Working as a bouncer at an East Side bar with a predominantly black and Latino clientele, Michael Isaacs was surprised one night this fall to notice a predominantly Jewish crowd entering the club.
To show his "solidarity," Isaacs (a burly, chain-smoking Long Island native who recently completed a two-year stint as a combat medic in the U.S. Army) took out his chai pendant, the Jewish symbol of life.
Within minutes, a stranger with an Israeli accent approached Isaacs, 26, asking him if he was Jewish and if he wanted to go to Israel for free.
Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt was walking on a street in Berlin in the 1990s with Jack Nash, an old friend — and refugee from Nazi Germany — who was returning to his homeland for the first time in five decades.
Mr. Nash related a story of the time when, as a child, he went for a walk on those Berlin streets with his family’s nanny. They inadvertently came across a Nazi parade, he told Steinhardt. “All around, people were standing, giving that one-arm salute,” he described that memory.
Rabbi David Gedzelman, the creative and rabbinic director at Makor, is leaving the Upper West Side cultural center founded by Michael Steinhardt to lead another of the mega-philanthropist’s Jewish communal ventures.
In January, Rabbi Gedzelman, 43, will become executive director of the New York-based Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation. He’ll assume the post previously held by Jonathan Joseph (J.J.) Greenberg, who died in September at age 36 in a traffic accident in northern Israel.
Leaving a board of directors dinner last Thursday night, Michael Steinhardt strolled from the cafe to see what the kids were up to in the chic jazz club in his brainchild Makor. Rob Tannenbaum and Sean Altman's Jewish singer-songwriter showcase "What I Like About Jew" was in full swing, the clever a cappella group Minimum Wage trying its best to amuse.
Jerusalem: Sitting in a converted bomb shelter in the basement of the hotel at the Ramat Rachel Kibbutz here, about 40 American Jewish college students are sharing their anxiety.
Like a group therapy session, they talk about their frustration, fear and anger over the recent rising levels of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments on their campuses by pro-Palestinian activists, as violence continues unabated in the Middle East.
Turmoil continued at the Forward newspaper this week as Jewish philanthropist and co-owner Michael Steinhardt decided to stop sinking his millions into the weekly.
The news follows last week's resignation of Steinhardt's partner, editor Seth Lipsky, who 10 years after launching the English edition was reportedly forced out by the paper's liberal-minded Forward Association board because of his neo-conservative political views.
Lipsky's resignation was announced by Harold Ostroff, chair of the board of directors of Forward Newspaper LLC.
Over the strong objections of the nation’s major rabbinic organizations, New York Board of Rabbis President Marc Schneier this week launched a new national rabbinic group that includes 30 members from Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism.
The creation of the North American Boards of Rabbis in Washington, D.C., Monday marks the first time an interdenominational rabbinic group has formed since the Synagogue Council of America disbanded under a cloud in 1995, partly for financial reasons and the growing isolationist philosophy of some Orthodox groups.
There will be no kosher meals. No Jewish holiday observances. And many — perhaps even most — of the students won’t be Jewish. But if philanthropist Michael Steinhardt has his way, New York City’s first publicly funded school devoted to Hebrew language and culture will open its doors in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in September 2009.
Next Labor Day weekend, Rabbis Jeff Roth and Joanna Katz will carefully remove the Torah scroll from its home at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish retreat center they founded 16 years ago, and carry it on the first leg of the journey to its new home. Then they'll hand it off to pairs of friends who will take turns walking the holy scroll 62 miles, to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
Removing the Torah will be the final act by Elat Chayyim's leaders before they close the retreat center's doors, bringing to an end a grand experiment in the spiritual renewal of Judaism.