They met in high school and became lifelong friends. For six years.
Carol Kestenbaum, from Bellmore, L.I., and Nicole Schiffman, from Merrick, L.I., — classmates at Kennedy High School in Merrick — were typical teenage friends, “talking together and shopping together and watching movies together,” said Laurie Fontana, a friend of the Kestenbaum family. They graduated together in 2005. “They went together to their senior prom.”
During a trip in Poland in the mid-1920s, Jacob Kret, a teenage yeshiva student from the northeast part of the country, found himself in the town of Radin, home of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, an aged Talmudic authority who was known as the Chofetz Chaim and was regarded as the Torah leader of his generation.
Unable to get home in time for Shabbat, the young man stayed in the home of the Chofetz Chaim, sleeping on a straw bed, eating and praying and discussing religious topics with the sage.
A largely behind-the-scenes campaign on behalf of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has gone public in recent weeks, as a variety of Jewish organizations and former American political officials have urged the onetime naval intelligence analyst’s release from a life prison sentence.
New Haven, Conn. — For a long time Yale University was not a good place to be a Jewish student. The WASPy Ivy League school here maintained a Jewish quota from the 1920s until the ‘50s, limiting the number of Jews to 10 percent of the undergraduate class.
For a forthcoming television documentary and DVD about contemporary anti-Semitism, New York producer Andrew Goldberg interviewed academicians, theologians and journalists on four continents. Many of the experts were Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, because, as the documentary shows, that region is the source of most anti-Semitism today.
For another, less-intellectual, perspective, Goldberg also wanted a look at public opinion, the “Arab street.” So he went to an Arab street.
These weeks before Passover are in one coincidental way like the ancient Jews’ exodus from Egypt: everything is done in a hurry. There’s chametz to remove, boxes of dishes to shlep, food to buy, seder guests to invite, etc.
With time at a premium, who has the leisure to prepare for the spiritual purpose of Pesach — removing the chametz from us, imagining ourselves as part of the throng of ex-slaves entering an unknown wilderness? If your meals are ready for yom tov but you’re not, what have you accomplished?
In Rabbi Eric Ertel’s pursuit to help Israel, it was P. Diddy who jogged his mind on how he should do it.
The rabbi, educational director at Aish NY, wasn’t quite sure how to get started in his efforts to assist the country he had lived and studied in for several years. Then he read about the rap star running the New York City Marathon last year to raise money for local educational programs.
Vanessa Hidary, a performance artist best known for her work with Russell Simmons’ hip-hop Def Poetry Jam, tells the story of the man she met at a bar who remarked that she “doesn’t look Jewish.”
Hidary, aka the “Hebrew Mamita,” a fixture on New York’s on-the-edge cultural scene, shared her thoughts on the man’s shallow remarks during her performances before avant guard audiences.
Elana Minkove decided a few months ago that she wanted to use her graduate degree in social work to do some good works in her spare time.
Niti Minkove, her mother-in-law and the director of volunteers at the Bronx Jewish Community Council, suggested Elana perform those virtuous deeds in Co-op City. That Bronx area is where Betty Katz lives.
Finally, a fund-raising idea that’s not half-baked.
Students from a small day school in western Massachusetts this week made a challah that will go on display at an agricultural festival, then enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
The “Challah of Fame” is 40 feet long and weighs 120 pounds.