Month: July 2010
Great article on the Islamic Center controversy in Manhattan. It has hard to think of a better example of the tragic nature of crucifixion than the shadow cast on Imam Rauf, and Daisy Khan, two of the most visionary and progressive Muslims that I know. Alas, it is in the context of legitimate New York feelings, mourning, that is stirred recklessly by politicians and ideologues with other agendas. Arthur Miller, The Crucible, understood this so well. It is exactly why all abuses in Israel devolve into emotional and manipulative appeals to the Holocaust. Legitimate feelings, illegitimate persecutions. The story of humanity.…
Why Afghanistan Matters
by Sophia Rose Shafi
As a parent of a child who is half-Afghan, I am reminded daily of how lucky she is to have shelter, good health, and ample food and clothing. Most Afghan children are not so lucky. 14% of children die before reaching their first birthday. One in five children die before they reach the age of five years old. Afghanistan also has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world, after Angola and Sierra Leone.
Life is also dismal for adults. Only 22% of Afghans have access to safe water. Life expectancy is 44 years old (44.04 for men, 44.21 for women). The maternal death rate hovers at around 50%. And 87% of females are victims of domestic violence.
History has not been kind to Afghans, especially over the past thirty years of unending war. Most know the story well – Soviet invasion, …
This is the day in the Jewish calendar that is the eve of destruction, commemorating all the catastrophes of the last 2500 years, the forced exiles, the crusades, the massacres, the pogroms, an authentically religious national day of mourning for millions of jewish innocents over the ages. Only what is different from profane forms of Jewish mourning, is that religious mourning looks inward, introspectively, not outward for scapegoats. And this is the difference between heaven and hell, the hell created by profane nationalism, and the heaven created by spiritual identity.
I heard a homily in a synagogue yesterday that turned my stomach so badly that I had to leave. It was a celebration of conquest, precisely at this time, an embrace of the conquerors of the Book of Joshua, as role models for a new husband and wife team celebrating their upcoming marriage.
But Judaism is not the Bible, something …