Houston — In a schoolroom of Congregation Emanu-El, a Reform rabbi is leading a seminar on patrilineal descent. Down the hall, a discussion on Jewish mysticism is taking place under the direction of a Conservative rabbi. A few doors away, an Orthodox rabbi is talking about Ahavat Yisrael, love of one’s fellow Jew.
Elsewhere in the synagogue, the largest Reform temple in the Houston area, two dozen other classes and meditation sessions and song-composing workshops are taking place at the same time, led by a cross-section of rabbis and teachers and political leaders.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly terror attack, all eyes focused on the fervent rescue effort in Lower Manhattan. With thousands of people buried under mountains of steel and concrete, cultural enterprise suddenly seemed frivolous and art openings, lectures, parties and awards ceremonies nationwide were canceled or postponed.
Peering out at the reporters and TV cameras clamoring around the entrance of his religious girls school in Brooklyn last week, Rabbi Hertz Frankel's mind raced as they demanded he comment on his crime. It was a serious crime, a federal felony involving no-show teachers, fund diversions, false job titles and clear breaches of the separation of church and state. It was one Frankel had quietly pleaded guilty to the previous week.
Taking its complaints about biased reporting to a new level, a pro-Israel media monitoring group is urging Congress to investigate public radio’s Mideast coverage. In an April 2 ad on The New York Times opinion page, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA, skewered National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” news program for “distortion,” “error” and “endemic bias” against Israel.
One side painted the charity and the assemblyman as partners in a complex web of corruption, deceit and political manipulation.
The other side cited their partnership as the instrument that lifted up the lives of hundreds of thousands, Jews and non-Jews, helping them find jobs, housing and training.
A recession doesn’t take a holiday, but this month’s succession of Jewish holidays has delayed the full effect of the economic crisis in New York City’s Jewish community, say representatives of the largest Jewish-sponsored employment counseling and referral organization.
Wait until next month.
Houston — Tzipora Mintz’s first concern when her husband learned he had to come here for medical treatment in early 2003 was his health. He had lymphoma, an advanced form of the cancer of the immune system.
Her second concern was housing. She and her husband — a young Orthodox couple from Brooklyn, they had recently had a new child — would be spending months, on and off, in Houston, while he received care at the Texas Medical Center.
Efrat, Israel: Standing at an empty bus stop on Hebron Road under a bright hot sun, an American traveler leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank community of Efrat suddenly feels his senses turned up a notch.
Waiting for the 167 bus heading south, the traveler watches four Israeli soldiers at a makeshift military checkpoint stop taxis, passenger cars and commercial trucks, delaying the Friday "have to get home for Shabbat" rush hour traffic.
New York City area clergy are in danger of burning out as they try to keep up with the unprecedented demand for spiritual counsel from hundreds of thousands of residents traumatized from Sept. 11.
And the mental health of both clergy and 9-11 survivors is expected to worsen in the coming months from the continued stress and delayed emotional reactions.
Eric Greenberg is a staff writer. Michele Chabin is an Israel correspondent.
Jewish institutions and synagogues in New York City were being warned to boost their security in light of last week’s U.S. attacks on suspected terrorist sites in the Sudan and Afghanistan, while Israeli officials in Jerusalem are viewing the current crisis as part of a continuum of preparedness.