Support faltered, then rebounded, this week for Natan Sharansky’s bold plan to transform the Western Wall into a site for both traditional and alternative prayer, as the Jewish Agency chair held intense discussions with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s office, seeking to establish a timeline for the project and move it forward.
Ambassador Yehuda Avner is the 84-year-old rock star of Jewish media these days.
His 2010 memoir, “The Prime Ministers,” based on the notes he took as a senior advisor to five Israeli prime ministers in their private meetings with world leaders, is still a best-seller and still in hard cover. A full-length documentary film, based on the book, will have its New York premiere on May 7.
Jill Soloway, a hip Hollywood writer/director/producer (“Six Feet Under,” “The United States of Tara”), has become a Jewish activist in the last several years and is having quite an impact on the L.A. community. And it could go national soon.
She spoke at the international conference of the Jewish Funders Network this week in L.A. of how she helped found East Side Jews, an informal and popular group, particularly among young artist types, that seeks to “reinvent” Jewish life and make it “about joy, not sadness.”
Maybe Lucette Lagnado’s piece in The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 8) on how some high-profile Orthodox synagogues are drawing large crowds to their Shabbat morning services with expensive booze and elaborate catering at kiddush will prove embarrassing enough to tamp down this trend. But I don’t think so.
Leave it to the New York tabloids, in this case the New York Post, to sum up the stunning news from the Vatican in a few words.
While the Catholic Church scrambles to elect a new pontiff by Easter, some aging leaders of the Jewish community might consider the precedent set by Benedict XVI in stepping down at the age of 85, citing deteriorating health.
In sentencing Nechemya Weberman to 103 years in jail last week for sexually abusing a young woman from the Satmar chasidic community, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram said he hoped to send a message “to all victims of sexual abuse that your cries will be heard and justice will be done.”