A pro-Israel activist is hoping that his documentary on the United Nations — to be released nationwide on June 1 — brings focus to what he says is the world body’s global ineffectiveness.
One of the more powerful scenes from “U.N. Me” comes from a lull in deliberations at the controversial 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva, a parley headlined by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and boycotted by Israel, the United States, and others because of its obsessive focus on the Jewish state.
Chris Cole, the coach of the boys’ basketball team at the Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, says his squad is peaking, coming off its 27-point victory in the state tournament quarterfinals.
Apparently the Stars, who with a record of 24-5 are having the best season in school history, will not be able to show off their game in the rest of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 2A tournament.
The semifinals are being held on Friday night and the finals on Saturday afternoon, conflicting with Shabbat. Beren’s appeal to change the starting times was rejected Monday by the association. Beren thus was forced to forfeit.
As concerns mount over the environmental and public health consequences of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, Jewish groups are coalescing around a strategy that supports efforts to extract natural gas from shale rock while seeking to mitigate its worst effects.
In May, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the community’s main public policy umbrella group, will consider a draft resolution on fracking that in its current form acknowledges the potential benefits of a major new source of natural gas while urging greater oversight and government regulation of the practice.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – When Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve, he reportedly conducted meetings of the Fed’s Open Market Committee by going around the table and asking the 17 members for their opinions. Only after the others had spoken would Greenspan, a towering figure in American economic policy, render his own judgment.
With the U.S. economy currently in shambles, one can easily question the wisdom of the decisions Greenspan presided over during his 19 years at the Fed. But his practice of having junior group members speak before their seniors is an excellent way to avoid the sort of myopia to which elite groups, operating under high pressure, often succumb.
Under a cloudless blue sky, in a square wedged between the National Assembly and the Rectorate of the University of Sofia, Alexander Oscar, the young president of Sofia’s Jewish community, issued a blunt message to his countrymen.
The occasion was Bulgaria’s Holocaust remembrance ceremony on March 10, a day meant to celebrate the country’s heroic rescue of its 50,000 Jews during World War II, a feat unequalled in any Nazi-allied country and a rightful mark of pride here.
But Oscar was determined not to let his fellow Bulgarians revel too much in their self-congratulation. He reminded them of the deportation of 11,000 Jews — most of whom perished — from Thrace and Macedonia, territories then administered from Sofia. He recalled the 1941 law that forced Jews to wear a yellow star and prohibited them from occupying public positions. And he noted that of the Jews deported from Sofia, all of the men were dispatched to labor camps.
As one local put it, Bulgarian Jews were raped but not killed.
GIRONA, Spain – Hidden among the maze of alleyways east of the Onyar River, the Museum of Jewish History stands as testament — if an inadvertent one — to the completeness of Spain’s destruction of its once-thriving Jewish population.
Inside the museum, set in what is said to be Girona’s last known synagogue, designers have layered the ancient architecture with all the flourishes of a contemporary museum, complete with glass-lit cases, multimedia displays and an audio tour in several languages.
In one case sits the signet ring belonging to Girona’s most famous Jewish son, Rabbi Moses Ben Nahman Girondi, the legendary Judaic scholar known as the Ramban or Nahmanides.
PARIS – On the second floor of the town hall in Paris’ third Arrondissement, leaders of France’s major Jewish institutions gathered to denounce the leader of the far-right National Front party and to assert that she remains unworthy of dialogue with the Jewish community.
Last week’s gathering was precipitated by two developments that the community found alarming, though for very different reasons.
The first was an online poll, published in early March in Le Parisien, that found that National Front leader Marine Le Pen was outpacing both major party candidates, President Nicolas Sarkozy of the UMP and the Socialist Party’s Martine Aubry.
President Obama reportedly urged Jewish communal leaders on Tuesday to speak to their friends and colleagues in Israel and to “search your souls” over Israel’s seriousness about making peace.
In an hour-long meeting Tuesday with about 50 representatives from the Jewish community’s chief foreign policy umbrella group, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Obama reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel, according to statements from both the White House and Conference of Presidents.
NEW YORK – A new campaign for clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has racked up a series of big name politicos in the last few weeks: former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and Chicago Rabbi Capers Funnye, a cousin of first lady Michelle Obama.
The recent successes can be traced not to Washington lobbyists or a New York boardroom, but to a small team of four activists whose doggedness, rather than political connections, has yielded results.
The four men, spread across America, have managed to generate more momentum on the Pollard issue — or at least more expressions of support for clemency from public figures — than any public campaign in recent years.
After the January shootings in Arizona and the resultant calls for greater civility and moderation in the national discourse; after an acrimonious back-and-forth over the Jewish legal approach to death and organ donation; and after still more calls for a gentler, more civil public discourse, Rabbi Moshe Tendler stood up in a Jerusalem synagogue and accused his fellow Orthodox rabbis of perpetrating one of the worst desecrations of God’s name in American Jewish history.
The rabbis in question — authors of a four-year study on the Jewish legal criteria for death and members of the halacha, or religious law, committee of the chief Modern Orthodox rabbinic group — have “not the slightest idea of what we’re talking about,” Tendler told his audience.