The findings of a major new survey of religious practices in the U.S. by the Pew Research Center show that Jews are consistent with the trends of other Americans. Those trends indicate a significant move away from religious affiliation, particularly among the young, as found in a 2013 Pew study of American Jews.
A cynic might look at the PEN American Center, an association of prominent writers and editors, giving its annual courage award for freedom of expression to Charlie Hebdo and conclude that victimhood has its rewards.
On the surface, the parallels between the bloody demonstrations in Baltimore and Tel Aviv in recent days are obvious. In both cases, black citizens have angrily claimed that they are discriminated against because of their color, more often targeted by police, and punished more frequently and more harshly. The sense of frustration and anger that boils over, turning violent, applies to African-American residents of Baltimore as well as Ethiopian Jews in Israel, many of whom feel they are subject to racism and police brutality.
A half-century after the Second Vatican Council, which absolved Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus and strongly condemned anti-Semitism, Catholic-Jewish relations are at a high point. As proof, an Orthodox rabbi received an honor from the pope this week, and a cardinal will dialogue and dine at the Jewish Theological Seminary next week.
Our hearts go out to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.
When natural disaster strikes people virtually anywhere in the world, among the first responders are representatives of the Jewish people. Led by the Jewish state. Over the years, Israel has reached out to countries in need whose citizens are Christian, Muslim, Shinto, or as in the case of last week’s disaster centered in Nepal, Hindu and Buddhist. (See story on page 27.)