These essays are written by strong women who are strong thinkers, well-versed in articulating Jewish teachings and values. Judaism provides the foundation and the framework of their lives. For this writing endeavor, each woman looked at her life experience through her “Jewish lens,” and chose a single snapshot to share.
German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller is best known for his celebrated confession. These oft-quoted words at Holocaust commemorative observances might lead you to believe that Niemöller was sympathetic to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. Not true.
Judy Glickman Lauder’s photographs in Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception are so masterfully crafted they make us feel as if we ourselves are on the train tracks approaching Treblinka, behind the barbed wire fence at Majdanek, at the entrance of Dachau under the sign Arbeit Macht Frei, outside a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Faced with these images, we can’t help but imagine what it must have been like for the millions of innocents who entered these passageways, in most cases never to return.
Many American Jews shuddered as Donald Trump proclaimed, “The American Dream is dead!” and “America first!” to rally crowds during his 2016 presidential campaign. We remembered how, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, these slogans were an open call for virulent anti-Semitism, pro-Nazi sentiment, white supremacy, xenophobia, and nativism.
The U.S. and Israel, allies for more than 70 years, are sometimes at odds on specific policies and actions. Yaakov Katz’s new book Shadow Strike: Inside Israel's Secret Mission to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power (St. Martin’s Press) details one such disagreement involving a high-stakes threat to Israel in 2007.
Hitler (Oxford University Press) is the definitive biography of Adolf Hitler. Despite its length, Longerich’s book is no ornamental “door stopper;” it is, rather, an “eye opener” that sets this book apart from those of many other Hitler biographers.
This books tells the story of the Papal State’s 300-year effort to forcibly convert the Jews of Rome to Catholicism. The officially sanctioned campaign included kidnapping youngsters, harsh incarceration, and mind manipulation.
Parashat Mishpatim presents a full catalog of laws, rituals, observance, and obligations that guide us in living a Jewish life of moral depth and courage. But, Rabbi Rick Jacobs asks, how do we, as liberal Jews regard these laws – which of them are we obligated to observe, and how?