In 2000 Rabbi Shohama Wiener was invited to lead High Holy Days services at Kona Beth Shalom, a synagogue on the Big Island of Hawaii, where the congregation’s greeting of choice is “Shaloha.” When she wasn’t conducting services or polishing her sermons, the rabbi swam and snorkeled alongside congregants in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
George Kalinsky was seething inside.
A fervently Orthodox rabbi told him that he wasn’t a real Jew.
Never mind that Kalinsky’s parents were Jewish and that he put on tefillin every morning.
Kalinsky, the longtime photographer extraordinaire for Madison Square Garden, who captured the magic of the Willis Reed/Walt Frazier-era championship Knick teams and who took the last photo of John Lennon performing live, apparently wasn’t observing rituals to the Agudath Israel rabbi’s standards.