Outreach group’s thriving one-day-a-week Hebrew school splitting a L.I. community
fighting to hold onto Jews.
Rarely has a single day — one day less of Hebrew school instruction a week, to be exact — so polarized a Jewish community. But in the desperate fight for Jewish souls playing out in the Long Island town of Oceanside, Chabad of Oceanside’s one-day-a-week Hebrew school, now in its 10th year and drawing a big crowd of students, is tearing the community apart, the town’s leaders suggest.
Thirty years after the Revolution, a new generation here is breaking free of their parents’ insularity but holding onto their Persian heritage.
Arranged meticulously across a wooden dining table was a Shabbat meal that could have served 30 — fluffy gondhi, “Persian
Meatballs,” still steaming from their broth, Middle Eastern salads and ghormeh sabzi, a green vegetable stew. A Shabbat candle hovered between a spread of tahdig, a crispy rice dish, and shirini polo, a sweet rice blended with almond slivers, orange peels and pistachios.
Lauren put on her makeup the other day. She dressed appropriately for her meeting, left her apartment, and showed up on time at an office near Greenwich Village.
It sounds like an ordinary day.
But for Lauren, a 39-year-old artist who lost most of her business on 9-11 and was displaced for several months from her home near the World Trade Center, it was extraordinary.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.