The war on terror, Madoff, Israel demonized: Looking back on a dark decade.
Editor and Publisher
Remember Y2K? Ten years ago this week, on the eve of a new year, a new decade and a new millennium, there were daily headlines everywhere predicting various forces of doom on the horizon, from computer malfunctions when 1999 slipped into 2000, to international terrorism to a full range of apocalyptic events of biblical proportions.
While recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this month, Cardinal John O'Connor composed his annual New Year's letter to his many friends in the New York Jewish community.
In fact, the 79-year-old leader of New York City Catholics has been sending heartfelt holiday greetings twice a year (on Rosh HaShanah and Passover) to Jewish leaders for at least 10 years.
The new year is bringing with it a slew of new interfaith news and events. Perhaps the most critical issue involves the nasty political environment in Washington, D.C., and the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton.
A coalition of Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders are strongly criticizing what they say is the deplorable lack of political civility in the nation's capitol and on television and radio talks shows.
Violence against Christians in Jerusalem appears to be rising as concerns increase over the millennium and its affect on fervent cult groups making pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Israeli officials said this week. Jerusalem police said they are investigating a recent wave of threats and assaults against Christian organizations in Jerusalem.
In one incident, vandals hurled stones at Jerusalem’s St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland two weeks ago, breaking several of its stained-glass windows.
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.
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.
In the lobby of the Coffey Community Center on Manhattan’s East Side, Judy Klemperer gingerly picked up a black prayerbook from a large pile lying in a laundry bin and wiped off the ashes.
“It’s all wet and warped,” she said, shaking her head sadly. “It won’t be used again.”
She then placed it into a large plastic garbage bag. Someone wrote down the dedication on the inside cover for future reference.
It's a question rooted in an age-old practice but made new by the vicissitudes of modern technology: Is it kosher to ask mechila by e-mail? Asking forgiveness, or mechila, for wrongs committed against others is emphasized during the month of Elul, and given particular attention during the 10 Days of Repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur.
When planning her wedding, the Jewish commitment to the concept of ba’al tashchit, of not wasting unnecessarily, was paramount to Miriam Brosseau. Brosseau is a songwriter for Stereo Sinai, a socially responsible and environmentally conscious band whose "Biblegum Pop" fuses traditional gospel music with Hebrew verses from the book of Judges.
She and fellow band member Alan Sufrin were married on Tu b’Shvat, the New Year for the trees. "We liked the idea of getting married on a day associated with growth and renewal," she says.
Two days after Rosh HaShanah this year comes another Yom HaZikaron. The first anniversary of the attack on America occurs during the Jewish Days of Repentance (the Jewish New Year is traditionally referred to by its Hebrew name, the day of memorial) and the Jewish community will join all Americans in honoring the memory of the 3,000 victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
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.