A Jewish Vietnam Veteran Looks Back 50 years on the Moral Journey that Changed His Life with George Johnson

From 1968 to 1969, Moment Senior Editor George Johnson served as an Army intelligence advisor in the CIA’s Phoenix Program in South Vietnam.  Based on his memoir When One’s Duty and the Right Thing are not the Same, Johnson discusses his assignment to this once-secret intelligence program and the Army’s program for “pacification” of Vietnamese villages. He also discusses how his reservations about the war caused him, upon return from Vietnam and to civilian life, to call for an accounting for the war and to re-orient his life toward Judaism and Jewish social action. This program is in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

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Desires of the Flesh and Spirit

By Steven Philp Following a handful of screenings in the United States and Canada, the critically acclaimed Israeli film Eyes Wide Open was released on DVD for North American consumers this past month. The debut of director Haim Tabakman is a nuanced examination of the conflict between the desires of the flesh and the spirit; it finds its particular power in the recognition that these two spheres are often closer than we care to acknowledge. Written by Merav Doster, the film is set in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem where the daily rhythm is defined by the obligations of work, family, and fulfilling mitzvot. Our protagonist, Aaron (Zohar Strauss)–having recently inherited his deceased father’s butcher shop – finds purpose, albeit one characterized by predictability, within this community; he is recognized among his neighbors as a tzaddik, working...

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Holocaust Not A Part of Young Diaspora Jews' Identity, Survey Finds

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler JTA reported today that a 12 year survey, conducted among 60,000 Jews aged 15-17 in 20 countries outside Israel, indicates that few young diaspora Jews consider the Holocaust or anti-Semitism a part of their identity. Only 21 percent of the youth indicated that they are Jewish in relation to the Holocaust. A series of other determining factors was more prominent in determining their Jewish identity, such as family, 96 percent; birth, 90 percent; religion, 72 percent; and culture, 67 percent. Hmmm. Is this a bad thing? Seems like a an era without an ingrained focus on terror would constitute a positive era in Jewish history. Or does it just signal a new generation of naiveté? What do you think? Do you consider the Holocaust a part of your Jewish identity? Let us know in the comments...

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