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David N. Myers


L.A. Jewry Needs More Exploring

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.

Show Gaza Sympathies to the Other

The disengagement from Gaza has exposed raw emotions and wrenching scenes of families being uprooted from their homes of decades.

One Historian’s Look at How Jews Shaped the Modern Age

\"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.

Apparent Allies Might Not Be Our Friends

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.

Open Debate Preferable to Blind Support

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?

The Return of Big Brother?

Like America at large, the American university is a teeming marketplace of ideas. Its greatness lies in its unrestrained commitment to open debate. Conversely, its darkest moments have come when the gateways of debate were closed.

A Code of Civility in Jewish Public Discourse

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.

A Marshall Plan for Palestine

We have entered a most precarious state in the century-old conflict between Jews and Arabs.

Rally Later

In the midst of the speeches at Sunday\'s solidarity rally for Israel, I felt a growing swell of ambivalence and even discomfort over the event.

Can We Find the Golden Mean?

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.

On Jewish Liberalism–and Power

Several weeks ago, the eminent Harvard sociologist Nathan Glazer, one of the renowned New York intellectuals chronicled in the film \"Arguing the World,\" came to town for a lecture and seminar at UCLA.

Ceding Control

As time runs out on both Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, it appears highly unlikely that an enduring and comprehensive agreement in the Middle East will be achieved.

Facing Truths

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.

My German Question

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.