They say the average age of the Friars Club is deceased, but a surprising number of new members are not yet collecting Social Security, let alone pushing up daisies. For the third year running, the annual Roast has shined a spotlight on a Friars Club in transition. Once a smoky lunchtime festival of bad taste held behind locked doors, the Roast is now a glitzy, black tie, made-for-television event that fills the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton. With ticket prices starting at $250, nearly 2,000 guests gathered Oct.
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.
"Are you Jewish?" Steinhardt asked The Jewish Week, scanning the crowd, a product of his $11 million gift. "Do you want to meet a girl and get married tonight?"
Is Israel a Jewish state or the state of the Jewish people?
That’s the question that faced voting representatives at this week’s conference of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Many voted in favor of amending the language of a 2008 JCPA resolution in support of a two-state Mideast solution to remove the words Jewish state. The motion, which was not carried, was sponsored by the JCRC of St. Louis.
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.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is preparing to return to Ethiopia, just four months after it virtually shut down its operations in the African nation at the request of the Israeli government. Reports of death, illness and impoverished conditions among the thousands of Ethiopians who have flooded into the capital city of Addis Ababa and Gondar City prompted the move by the relief agency.
The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeiter Ring started more than a century ago in a tenement on the Lower East Side. It developed over the decades from a mutual-aid society for immigrants into an activist organization bristling with radical ideologies and aimed at promoting secular Jewish education. Next week, the group marks the start of its second century with a celebration of Yiddish culture at Town Hall.
Museum Mile — the stretch of Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 104th — offers an intriguing paradox this fall. The Jewish Museum, at the corner of 92nd Street, is presenting a retrospective of works by a Jewish painter who eschewed Jewish imagery in his embrace of the universal. A few blocks south, the National Academy of Design exhibits the work of a painter who rejected Judaism, but uses explicitly Jewish symbols as expressions of spiritual transcendence.
Westchester school trims price tag for lower grades; freezes more widespread.
Eighteen months into the Great Recession and with record numbers of stressed middle-class parents requesting financial aid from day schools, one area school has taken the rare step of actually lowering tuition for next academic year.
Late last month, parents at Westchester Hebrew Day School got some welcome news in their mailboxes: a letter announcing that “for the first time in memory,” tuition would be reduced for the lower grades and held flat for all other grades.
Minorities of all kinds could be targets of angry,
growing movement, some warn.
James D. Besser
An angry “Tea Party” movement that Republican leaders hope to harness to boost their party’s chances in the 2010 congressional midterm elections could also be a potential blow to GOP outreach to minorities — including Jewish voters.
But Republican leaders, too, are in the movement’s cross hairs, and some Jewish leaders worry that the movement could transcend traditional politics entirely and create an extremist surge that is threatening to all minorities.