Last January, dozens of well-heeled New Yorkers gathered at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria to raise money for the archbishop of New York's last gesture toward the Jewish community he held so dear.
The archbishop's birthday dinner raised $1.5 million for the establishment of the John Cardinal O'Connor Distinguished Chair in Hebrew and Sacred Scripture at St. Joseph's Seminary, the Westchester institution that trains future priests. O'Connor wanted to teach seminarians greater respect for the Jewish roots of Christianity.
With the New York Police Department facing mounting criticism following the brutal attack on Abner Louima and the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, a diverse group of city religious leaders came together last year to express their concern to city government officials.
In 1971, Ronald Brown visited Prague for the first time and was disturbed by what he saw at the famous 500-year-old Charles Bridge: a centuries-old crucifixion statue framed by one of Judaism's most sacred prayers. The then-25-year-old rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College was upset by the symbolism of the Hebrew inscription in relation to the cross. The quote was taken from the prophet Isaiah ("Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts") which the angels chant to praise God, according to Jewish tradition.
With Islam’s top religious leaders publicly sanctioning suicide bombings against Jews, outraged New York rabbis plan to protest the behavior of their religious counterparts at a demonstration in front of the Palestine Mission next Monday.
American Jewish defense agencies want federal law enforcement officials to turn up the heat on a growing national hate group apparently linked to last weekend’s Midwest shooting rampage and last month’s million-dollar torching of three Sacramento, Calif., synagogues.
Prague, Czech Republic — Pavel Dostal could hardly contain his anger. The nattily attired Czech minister of culture sat in his conference room, arms folded and jaw tight, as he explained how he felt betrayed by the Jewish community he was trying to help.
Dostal, bearing a resemblance to Kurt Vonnegut and dressed in gray bow tie, matching silk shirt and jacket, spoke with reserved bitterness last week while relating through a translator how he had become the victim of a worldwide misinformation campaign by the haredi and Orthodox Jewish communities.
When the Synagogue Council of America — the only national rabbinic group representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewry — broke up in 1994 after 68 years, observers said it underscored the growing rift between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews.
“Maybe it has outlived its usefulness,” mused member Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of the Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills at that time.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, meeting at the White House this week with 25 rabbis, appeared to back away from her previous support for a Palestinian state, reportedly saying the issue should be left to Israel and the Palestinians.
But Clinton’s Communications Director Marsha Berry, after consulting with the first lady, told The Jewish Week that Clinton’s “personal position” favoring a Palestinian state remains unchanged.
Over the strong objections of the nation’s major rabbinic organizations, New York Board of Rabbis President Marc Schneier this week launched a new national rabbinic group that includes 30 members from Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism.
The creation of the North American Boards of Rabbis in Washington, D.C., Monday marks the first time an interdenominational rabbinic group has formed since the Synagogue Council of America disbanded under a cloud in 1995, partly for financial reasons and the growing isolationist philosophy of some Orthodox groups.
George Kalinsky was seething inside.
A fervently Orthodox rabbi told him that he wasn’t a real Jew.
Never mind that Kalinsky’s parents were Jewish and that he put on tefillin every morning.
Kalinsky, the longtime photographer extraordinaire for Madison Square Garden, who captured the magic of the Willis Reed/Walt Frazier-era championship Knick teams and who took the last photo of John Lennon performing live, apparently wasn’t observing rituals to the Agudath Israel rabbi’s standards.
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