‘I don’t go to shul,” Leon Bernhardt declares. Raised Conservative, he stopped attending synagogue shortly after his bar mitzvah four decades ago in Crown Heights, when he and his brother were saying Kaddish for their father and were berated, publicly, for showing up for mincha one day sans jackets.
Now he’s a psychiatrist, lives in Manhattan and doesn’t belong to a congregation.
Elaine Wohl does go to shul.
We are entering 5768 with any number of reasons to worry about the future of Israel and Jewish life in the U.S. and around the world. But we would do well to encounter these challenges with an attitude similar to the one with which we are taught to approach Yom Kippur: a mixture of reflection, humility, repentance, resolve and, with it all, confidence.
Judge Gustin Reichbach: Stinging words at sentencing of sex offenders
Special to the Jewish Week
At the sentencing last week of a bar mitzvah tutor and social worker convicted of sexually molesting two boys in Brooklyn, a New York State Supreme Court judge lashed out at the offender’s Orthodox community for “a communal attitude that seems to impose greater opprobrium on the victims than the perpetrator.”
With his stinging critique, Judge Gustin Reichbach placed himself at the center of a fierce debate in the Orthodox community over how best to police the problem of pedophilia.
Decked out in brown suede Nikes, distressed denim jeans and black Ray-Ban sunglasses, Rabbi Dan Ain stood atop a “kosher” soapbox in Washington Square Park Monday afternoon, extolling heresy and encouraging his listeners to break from tradition during these 10 days of awe and repentance.
You could see the backlash coming.
A yarmulke-wearing rabbi from Yeshiva University goes to the Vatican and finds secret insults to the pope and Jewish mystical codes embedded in Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel.
The rabbi, Benjamin Blech, teams up with Roy Doliner, a docent and guide at the Vatican, and their findings are published last week in the book, “The Sistine Secrets,” which claims that Michelangelo was influenced so greatly by Judaism that 95 percent of his painting depicts scenes from the Old Testament.
Israel, which has made it a point not to walk out of the United Nations despite all of the abuse hurled at it from member nations over the years, will be pointedly absent when the General Assembly convenes on Monday, Yom Kippur.
So will President Bill Clinton. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold, said this is the first time an American president has not spoken at the start of the General Assembly's general debate. He will speak Tuesday instead.
The New York Board of Rabbis held its annual sermon seminar last week to permit rabbis to share ideas for their High Holy Days sermons. Rabbi Marc Schneier of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, L.I., and president of the board, chaired the discussion featuring spiritual leaders from all movements.
Jewish Week: What will be some of the themes of sermons this year?