In other news of the week:
Jason Horowitz, writing in The Washington Post, profiles Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. The freshman Senator with the least seniority in the U.S. Senate came to DC and tried to be very serious and squelch his comedy. It backfired. He was seen as nasty and sarcastic, and this is no way to make friends and inflience people in the Congress. Now, six months later, he has learned from his errors, and has become more jocular. In the words of the late Gerald Boyd, you have to “bring your whole self to the job.”
In The New York Times, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, writes that this is NOT the lowest point in Israel US relations, and lays out Israel’s POV on the recent events.
Rory Fitzgerald, in the UK Jewish Chronicle, writes about Irish and Jewish solidarity, James Joyce, and Bloom, in time for Saint Patrick’s Day.
And speaking of James Joyce, Rabbi Michael J. Broyde and Rabbi Shlomo Brody, leaders in the American Orthodox Jewish community write in The Jewish Press about “Homosexuality And Halacha: Five Critical Points.” While too long to paraphrase it, they do end with, “…The Orthodox community currently faces two incredibly serious problems: heterosexual promiscuity and financial misconduct. We live, alas, in an era of scandals, an era in which chassidic rebbes go to jail for money-laundering and rabbis are arrested for selling organs, while blogs accuse rabbis who are running conversion courts of manipulations and sexual vices with candidates for conversion. These scandals reflect larger trends within our community of widespread betrayal and disloyalty: to the other gender, including spouses; to business associates; to the greater Orthodox community; and, ultimately, to Torah and mitzvot. Halacha condemns homosexual acts, but the phenomenon of “Orthodox homosexuals” does not represent a major threat to the integrity of our community. Ultimately, we are afraid that disproportionate condemnation of this phenomenon gives unproductive focus to a red herring, leading to inappropriate responses to individual struggles and distracting us from the central problems truly plaguing our community….”
Speaking of red herrings, the Jewish Museum in London has reopened this week in Camden Town after a major facelift and 10 million pound (4.2 million from lottery funds.) A fun visit if you are in town. Try the Yiddish karaoke.
In closing, last week, it was mentioned the there was a big party to rededicate one of Cairo’s synagogues, restored by Egypt’s government. This week, the ministry announced that the “inauguration” of the Ben Maimon synagogue has been canceled due to insulting behavior by Jews (there was toasting with alcohol at the earlier party on March 7), and because Israel provokes Muslims. Egypt’s Jewish community numbered 80,000 in the 1940s and numbers about three dozen, currently.