Each year the 12th-grade students of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester spend a week in Poland, on the way to Israel, learning about Jewish history at the site of death camps, synagogues and forests.
This year their most poignant lesson came at an antiques shop on a Warsaw side street.
They discovered a Torah scroll there.
New York City’s mayor combined the personal and the political during his latest visit to Israel.
During two days there last week, he took part in the dedication of a refurbished emergency rescue service center in Jerusalem, and spent a morning in a Negev city that has been the target of repeated rocket attacks from Gaza.
On a typical Friday night, there are some empty seats in the sanctuary of Temple Emanu-El, Manhattan’s prestigious Reform congregation. Several hundred worshippers come usually.
On a typical Friday-night service during Chanukah, the numbers go up. To about a thousand. Last Friday night was standing room only.
Discharged Israeli soldiers, on spiritual sojourns in the Far East after they leave the service, usually carry backpacks.
Last week some Israelis carried political posters, in Tel Aviv, on behalf of Tibet.
In separate rallies outside the Chinese embassy and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Israelis joined young members of Tibetan families in protests against recent Chinese violence in Tibet.
There was more spin in the news last week — this time the politicians weren’t doing it, the U.S. Postal Service was.
In what has become an American philatelic tradition, the postal service issued a Chanukah stamp in time for the winter holiday season, which joins stamps issued in recent years for Christmas, Kwanzaa and a pair of Muslim holidays.
Troubled conservative moment beefs up its Washington presence
Even as leaders of a troubled Conservative movement try to fend off an incipient rebellion by some synagogues and deal with declining affiliation, they are accelerating their efforts to create an active, visible — but cautious — Washington presence.
The corner of Main Street and Jewel Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills is “on one hand a lousy location,” says Marvin Gruza, who has lived in the Queens neighborhood 20 years. Loud buses go by every few minutes.
“On the other hand,” he says, “I’m in the perfect location.”
A perfect location for doing chesed.
Nearly 300 Jews who died 10 to 20 years ago without money, without mourners at their graveside, without a marker on their grave on Staten Island, got a gravestone the other day.
On a cool, overcast Sunday morning, a crane unloaded 266 granite markers from Georgia at Staten Island’s Mount Richmond Cemetery.
Over the next month, they will be set up at their respective graves as the latest installment of the 18-year-old Leave a Mark project of the Hebrew Free Burial Association.
Pundits have warned for decades that water — or the scarcity thereof — may be the issue that brings the Middle East to the brink of war, more than ideology or territory. Israel, Jordan, and Syria and the Palestinians are united by common, fast-disappearing sources of water, and a desire to control those sources.