Du bow digest germany edition july 11, 2013


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An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

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Du bow digest germany edition july 11, 2013

  1. 1. 1 AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER dubowdigest@optonline.net GERMANY EDITION July 11, 2013 Dear Friends: A Gershwin tune from the opera Porgy & Bess talks about “Summertime! - and the living is easy”. Well, summertime living might be easy along the Mississippi but there is nothing easy these days about the relationship between Germany and the U.S. The spying fiasco has caused a short-circuit in what is usually a pretty much seamless sense of positive rapport between the two nations. Perhaps I’m not assigning enough importance to the difficulty is has caused but I believe it is the sort of trouble that is ironed out quietly between diplomats and politicians. I expect the link between the U.S. and Germany, because it is of such great importance to both parties will be fixed by the time September and the German election roll around. As noted in an article below, no one knows what will happen in Egypt. The implications for Israel are troubling and possibly dire. Being that Egypt is Israel’s most important border-neighbor is trouble enough,however, when you add the Syrian civil war on another border and then a slowly disintegrating Lebanon on yet a third, plus Hamas in Gaza – well, it’s a tough neighborhood in which to live. It gives us American Jews something to worry about. We’re not happy unless we’re worrying. The Egypt situation should keep us happy for a long time to come. It’s vacation time here in the Lower Hudson Valley. Hotter and more humid than usual. To beat the humidity and to visit family this correspondent will be taking a brief vacation out to the California. However, I’ll be back for the August edition. Enjoy your summer Urlaub. Let’s get on to the news… IN THIS EDITION EGYPT – The ever changing scene has important implications for Israel. You can gain some insight by reading what a non-government observer thinks about the situation.
  2. 2. 2 ISRAEL - PALESTINIAN UPDATE – Secy. Kerry’s next visit is off because of his wife’s illness. However, he doesn’t seem to want to give up. So, there’s talk about more talk. ORTHODOX SCHISM? – To the Orthodox, female “almost” rabbis could cause a rabbinical earthquake. AMERICAN JEWS & THE POPE – Off to a good start. WHAT”S POSSIBLE – Back to the Israel – Palestinian matter for a moment. Shouldn’t the focus be on getting done what is possible – now? EXODUS: WILL JEWS LEAVE EUROPE? – With anti-Semitism rising will European Jews in larger numbers decide it’s time to leave? EGYPT Since the government overthrow in Egypt the usual talking heads and commentators have been trying to figure out how it will affect Israel. American Jews like everybody else in the world (I guess) is waiting for some sort of cloture – or something to happen so they can have some idea of how the situation truly stands. Obviously, that’s not possible at the moment.It’s all very fluid. Since no one really knows, the best that we can do is to turn to someone who has experience with the relations between Egypt and Israel. Such a person isFormer Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Eli Shaked. In a DW interview he opined, ―Israel of course is not a player in these issues. All these past two years we have carefully stayed out of the Egyptian game. Nobody in our government or in Parliament is talking about this. What's important for Israel - not that Israel can do anything - is that Egypt will restore law and order and stability. It's of primary importance for Israel. Two years ago, when Mubarak was deposed, there was a terrorist attack in southern Israel and you could see Cairo lost nearly all its sovereignty over the Sinai. Today, that situation has gotten a bit better. Israel allowed the Egyptian army to bring much more military into Sinai, far beyond what's allowed in the peace agreement. There's a very strong mutual interest between Israeli and Egyptian security forces to restore law and order and full Egyptian sovereignty from Cairo over the Sinai. Sinai has become a home for terrorists. They train there and shoot at Israelis and at the Egyptian army. And Egypt also fears a terror attack on its Suez Canal. What does the fall of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood mean for Hamas, the Islamic movement that rules the Gaza Strip?
