Each year the 12th-grade students of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester spend a week in Poland, on the way to Israel, learning about Jewish history at the site of death camps, synagogues and forests.
This year their most poignant lesson came at an antiques shop on a Warsaw side street.
They discovered a Torah scroll there.
Lublin, Poland — On the first two nights of Passover, the ground floor of a former medical academy near Lublin’s historic Old City was crowded by early evening with members of the Jewish community. Children played for hours in the hallways while senior citizens schmoozed in a small office. After sundown, joined by other members of the community and a Jewish choir from Warsaw, they filed into a social hall for the seders; afterward, they stayed to play and shmooze some more.
Roman Polanski's latest feature film is a dramatic account of one man's survival in wartime Warsaw. "The Pianist," which opens Dec. 27, is also a documentary in at least one respect: its star, Adrien Brody, nearly starved himself to portray the Jewish musician and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, shedding some 30 pounds from his already slender frame as filming progressed.
How best to honor the memory of half a million Jews buried in the horrific and long-neglected Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland?
That's the heart of a running dispute pitting several rabbis and Jewish organizations that support the approved design plan against New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, who insists the plan desecrates the victims and violates Jewish law.
The dispute echoes the debate in New York City over the memorial for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center victims.
Moshe Katzav's visit to Poland last week was strictly kosher.
For the first time, the kitchens of the Presidential Palace and of the Belweder Palace, the "Polish White House," were koshered in honor of the Israeli president's state visit to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
William Donat stood at the podium in the dimly lit main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El and peered out at the 2,500 solemn faces sitting in the pews.
"As I look out at the audience this Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day], I see fewer survivors out there," noted Donat, a child of Holocaust survivor and author Alexander Donat. "Time is taking its toll. And it is fair to ask what shall be when all the adult survivors are gone?"
The answer could be found all around Donat, a child survivor of the Warsaw ghetto.
More than 1,000 abandoned or neglected Jewish cemeteries in Poland would be protected from development under a proposal being considered by the Polish government, The Jewish Week has learned.
The plan calls for the creation of an international Jewish committee headed by Israel’s two chief rabbis that would identify and fence off forgotten Polish Jewish cemeteries. It would ensure that the land is not rezoned by local officials for commercial or any other purpose.
Since returning to Poland last June to serve as chief rabbi of Warsaw, Rabbi Michael Shudrich has been busy trying to resolve the country’s Jewish past, and also secure its future.
One moment he’s ensuring that the community has kosher food. The next, he’s trying to save abandoned Jewish cemeteries and mass grave sites left in ruins after World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, the short, bearded 45-year-old Bronx-born and Patchogue, L.I.-raised rabbi is trying to help Poles with Jewish roots return to Judaism.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.