At-risk Orthodox Jewish teenagers in Brooklyn (involved in everything from credit card fraud to sexual promiscuity and drug abuse) have created their own informal support network that attracts similarly troubled youngsters from across the city and seeks to recruit "regular youngsters" to their ranks.
An estimated 50,000 needy Jews in the city received special Rosh HaShanah food packages in the past two weeks, and UJA-Federation provided a special grant to allow those below the poverty level to receive food vouchers redeemable at their local supermarkets.
"We've been doing this for 20 years," said William Rapfogel, executive director of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty.
While he was a second-year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1992, Gary (Gidone) Busch was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease that changed his life.
"He learned that he had a kidney disease that causes partial renal failure, and a nephrologist told him it could be life threatening," recalled his brother, Glenn, 39, a Manhattan lawyer.