Weddings are normally joyous occasions, especially ones planned with the care and devotion Leona Zeplin put into her daughter’s simcha last month. The guests were invited, the catering hall rented and the flowers ordered. Everything was set to go.
But on the morning of the wedding, Zeplin, a loving and committed mother, began having second and third thoughts about the occasion, despite the love and affection between her daughter, Joslin, and Joslin’s fiancé.
It can be frustrating or awkward “to see people involved in a peace walk one week and the same people involved in an anti-Israel protest the next week,” said Rabbi Micah Kelber of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, a small Conservative synagogue in the midst of one of the nation’s largest Arab communities.
The 15 families belonging to the Norwich Jewish Center, a dwindling, mostly elderly congregation in central New York, expected to celebrate Passover with a community seder inside their synagogue, as they do every year.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series connected to the 90th anniversary of UJA-Federation of New York. The differences between the American Jewish community of the early 1900s and today’s American Jewry are vast and notable. Volumes have been written about the ethnic division that marked the earlier community, between the well-established, often wealthy German Jews, who began arriving in the 1840s and ‘50s, and the more than two million new arrivals from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, many of them mired in poverty and “Old World” ways.
Moshe and Adina Tyberg, Flatbush residents in their mid-30s, are living in a two-bedroom apartment with five young children.
“As you can imagine,” the father says, the atmosphere “isn’t very conducive to raising kids,” but he and his wife are unable to afford a larger home in Brooklyn. As a result, both Moshe, a human-resources professional, and Adina, an occupational therapist, are ready to move beyond the New York area, where they hope to find a better quality of life.
The controversy aroused last year by the publication of his latest book, “Defeating Hitler,” and a lengthy interview in one of Israel’s daily papers continues to trail Avram Burg, as suggested by forum here last week.
An otherwise noncontentious national meeting of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs next week could see a fierce debate and politicking over a proposal to put the umbrella Jewish group in line behind efforts to impose divestment on Sudan because of the genocide in Darfur.
The Jewish community appears poised to join a growing movement of city and state legislatures, universities, religious organizations and other groups in calling for a targeted economic boycott of the Sudan.
The move, supporting divestment from companies with business ties to the Sudanese government, would come as the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, a region of the Sudan, enters its fourth year. The slaughter, considered a genocide by the U.S. government and much of the international community, has killed at least 400,000 civilians and displaced as many as 2.5 million.
The death this month of Emanual Muravchik, a lifelong socialist and the onetime leader of the Jewish Labor Committee, highlighted a world that no longer exists — much of it recalled at a memorial service at the JLC last Friday. It also put into sharp relief a contrast between two generations of American Jews.
Twenty students from a tough, inner-city school walked through parts of a museum last week devoted to the Holocaust and other genocides. They also met with a Holocaust survivor, the leader of their tour, and wrote about their impressions afterward.
Their tour could easily have been a scene in “Freedom Writers,” the new movie about a teacher in Long Beach, Calif., who connects with her tough, inner-city students by discussing the pain and trauma other children have suffered, including those who experienced the Holocaust.