For the last quarter-century, Jewish Renewal has been a grassroots, anti-establishment movement embraced by Jews searching for spirituality in their lives. Now, itís becoming mainstream.
One of the four pillars of the new United Jewish Communities is being called Jewish Renaissance and Renewal. Its 36-member committee is slated to meet in Washington next month to develop ways to make Jewish life more meaningful. Because it is to be the committee's first meeting, it is unclear which areas it plans to address.
When Danielle Zeiler began seriously dating her husband-to-be, Scott Greenwood, she made it clear that if they married, their children would be raised Jews.
"He said fine, but then when we became engaged, he said he wanted his religion represented in the marriage also," recalled the 26-year-old. "I said we had a problem."
Another problem surfaced over the question of who would officiate at the marriage.
Not long after the 92nd Street Y was rewired last year (a nearly $1 million job that involved threading fiber optic, copper wire and coaxial cables throughout the 11-story, 70-year-old building) Elie Wiesel delivered a lecture in the first-floor auditorium that was transmitted on closed circuit throughout the building.
Life had been a struggle for Mrs. M, her husband and four children. And when her husband found himself out of work in August, the Long Island family quickly found themselves behind in the rent and the oil company demanded cash on delivery.
"We needed help and we didn't know where to go," Mrs. M recalled. "We had no money in our pockets and we were waiting for unemployment checks to arrive."
When Clifford Goldstein was 7, his father took him to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a stockholders meeting of the Israeli company Ampal.
"I had five shares, so I went with him and I liked the feel of it," he recalled. "People were there as investors, but my father was there more because he wanted to invest in Israel."
The Carlebach Shul was never afraid of broken hearts, but the last decade or so have tested the small shul on West 79th Street.
The shulís rebbe, Shlomo Carlebach ó the musical genius the congregation shared with the world ó went to the Other World in 1994. Rabbi Elichaim Carlebach, his twin brother who led the shul in Shlomoís frequent absences, died in 1990.
Rabbi Sam Intrator, Shlomoís closest aide, filled the void for a few years but left in search of other projects several years ago.
At this year’s New York International Fringe Film Festival, step into the Hell’s Kitchen apartment of three gay roommates — Seth, Ashley and Josh, a young Jewish writer. “The Boys Upstairs,” by Jewish playwright Jason Mitchell Kahn, explores the love lives, thrills and disappointments of the close-knit trio. Kahn adds a personal touch to the show, rooting Josh’s story in his own personal experiences as a gay Jewish writer in New York.
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.
A request to charge $1,500 for reading the book "Nazi Gold" is contained in a court document from lawyers of Holocaust victims who are seeking $13.5 million in fees from the $1.25 billion Swiss bank settlement, according to the World Jewish Congress.
"Holocaust survivors are being exploited by a feeding frenzy of fee-grabbing lawyers," charged WJC executive director Elan Steinberg.
A free comprehensive guide that describes the dozens of compensation and restitution programs available to Holocaust survivors is being made available by Jewish social service agencies nationwide.
In the New York area, 13 agencies will be distributing the 50-page booklet prepared by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. It explains the current and pending restitution and compensation programs, the criteria for eligibility and how to apply.