  3. 3. 3 Hamas has lost Iran, they have lost Syria and they are losing Egypt. They are much more isolated.‖ What Amb. Shaked said makes a lot of sense. Of course, how weakened Hamas might be is something only the future will tell. At this moment it’s just “wait and see time”. To read the Ambassador’s full interview click here. http://www.dw.de/for-israel-its-a-hostile-environment/a-16929750 ISRAEL - PALESTINIAN UPDATE Actually there isn't much to report except a lot of discussion about - discussion. The latest round of positive and/or negative talk (depending how you look at it) came about because of U.S. Secy. of State's speech at AJC's Global Forum in Washington back in early June and a statement made by Israel's right-wing economic minister Naftali Bennett who said that the that the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict was dead. At the AJC meeting, Kerry encouraged the American Jewish organizations to use their influence with the Israeli government to move more vigorously toward a peace agreement. The Forward reported, "Kerry, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee, called on American Jews to support his effort and to provide political backing for leaders willing to take risks for peace. ―You can help shape the future of this process and help Israel direct its destiny,‖ Kerry said in his speech, adding that ―no one has a stronger voice‖ on the issue of a two-state solution, than the American Jewish community. Following this came the Bennett statement which drew a sharp rebuke from AJC Executive Director David Harris. Commentary reported, ―Since he is a member of the current Israeli coalition government, it is important that his view be repudiated by the country‘s top leaders.‖ ―Bennett contravenes the outlook of Prime Minister Netanyahu and contradicts the vision presented earlier this month to the AJC Global Forum by Minister Tzipi Livni, chief Israeli negotiator with the Palestinians,‖ Harris continued. ―Livni stated clearly that a negotiated two-state settlement is the only way to assure that the State of Israel will remain both Jewish and democratic. That is a view we at AJC have long supported.‖ ―We are under no illusion about the difficulties of achieving a two-state accord,‖ Harris concluded. ―But Bennett‘s alternative scenario offers only the prospect of a dead-end strategy of endless conflict and growing isolation for Israel.‖ This statement made some on the left and in the "peace camp" ecstatic including Roger Cohen of the New York Times. You can read what he said by clicking here. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/opinion/global/roger-cohen-why-american-jews- matter.html
  4. 4. 4 I believe this represents the strong majority feeling of American Jews. A two-state solution is in the best interests of Israel. Of course, how to get there and what roadblocks have to be overcome is a different story. Normally, I do not agree all that much with Commentary Magazine. It is much more conservative than I am. However, when it comes to the topic under discussion an article by Jonathan S. Tobin is absolutely on target. He notes, "Most American Jews — including those in mainstream groups — may not agree with Bennett that a two-state solution is a bad idea in principle. But like most Israelis, most of those who are informed about the reality that Israel faces understand that it isn‘t happening anytime soon no matter what the Netanyahu government or American Jews say about it. The Palestinians have turned down three offers of statehood including a share of Jerusalem and have boycotted negotiations for four and a half years. They also understand that the left‘s focus on what Israel must supposedly do to secure peace is irrelevant because so long as the Palestinians refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, these questions aren‘t much more relevant that the old one about how many angels can dance on the head of pin. Like Netanyahu, leading American Jewish groups are publicly supporting Secretary of State John Kerry‘s effort to revive the peace process. Unlike Cohen most understand the secretary has sent himself on a fool‘s errand. Pointing this fact out, as Bennett has done, may not help Israel‘s diplomatic position or its image. But it also doesn‘t really change a thing. Harris is right that Bennett is undermining Israel‘s public image in the West since such statements do feed into the false notion that most Israelis don‘t want to compromise. That‘s also a myth because, as I wrote earlier this week, even Bennett probably knows that if the Palestinians would ever to come back to the table and offer a complete end to the conflict and a renunciation of the right of return, most of his countrymen would be willing to make far-ranging sacrifices of territory that he wouldn‘t like. Israelis need no urging to make risks for peace if peace was really in the offing. The problem is that it isn‘t. The Palestinians have made such a deal impossible and there‘s no sign that the sea change necessary in their political culture to make two states a viable solution is on the horizon. As unpalatable as this may be, even many liberal American Jews are coming to understand that all Israel can do is to wait until it happens. If, indeed, Tobin is basically correct (minus his needless criticism of the "left") and I believe he is; how is it that most countries, especially in Europe, don't see it that way? I reject the opinion that it is "anti-Semitism". Maybe that's a part of it but certainly not the whole answer. I come down on the side that believes the answer is perceived "self- interest". Nations always look out for themselves. A national leader in any outside country seeing Israel with only seven million people surrounded by countries with numerous millions and Arab oil wealth. Maybe Israel's technology which it can share and its discovery of great reserves of natural gas might change the equation.
