Words of the Week: Natalie L. Kahn et al.

On April 29, the Editorial Board of the Harvard Crimson published an editorial endorsing the B*D*S movement (I try not to spell out the term too often—a small effort to minimize some of the backlash such mentions can provoke, ranging from the merely negative to the obscene and threatening).

The subject is so toxic, and the anti-Israelism so virulent, that it takes true bravery to respond. But this editorial was so wrong-headed, in so many ways, that it demanded responses.

Here are some of the best I’ve encountered:

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Words of the Week: Giveaway Edition

Update, May 19: Thanks to all who entered this giveaway! The Random Number Generator has awarded the giveaway subscription to Michele J. Clark. (Michele, I’ll be in touch shortly to confirm your address.)

Normally, “Words of the Week” posts here on My Machberet share snippets from online discoveries that I’ve found to be particularly powerful. Often, these Jewishly-focused items are also Israel-focused.

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Words of the Week: Heidi Rabinowitz

“And if you happen to be a journalist who is listening to our conversation right now, we hope that you will cover these [books] in the media, because we would love to see these [books] end up on the seasonal lists that are always being published in newspapers, on blogs. If you’re looking to do a roundup of holiday books, we hope you’ll rely on these lists.”

Source: Heidi Rabinowitz, “Holiday Highlights: The Best New Passover Books,” an episode of The Book of Life podcast also featuring Susan Kusel. (A transcript is available.)

Words of the Week: Daniel Gordis

“Is Israel mired in a dragging, depressing conflict? Yes. Does Israel conduct that conflict as some of us might like it to? No. Is Israel’s treatment of non-Orthodox Jews reprehensible? Yes. Is this society, like every other Western society, replete with challenges, problems and failures? Yes.

And are those issues what Israel is all about? No.

(Can you sum up the United States by discussing its wars?)

Watch Israel’s PM head to the Kremlin on Shabbat. Watch him return and take kids off the plane. Watch a nation gear up (and tear up, frankly) to welcome what may become tens of thousands of immigrants. And if you speak Hebrew, and keep your ear near the tracks, listen to the press and the news and the talk on the sidewalks and what you’ll hear is a sense of purpose being rekindled.

Here’s what we really ought to be asking: If the purpose of Israel was to change the existential condition of the Jews, has Israel succeeded?

That, too, is an entirely rhetorical question. In fact, it’s not a question at all.”

Source: Daniel Gordis