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.
No alternate text on picture! - define alternate text in image propertiesAlong-buried love affair and the sensational discovery of an unknown cache of letters lie at the center of Nili Scharf Gold’s illuminating biographical study, “Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel’s National Poet.” Gold, an authority on Hebrew poetry and a professor at the University Pennsylvania, mines these materials to show how the internationally acclaimed poet Amichai became — well — Amichai.
Bathed in light, wrapped in a tallit and kittel, the soul of a middle-aged New York Jew speaks to his earthly body on a Queens side street late one night last week.
“Chaim, Chaim,” calls the soul, flanked by a pair of large menorahs, an ark of Torah scrolls behind him, “good Shabbos. Did you have a good week?”
A plaintive voice — of Chaim himself, who is mentally disabled — is heard answering, “Nobody likes me.”
Don’t despair, answers the soul. “Soon it will all be over.”
A Manhattan rabbi who is organizing, for the first time, High Holy Days worship services this year in her neighborhood, has a message for New York City’s active, identified, affiliated Jews: Stay where you are.
In medieval times in the Middle East, translators in synagogues would render the reading of the weekly Torah portion from Hebrew into the vernacular Arabic or Aramaic.
Something similar took place in Manhattan this week.
During an academic conference in Boston last month, Sasha Toperich, a multilingual native of Bosnia-Herzegovina, presented a speech on recent political developments in the Balkans.
That was appropriate — Toperich is a diplomat.
Toperich also gave a concert during the two-day conference.
That, too, was appropriate — he’s a concert pianist.
Entering a Borough Park public school early Tuesday, David Tilis was emphatic about his pick for president.
“I’m Jewish, so it has to be [George W.] Bush,” said Tilis, 21, a mortgage broker en route to casting his vote for the Republican incumbent. “I don’t understand how any Jew could vote for [Sen. John] Kerry. Yasir Arafat is for him.”
Alan Rubin has always worn a kipa, but he says it’s bigger these days. His wife, Debi, has always dressed modestly, but she says she dresses more modestly these days.
The couple has always found time for their five children, but they say they find more time these days.
These days are the six months since Sept. 11, 2001.
The Rubins, who live in Elizabeth, N.J., say they have been on a spiritual journey since 9-11, a path that will end this summer in Jerusalem.
The Rubins are making aliyah — because of 9-11.
For 24 hours this week, the Cambria Heights neighborhood of Queens became one of New York City’s biggest Jewish areas.Some 50,000 Jews visited the neighborhood on Tuesday.
That day — Tammuz 3 on the Hebrew calendar — was the 13th yahrtzeit of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh and last rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement.
Buried next to Rabbi Yosef Schneersohn, his predecessor and cousin, Rabbi Schneerson is interred in a covered plot of the Old Montefiore Cemetery, the Ohel, which has become a pilgrimage site since 1994.