  5. 5. 5 Stay tuned! ORTHODOX SCHISM? Maybe “schism” is too strong a word but a development in the Orthodox Jewish world has certainly raised a lot of eyebrows and required leaders to take notice. A question for many is “What’s a Maharat?” The Forward recently reported, ―The dust has settled after the June 16 graduation of the first class of female maharats from a groundbreaking Orthodox rabbinical school. But controversy over the role that the newly minted religious leaders from Yeshivat Maharat will play in Orthodoxy — along with 14 more students in future classes — appears to be just getting started. The graduation of Ruth Balinsky Friedman, Rachel Kohl Finegold and Abby Brown Scheier certainly marks a milestone for women in the Orthodox movement. The maharats received enthusiastic support from more liberal Orthodox groups, and strong backing from leaders of other mainstream Jewish denominations, which already accept women clerics. During the graduation ceremony, Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder of the controversial Bronx rabbinic school, stressed the will for female leadership in the Orthodox community. ―Clearly, we‘ve identified a need,‖ he told the crowd, adding that congregations have come ―seeking the voices of women in religious leadership.‖ Still, the joy on graduation day could not paper over the strong and united opposition to the move by mainstream Orthodox Jewry. With no obvious way to bridge the differences between those who want institutional change and those who resist it, the dispute over women clerical leaders threatens to open a painful rift within the Orthodox world. ―We cannot accept the ordination of women as members of the Orthodox clergy,‖ said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America. ―We do not accept the ordination of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of title.‖ For some, the change is welcome and practically important. All three women maharats have secured jobs at synagogues, as has a fourth woman, Rori Picker Neiss, who is still in her third year at the seminary now located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The graduates aren‘t the first women to take up the mantle of religious leadership within the Orthodox world. But they are the first to do it with a defined set of professional skills, and within an institutional setting. Of course, women have been ordained as rabbis in the Reform and Conservative movements for quite a few years. But the Orthodox, being Orthodox, have not budged when it came having women rabbis. Obviously, the term Maharat has been utilized so
  6. 6. 6 as not to directly conflict with the way Orthodox use the title rabbi. That bit of tactical strategy is probably necessary in this day and age. However, women in Orthodoxy are moving ever closer to equality. However, that battle will go on for a very long time before the issue is resolved. Internal struggle and strife is never pretty but sometimes it’s necessary. As a non-Orthodox, perhaps, I should stay out of it, but, frankly, I’m glad the battle has been joined. To read more click here. http://forward.com/articles/178926/orthodox-schism-over-role-of-women-widens-after- gr/?p=4 AMERICAN JEWS & THE POPE Given the not so good history the Jews have had with the Catholic Church, why is it that American Jews are so vitally interested in the Church? There are the usual answers one would hear – the Holocaust, the power of the Church especially in Europe, etc. I think another factor is the proximity American Jews, mostly city people, have had with American Catholics, also, by and large, city folks. Almost every Jew (I know I’m making a non-scientific generalization) has had some contact with Irish and Italian Catholics as part of their growing up process. So, I believe there is some sort of connection and fascination there. For Jews to meet with a Pope is, indeed, something special. It only began to happen in the last part of the 20th Century. Fortunately, it has continued. The Jerusalem Post a few weeks ago published story by Michael Wilner, with the headline, “During first audience with Jewish leaders at Vatican, Pope Francis says "a true Christian cannot be anti- Semitic". It continued, ―Pope Francis condemned anti-Semitism during a meeting with representatives of the international Jewish community at the Vatican. ―Because of our commons roots, a true Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,‖ Francis said Monday at a meeting with a delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, or IJCIC. He added that the Catholic Church ―firmly condemns hatred, persecution and all manifestations of anti-Semitism. The Pope took his first audience with members of the Jewish community at the Vatican on Monday. The meeting was between the Catholic Bishop of Rome and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, the Vatican's historical Jewish partner in dialogue. The president of the IJCIC and Francis both read out statements at the meeting.
