‘I don’t go to shul,” Leon Bernhardt declares. Raised Conservative, he stopped attending synagogue shortly after his bar mitzvah four decades ago in Crown Heights, when he and his brother were saying Kaddish for their father and were berated, publicly, for showing up for mincha one day sans jackets.
Now he’s a psychiatrist, lives in Manhattan and doesn’t belong to a congregation.
Elaine Wohl does go to shul.
Alex and Anna Nashbaum were typical Jews of their generation. They came to the United States from somewhere in Eastern Europe. Sometime before World War I.
Freda Snyder, their daughter, does not know the details. “My parents would not open up about their past,” she says. “They wanted to make a new life in America.”
Snyder knows this about her parents: they were Orthodox. Alex, a tailor, “was a shul-goer — all the time.” Anna, a homemaker, made a kosher home.
Eleven days in Germany provided an education for teachers who teach about the Holocaust. The group of 28 educators from Westchester and Rockland counties visited schools and memorials recently to observe how the genocide of World War II is taught in the land where it began.
It was a trip marked by changes.
Some of the teachers said their view of Germany — and of contemporary Germans — was changed by meetings with teachers and students. Others said they will bring a new perspective to their classrooms.
Rabbi Zvi Grumet shows up at 2:15 p.m. three times a week to teach his 8:15 a.m. Torah class in Teaneck, N.J.
The administration of the Torah Academy of Bergen County doesn’t mind a bit — Rabbi Grumet does his teaching from Jerusalem.
Jewish education will itself become the subject of education at a Jewish university next year — for the first time at a nonsectarian institution of higher learning in North America.
A new Chair in Jewish Education will begin in September 1999 at Brandeis University, a nonsectarian school in Waltham, Mass., President Jehuda Reinharz recently announced. “This is a big step,” Reinharz said.
The holder of the academic chair will be a professor to be chosen during an international search that begins this month, Reinharz said.
Shortly after the 1979 revolution in Iran, which made many of the country’s Jews nervous about their future in a fundamentalist Muslim country, Iranian Jewish families arranged for a few thousand of their children to come alone to the United States to attend Jewish schools.
Steve Solinga, 47-year-old tax attorney and baal teshuvah for a few years, passed all the familiar places and all the familiar faces during his morning strolls on Rosh HaShanah last year.
Outside the Young Israel of New Rochelle, his congregation, he greeted his friends. “It felt funny walking past the shul when everybody was there,” he says.
Solinga didn’t stop walking until he reached a Chinese restaurant. Where he attended High Holy Days services.
One of the guests of honor at the recent commencement exercises of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, sitting at the far left of the first row of the sanctuary in Temple Emanu-El, was neither guest speaker, college official Nor financial supporter of the institution.
Dalia Samansky, a third-year rabbinical student at the school’s Los Angeles campus who received her master’s degree in L.A. the following week, was invited to the New York commencement as role model.
She had saved a life.
We are entering 5768 with any number of reasons to worry about the future of Israel and Jewish life in the U.S. and around the world. But we would do well to encounter these challenges with an attitude similar to the one with which we are taught to approach Yom Kippur: a mixture of reflection, humility, repentance, resolve and, with it all, confidence.
Nashville, Tenn. — The tone of this year’s General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish Communities was set from its opening moments when 300 college students marched into the vast ballroom of the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center on Sunday, waving school pennants, to the loud cheers of the adult delegates.