8:02 AM, Jan 12, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Tablet has one of the best articles I've seen from Paris, capturing the mood of French Jews--and the meaning for them of the state of Israel. Here are excerpts:
Anyone who wants to understand how the Jews of France—and most other places in the Diaspora, including the United States—feel inside, especially at times when we are targeted by men with guns who represent a radical, fascistic ideology bent on killing us, should take a look at these two videos from the Grand Synagogue of Paris after a solidarity rally that brought an estimated 1.5 million people into the streets to declare their support for free speech and their opposition to Islamist terrorism.
The first video shows the entrance of French President François Hollande to the Grand Synagogue, followed 40 seconds or so later by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who unlike Hollande is greeted by loud and spontaneous cheering.
...The reason they are cheering is far more basic, and it has to do with the harsh lesson that history has engraved into the souls of every conscious and self-aware Jew in the world today....We are not afraid because we know, whether overtly or in a dark half-acknowledged corner of our minds, that there is one state in the world—however imperfect it is in some of its particulars—where we and our children will be welcome, and whose government will do its best to protect us, with all the force at its disposal.
One of the great lessons of the Holocaust for the Jewish people and for all other peoples who have since been threatened with genocide by fanatics—Cambodians under Pol Pot, Bosnian Muslims, and the Tutsi of Rwanda—is that the world will always talk a good game but will do precious little to save you. If you don’t stick together, you will die alone. The fact that the State of Israel exists means that the Jewish people will never be radically alone....
The second video shows another side of who we are, and how we feel about the countries where we live. When Netanyahu finishes his speech, the crowd spontaneously starts singing their national anthem—which is, of course, the French national anthem.
The people in the Grand Synagogue are proud to be French, and they want the prime minister of Israel to see and understand their pride in their country, just as they want France to live up to the inspiring words of La Marseillaise.
Read the whole thing.
New York City’s half-baked inquisition.Feb 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 20 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In recent years, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg has acquired a reputation as one of America’s most progressive hipster outposts. In addition to the waves of Manhattan refugees who have relocated here, the area gets no shortage of visitors. Most of the visitors, however, don’t venture down Lee Avenue—main street for the Satmar Hasidic Jewish enclave.
Who is Jacob, and what does he mean? Mar 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 26 • By DAVID WOLPE
Jacob dreams of ladders. A romantic reading of his story would see the ladder as a metaphor of ascent. This child who begins as a deceiver ends surrounded by his children, and is brought back home to Israel for burial. A preacher would tie it up (as many have) with a nice didactic bow.
What is the meaning, and intent, of Hebrew Scripture?Jan 28, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 19 • By JUDAH BELLIN
Yoram Hazony is frustrated. A scholar at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, he has sought to bring Judaism in conversation with Western thought. The West, he believes, has not returned the favor.
A grand old man of letters meets the literature of Judaism. Nov 26, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 11 • By DAVID WOLPE
Many years ago, Will Herberg spoke of “cut-flower ethics.” He argued that, once unmoored from the religious soil that nurtured them, ethical principles would endure for a while, but would ultimately wither. To assume otherwise is to mistakenly dismiss the catalyzing effect that the idea of God has had on ethical motivation throughout
A document dump for ten centuries of Jewish historyOct 8, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 04 • By SUSANNE KLINGENSTEIN
When Alice fell through her Oxford rabbit hole in 1865, she landed in a world in which the hidden elements of her imagination took on an oppressive materiality.
12:19 PM, May 24, 2012 • By HOWARD SLUGH
On May 7, 2012, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest organization of rabbis in the United States, approved a resolution recognizing that the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that mandates employers provide access to contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations forces many employers to “violate the injunctions of their religion.” The RCA, which represents more than 1,000 Orthodox rabbis, urged the Obama administration to amend the regulation to protect the religious liberties of all employers.
1:14 PM, Sep 1, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
On his nightly television show recently, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said that Texas governor Rick Perry is not suitable to be president of the United States because of his connection to one man — Pastor John Hagee of San Antonio, Texas.
Is there a place for religion on the comics page?4:58 PM, Nov 14, 2010 • By MICHAEL TAUBE
On June 5, 2009, The Washington Post posed the following question in a readers’ poll: “Do you think expressions of faith -- and not just satiric references to religion -- belong on the comics page?” Of the 257 participants, 70 percent answered “YES - the funnies are all about personal expression,” while 29 percent replied “NO - I believe in the separation of church and comics.” Should this be considered a surprising result?
The former candidate for vice president tweaks Obama.10:26 AM, Mar 30, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Sarah Palin put out a statement last night marking the beginning of Passover:
Tonight Jewish families all over the world will gather to celebrate Passover, the story of Exodus and the freedom of the Jewish people from bondage. This holiday reminds us of the sacrifices that are still being made for freedom – the U.S. troops who are away from their families so that we can be with ours, and the Israeli people, who struggle for peace with their neighbors even as they face the threat of war.