  7. 7. 7 Afterward, the Pope spoke individually to each member of the crowd of roughly two- dozen Jewish leaders. Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, said that Francis stood out, for the group, "as a Pope for whom the Jewish community is not merely an idea but a people who he knows well." "Part of what was interesting to me was that he knows many of my colleagues from his time in Buenos Aires," said Schonfeld. "The relationship has the feeling of holding great potential." An American Jewish Committee delegation included David Inlander of Chicago, Chair of AJC‘s Interreligious Affairs Commission, Rabbi Noam Marans of New York, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, and Lisa Palmieri-Billig, AJC Representative in Italy and Liaison to the Holy See. "Pope Francis is a very good friend of the Jewish People and we rejoice in the fact that he will continue to advance the path of his predecessors in deepening the Catholic- Jewish relationship even further,‖ said Rabbi David Rosen, Director of International Interreligious Affairs at AJC, who took part in the audience.‖ Of course, no friendship is without an issue or two that stands between the parties and, indeed, there is (at least) one that is current and outstanding. It has to do with (Forward) ―The issue of whether the Vatican and the Church under Pius did all they could to help Jews has dogged Catholic-Jewish relations for decades. Pius became pontiff in 1939, the year World War Two broke out, and reigned until 1958. ―The Jewish community continues to be concerned about efforts to canonize Pope Pius XII while innumerable documents pertaining to the history of the Church and the Jewish people during the dark years of the Holocaust still remain closed to outside scholarly investigation… Critics accuse Pius of failing to take action to stop the Holocaust but his supporters say he worked actively behind the scenes to encourage the Church to save Jews. They say speaking out more forcefully would have worsened the situation for all. Jews have asked that the process, still in its early stages, that could eventually make Pius a saint be frozen until after all the Vatican‘s wartime archives have been opened and studied by scholars. The bulk is expected to be released next year.‖ The current Pope made no mention of it but it is certainly on the agenda of the Jewish community. How Pope Francis reacts will have an affect on how he is seen in the future by the Jews. You can read more about it by clicking here. http://forward.com/articles/179222/jews-tell-pope-francis-of-concerns-over-possible-s/
  8. 8. 8 WHAT”S POSSIBLE I am not one of those people who think that the Israel - Palestinian dispute is forever unsolvable. I truly believe that somewhere down the line the two groups will come to some understanding and that there will be a lasting peace even if there is not true love. Hopefully, that will come sometime but no one should hold his/her breathe or bet their last Euro on it happening anytime soon - or even in their lifetime. However, at present, somehow, the Israelis and the Palestinians must live their lives. – and do! No matter what the situation, it is better to have one of no war and no killing. Common sense dictates that no outside force (in this case the U.S. in the person of Secy. Kerry)can bring about a peace if it desires it more than the combatants. In my last newsletter I quoted at length from an article by Prof. Ahmad Samih Khaladi who said, " Amidst the faint flutterings of peace and the concurrent rumblings of war, a new Middle East geo-political map is taking shape that is more complex, contradictory, unpredictable and dangerous than at any time over the last hundred years of unfolding regional drama. More than half a dozen simultaneous conflicts (16 by my count) jostle with each other; un-resolved (perhaps un-resolvable), interconnected and overlapping; one thread leading into another to weave a giant regional tapestry of uncertainty and contradiction; from the tribal fissures of North Africa, to the youthful demands for democratic change; from the inter-Islamist dispute over governance, to the Gulf monarchies‘ aspirations to regional dominance; from long-festering urban/rural frustrations to the stirrings of a new Cold war. With both populations not ready for an agreement and the entire region, as Prof. Khaladi points out, so "complex, contradictory, unpredictable and dangerous" any forced peace treaty will never take root and only bring about more violence and terrorism. I have come across another article, this one in Y-Net News by Israeli Shaul Rosenfeld which makes some sense. He writes, "When the risk involved in the establishment of a Palestinian state is significantly greater than the chance for true peace, and when the price Israel would have to pay is unbearable - particularly when the Palestinian partner has never proven it is really willing to accept a Jewish state even within the 1967 borders - it is safe to say that … the conflict, in its current state, is irresolvable." At the heart of the majority of the public's political viewpoint lies the belief that the Israeli-Arab conflict can be resolved, and even if untying this Gordian knot is difficult and complex, it is not impossible.Bennett [Ed. Note: Naftali Bennett, right wing Israeli Minister] is the only key political figure – from the Left or Right – to ever raise the possibility of not resolving the conflict as a viable option. There is nothing wrong with wishing for something, so long as these hopes do not become an alternative for understanding the reality. Those who say "there is a solution to every problem, you just have to really want to find it" and "we cannot live by the
