Joel Engelman was 8 years old the first time he was summoned to the principal’s office at his Satmar school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not knowing what he might have done to provoke the call, Joel was nervous, as his principal, Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, had a reputation for being strict.
Fort Dix, N.J.: Juda Mintz may look like an ordinary guy (middle aged, medium height, with a comb-over and thick glasses) yet there is something about the Modern Orthodox rabbi that makes him stand out among the 4,500 inmates at the Fort Dix Correctional Institution, a federal prison in southwestern New Jersey.
Under the glaring fluorescent lights of the large cinder-block walled prison visiting room, Rabbi Mintz walks calmly over to greet a visitor. He is dressed in the same beige work-shirt and pants that every inmate wears from the day he arrives until the day he is freed.
Never has a nickname been so fitting. Benjamin "Yummy" Hirsch is sitting in his sliver of an office, squeezed in between the retail operation and the production end of his bakery like frosting in a layer cake. The red-haired Hirsch, his beard close-cropped, looks at the near-chaos swirling around him and politely instructs a visitor to move so that an employee dusted with matzah flour and smudged with icing can push by with a tall metal cart stacked with a dozen sheet cakes.
The rabbis of the nation's gay and lesbian synagogues gathered this week at a first-of-its kind meeting, held at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in the West Village.
Their goal was to share experiences "and to find out whether there are in fact things unique to us as leaders of gay and lesbian congregations," said one participant, Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Los Angeles' Bet Chayim Chadashim, during a lunch break.
The answer, she and other participants said, is that there are and there aren't.
Although best-selling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s just-released book, “Eating Animals,” makes a strong argument for vegetarianism, his work-in-progress, a new Haggadah, will not have a vegetarian — or indeed, any — theme other than the pursuit of literary excellence.
There are always a few crumbs an eagle-eyed shopper can find among the clothes, furniture and tchotchkes for sale on eBay. But this time, they were real crumbs. Crumbs of chametz, the leavened food like bread and cakes that observant Jews rid their homes of before the start of Passover. Chametz that they want to use after Passover ends can be technically sold to a non-Jew.
Marilyn Schapiro found redemption in Rego Park last Friday, just days before sitting down at a Passover seder to recall that of her ancestors in a different land.
Schapiro, 58, was to be evicted from her longtime home on Wednesday, for non-payment of rent. “I was very worried,” said Schapiro, who has paid her rent out of disability payments since being laid off from her garment center job four years ago, and after being injured in a fall shortly after that. “I don’t know where I would go.
Time was, Jews at Passover would feel they were wandering in a culinary desert, nourished only by syrupy wine, leaden loaves of gefilte fish and seemingly endless sheets of matzah.
But with the recent introduction of foods like kosher-for-Passover pasta, granola and even pizza, members of the tribe have found their way into a gourmand’s promised land rich with chocolate-flavored milk and honey-sweetened cereals, where gastronomic deprivation is no more.
It wasn’t a typical venue for pre-Passover learning. But then, Rabbi Andy Bachman and Rachel Altstein specialize in pairing “not typical” with Jewish. A few days before the holiday, Bachman and Altstein, who are, respectively, a Reform rabbi and an attorney, got together with 20 Jews on the back patio of a Prospect Heights wine bar to do a little Passover learning and talking.“We just ordered a bunch of wine and I taught for about an hour,” said Rabbi Bachman, 42.