June Letters to the Editor: “Thought Is the World of Freedom”...

Jun 17, 2015 by

  Conversion Depends on What Ruth Said In the May issue, Carol Greenwald from Chevy Chase, MD, answered the Kol Ami question about the controversial Conversion Bill in Israel [Kol Ami: Conversion Law? May 2015] by correctly referring to Ruth as a model for Jewish conversion, What is puzzling is Ms. Greenwald’s ignoring the rest of the verse. In addition to “Your people are my people, your G-d is my G-d,” Ruth says: “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge…where you die, I will die and there I will be buried.” Why all these extra words? The Talmud in Yevamos 47b indicates that, in addition to accepting the G-d of Israel, a prospective convert must also accept the laws of G-d’s Torah to be part of His chosen people....

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A Sephardic “Merchant of Venice” Deals with Love, Commerce, and Bigotry...

Jun 14, 2015 by

By Chana Lieba Rosenbluth “The Merchant of Venice” currently running at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan will not please Shakespearean purists. But it should please everyone else. Long viewed as the archetype of antisemitic literature, this “Merchant” reflects the sensibilities of the American Sephardi Federation, under whose auspices it is being presented. In this production, the Jewish characters are Sephardic Jews. When they sing, it is either in the Hebrew of the Siddur or the Ladino of their culture. In fifth grade, my class at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey presented an abridged version of “Julius Caesar,” using a girls-only cast in a play that originally boasts exactly two female characters. The RYNJ version, which was cut so that it ran only about 45 minutes, retained only the barest bones of...

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Christians Beheaded and Burned Alive by Muslim Terrorists; If “Never Again” Means Anything, Wear Something Orange and Take Action...

May 31, 2015 by

Ten years ago, supporters of the Jewish state, in Israel and abroad, wore orange to show solidarity with the 10,000 Jewish residents of Gush Katif who were evicted from their communities. This year, in a project initiated by The Jewish Voice and Opinion, Jews are being asked to join other men and women of all faiths in wearing orange as a sign of support for the persecuted Christian communities in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. According to Rev Frank Karwacki of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Mount Carmel, PA, orange was selected because it represents the jumpsuits captives of the Muslim terrorist group Islamic State are forced to wear, especially just before beheadings. “We hope to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians by encouraging people...

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“Special in Uniform” Allows Special-Needs Youngsters to Join the IDF—and It’s the Army and Society Who Benefit...

May 19, 2015 by

Several years ago, when an Israeli commander was asked about the place for special-needs individuals in the IDF, his response was that the army was not “a social-service agency.” Lieut.-Col. Tiran Attia does not necessarily disagree, but, he said, soldiers with disabilities are increasingly playing a role that not only makes the IDF better and stronger, but is also changing the way Israelis in general view those with special-needs. “It’s not usually discussed, but former Prime Minister Golda Meir had a grandchild with Downs Syndrome at a time when special-needs children were shunted aside so as not to shame the family. She always said she had a dream that, one day, disabled Israelis would be part of the general Jewish community. It is my decision to fulfill that dream,” he said. Mr. Attia made...

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HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir Helps Youngsters Find and Celebrate Their Jewish Voice...

May 12, 2015 by

On Sunday, March 22, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, no stranger to great music, was alive with the sound of the voices of 350 Jewish high school boys and girls, all members of HaZamir, The International Jewish High School Choir. Representing 26 chapters across the US and Israel, the combined choir presented a program of classical and contemporary works, a world premiere, and a few nostalgic moments when a trio of future chazzonim recalled the world of Yiddish theater. Before this performance, most of the participants had rehearsed their music only within their own chapters. In their separate groups, they practiced weekly in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus, Dallas and Houston, Hartford, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St Paul, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and Providence. Locally, they practiced in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland County....

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Interesting Reading: “Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel”...

May 10, 2015 by

By Dr. Alex Grobman In this book, published by the State University of New York Press, author Guy Ziv, an assistant professor in the Washington-based School of International Service’s US Foreign Policy Program, asks what motivates some once-rightwing Israeli leaders to “become dovish” once in office, leading them to pursue dramatic changes in foreign policy. This is not a broad-brush accusation. He notes than there are hardliners who remain faithful to the status quo, while a few others, once in office, revise their dovish positions and recognize that recourse to military actions are their only options. But since the 1990s, a significant number of Israeli leaders have changed their positions about making peace with the Palestinian Arabs. The most dramatic example was the Rabin government’s decision in 1993 to negotiate the Oslo Accords with...

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May Letters – 2015

May 9, 2015 by

Fire Safety First In light of the recent tragedy in Brooklyn in which seven children were killed: Do this now. Every bedroom and hallway should have a working smoke detector. Batteries should be changed religiously twice a year when you change the clock. Smoke detectors are effective in waking up sleeping residents in time to escape. If you have an alarm system, get smoke detectors hooked up to your central monitoring station. Plan an escape route with all home residents, even children. In case of fire, doors should be closed as a barrier to the fire spreading even if one is fleeing. Install Carbon Monoxide detectors on each floor as well. CO is odorless and is formed from incomplete combustion from any non-electric device such as ovens, ranges, dryers, or water heaters. CO causes...

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