Following Central Synagogue’s lead, more local congregations hoping to upgrade Hebrew-school staff.
In a Midtown room, several 20-somethings are gathered around a scuffed-up table. With papers, cell phones and various caffeinated beverages before them, they enthusiastically brainstorm together and critique each other’s work.
A workshop for young writers or artists? No, this is the weekly meeting of Central Synagogue’s 10 full-time Hebrew school teachers.
Afternoon Hebrew schools, despite competition from day schools and private tutors, continue to be the venues where the majority of American Jewish kids get their religious education.
N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.
As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.
“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.
Tamara Charm had a watershed experience when she chanted the Torah portion at Yom Kippur services last year at Drisha, the women's Torah learning academy, for a congregation of both women and men.
"It was incredible to daven in a way which conformed to traditional halacha but felt like the women's section was participating as well as the men's," said Charm, 29. "It was very spiritual."
One of Brooklyn's most august Reform temples is hiring an innovative rabbi to be its next spiritual leader, in the hope that he will usher in a new era for the Park Slope synagogue.
The rabbinic search committee of Congregation Beth Elohim this month unanimously voted to hire Rabbi Andrew Bachman, late of the group Brooklyn Jews, to take over for Rabbi Gerald Weider, who is retiring after 28 years. At a Jan. 9 board meeting, the synagogue's trustees unanimously endorsed the committee's recommendation, though the final vote will come from the entire congregation in March.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.