Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Being Jewish?

Barnes & Noble University offers a free on-line course called Being Jewish in Today’s World.
This course serves as a practical, yet informative guide to understanding the rich and diverse Jewish heritage, and traditions that American Jews celebrate today. Jewish cultural customs and holidays will be explained for both Jews and non-Jews. The course focuses on history and tradition as well as cultural and religious practices, with an emphasis on the Talmud (the Rabbinic commentaries on Jewish life and practice). It also discusses the conflict that many Jews feel while trying to uphold traditions within contemporary American society.

If you have never taken an on-line course, B&N U is an inexpensive way to try this new way of learning. You can learn more about this particular course here.

Relations between people of the Catholic and Jewish faiths have been good in this country for some time, but the same cannot be said for all other countries. For example, read this:
WARSAW, April 27 — When Kazimiera Szczuka, a well-known literary critic and television personality here, satirized a young woman who often recites prayers for broadcast on Radio Maryja, an ultraconservative Roman Catholic radio station in Poland, she did not know, she says, that the young woman suffered from a crippling disease and used a wheelchair.

"I called her and apologized to her, because I didn't know she was disabled," Ms. Szczuka said in an interview, "even though many disabled people phoned me to say that I shouldn't apologize."

Still, the Polish National Broadcasting Council, which enforces broadcasting regulations, fined the commercial television station on which Ms. Szczuka had appeared the equivalent of $125,000 for insulting a disabled person and mocking her religion. It was, the Polish press has reported, the highest fine the council has levied.

That was in March. In April a regular commentator on Radio Maryja, Stanislaw Michalkiewicz, made what are almost universally deemed here to have been classically anti-Semitic statements, accusing Jews of using what he called "the Holocaust industry" of trying to exact financial "tribute" from Poland through property restitution claims.

But the broadcasting council has taken no action so far in the case of Mr. Michalkiewicz and Radio Maryja (pronounced Maria), even though the far-right Catholic radio station has often been a forum for comments that Jews and others here have called derogatory and insulting.