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Jewish Affairs

Rommel’s Son Worked for German-Jewish Reconciliation

After meeting Manfred Rommel, the son of legendary World War II German field marshal Erwin Rommel, I realized that yesterday’s enemies can be today’s friends. Or to put it another way, Germans are not intrinsically hostile to Jews. Far from it. Manfred Rommel, who died a few days ago at the age of 84, was […]

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Arts

A Courageous Polish Film

Challenging conventional dogma in Poland, Wladyslaw Pasikowski’s intense and courageous feature film, Aftermath, boldly asserts that Polish Catholics, far from having been only victims of Nazi oppression, were also perpetrators. Inspired by a notorious incident in 1941 in which as many as 1,600 Jews in the northeastern Polish town of Jedwabne were massacred by their Catholic […]

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Jewish Affairs

The Sins of Joseph Patrick Kennedy

Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1888-1969) was the patriarch of one of America’s greatest political dynasties. Kennedy’s son, John, the first Roman Catholic president, was assassinated 50 years ago on Nov. 22. Robert, John’s attorney general and a U.S. senator, was gunned down in 1968. Edward, who died four years ago, enjoyed a stellar career in the […]

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Middle East

Interim Agreement May Be Taking Shape on Iran’s Nuclear Program

So near, yet so far. As recently as a week ago, speculation was rife that Iran and the world powers were on the cusp of reaching an historic agreement on Iran’s contentious nuclear program. Such was the upbeat mood that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif ventured to say that a deal could be signed at […]

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Middle East

Israel’s Most Dangerous Border

A year ago, on Nov. 14, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defence, an eight-day offensive designed to restore a measure of peace along its volatile border with the Gaza Strip. Israel and the Palestinians promised to observe a ceasefire in the wake of the fighting, and although there has been a significant drop in the […]

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Middle East

Disgracefully enough, Saudi Arabia Wins Membership in UN Body

One of the world’s most repressive theocratic regimes, Saudi Arabia, has won membership in the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, along with such repressive countries as Cuba and China. The UN General Assembly, much to its discredit, made that egregious decision on Nov. 12. Saudi Arabia’s application should have been denied because of its abysmal record on […]

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Jewish Affairs

German Catholicism and the Third Reich

The Roman Catholic church in Nazi Germany supported the regime’s antisemitic policies, says an American scholar specializing in modern German history. Speaking in Toronto during Holocaust Education Week, Beth Griech-Polelle, a Bowling Green State University historian, said the German church accommodated itself to Adolf Hitler’s new order to protect its interests and parishioners. Fearing it […]

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Jewish Affairs

New Perspectives on the Holocaust in Holland

People in Nazi-occupied Holland generally greeted the maltreatment of Jews with indignation, but local authorities cooperated with the Germans in the persecution of  Jews in the Netherlands, says a Dutch historian. Wichert ten Have, chair of the Academic Working Group at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Amsterdam, made these comments in a lecture in Toronto on Nov. […]

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Guest Voices

The Role of Jewish Food in My Life

I’ve been trying to pare down my cookbook collection, but couldn’t resist buying a copy of Crazy Good Kugel on a recent visit to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a historic synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina. The slim, coil-bound volume comprises 32 recipes for sweet and savory kugels – the entries in the congregation’s “Great KKBE […]

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Jewish Affairs

Escape from Sobibor

Philip (Fiszel) Bialowitz was one of the lucky few. He survived the hell of  Sobibor — a Nazi extermination camp in Poland where about 250,000 Jews were murdered in less than two years– and better still, he managed to escape from this purgatory, in the largest prisoner revolt of the Holocaust. Now an American citizen, […]