Picture of Michael Berenbaum

Michael Berenbaum

Michael Berenbaum is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute and a professor of Jewish Studies at American Jewish University.

Israel and its relationship to the Shoah

Did Israel attempt to address the problems uncovered by the Jewish condition in the Holocaust? Absolutely and surprisingly successfully. However, it has neither ended Jewish vulnerability nor achieved normalcy for the Jewish people, something that does not surprise religious Jews but astonishes secular ones. At 60, it has not — or at least not yet — achieved the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations. That will have to be the achievement of the succeeding generation.

The Yavneh incident was stupid but not quite anti-Semitic

Last month, Kol Nidrei services on the evening of the Day of Atonement held at a local Hancock Park yeshiva were interrupted by the government officials pressing a zoning violation. It was an act of stupidity and insensitivity, not anti-Semitism.

The leaders of Israel and of the Jewish people are failing us

Almost 25 years ago, I read a one-line description of Jewish leadership that has haunted me ever since. The author, whose name I have repressed, wrote: \”Only a confirmed anti-Semite could believe that the Jewish people have the leadership they deserve.\” I protested his statement then, but I am not sure I can disagree now.

Books: Part history, part mystery — the passengers of the S. S. St. Louis

Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller set a difficult task for themselves. Writing their book was easy. So, too, was researching what happened on the voyage of the St. Louis, the Hamburg-American line ship that traveled from Germany to Cuba in May 1939, carrying 937 passengers who were escaping Nazi Germany. The authors\’ greater challenge was to uncover the fate of the passengers after the ship had been turned away from numerous ports. Their dogged pursuit of all leads yielded some surprising results.

Prager’s presence no longer benefits Holocaust Museum

Jews, who constitute 3 percent of the American people, were considered for most of the past half century 33.3 percent of the American religious experience, and this reflected itself in civic ceremonies, such as presidential inaugurations, when priests, pastors and rabbis were invited to participate. Those times have passed.

William Styron, an appreciation

Bill Styron died last week at the age of 81.

The author of the \”Confessions of Nat Turner\” and \”Sophie\’s Choice\” was indisputably a great writer, a writer\’s writer. His words were carefully, painstakingly chosen and anyone who loved the English language enjoyed the pure craftsmanship of Styron.

Books: Kristallnacht’s memory revealed and recovered

Kristallnacht marked the end of Jewish life in Germany; a pivotal turning point in what later became known as the Holocaust. A generation is passing, but it is a generation that has left behind voluminous records, testimonies and memoirs, video recordings and diaries, letters and notes.

New U.S. Stamps Honor Friends of Jews, Israel

On May 30, the United States Postal Service issued a series of new stamps honoring six career State Department diplomats who earned the gratitude of this nation for taking \”risks to advance humanitarianism…[and] peace,\” even if their actions put themselves \”in harm\’s way.\”


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