  9. 9. 9 sword forever" are putting their wishes ahead of a proper examination of the reality and all the options it offers. The world has given us many problems – in physics, math, philosophy and biology – which cannot be solved. And what is true for science is just as true for political conflicts. Some conflicts lasted hundreds of years, others ended when one or both of the sides disappeared; there were empires which collapsed, just as there were countries and nations that are mere footnotes in the pages of history. It is safe to assume that most of those who were involved in these conflicts believed wholeheartedly that there was a solution to their problems and suffering. As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, most of the concessions we are willing to make are far less than the minimum the other side would be willing to accept, even as part of an interim agreement (as is stated in the "doctrine of phases" from 1974). The Arab world still views Israel as a foreign element, a thorn (or piece of shrapnel) in the rear end of the region, which they consider to be Arab-Islamic or Palestinian in essence ("All of Palestine, from the river to the sea, is occupied" – Jibril Rajoub). The Arab world's relative and temporary acceptance of Israel stems from its doubts regarding the possibility of getting rid of Israel, as well as from the Jewish state's close relations with Washington and the monetary benefits some Arab countries receive from the US. But most of the historic, cultural, religious and ethnic material that feeds the Arab ethos with regards to Israel does not indicate a true acceptance of the Jewish in state in the region. The opposite is true. As one who is always hopeful I fear to say that at this moment in history Mr. Rosenfeld is correct. It’s not that I believe that peace can never be achieved – I don’t believe that – I just think that the time is not ripe. If there is to be an enforced peace set up by the U.S. or any other outside body it just won’t work. If the Israelis and the Palestinians don’t seriously buy into a plan it just doesn’t have any long range possibility of working. Having said the above (and believing it) if the U.S. could devise some temporary arrangement that would reduce the chances of violence, that would be well worth giving it a try. However, Secy. of State John Kerry has tried his hand at some sort of “shuttle diplomacy” and even though he says progress has been made, none of it is visible as yet. I give him credit for doggedness. He keeps trying. Some think he’s wasting his time.In an article by Landler & Rudoren in the New York they note, ――The moment for this kind of diplomacy has passed,‖ said Robert Blecher, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program of the International Crisis Group. ―He‘s working with actors who have acted in this movie before, and the script is built around the same elements. But the theater is new; the region is a completely different place today.‖ Administration officials no longer argue, as they did early in President Obama‘s first term, that ending the Israeli occupation and creating a Palestinian state is the key to
  10. 10. 10 improving the standing of the United States in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now just one headache among a multitude. And yet Mr. Kerry, backed by Mr. Obama, still believes that tackling the problem is worth the effort Some analysts say the instability has made Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas eager to resolve their dispute, while others assert that both can use it as a pretext to avoid making the hard choices needed for a deal. ―I think both sides look at what‘s happening in the region right now and think, ‗Maybe we‘re better off putting ourselves in a more stable situation with each other,‘ ‖ said a senior Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his involvement in what Mr. Kerry has demanded be confidential discussions. But several Israeli analysts said the reverse was true: the unrest has made Israel more concerned about security than about taking risks to advance the peace process. Sallai Meridor, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said most Israelis would rank Syria, Iran, Egypt and Jordan above the Palestinians in terms of ―importance and urgency.‖ Perhaps Secy. Kerry knows more than I do, however, if, indeed, there is progress I do not yet see it. I’d love to wrong! EXODUS: WILL JEWS LEAVE EUROPE? In the last number of months there have been many stories about anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and elements in some of the European governments (Hungary and Greece for instance) that have been flat out ugly in their statements about Jews and Israel. As outlandish as it may seem, large numbers of European Jews are considering emigrating to Israel, North America and elsewhere. According to the newspaper Israel Hayom, ―Despite the absence of state-sponsored anti-Semitism, and a renaissance of sorts in European Jewish life, Jews on the continent feel insecure about their future, two new studies show. The studies show that almost half the Jews in Belgium, France and Hungary are considering emigrating, some to Israel, others to North America. For those who want to come to Israel, there is very little political will in Israel to help with immigrant absorption bureaucracy, and there is no effective European equivalent of the popular Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. � 26% experienced anti-Semitism in past year.
