It was 8:15 on Saturday morning, and Rabbis Shmuel Fuerst and Moshe Unger of Chicago were dressed in their Sabbath best: beaver-pelt shtreimels, or Polish-style hats on their heads; long black silk caftans draping their bodies; and thin white socks over their black knickers.
But last Saturday morning, these two bearded, ultra-traditional Orthodox Jews were not walking to synagogue on the city's heavily white North Side; they were riding in a car driven by a non-Jewish friend to meet the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the city's mostly black South Side.
After waiting and uncertainty, it appears that at least some Israelis will get super-cheap air fares to Israel to vote in national elections May 17, courtesy of subsidies from U.S. supporters of Israel's right. Chai L'Yisrael, a Brooklyn-based group operating from the Borough Park Democratic Party offices of Assemblyman Dov Hikind, has begun calling thousands of people to tell them their $180 round-trip tickets are in the mail.
Peering out at the reporters and TV cameras clamoring around the entrance of his religious girls school in Brooklyn last week, Rabbi Hertz Frankel's mind raced as they demanded he comment on his crime. It was a serious crime, a federal felony involving no-show teachers, fund diversions, false job titles and clear breaches of the separation of church and state. It was one Frankel had quietly pleaded guilty to the previous week.
She was an elderly, recently widowed Holocaust survivor living out what would be the last months of her life in a small Rego Park flat still haunted with memories of her husband. But as the investigation of Israeli Interior Minister and Sephardi kingmaker Aryeh Deri intensified in Jerusalem, it was Esther Werderber of Queens, strangely enough, who came under crushing pressure.
When Martin Walser, one of Germay's leading writers, railed against the Holocaust being used as "a tool of intimidation" by unnamed individuals who "exploited [it] for present purposes," Germany's new foreign minister, Joschka Fischer knew immediately how the resulting furor would end.
"I knew it would be a disaster," Fischer told an audience at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York earlier this month.
Chasidic leaders in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were scrambling this week to find homes for some 40 residents evicted from their apartments Monday night: the latest, and most ironic victims of an expanding, politically charged probe of alleged safety violations by local developer Chaim Ostreicher.
The homeless chasidim, from seven families, were doubled up in the homes of other families and sheltered in local synagogues on an emergency basis. But community leaders stressed this was only temporary.
Like Jesus' friend Lazarus, Sylvester Stallone's Rocky and the hope that springs eternal, Kiryas Joel, the upstate chasidic school district ruled thrice an affront to the constitution, has yet another legislative lease on life.
Last week, the very week its latest appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was turned down Kiryas Joel village took steps to resurrect the school district yet again under a law passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. George Pataki last August.
The leader of the New York chapter of the World Church of the Creator says his group would be prepared to work with "righteous" Jews who "stand up against the mongrelization of the country" that he says most Jews support.
Back in their early White House days, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s more provocative guests was Michael Lerner, the Jewish activist and writer whose “politics of meaning” especially captured the first lady’s interest.
That ended when Lerner overpublicized their personal relationship. But now Clinton’s vice president and personal choice for heir has found a politics-of-meaning guru of his own. And unlike Lerner, prominent feminist writer Naomi Wolf does not make free house calls.