Merri Rosenberg

Jews, Muslims Cook Up Peace

Interfaith women’s event
an exchange of food, stories and experiences.

06/08/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Breaking bread together, literally, helped launch conversations between some of the county’s Muslims and Jews.

In mid-April, several women from the local American Women’s Muslim Association along with several women from Westchester’s Jewish community, gathered at Hartsdale’s Chef Central to share such dishes as biryani, baba ghanoush, kasha varnishkes and noodle kugel.

Jewish and Muslim women cook together in coexistence effort at Chef Central in Hartsdale.

Thirteen And A Few Days

Shaare Tikvah honors the more than 40 women who have had adult bat mitzvah ceremonies this year.

06/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Surrounded by proud family members and supportive friends, the b’nei mitzvah who came to the bima at Scarsdale’s Shaarei Tikvah synagogue during three recent Shabbat services chanted Haftorah, read from the Torah, led Shacharit services and delivered commentary on the week’s Torah portion.

Unlike the young women who usually celebrate this rite of passage milestone at this Conservative congregation, the 40-plus women who participated in these ceremonies did so under the doting gaze of husbands, children and even grandchildren.

Members of the Shaarei Tikvah Women’s study group. The synagogue will honor them on Sunday.

Anti-Semitism In The Backyard

Local anti-Jewish incidents spur community response.

05/21/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

 Swastikas. Anti-Semitic leaflets littering the grounds of a synagogue and the lawns of private homes. Anti-Semitic comments at a sporting event. Anti-Jewish jokes circulating at a middle school. 

These aren’t exactly the sorts of things that Westchester’s Jewish residents expect to encounter.

Such bias is especially disturbing for Jewish residents who live in some of the county’s prettiest communities, like Rye, Scarsdale, Irvington and Edgemont, where these recent incidents occurred.

Stephen Gordon, left, co-chair of the “Understanding Differences — Respecting Diversity”

Bringing Peace To Nursery School

Project SEED consultants defuse behavior
challenges and strengthen teacher skills.

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The 4-year-old boys constructing towering structures at the Lego table here at the JCC of Harrison’s nursery school behaved pretty much the way one would expect — boisterous comments about exactly what they were building, comparisons to what other children were doing — until one of them, frustrated by perceived slights, yelled loudly at his tablemates.

For Ellen Weisberg, who was sitting quietly observing the boys, the outburst was one of the reasons she was in the classroom.

“I try to stay out of the way,” says mental health consultant Ellen Weisberg, here with a nursery school student at the JCC.

Mifgash In Mount Kisco

Northern Westchester teens participate
in exchange program with Israeli peers.

04/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The gym at the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester in Pleasantville echoed with the steady buzz of more than 100 middle school students, occupied in equal measure with eating vast quantities of kosher Chinese food, texting and chatting.

Westchester pre-teens and their Israeli peers pose for a shot during Shoham Global Connections program.

Honoring A Legacy With Words And Deeds

Passover chesed project, day of study and park
walkway are tributes to the memory of Scarsdale’s Deborah and Rabbi Jacob Rubenstein.

03/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Young Israel of Scarsdale fairly hummed with purposeful activity last Sunday morning. In the social hall, groups of pre-teens and teenagers, assisted by several sets of parents, carefully helped younger children paint seder plates, decorate pillow covers and afikomen bags, and embellish Elijah cups.
 

YU President Richard Joel spoke at last week's event, top The sign marking the new walkway. Photos by Jeffrey Alan Steinberg

For Youth Groups, Strength In Numbers

Northern Westchester congregations team up
for teen programming.

03/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

It’s a perennial challenge: how can congregations keep their teens connected to the Jewish community and involved in Jewish life once the bar/bat mitzvah is over? While many communities have success with vibrant youth groups that attract middle and high school students, the problem for four Conservative congregations in northern Westchester was that none of the congregations, individually, could sustain a viable youth program.

An area teen takes part in an art-as-social-action project.

Taking Mussar Into Prisons

Special To The Jewish Week
01/16/2009
Mussar — ethical teachings originally developed in 19th-century Eastern Europe primarily by Rabbi Israel Yisrael Lipkin Salanter to help Jews integrate their daily behavior with Torah commandments and values — has recently come back into vogue. Jews across denominations, and in settings from synagogues to JCCs, have renewed studying these texts. Many people turn to mussar to help them address career frustrations, health setbacks, family difficulties — or simply learn how to deal better with others.

Familiar Programs, New Demographic

Special To The Jewish Week
08/18/2009
Although Gail Rusgo and her husband are Orthodox and attended day schools, they’ve decided not to have their children follow in their educational footsteps. Rusgo, a teacher, told her rabbi at the Lido Beach Synagogue on Long Island, “I’m going to be sending my children to public schools, and we need more children.”

Taking Mussar Into Prisons

Behind bars, many inmates find meaning in the traditional study of Jewish ethics.

01/16/2009
Special To The Jewish Week
Mussar — ethical teachings originally developed in 19th-century Eastern Europe primarily by Rabbi Israel Yisrael Lipkin Salanter to help Jews integrate their daily behavior with Torah commandments and values — has recently come back into vogue. Jews across denominations, and in settings from synagogues to JCCs, have renewed studying these texts. Many people turn to mussar to help them address career frustrations, health setbacks, family difficulties — or simply learn how to deal better with others.
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