated by the insane decree of the most unwise among us.
Standing UpThere is something unique and quite inconceivable about the Jewish people and their epic journey through time. Whenever we stumble and regress, we simultaneously take leaps forward.
Trauma, Terror or Torture?In keeping with his trademark dictatorial style, Ariel Sharon was quick on the draw. Before the facts were in, he had already classified last Thursday's shooting in Shfaram as "the terrible act of a bloodthirsty terrorist."
Grave MistakesIt appears that Israel stands poised at the brink. It's both an awesome and frightening position to be in, but for many of us, there is a sense of impending salvation in the air.
Roadside Etiquette?How curious that the nation's leader, who was so complacent and at a loss for words and actions during such complete upheaval, has suddenly found the means to articulate and express his wrath (too bad that his own people are the target).
Do 50,000 Baptists Have a Hidden Agenda?I respectfully suggest that the Baptist church (as well as other pro-Israel Christian denominations) draw for themselves clear guidelines of behavior vis a vis their dealings with Israel. Is their support for the Zionist camp an issue of morals and ethics, fulfillment of biblical doctrine, or a missionary opportunity?
Kudos and a Klop for Mr. SharanskyNatan Sharansky is a good, honest and humble man - the flip-side of the archetypal political personality - and he's remained true to form in spite of his exposure to the wiles of politics, power and fame. Well, almost...
Is It All for Naught?Perhaps miraculously, we got word of a three-week delay in Sharon's Disengagement Plan. Maybe the "bulldozer" is having engine problems, second thoughts, or tactical difficulties. Whatever the reason, we got a welcome reprieve just in time for the holiday.
Careful, Mr. SharonYou'd have thought an invitation to Crawford Ranch would have included room and board at the president's place. But it seems Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had to settle for the Waco Hilton.
A Silent, Brutal DeathI'm sure that I speak for many of us here in Israel when I wish the Schindler family condolences and hope that they find comfort.
Mr. Ed Was Not German-BredThere was no closure for us this Purim, at least not in a revealed sense. Under the circumstances, it's essential that we Jews maintain our sense of humor.
Prove Me Wrong"For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from some other place...."
The Lame Duck That Laid a Golden Egg - Part IIBy the winter of 2000, the peace train was moving on the Syrian track at a reckless pace and referendum-mania was in full swing. The legal implications, logistics, and various questions concerning a plebiscite were being seriously explored by various committees and experts.
The Lame Duck That Laid a Golden Egg - Part IIsrael's ever-floundering parliament managed to come through for the Golan. Referendum was the law. The groundwork had been laid a year earlier by a lame duck Knesset and a now-defunct secular, centrist political party.
Play It Again, Uncle SamSome of us still can't quite figure out how we got into this mess, but there's a general consensus that we want, and desperately need, to get out of it. Now!
The Dark Side of DemocracyThe last time anybody actually saw and heard the kind of voices and trumpets that the White House claims to be hearing and seeing was at the Revelation at Sinai. I believe that what we are currently hearing and seeing are democratic delusions of grandeur.
Riding the Wave of ArroganceLet's be fair. The citizens and nations of Southeast Asia are, for the most part, industrious, ethical and law-abiding. The people work as hard, if not harder, and are as smart, if not smarter, than your average American, Swede or Israeli. Many of them are as equally devout and G-d-fearing, too.
Man-Made Disasters"Therefore, we shall not be afraid when the earth is transformed, and at mountains' collapse in the heart of the seas; when its waters rage and are muddied, mountains quake in His majesty...." (Psalm 46)
Chanukah Wrap-UpI promised myself that I wouldn't say anything on this issue, that I would bite my lip and remain silent. But on the eighth day of Chanukah, I received the eighth email highlighting that delightful little clip of Chanukah in the White House with President Bush, and I could contain myself no longer.
Glatt or Glut? - Part III do believe that some activists are sincerely and passionately concerned about the state of the world, and are doing what they can to change things. And the fact is that regardless of what we think of PETA and their tactics or agenda, something does appear to be amiss in Postville, USA.
Glatt or Glut? - Part IThe very veggie people at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have caught-on well, and have learned to use and exploit Holocaust language and imagery for their rather over-the-top agenda. Last year, they caused an outrage by juxtaposing images of concentration camp inmates alongside those of caged chickens at factory farms.
Ol' Blue Eyes Sings a Diaspora TuneSure, a lot of us ran - in the best of Jewish tradition, like Avraham <I>Avinu</I>, Yaacov <I>Avinu</I> and Moshe <I>Rabbenu</I> - we fled the Diaspora and ran towards something better.
When the Wicked PerishI suppose that a minority of the folks in today's world actually hold to the exact letter of these laws, but it's a rare and evil bird who somehow manages to break every one of the seven edicts. Arafat was such a creature.
Shabbat Preparations Under SiegeI did all this and still managed to give <I>mussar</I> to Justice Minister Lapid and Labor Party leader Peres. This particular type of multitasking is something only a Jewish mother can handle - so no imitations, please.
Egyptian Roulette and Casino ChaosI would think that the very idea of having one's body left to rot and/or be desecrated in <I>Mitzrayim</I> (Egypt) would cause any Jew in touch with their soul to cancel their travel plans.
Getting It RightIsrael is in the midst of an intense, transitional labor - and the birth process is fraught with pain and difficulties, and often defies predictability. I've assisted women through natural childbirth and gone through more than a few of my own. I can attest to the fact that, serious complications outstanding, labor rarely goes well if one doesn't keep one's focus, exert tremendous effort, and belie