Editor’s Wrapup: Linked In
Take, for instance, the Liberal Jewish community in Amsterdam, the smallest of the major religious movements in the Netherlands. The remnant that survived World War II—in which 80 percent of Dutch Jews were decimated by the Nazis—decided to stay and rebuild. In her article, “Coming to Terms With Home,” Toby Axelrod takes a look at the triumphs and continuing challenges that Amsterdam’s Progressive Jewish community faces.
Israel has many varied communities, and Jay Michaelson looks at the continuing suffering of one of them: the gay community. LBGTs in Israel have greater political and cultural rights and freedoms than they do even in the United States, he observes in “What Don’t You Understand About All Israel?” So why is it as if there are two polarities: one that extends rights, another that withholds acceptance and sometimes safety—forgetting the Jewish directive toward family and community that makes us responsible one for the other?
A population in Israel whose language is in disrepair is the Arabic-speaking community. The Arabic Language Academy was recently established to help modernize the language, which, Shoshana London Sappir writes in “An Official Language Gets More Respect,” has remained relatively unchanged since the 10th century. Addressing the complex issues of this layered language, so neglected and intermingled with Hebrew, is critical for the Arab community’s cultural identity and literacy.
Another Israeli organization—the Jerusalem-based International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center—has a goal that is as solemn as it is bold. As Esther Hecht explains in “Planting a Forest of Family Trees,” its broad thrust is to create a comprehensive genealogical database that will trace family trees, creating kinship webs and graphic representation for much larger communities. In this huge project, family and community will shed light that will illuminate both near and far.—Zelda Shluker