Simchat Torah

First Person: Sweatpants on Shabbat

11/03/2009 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

One Shabbat morning a few years ago I decided to skip shul and head over to a friend’s apartment for coffee. I didn’t time my visit well. Strolling along in sweatpants, I ran into one of the rabbis in my community coming home from shul with his family. I was mortified. While he could not have been any friendlier and wished me a good Shabbos, I was embarrassed to be seen in non-Shabbat-like clothing during peak Shabbat hours.

A White Sukkot

10/19/2006 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Buffalo: The scholars of the Talmud, concerned about the welfare of the Jewish people, debated the meteorological conditions that exempt one from eating a meal in a sukkah. "They talk about rain," says Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig. No one talks about a sukkah filled with two feet of snow: which happened last week to Rabbi Friedfertig, spiritual leader of Kehillat Ohr Tzion, a small Modern Orthodox congregation in Williamsville, a northern suburb of Buffalo.

Is Y's Open Door A Barrier?

10/12/2006 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Shortly after Linda Moses and Arthur Gurevitch, a young couple on the Upper East Side, enrolled their 5-year-old son in an art class this fall at the 92nd Street Y, they discovered that the Y's Sunday Young Artists class was starting on Sukkot. Moses and Gurevitch, "somewhat observant" Conservative Jews and participants in Y programming for two decades, had assumed that the art class, as in past years, would skip Sukkot, which was last Sunday, and Simchat Torah, this Sunday.

Harlem’s Jewish Soul Dies At 97

02/15/2007 - 19:00
Staff Writer
During a trip in Poland in the mid-1920s, Jacob Kret, a teenage yeshiva student from the northeast part of the country, found himself in the town of Radin, home of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, an aged Talmudic authority who was known as the Chofetz Chaim and was regarded as the Torah leader of his generation. Unable to get home in time for Shabbat, the young man stayed in the home of the Chofetz Chaim, sleeping on a straw bed, eating and praying and discussing religious topics with the sage.

The Ark Of History

11/18/2004 - 19:00
Staff Writer
Every year for the past quarter-century, Rick Landman has held the same Torah scroll during the hakafot dancing on Simchat Torah at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Greenwich Village. The sefer Torah belongs to him.

Under One Tent

10/12/1999 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Katrin Yaghoubi wanted to find a synagogue with gemutlichkeit. That’s German for coziness. And it had to have eshtemah. That’s Farsi for community. And a rabbi whose services kept her interest. That’s English for not boring. It took her almost eight years. An Iranian Jew born in Germany, Yaghoubi now lives in Manhattan but her shul is in Great Neck, home to her mother, one of her three siblings and thousands of other Iranian Jews.

Dancing Camels On Gordon Beach

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

After some R&R time on the beach, as chronicled below, your wayfaring blogger got down to business and the reason he had come to Tel Aviv.


David Cohen, a fellow Brooklyn native, was hosting an End of Summer event for recent Nefesh B’Nefesh olim like himself on Gordon Beach, just a short walk from my hotel.


Billionaires Busy Praying?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I’ve long defended the New York Times against critics who insist the paper has an inherent bias in its coverage of the Middle East and the Jewish community. But an item in today’s City Room column in the New York section made me a bit queasy.

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