The Harvest and the Law

Shavuot, the Jewish festival that begins next Thursday evening, June 5, is among the least known of the Jewish holidays in this country. That’s no accident. The central theme of the holiday, the giving of the Law at Sinai, sits uneasily with an American Jewish public that likes to think of religion as a matter of personal choice, notRead More

Counting Character

May was a bad month for heroes. First there was that embarrassing disclosure about William Bennett, the former education secretary and Republican moralist-in-chief, who turned out to have been hiding a massive gambling addiction. To the delight of his detractors and mortification of his admirers, Bennett turned out to be exhibit A in his ownRead More

Terror: Lessons from the Front

In a deadly cascade of coordinated suicide attacks — 15 bombings on three continents in the space of seven days — Islamic fundamentalists demonstrated with brutal clarity last week that whatever our leaders’ claims about winning the war on terrorism, the terrorists haven’t been beaten.Far from it. While America and its alliesRead More

The Bank and the Fence

A new report by the World Bank suggests that the separation fence going up between Israel and the West Bank will, when completed, leave some 95,000 Palestinians cut off on the Israeli side. Another 20,000 or so will be inconveniently cut off from their agricultural lands, forced to go through a fence to get to work. The message — echoing similarRead More

Pryor and Restraint

At first glance, it was narrow considerations of policy that prompted the separate decisions by two Jewish organizations to oppose one of President Bush’s latest judicial nominees, Bill Pryor of Alabama. To the National Council of Jewish Women, Pryor’s militantly anti-abortion views made him unacceptable as a federal judge. For the ReligiousRead More

First Steps Along the Map

Next week’s visit to Washington by Prime Minister Sharon is more than just a courtesy call. President Bush opened a new page in Middle East history this month with the publication of his road map to Israeli-Palestinian peace. If he can persuade the two sides to begin implementing it, there may be some hope of bringing some sanity to that woundedRead More

Labor’s Message

Amram Mitzna appeared on the world stage last fall with the suddenness of a meteor when he was elected chairman of Israel’s opposition Labor Party. His ignominious resignation this week, barely six months into his tenure, continues the meteoric metaphor. He simply flamed out, leaving behind a gloom that seemed deeper than before. TheRead More

Campaign Finance Goes to Court

Some things never change. Liberals and good-government types were cheering last year when President Bush signed into law the heralded McCain-Feingold Bill, meant to limit the flow of big money into political campaigns. The cheers were premature. Last week, when a three-judge panel in Washington struck down severalRead More

The Honey and the Sting

There’s a background music to Jewish life, if you listen for it. It’s a ubiquitous melodic phrase that’s heard at weddings in Haifa and bar mitzvahs in Houston. It’s played to phone callers put on hold by synagogues and office suites in Toronto and Tel Aviv.The precise tune changes from decade to decade, sometimes from year to year. It’sRead More

Sanctimonium Santorum

Playing the “gotcha” game is a dangerous political pastime. At best it puts public servants on the defensive, forcing them to measure every word and speak in pablum, impoverishing and degrading the public discourse. At worst an individual’s words can be misquoted or taken out of context, subjecting them to undeserved attacks. That apparentlyRead More

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