In a world in which any Jew is a potential target of anti-Semitism, it is the most visible Jews who are most threatened. Jews with black hats, with tight curls hanging down below their ears and black coats and women wearing modest head coverings, they are the most vulnerable. Jews in synagogues. In Brooklyn, as in Jersey City and Monsey, violence against individuals in their Hasidic communities is almost an everyday event. If someone wants to do harm to a Jew, Hasidic Jews and their communities are and have become easy targets.
n the 1946 film The Big Sleep, based on the Raymond Chandler mystery of the same name, Carmen—the promiscuous, drug-addicted younger sister of Lauren Bacall’s character—sizes up Philip Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart, and asks him, “What are you, a prizefighter?” Bogart responds, “No, I’m a shamus.” “What’s a shamus?” she inquires. “It’s a private detective,” he answers. Yes, Bogart is using the Yiddish version—more popularly spelled “shammes”—of the Hebrew word, “shamash.”
The epigram, “They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat!” sometimes serves as a tongue-in-cheek synopsis of Jewish holidays: Passover, for example, recounts the original Jewish survival story in an extended banquet punctuated by four cups of wine.
Few Americans have heard of Besa, but Besa is the reason that during the dark days of the Nazi takeover of Albania not a single Jewish citizen of Albania, nor any other Jew seeking refuge in Albania, was turned over to the Nazis or sent to the death camps.
A Moment Symposium with Sarah Bunin Benor,David Biale, Steven M. Cohen, Alan Cooperman, Arnold Dashefsky, Anita Diamant, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Samuel Heilman, William Helmreich, Bethamie Horowitz, Ari Y. Kelman, Barry A. Kosmin, Sergio della Pergola, Leonard Saxe, Ira Sheskin, Arnon Soffer
While still addressing the integration of Israeli-Americans into American Jewish life, this year’s conference gave center stage to the Coalition for Action’s step-by-step construction of alliances with local political and religious groups and use of social media to build support for pro-Israel actions.
When Brent Delman was growing up in Cleveland, his culturally Jewish family, like their Eastern European forebears, ate lots of soft, fresh cheese—cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese—without worrying much about whether it was kosher. After all, cheese is just curdled milk, and as long as it’s not eaten with meat, what could be treif about it?