Haskel Lookstein

Rage At Brandeis Over Invite To Israel’s Oren

Lookstein calls protests ‘nothing less than evil.’

05/05/2010
Associate Editor

Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren, though no longer in the Israel Defense Forces, might feel like he deserves combat pay for all the fury he’s generating on American campuses.

Most dramatically, 11 Muslim students were arrested in February for disrupting the ambassador’s talk at the University of California-Irvine, and now hundreds of students at  Brandeis University, many of whom are Jewish, are campaigning to have Brandeis rescind its invitation for Oren to speak at graduation ceremonies May 23.

Split In Young Israel Family

06/06/2003
Staff Writer
Things are growing nastier at 3 W. 16th St. in Manhattan. Last week, the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue (YIFA), an Orthodox synagogue with about 200 members located at the Chelsea address, was barred from receiving its packages. That's because the building owner is refusing to accept the synagogue's mail. The latest incident of anti-Semitism? Hardly. The building owner is the National Council of Young Israel, the parent organization for nearly 150 Orthodox synagogues across the country.

A Conversion Critique From Within

03/05/2008
Staff Writer
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and recently retired head of the Ramaz Jewish day schools on the Upper East Side, is one of Modern Orthodoxy’s elder statesmen. He will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination, but rather than reflecting on his accomplishments with unfettered joy — which include helping between 300 and 400 people convert to Judaism — he is feeling deeply pained about the direction the Orthodox rabbinate is taking when it comes to conversions, and conflicted about his own role in the system.

Reliving The Zionist Dream

04/19/2002
Associate Editor

Once there was a verdant, spirited land where Hebrew songs and Zionist musings were on the lips of children. No, not Israel, but the chain of Massad summer camps in the Poconos.

They closed more than 20 years ago, but with the future of Israel more precarious and precious than ever, thoughts of the Massad dreamscape have prompted a reunion Sunday at the Ramaz Upper School.

There the dream will live again, if only for an afternoon.

Debate Over Tactics As Beijing Games Near

07/30/2008
Staff Writer
Although his job is in Jersey City, John Atkins, a numbers cruncher for a financial firm, started his workday one morning last week outside Rockefeller Center.

Creator Of ‘Mini-Israel’

10/29/2004
Staff Writer
Shlomo Shulsinger, a Jerusalem native who came to the United States with his family as a teenager and became a pioneer in the Hebrew-speaking summer camping field, died Oct. 19 in his hometown after a long illness. He was 92 and was buried on the Mount of Olives. Mr. Shulsinger — who was known to his campers simply as Shlomo — founded Camp Massad in Far Rockaway, Queens, and developed the day camp into three overnight camps in the Poconos. The camps closed in 1981. Mr. Shulsinger retired in 1977, returning with his wife, Rivka, to Jerusalem.

The Power Of A Pre-Nup

06/16/2006
Staff Writer
In a renewed effort by the Orthodox movementís Rabbinical Council of America to prevent future instances in which husbands refuse to grant their wives a get or religious divorce, the organization has adopted a resolution asking members to refuse to officiate at weddings at which the couple has not signed a prenuptial agreement. Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the RCA, said that about five years ago 60 percent of his organization's more than 950 members said they would make every effort to encourage couples to sign a prenuptial agreement.
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