One of the Jewish community’s most storied national organizations revealed that it has been gutted by the financial collapse of investor Bernard Madoff, losing the vast majority of its endowment.
Helen Suzman, who died January 1 at 91, has been praised worldwide for her long career and courage as an opposition politician in South Africa’s apartheid-era parliament. A daughter of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, she was lionized by Jewish organizations in the United States and elsewhere as an exemplar of Jewish principles of equality in the face of the racism that oppressed the nonwhite majority of her country.
Helen Suzman has died, and the praise for her is deafening — deafening and uncritical. She was indeed a courageous person who, for 13 of her 36 years in South Africa’s whites-only parliament, was a lone voice of opposition to the brutality of apartheid.
Israel and Hamas are exchanging not only gunfire, but also mutual accusations as to which side is to blame for breaking the fragile cease-fire.
If you ever felt like your Jewish relatives belonged on a page in Maurice Sendak’s “Where the While Things Are,” you were probably right. The celebrated children’s author and illustrator based his classic fanged monsters on Yiddish-speaking family members who descended upon Sendak’s childhood home every weekend to clear the cupboards and pinch young Maurice’s cheeks. “I saw them as fiendish creatures,” Sendak told the Jewish Journal in a 2002 interview. “They ate raw onions, and they stank. They screamed at each other in a foreign language, and they had bad teeth.” Sendak’s 1963 interpretation of his relatives’ interactions will be brought to life once again — on the big screen. Director Spike Jonze, however, did not stage young Max and his friends in a Brooklyn kitchen. Instead, he took his crew down under, shooting scenes at various locales in Australia. “The look and feel is very naturalistic. When our creatures knock down trees, they really knock down trees,” Jonze told Entertainment Weekly. The long-awaited film has been in production since 2006 and is slated to open in October.