Two bat mitzvah projects hit close to home for a couple of local teens, and help kids here and in Israel.
He was a distant cousin — literally; he 6,000 miles away in Israel, she on the Upper East Side.
But Katy Mayerson, 13, had grown close to Noam Mayerson over her many trips to Israel to see family.
“I really, really liked him and everybody liked him,” Katy said of her cousin. “I don’t know one person who didn’t — he was really smart and nice and loving, and there wasn’t really any bad aspect about him.”
Northern Westchester teens participate
in exchange program with Israeli peers.
Special To The Jewish Week
The gym at the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester in Pleasantville echoed with the steady buzz of more than 100 middle school students, occupied in equal measure with eating vast quantities of kosher Chinese food, texting and chatting.
First came the Shema. Douglas Rubin would recite it in the morning. Then, the Shemona Esrei, the heart of the Jewish prayer service that Rubin said before going to work.
Finally, he started to put on tallit and tefillin.Slowly, over a three-year period, Rubin, a 47-year-old investment banker and self-described "modern, liberal Jew" from Westchester, made Shacharit (the entire morning prayer service) part of his daily regimen.
After a 30-year hiatus.
Rubin, like many Jews of his generation, left Judaism after his bar mitzvah.
Suddenly in Jewish Westchester, land of spacious homes and ample backyards, nothing seems to fit.
Westchesterís Jews, once limited by upper-crust restrictions, are experiencing a 40-percent population surge in the past 10 years, only to find that their infrastructure of schools and shuls now seems too small, tight around the seams.