It seemed to be a typical Tuesday morning for Mordechai “Larry” Etengoff, a 42-year-old Brooklyn locksmith supply salesman. His wife of 16 years, Sandy, watched him leave their squat, gray, single-family stucco house in the multiethnic Kensington section to drop off their youngest of five children at the babysitter.
He stopped at the local Independence Savings Bank near their Avenue C home to make a deposit. He returned home to move his blue Ford Taurus for alternate side-of-the-street parking.
Israel’s standing in the United Nations continues to deteriorate as the Palestinian voice grows stronger. The overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly Tuesday (124 to 4) upgrading the Palestinian’s status gives Palestinian representatives the power for the first time to raise issues regarding the peace process before the 185-member international body.
My son, Aryeh, is 14 and like most kids his age, he finds Facebook vital to his existence. The social networking part is great — he is in near-constant touch with friends and relatives from both near and far, who constantly update each other on seemingly every aspect of their lives.
But Facebook also provides something else for this high school student whose consciousness is blossoming — an opportunity to learn about and be involved with dozens of social justice and political causes.
In Mick Fine’s classroom, the sixth-graders are creating cartoons and board games and posters for their family’s upcoming seders. In the classroom of Nicole Levy and Vanessa Miller, the kindergarteners are putting the finishing touches on artworks that will be bound together into mini-Haggadot to be shared with their families next week. Throughout the classrooms of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, the K-8 students are learning about the traditions of Passover in other non-traditional, hands-on ways.
The ongoing hunt for Nazi war criminals made news last week when evidence emerged that Aribert Heim, the wartime “Dr. Death” in Mauthausen who conducted experiments on prisoners, was given haven in Egypt and presumably died there. Efraim Zuroff has been searching for information about Heim throughout his two decades as director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
If only the Barts had scaled Mount Everest on the High Holy Days.
Instead, the mother (Cheryl) and daughter (Nikki) from Sydney, Australia, were on the world’s highest mountain during Passover, part of a two-month expedition on which they reached the summit last week and made history. They became the first mother-daughter team to scale 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on all seven continents.
Auckland, New Zealand: Roy Netzer first came here as a backpacker, after finishing his five years in the Israeli army and university studies, because he wanted to "experience another country."
He liked what he saw.
Netzer married and worked for a year in Israel, then returned here eight years ago with his wife and without a job lined up.
"I got the 'New Zealand bug,' " he says. "We came with four suitcases."
Sydney: A nearly capacity crowd filled the sanctuary of North Shore Temple Emanuel on a recent weeknight. In the seats were Jews, Christians and "a few Aborigines," said Rabbi Allison Conyer. As part of a forum, "The Aboriginal Challenge: Where To Now?" sponsored by the congregation's Social Action Group, a series of Aboriginal speakers discussed the native Australians' history and current social problems, and the event's Jewish moderator urged the Jewish community to get involved.
The proprietors of the small kiosks in The Diamond Exchange on West 47th Street, the heart of Manhattan's Diamond District, decorate their working areas with artifacts to give each an individual touch. There are family photos, religious icons and homeland decals.
John Kaufmann, a native of Germany, has attached a pair of small stuffed koalas to the spine of his desk lamp. They're a reminder of Australia, where as one of the Dunera Boys he spent eight years.
Sydney, Australia: One by one, the elderly men with white hair or bald heads raised their hands.
Sitting in the sunlit Terrace Room of the Australian National Maritime Museum, at the edge of Sydney Harbor, they listened as Henry Lippmann, a fellow octogenarian, stood with hand-written notes and microphone in hand reading brief snippets of their life stories, asking each to acknowledge his presence.