Rena Rackovsky Bannett has worn many hats in her 53 years, both the literal ones she dons as an observant married woman, and also the figurative ones — artist, scientist, educator, grandmother. In another four years, Bannett may gain another identity, that of Orthodox rabbi.
Maneuvering in advance of next week's first-ever national conference by J Street – the pro-Israel, pro-peace process lobby and political action committee -is getting nastier by the day. And it seems to me the stakes are growing.
eon Levy, a son of Turkish Jewish immigrants who became a philanthropist and leader of several major Jewish organizations in the United States, died Sept. 19 in Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital of heart and lung failure. A resident of Jamaica Estates, Queens, he was 84.
Come Sukkot, you can buy your lulav and etrog online. Just visit esrogim.com or gotesrog.com.
But if you favor a more tactile experience, you shlep to a Jewish bookstore, or to a street-side stand in a Jewish neighborhood and pick out a set of the Arba Minim, the Four Species, yourself.
According to local memory, thousands of Jewish men, women and children were executed by Nazi soldiers at the edge of a reservoir in Uman, a village in Ukraine, during the Holocaust.
More than six decades later, Jews from around the world (nearly all of them men) are returning Jewish life to Uman.
For the last 20 years, chasidic Jews and other Orthodox Jews from Israel, the United States and other countries have congregated for Rosh HaShanah in Uman, where Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early chasidic leader, is buried. The rabbi died there in 1810.
Adrian Shanker, a college student from Westchester, spent this summer working as an intern in Washington. During his time in the capital, he took part in a training program run by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
The other young participants in the RAC program shared Shanker’s support for Israel. And, like him, many of them, opposed Israel’s month-long war in Lebanon this summer. A war — spurred by Hezbollah attacks on Israel and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers — that the leadership of the Reform movement supported.
In the chasidic world, matchmakers bring young men and women together.
In the case of Rabbi Mendy and Rachel Traxler, the shadchan was Katrina.
Mendy, 22, part of the Chabad-Lubavitch rescue-and-relief effort in Baton Rouge following the hurricane a year ago, traveled to Houston to join his parents, Chabad emissaries there, for the High Holy Days season. Rachel Kaufmann, also 22, was in Houston with her family, also Chabad shluchim, who left their home in New Orleans for temporary accommodations in Houston.
A green hatchet, some red Cedars of Lebanon, some poetry, some cartoons, some photographs, some blog journals printed out on pink sheets of paper.
In the weeks since the war in Lebanon began, a wide variety of artistic and non-artistic types have expressed their feelings about the fighting — and the 92nd Street Y’s Makor Gallery on the Upper West Side has put many of their expressions in 8-by-10-inch wooden frames and hung them in a public display.