Lookstein calls protests ‘nothing less than evil.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.