A Jewish Professor's Political Punditry
Fifty-Plus Years of Published Commentary by Ron Rubin
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Syracuse University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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...categories of work Jews performed in constructing the Temple in their biblical journey through the desert on the way to the Holy Land. Spiritually, what Maimonides meant by “dismantling,” was that a person should carefully analyze his speech, actions and thoughts as a way to self-improvement. Such critical self-analysis would spur the person...
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...Dr. Rubin has been instrumental in this project since before its inception. In addition to providing a lifetime of material, he supplied whatever long-distance assistance, input, and encouragement was needed. His wife, Miriam, whose sparkle and warmth welcome and calm, has been a “behind-the-scenes” partner throughout. Mr. Hollander of hollanderbooks.com and the folks at abebooks.com provided details that helped me track down...
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...horizons stretched beyond the boulevard shaped Grand Concourse. I had access to the lives of presidents, great cities, and political movements of the day through the newspapers, biographies, and periodicals that I was exposed to in my boyhood. Since I was raised in a Jewishly observant home and studied at various yeshivas, I naturally looked on current events from the yardstick of a Jewish perspective...
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...political sovereignty were easy targets for elitist rulers on the right and the pseudo-egalitarian mob on the left. When Emancipation came and Jews exited the ghettos, Jewish self-made pitfalls were no less horrific, as many embraced the trendy “isms” of secular society only to spiritually assimilate and disappear from history. Yet despite the persecutions, on the one hand, and the enticements of some host countries’ cultures...
Part One • The University Student, 1957–1965
1. An Undergraduate’s Entry into Journalism
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...was assured a spot for his “political” commentary for a full year. Coming so recently from a yeshiva background, the subjects of education, religion and community—so vital to Jewish survival—remained paramount in his priorities. In addition to the many editorials he wrote, Rubin initiated a series on “The Future of the American University.” Contributors of original essays included U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey, political theorist Russell Kirk, novelist Leslie Fiedler, and Woodrow Wilson Foundation president...
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...Before the paper’s publication, UN correspondents were regarded exclusively as journalists. Rubin’s research, which included original interviews rather than mere library research, revealed that these correspondents played an additional role . . . that of political actors in international diplomacy. Because of the historically signifi cant and previously undocumented dimension it reveals of the UN correspondent—and the way their...
Part Two • A Young Professor in a Young School,1965–1969
3. Politically Speaking
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...In September 1965, Dr. Ronald I. Rubin joined the faculty of the six-month- old Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) of the City University of New York (CUNY). At the time the college’s full program for 500 students was housed in rented quarters on the second and third floors of the American Management Association Building, one block from Radio City Music Hall. (Today, after almost fifty years, Dr. Rubin is BMCC’s most senior faculty member and the college...
4. The Plight of Soviet Jewry
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...In July 1966, I toured the Soviet Union. As a political scientist, I went to see the country fi rsthand, to talk with its youth and perhaps acquire background for my classroom descriptions of communism. As an Orthodox Jew, I hoped to check on the authenticity of press reports of the past few years regarding Soviet anti-Semitism. Though my observations of political society in the U.S.S.R. may in general have been hurried...
Part Three • An Established Professor and Author at Home and Abroad, 1970s and 1980s
5. Israeli Communications
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...research paper detailing the infrastructure, definitions, methods, and vehicles used by Israel in determining how and what to disseminate as overseas propaganda. In the second, published ten years later, in 1983, Rubin clearly states that “the government of Israel seems to fail consistently to pay attention to the propaganda or ideological element.” The article highlights Rubin’s concerns about the lack of growth and improvement made by Israel in this arena and cites several Israeli...
6. American Jewish Political Behavior
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...Sidney Hook, the New York University philosopher, used to say, “Only the person wearing the shoe could tell whether it pinches.” What Hook meant was that despite the notions of social engineers, the man in the street, in his common wisdom, knows where his interests lie. For American Jews, liberalism by and large was long regarded as the shoe that fi ts. And everyone knows this tenet of American politics: scratch a Jew and find a liberal. For instance, Mark Levy and Michael Kramer..
7. Political and Communal Personalities
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...Arthur Krock’s account of 12 American Presidents, from Theodore Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, is a formidable contribution—both as history and as entertainment. A declared agnostic born to gentle but not wealthy Jewish parents in Kentucky, Krock rose to become a leading member of the U.S. “Establishment.” He was the “N.Y. Times” Washington...
