CBST’s ‘Gay-by Boom’

The gay and lesbian synagogue in the Village is, despite the challenges, welcoming an explosion of children.
Associate Editor
06/22/2010 - 20:00

 This fall, when I embarked on a quest to find a Hebrew school for my kids, I did not expect one of the top contenders to be Congregation Beth Simchat Torah.

We are gay-friendly and the proud aunt and uncle of an adorable baby with two mommies. But my husband and I are straight — and CBST, after all, has the distinction of being the world’s largest lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered synagogue. 

Bedtime Stories Good For Publishing Business

Children’s book giveaway writing new chapters in publishing market, and Jewish families.
06/22/2010 - 20:00

Boston — Once upon a time it was hard to find a wide selection of Jewish children’s books. Mostly there were books on Chanukah and Passover, plus retellings of Bible stories and folk tales.

The market was small and uncertain, and mainstream publishers could not count on large enough sales to justify the expense of publishing new titles.

Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Harold Grinspoon and his wife, Diane Troderman, at PJ Library event earlier this year in New York.

Virtually There

Guests joining the party from every corner of the world — on their computer screens. How technology is connecting families as never before.
Special To The Jewish Week
06/22/2010 - 20:00

A few months before his son Jonah was born, David Bryfman reluctantly told his Australian parents it would be best if they skipped the baby’s brit milah. Their presence in his small Brooklyn apartment would be more helpful a few months later.

His parents came anyway, dining on bagels and lox, tearing up with emotion and toasting the newborn — whose image was projected on a giant screen in a party hall in Bryfman’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia. 

Conservative rabbis Erez Sherman and Nicole Guzik married each other in January.

The Overscheduled Jewish Child

As families and children juggle multiple activities, congregations seek to accommodate — and provide a haven from — their demands.
Special To The Jewish Week
06/22/2010 - 20:00

 Traditionally, when Jewish children first learn their Hebrew letters they’re given candy or honey to create a sweet association. At North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, L.I., the connection is more savory — try marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. So begins the Tuesday night Hebrew school for students in seventh grade. 

Blessing of a Friday-night meal: Family dinner takes precedence over soccer and music lessons for some local families.

Day School Scientists Solve Israel’s Problems

06/22/2010 - 20:00

Israel may not be ready to wash its dirty laundry in public, but a local day school has some ideas for cleaning up the wastewater.

With the level of the Sea of Galilee — Israel’s major freshwater source — steadily declining, a prestigious science competition there is this year asking for new ways to treat washing machines’ “gray water.” A greater supply of safely recycled water that is fit for drinking or watering crops means less demand on the Kinneret, as the Sea of Galilee is known in Israel.

Aryeh Snyder, fourth from right, says water filter system developed by his day school can help preserve the Sea of Galilee.

Unfair To Single Out MDS

06/22/2010 - 20:00

As a parent of a special-needs child, I totally sympathize with the Samuels’ situation. (June 11) However, the fact that Manhattan Day School (MDS) is singled out is, in my opinion, unfair and completely unjust.

The demand for special-education classes is highly skewed compared to the supply. MDS is one of the very few schools willing to deal with the situation. Most Jewish day schools won’t.

Every Jew Is Precious

06/22/2010 - 20:00

I am disappointed to be reading of the opposition of Jewish day schools to “special-needs students”  (June 11). My son attended a Jewish day school from the third through 12th grade, and graduated in 2005. When he was in the fifth grade, he was diagnosed with a learning disability. Getting him the services he needed from a private school was a battle, but we fought it because we recognized the value of a comprehensive Jewish education. 

Education For All

06/22/2010 - 20:00

The news of the planned collaboration among Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College, vis a vis Jewish “teacher recruiting and training” and thanks to the $33 million gift from the Jim Joseph Foundation, is indeed cause for celebration (“Historic Partnership Of Seminaries,” May 28).

Special Needs

06/22/2010 - 20:00

Regarding your article “Special-Needs Families Fighting Jewish Day Schools” (June 11), please note that Yeshiva Darchei Torah, with more than 1,600 students, boldly fights this longstanding prejudice toward special-needs children and bravely welcomes special children with all disabilities (including cognitive), alongside their typical peers.

A Better-Late-Than-Never Bat Mitzvah

Ten Gurwin residents, ranging from 79 to 97, finally celebrate their rite of passage.
06/21/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

It’s never too late.

Ten women residents of the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack celebrated their bat mitzvah last month with speeches and food. They ranged in age from 79 to 97.

“Thank God I lived to celebrate my bat mitzvah at age 97,” Harriet Fass told Rabbi Zev Schostak, the center’s director of pastoral care, who presided over the 90-minute event in the main activities center.

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