The Bettouns are a traditional kind of family. They decorate their homes with menorahs and affix mezuzahs to their doorposts. They gather in the synagogue for bar mitzvah services and celebrate in lavish style. And when someone dies, they immediately say the Shema: even when that person has just been thrown from a helicopter into the backyard of the family compound.
Visitors to an exhibition about Arab Americans, now on view at the Museum of the City of New York, can learn about two distinct waves of immigration from Arab lands: one beginning in the late 19th century, another in 1965.
Katrin Yaghoubi wanted to find a synagogue with gemutlichkeit. That’s German for coziness. And it had to have eshtemah. That’s Farsi for community.And a rabbi whose services kept her interest. That’s English for not boring.
It took her almost eight years.An Iranian Jew born in Germany, Yaghoubi now lives in Manhattan but her shul is in Great Neck, home to her mother, one of her three siblings and thousands of other Iranian Jews.
In the late 1970s the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the New York-based organization that supports Jewish life in small communities around the world, needed someone to head its office in Tehran.
International businessman Ronald Lauder told American Jewish leaders unequivocally last week that he had never given material support — directly or indirectly — to the political campaigns of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
The assurance, coming in the wake of a Jewish Week story that renewed questions about such ties, abruptly aborted a brewing movement to postpone voting Lauder in to lead organized Jewry’s most prominent umbrella group.
Were contracts drawn up by senior officials of Brooklyn’s largest Jewish community council in response to subpoenas long after the work was supposedly done complete fabrications? Or was real work accomplished without agreements being signed at the time?
In the wake of testimony this week at the trial of Assemblyman Dov Hikind, it is virtually certain that point will be vigorously contested by prosecutors and defense lawyers.
A recession doesn’t take a holiday, but this month’s succession of Jewish holidays has delayed the full effect of the economic crisis in New York City’s Jewish community, say representatives of the largest Jewish-sponsored employment counseling and referral organization.
Wait until next month.