At-risk Orthodox Jewish teenagers in Brooklyn (involved in everything from credit card fraud to sexual promiscuity and drug abuse) have created their own informal support network that attracts similarly troubled youngsters from across the city and seeks to recruit "regular youngsters" to their ranks.
When Natan Sharansky, the ex-Soviet refusenik turned hard-line Israeli cabinet minister, visited several local universities here last month, he brought a pointed message: Yasir Arafat, he told students at Columbia University and New York University, is an unrepentant ìdictatorî who is an ominous presence dooming peace and must be removed.
In a synagogue library in northern Westchester, a dozen senior citizens sit around a long table discussing current events. In a temple conference room on the Upper West Side, a young family talks about the tensions raised by a child’s serious illness. In the meeting room of a Long Island JCC, a group of recent widows share photographs and memories of their late husbands.
Christians United For Israel (CUFI) will be in town next week for its annual Washington Summit, and one thing I’ve noticed: the media hoopla that surrounded the group’s first few big Washington gatherings seems to have died down.
The lack of sustainability of what is now a $2 billion educational system that caters primarily to middle-class and lower-class students should have been anticipated long ago, when the number of kids in private Jewish schools began to skyrocket, as far back as the 1950s.