8. The Plight of Soviet Jewry Continues
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...To my Jewish Brother/Sister in the Soviet Union, Sometimes, I sit and wonder, What am I doing here? Why is it that I am not helping any of my fellow Jews behind the Iron Curtain? What is the reason that I, a twelve-year-old girl am sitting here in America, and another twelve-year-old Jewish girl, just the same age as me, is living in fear and terror in Russia. Clearly, it is not because I deserve any more special privileges than my counterpart trapped in the U.S.S.R. I...
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...In the next few months hard choices will be made concerning the future of the City University of New York [CUNY]—choices that go to the heart of the democratic nature of higher education and the types of programs that can most benefit a troubled city. The debate about restructuring the City University not only involves money but, more fundamentally, who will find himself seated in a classroom or library next September, the minority-member...
Part Four • The Turn of the Century,1990–2008
10. Education, Continued
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...of the Yeshiva, gives assurance that Yiddishkeit is being passed on to yet another generation, in one more epoch in the migration of the Jewish people. The watchword of the Yeshiva is the premise that Jewish survival without Torah represents an empty shell; indeed it is only through Torah learning that Jewish continuity is assured. While we are fortunate in our current...
11. Connecting to Israel
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...Does the prospect of serving as a volunteer in the Israeli army stir your feeling of Jewish nationalism? Have you considered making a contribution to the state of Israel not in terms of money, but in terms of your time and talent? If your answer to the above is yes, you may be a prospective candidate for Volunteers for Israel, the seven-year-old program which sends Americans to meet the critical manpower needs of Israel...
12. U.S. Foreign Policy, Terrorism, and the Middle East
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...When confronted by terrorism, action trumps inaction. So runs the conceptual underpinning of President Bush’s case for military pre-emption. Despite such tough rhetoric, America’s dawdling diplomacy regarding the liberation of Iraq makes it seem as though the president has failed to heed his own rule of statecraft. Nearly half a year has passed since Bush made the case at the United Nations General Assembly for “disarming” Iraq. More than 100...
13. Political and Communal Personalities and the Jewish Community
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...So we should overlook President Clinton’s staggering illegal and immoral acts because his administration is good for the Jews. This is the thrust of Rabbi Irving Greenberg’s argument (“Public successes outweigh private failures,” Oct. 9). But is Clinton good for the Jews? Oslo fl ounders, Pollard rots in jail, Hillary endorses a Palestinian state and Saddam...
14. Jewish Personalities: Joe Lieberman
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...Michael Medved wants it both ways when he attacks Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s politics as well as the teachings of Orthodox Judaism. He takes issue with Sen. Lieberman’s attitudes toward abortion and homosexuality. Then, he arrogates to himself Rabbinic authority criticizing the Orthodox positions on intermarriage and feminism...
15. Jewish Personalities: Fred Lebow, Holocaust Survivor and Creator of the New York City Marathon
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...When the New York City Marathon marks its 30th run on Sunday, November 7, the vision of its founder, the charming showman Fred Lebow, will shine once again as urban theater in sneakers. In going the distance—26.2 miles through the city’s five boroughs—the 30,000 runners and plodders will give the Big Apple one of its most exciting, inspiring...
16. Jewish Personalities: Abraham Karp
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...I was introduced to the world of Judaica collecting in 1990 by the late Abraham Karp, who’d moved to my New York City neighborhood of Riverdale for his retirement years. I knew his name even before he came to Riverdale, due to my familiarity with his works on American Jewish history and his past presidency of the American Jewish Historical...
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...The concept shared by both events is human striving—or in the language of the Lithuanian yeshiva, the commitment to shteig, to stretch one’s limits. Someone who studies one page of Talmud a day, Daf Yomi, logs text pages; the marathon runner logs miles. Trappings of mortality bedeck the starting line—the Talmudist seeking better understanding of his mortality...
Postscript: The Obama Years: On Whom Can We Rely?
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...Judaism and Israel in writing, Rubin’s pen has been virtually silent. He has been devoting his free time to family, a sixth book, and working more directly to impact the political and social areas he had been writing about. Instead of publishing articles to inform large numbers of people, he has...
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Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2013