A Passover seder on the Baltic is a rare chance for isolated Jews to celebrate together.
Gdansk, Poland – Marianna Grochola left her home at 11:30 a.m. last Monday for a 6:45 p.m. seder.
A widow and retired accountant, a child survivor of the Holocaust who grew up in communist Poland, Grochola took a bus to her railroad station in Slupsk, a small town 120 miles west of Gdansk. Then she took a slow train north, then walked a few miles from the main railroad station here to the city’s sole extant synagogue, the site of the first-night seder.
Organizers at UJA-Federation’s Connect to Care program had expected only 400.
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Like many commuters, David Arnou traveled to Manhattan on March 2 wearing a suit and tie, carrying a brown-leather briefcase and looking crisp. An accountant who has worked as the comptroller of a private firm and the director of a nonprofit agency, he even showed up where he had to go 90 minutes early.
Jack Polak states the situation quite succinctly at the outset of Michele Ohayon’s new documentary, “Steal a Pencil for Me.” The engaging nonagenarian, who is one of the film’s central figures, smiles slyly at the camera and says, “I’m a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend and, believe me, it wasn’t easy.”
Knowing where to find information is not the same as possessing it. Each fact we learn is arranged in the matrix of all we already know. One who knows how to Google “Shakespeare sonnets” cannot be compared to the one who has memorized Shakespeare’s sonnets. The latter carries the words with him. The former is an accountant of knowledge; he knows where the treasure is, but it does not belong to him.
Modern Orthodox here flocking to Israeli singles show, now in second season. Can you believe what Nati did?
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They’re discussing it on the Upper West Side. They’re watching it in Washington Heights. They’re dissecting it on Facebook and on their blogs.
And it’s a television show that hasn’t yet aired in America.
“It” is “Srugim,” the Israeli show that’s a hit in its home country. Critics there also love the show, which was named Best Drama by the Israeli Film and Television Academy last year.
There is no more important factor in preserving Jewish identity than full-time education in yeshivas or day schools. But private schools are an expensive business, especially when the costs of both mandatory secular studies and religious instruction are factored in. As parents face layoffs, salary cuts or declining business revenues, their ability to pay tens of thousands of dollars in private tuition is fading, and schools are feeling the crunch. More than ever they are being forced to assess how to cut costs to lower or at least freeze tuition.
On a cloudy Wednesday afternoon, the sidewalks of lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan are bustling with last-minute holiday shoppers. But two flights up, in a nondescript building near the Banana Republic, a half-dozen rabbis and laypeople are concerned only with the liberation of Jewish women.
They comprise a controversial new rabbinical court, or bet din, which is granting speedy, affordable divorces to agunot — known as “woman in chains” — whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce, or get.
Several major national Orthodox rabbinical groups this week repudiated the work of a New York City rabbinical court that has gained popularity with women by “freeing” chained wives, or agunot, stuck in bad marriages.
Strongly worded statements were issued separately on Tuesday by both the rigidly Orthodox Agudath Israel of America and the increasingly right-wing National Council of Young Israel, asserting that the rabbinical court was operating outside the bounds of halacha, or Jewish law.
Striking out at a controversial new religious divorce court that says it has freed more than 150 women from recalcitrant husbands, a group of 31 mainstream Orthodox rabbis has denounced the bet din as illegitimate.