  11. 11. 11 � 34% experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the past five years. � 5% of respondents say that their property had been deliberately vandalized because they were Jewish. � 7% of respondents experienced some form of physical attack or threat in the last five years. In its report, titled "European Jewry -- Signals and Noise," the Jewish People Planning Institute cites a European Union survey on Jews' perceptions of anti-Semitism. The institute's leadership presented the report to the Israeli government at the beginning of this week. "The old continent is in bad economic and political shape. Populist and far-right parties have emerged as the third-strongest -- sometimes second -- political actors in several countries, and anti-Semitic discourse spreads accordingly," the report states. Anti- Semitic incidents in Europe increased by more than 30 percent in 2012. In France, anti- Semitic incidents increased by 58% in 2012, with a staggering 96 violent attacks. In countries like France and Sweden, anti-Semitism is fueled by Muslim elements and rationalized as a response to Israeli policy against the Palestinians; in Greece and Hungary it draws on calls for ethnic purity and nationalism. According to the institute, despite the increase in attacks on Jews, in the affluent and protected West Paris and North London suburban Jewish neighborhoods, Jewish life is more vibrant than ever, and every week new families move into them from other communities. Moreover, Vienna's Jewish community is growing, following an influx of Hungarian Jews; Berlin's Jews have launched the "Jewish Voice from Germany," a publicly funded quarterly periodical with a circulation of 50,000; Budapest's Jews have opened an effervescent Israeli Cultural Center, and kosher restaurants, centers for Talmudic studies and Jewish museums open continuously in European capitals. Viewed from Europe, Jewish life is enjoying a renaissance that does not signal any imminent disaster. However, according to a large-scale survey on Jews' experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism commissioned by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency, the official results of which are to be published in October 2013, Jews all over Europe feel insecure. The report also states that the recent attempt to restrict rights to normative Jewish practice in Europe could be viewed as the latest juridical/political aspect of a larger identity backlash against multicultural policies and a turn to secularism. While apparently directed mainly against Muslims, this new and vigorous opposition to ‗particularist religious practices also profoundly affects the status of Judaism and may, in the long term, pose a serious challenge to the future thriving of organized Jewish communities in Europe.
  12. 12. 12 These restrictions include the attempt to ban circumcision in Germany, the attempts to ban Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter in Holland, Poland and France (which is already proscribed in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland), the abolition of eternal cemeteries, the rejection of requests to accommodate conflicts with the Jewish calendar in scheduling public examinations in France and Switzerland, rejection of requests by Shabbat-observant Jews for non-electric entry access in private condominiums in France, and the increasing interference in the internal operation of Jewish day schools all over Europe on the basis of ethnic non-discrimination claims. In order to avoid friction with their environment, European Jews are taking various steps: Practicing Jews relocate in self-segregated neighborhoods, the more idealistic ones make aliyah, and the most ambitious ones quit Europe for more promising horizons. According to the JPPI, there is as yet no Israeli political determination to set up appropriate structures to ease the professional and educational integration of new immigrants from central and western European countries. I think something strongly to consider is the impact “the recent attempt to restrict rights to normative Jewish practice in Europe‖ has on Jews. I do not believe that any religious group should receive special treatment but when, in Germany for instance, a religious practice such as religious circumcision that has been in effect for thousands of years is termed “illegal” it goes without saying that whether the ruling on it is upheld or not, the mere attempt to make it illegal carries with it an enormous psychological impression. I do not see any signs of German Jewry thinking about an exodus. I hope there will not be one. But Europe is in essence a small place. What happens in France could affect Germany very easily. Greece and Hungary are not that far away. We will keep watching the situation closely. See you again in August. DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted by clicking here. Both the American and Germany editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com