Judaism

The Spinka Rebbe’s Namesake

As the chasidic sect’s leader goes to jail, remembering his great-uncle and a remarkable Holocaust photo album.
05/03/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This week, an undisclosed federal prison will become the new address of prisoner No. 46835-112, Naftali Tzvi Weisz, known to his thousands of followers as the Grand Rabbi of Spinka of Borough Park. Last December, Weisz, 61, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to heading up a decade-long, $10 million money-laundering scheme in which donors to Spinka charitable institutions secretly received kickbacks of up to 95 percent of their donations. The rabbi’s gabbai, or assistant, Moshe Zigelman, also received a two-year sentence.

Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Weisz, left, the great-uncle of the current Spinka Rebbe, arriving at Auschwitz.

Seeing Beyond the Immediate in the Synagogue

04/29/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Liberal-Branch Shuls Aiming For A More Perfect Union

Reform-Conservative merger in Miami provides glimpse of the future of non-Orthodox Judaism.
04/26/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Miami — The banner in front of the synagogue here says it all: “One Synagogue — Two Traditions, Embracing Reform and Conservative Judaism.”

It has been nearly a year since this Reform congregation of about 325 families, Temple Bet Breira, merged with a neighboring Conservative synagogue of 250 families, Congregation Samu-El Or Olom. The union is still being tweaked, and while officials at both congregations are proclaiming it a success thus far, questions linger about the long-term viability of such an arrangement.

The merged synagogues are now in Bet Breira’s building. Inset: Rabbis David Schonblum and Jaime Klein Aklepi.

Hail To The Chief

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: the Jewish people will continue to thrive if we maintain our pride and develop a sense of optimism.
04/19/2010 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

Listening to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks deliver a positive message of Jewish survival and triumph at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Shabbat, and observing the enthusiastic, attentive overflow crowds at each of his three presentations, helped strengthen the impression for me that he has emerged as the leading voice of Modern Orthodoxy and religious Zionism in the world.

Gary Rosenblatt

Fighting for Israel and Remembering the Holocaust

A controversial vote at the University of California, Berkeley, and Holocaust commemorations around the country are keeping Jewish students active in the days between Holocaust Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day.
04/15/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Berkeley Student Senate Uphold Veto of Divestment Measure

After nearly eight hours of debate that ended at 7:30 this morning, the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC) Senate upheld a veto by President Will Smelko of a bill passed in support of divestment from companies with ties to Israel’s military.

Riding the Nisan/Iyar Rollercoaster

04/08/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Like some gigantic parabolic curve that exists in both time and space, the two adjoining Hebrew months of Nisan and Iyar have their way with us.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

In Northeast Queens, ‘Tradition And Change’ at Conservative Synagogue

11/10/2009 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Claire Heymann, an Auschwitz survivor who grew up in a strictly Orthodox home in Germany, had a bit of trouble adjusting to the idea of an egalitarian synagogue.

But a female rabbi? Don’t ask.

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Mourning, Noon and Night

07/01/2009 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

The contrast between the American spectacle of celebrity death worship and the Jewish tradition of mourning has rarely been as sharply defined as it is this week.

 I write these words 12 days after Michael Jackson died, his funeral arrangements and burial site still undecided. The star’s death has become as big a phenomenon as his troubled life. His family members hold press conferences, appear at music awards ceremonies and allow tickets to be distributed through a lottery for a huge, public memorial ceremony.

Gary Rosenblatt
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