A veteran of international relief work for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Amos Avgar has a set routine when he leaves for points overseas. He gets a visa, makes his hotel reservations, checks that his inoculations are up to date, does some research and puts a "Lonely Planet" travel guide in his suitcase.
And, if the country where he is headed may pose some dangers, he kisses the front-door mezuzah on his apartment in southern Jerusalem.
The Web site for Hofstra Hillel lists a wide range of social, educational and religious activities that the Jewish student organization at Hofstra University offers.
It doesn’t mention organizing impromptu choruses.
Which Hofstra Hillel did one recent night.
If only the Barts had scaled Mount Everest on the High Holy Days.
Instead, the mother (Cheryl) and daughter (Nikki) from Sydney, Australia, were on the world’s highest mountain during Passover, part of a two-month expedition on which they reached the summit last week and made history. They became the first mother-daughter team to scale 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on all seven continents.
The fate of the fenced-in compound in northern Ethiopia that serves as the central feeding and education location for thousands of Falash Mura awaiting immigration to Israel is now likely in the hands of local Jewish federations.
This follows the recent decision of the United Jewish Communities to halt its financial support of the programs, which became effective last week.
The compound will have to curtail many of its activities to forestall closing the entire site, in Gondar, according to spokesmen for the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.
Ah, the memories of the first day of school. New classes. New friends. New security searches.
In Israel, ever more security-conscious because of ongoing Arab terrorism, lines of students waiting to go through metal detectors at the school is front door offer a vivid lesson in current events.
Many schools have hired private security guards, aware that perpetrators of the intifada seek out crowded places for their attacks.
Here, students enter their school in Ramla, where Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to mark the beginning of the school year.
They celebrated the Feast of Weeks in Nablus on Sunday — a week later than usual.
They are the Samaritans, a two-millennia-old faith with Jewish roots that follows the customs of the Torah, the written law, but not the Talmud, the oral law.
Which is why their observance of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks that marks the giving of the Torah, took place this week, a week later than mainstream Judaism marked the holiday. The Samaritans observe their holidays on different dates than Jews do; in Samaritan belief, Shavuot always comes on a Sunday.
It was a Catholic setting for some Jewish playoffs.
For the fifth year, the New York area’s Jewish Community Little League, which calls itself the only Shomer Shabbat Williamsport Little League franchise in the country, held its playoff games at the Red Storm Field of St. John’s University in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
Under sunny skies, in front of cheering spectators, champions of three divisions — intermediate, prep and junior — were crowned. Rory Lancman, who represents the 25th Assembly District, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Shoshana Gibbor, a junior last year at Hofstra University on Long Island, walked past the Hillel flyers posted in her dormitory for several weeks in late 2006.
“Help Rebuild the Gulf Coast,” the flyers stated. They were promoting an alternative Spring Break volunteer program in New Orleans and nearby communities along the Gulf of Mexico that had been decimated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.