David N. Myers
Since arriving, I\'ve also shed another stereotype that I had brought with me as a historian of the Jewish experience. Trained as a Europeanist, I had been inculcated to believe that Los Angeles was to New York as America was to Europe -- a pale imitation of the real McCoy, a \"parvenu\" in a world in which antiquity and social stratification bestow merit. This view, unfortunately, is all too common among East Coast or Eurocentric academics.
\"The Jewish Century,\" by Yuri Slezkine. (Princeton University Press, $29.95). Yuri Slezkine opens this major new book by declaring: \"The modern age is the Jewish age, and the 20th century, in particular, is the Jewish century.\" This assertion may ring bells.
This week\'s Israel Christian Nexus gathering at Stephen S. Wise Temple was intended to rally support for Israel. Its advertised list of speakers included John Fishel, president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and a fair number of prominent local rabbis.
A recent report in The New York Times captured almost perfectly the thorny questions that stand at the center of relations between the American Jewish community and Israel. Should one be permitted to criticize the government of a foreign country with which one feels a deep affinity, or is it a moral and political imperative to support the policies of that government, right or wrong?
One of the most distressing aspects of the recent Middle East conflagration has been the retreat of both sides -- Israelis and Palestinians, as well as their supporters -- behind towering rhetorical walls. This retreat evokes the verbal wars of the 1970s, when Israel meant racist and Arab connoted terrorist. When trapped beyond such rhetorical walls, we can only imagine, not see, what the other side looks like. And the imagination often runs wild, depicting the enemy in absolute and demonic terms.
In the opening book of his monumental code of Jewish law, Maimonides declared, \"We are bidden to walk in the middle paths which are the right and proper ways....\" The great medieval sage was articulating the golden mean, the principle that we should avoid extreme behavior, ethical or physical, at all times. The person who succeeds -- indeed, who navigates between indulgence and self-denial -- is, by Maimonides\' standards, the wise one.
Having just learned that a cousin serving in the Israel Defense Forces was wounded in action, I find it painful, but necessary to speak out. The latest convulsions of violence have pushed Israelis and Palestinians closer to the brink of mutual destruction. Meanwhile, in the United States supporters of each side feel compelled to present their respective positions as just and moral. The bitter truth in this conflict is that there are no singular or exclusive moral truths.
Until last year, I held firm to that tribalist impulse familiar to many American Jews and refused to visit Germany (or fly Lufthansa or buy German products, etc.). Although no members of my immediate family had fallen victim to the Nazi terror, the resistance to things German was passed on from my parents\' generation, which shared in the belated outrage (and desire to expunge feelings of inadequacy) of postwar American Jewry.
12Page 2 of 2
Israel passed its first laws recognizing some citizens of Arab descent as refugees in 2002
Israeli Knesset Member Naftali Bennett warned that Israel approving a Palestinian state would be the “biggest mistake” of the country’s history.
Jewish groups have called out two online retailers for selling “Holocough” t-shirts.
The Media Line — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas conducted his first diplomatic tour of the year, meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Aqaba...