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Jewish Affairs

The National Democratic Party: An Ugly Sore on Germany’s Body Politic

The far-right National Democratic Party, known in German as the NPD, is an ugly, festering sore on Germany’s body politic. The NPD  is shamelessly xenophobic, jingoistic, racist and, worst of all, antisemitic. Given Germany’s central role in the Holocaust, it beggars the imagination that there are still German politicians, even on the fringes of society, who […]

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Arts

Ansel Adams in the Canadian Rockies

“These mountains are breathtaking — utterly different than anything we have seen. The peaks and forests and “tone” fulfill almost every ideal I have had of what ‘my’ mountains could be. The cold ice crashes down tremendous cliffs to the very edge of deep, somber forests. No dust here — all is snow, ice, clean […]

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Travel

Panama — a Land of Sharp and Mesmerizing Contrasts

Panama, the lower-cost alternative to Costa Rica, is a land of sharp and mesmerizing contrasts. One day, I was perspiring in the sweltering tropical lowlands of Chiriqui province, or exploring a picturesque island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. A few days later, and just a relatively short distance away, I […]

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Arts

Tango and Klezmer in Argentina

Tango originated in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, but klezmer, a Russian Jewish genre, exerted an enormous influence on it. Jewish immigrants from the Russian empire began arriving in Argentina, a land of  prosperity, hope and opportunity, toward the end of the 19th century. They brought their musical traditions with them, forever changing tango. […]

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Jewish Affairs

J.B. Salsberg’s life explored in Tulchinsky’s First-Class Biography

I had the privilege of knowing Joseph Baruch (J.B.) Salsberg, who was already a legendary figure when I met him in the autumn of 1974. I was a reporter on The Canadian Jewish News and he was one of its freelance columnists. Salsberg, tall, irrepressible, witty and always nattily dressed, would usually arrive at the […]

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Middle East

Lebanon Has Been Dragged Into Syria’s Civil War

Shortly after the eruption of the popular uprising in Syria, in March 2011, the prime minister of neighboring Lebanon, Najib Mikati, announced he would hew to a policy of neutrality, or “disassociation”, so that his nation would not be dragged into the bloody mayhem of that conflagration. Lebanon, he declared, would support neither the Baathist […]

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Arts

Gore Vidal: A Thorn in the Side of the U.S. Establishment

Gore Vidal, a son of privilege, left the American ruling class to become a constant thorn in its side. Through his novels, essays, plays and television appearances, he was a sharp critic of U.S. foreign policy and the “decadence” of political life in the United States. Articulate and outspoken, he was a celebrity intellectual, a student […]

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Middle East

Agreement on Iran`s Nuclear Program is a Step in the Right Direction

The six-month interim accord signed by the world’s major powers and Iran in Geneva on Nov. 24 paves the way for a comprehensive agreement that may well permanently freeze, if not dismantle, Iran’s militarized nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, having pressed for a much tougher outcome that would have neutralized Iran as a nuclear […]

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Jewish Affairs

Symposium Takes a Hard Look at the Holocaust in Lithuania

The Holocaust in the Baltic nation of Lithuania exacted a greater toll on Jews than in nearly any other Nazi-occupied country, with more than 90 percent of its Jewish citizens having been murdered by Lithuanian antisemites and German forces. Out of a pre-war Jewish population of about 208,000, upwards of 195,000 Litvaks, or Lithuania Jews, […]

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Jewish Affairs

Heart-Felt Documentary probes Poland’s New Jewish Community

Poland’s Jewish community, the biggest in Europe before World War II, was virtually obliterated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. As if to rub salt into the wound, the Communist government, in 1967, launched an antisemitic campaign under the thinly-veiled guise of anti-Zionism, prompting many of the remaining Jews to emigrate. Since the advent of […]