Dershowitz visits Oslo (sort of)

Ask Orthodox Jews in Norway where one can find a fresh shoulder of kosher beef and they will give the same answer -- nowhere.There is more to this obscure fact than a clash between Jewish tradition and the concerns of animal-rights activists in today's Europe, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz told a Jewish forum in Oslo. This is a symbolic fact about tensions that surround Jews in Norway."You live in the only country in the world today that does not permit kosher shechita," he … [Read more...]

Take Pat Robertson, please

Once again, inquiring media minds wanted to know: Does the Rev. Pat Robertson's telephone actually have a speed-dial button for the angel of death?The evangelical alpha male keeps making news with grim pronouncements about life, death and God's will. In the past, he has discussed the steering mechanisms of hurricanes and the aging hearts of liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justices. This past summer he said it wouldn't be a bad idea to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Now, of course, he … [Read more...]

2005: Is terrorism ‘religion’ news?

The suicide bomber struck at a sandwich stand in the busy outdoor market of the Israeli coastal city called Hadera, killing five people and wounding dozens more.Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the blast, which came a month after Israel's September exit from Gaza. Israeli leaders quickly released a statement noting that this attack followed remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be "wiped off the map."The bomber was a Palestinian. News reports did not … [Read more...]

Cheeseburgers in Jerusalem

It was the night before Melanie Preston's immigration flight to Israel and the 28-year-old daughter of a Jewish mother and an Irish Catholic father knew exactly what she wanted to eat."I want a cheeseburger, right now," she said, scanning a trendy South Florida menu. "You can get cheeseburgers in Israel, but you can't get a really good one. You know?"This wasn't just a wisecrack about the kosher tradition of separating meat and dairy products. This was the kind of symbolic issue that Preston … [Read more...]

Terrorism, fiction and the Truth

WASHINGTON -- One of the most sobering sights that novelist Joel Rosenberg has ever seen was the glitter of Manhattan outside the windows of a Learjet a few months after Sept. 11.Since this was a private plane, its passengers did not pass through a metal detector and have their ID cards checked. There were no security procedures at all."It was the middle of the night and we were flying right over Ground Zero," he said. "I remember saying at the time that there was nothing -- literally nothing -- … [Read more...]

Which Church of the Nativity?

The Gate of Humility into the Church of the Nativity is just over four feet high and was added in 1272 A.D. to help repel raiders.Visitors must stoop or bow in submission. Once inside, most tourists - about 1.25 million a year, in peaceful times - quickly queue on the right side of the 5th century Orthodox basilica and wait to enter the Grotto of the Nativity beneath the high altar.I passed through the gate two years ago and headed for the altar icons. A priest appeared."You are American? You … [Read more...]

Next year in Jerusalem?

Germany has the world's fastest-growing Jewish population.One of Judaism's hottest schools of spiritual renewal has its roots in Argentina.Jews in Atlanta set out to raise $25 million and ended up with $50 million, including nearly $5 million poured into the project by Coca-Cola -- a corporate pillar of the old Protestant South.These are snapshots of modern Judaism. Get used to it."Obviously, when people think of Judaism they think of Israel and that's as it should be," said journalist Larry … [Read more...]

Gaps in the Middle East mosaic

The monk had amazing news, so he wrote directly to the Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem.The year was 1884 and the ruins of a Byzantine church had surfaced near the north gate of the ancient village of Madaba, south of Amman. The floor included sections of a sixth century map -- a spectacular mosaic offering historians vital insights into the culture, wildlife, commerce, art and geography of biblical Palestine.There was a bird's eye view of Jerusalem, giving pilgrims details about walls, gates, … [Read more...]