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What Not To Say To Parents Of Kids With Disabilities

Parents of children with special needs have their hands full, juggling medical and thrapy appointments, often struggling to keep up with costs, and trying to give their other children the most normal life possible. When people not faced with these challenges encounter someone who is, they often feel compelled to say something.

The Shabbat Scooter

The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.

Orthodox Scandals Could Harm Power Base, Experts Warn

Rash of recent prosecutions may leave community open to political backlash.

02/25/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

In the wake of recent scandals involving local Orthodox Jews, some sociologists think there could soon be a backlash against the political power of what has long been one of the most sought-after voting blocs.

“Situations like this have a cumulative effect,” said William Helmreich, a professor of sociology at City College and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College.

Rabbi Milton Balkany: Brooklyn power broker charged with extortion in hedge fund case.

Raising The Curtain Again

04/26/2002
Staff Writer

Keeping a small Jewish theater company going for 28 years has never been easy, but Sept. 11 almost put the Jewish Repertory Theatre out of business.

On that morning, the theater’s manager Laura Rockefeller was stage-managing a financial seminar at Windows on the World and never had a chance to escape after the first plane struck Tower One. The tragic death of the 41-year-old theater lover nearly forced artistic director Ran Avni to give up on the already hobbled company he had founded in 1974.

Stranger No More

01/17/2003
Staff Writer

With his odes to Italian restaurants and songs about Catholic girls, most Billy Joel fans may never have pegged the "Piano Man" for the scion of a once-thriving German-Jewish mercantile family whose fortunes were swept away in the Holocaust.

Hidden Lens

12/12/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

It is estimated that there are 4.2 million closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras operating in Great Britain, one for every 15 residents of the country. Don’t worry, though: the United States is rushing to catch up. Baltimore, for example, already has 400 such cameras in place and, as filmmaker Adam Rifkin notes, “Mayors Bloomberg and Daley [of Chicago] and Villaraigosa [of Los Angeles] all want to put in more cameras.”

FSU Shoah Names Sought

04/13/2007
Special to The Jewish Week

 An estimated two and a half million Jews were killed in the republics of the former Soviet Union during the Holocaust, over 40 percent of the total. Yet Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Museum, presently has less than half a million of their names in its database.

That’s why the museum has launched the Shoah Victims Names Recovery Project in the FSU. In late March, Boris Maftsir, manager of the project, held a series of meetings in the Russian-speaking Jewish communities of New York and Chicago to solicit evidence of lost loved ones to Yad Vashem.

Orthodox Group Pushing Ethical Kosher Guidelines

In wake of Agriprocessors, RCA targets ‘wrongdoing.’

01/28/2010
Associate Editor

A few months after the Conservative movement unveiled a first draft of its “Magen Tzedek” standards for evaluating whether kosher food companies comply with Jewish ethical teachings, a centrist Orthodox group has issued its own “principles and ethical guidelines” for the kosher food industry.

‘To Do Chesed, Every Day’

Special To The Jewish Week
10/20/2009
‘Jews don’t become nurses,” Meryl Collyns (then Greenblum) was told, when she expressed interest in nursing school as she was completing high school in Queens in the early 1970s. But she persisted and upon graduation got a job at Roosevelt Hospital, where she has worked for more than 30 years and now serves as director of nursing for maternal child health. When she began, she was one of three Jewish nurses in the hospital and recalls that her manager, a Seventh Day Adventist, was sympathetic to her scheduling needs around the Sabbath and holidays.

Olympic Gadfly

07/30/2008
Staff Writer
A year ago, Jill Savitt found herself in a scorching refugee camp in northern Africa, holding the hand of a boy whose family had lost its home in the Darfur genocide, and thinking of her own 9-year-old son who was safe at home in Brooklyn. Savitt’s visit to the camp in Chad, her first on-site encounter with the victims of the five-year campaign of murder and enslavement conducted by the government in neighboring Sudan, was another step in a mid-career change that brought her from nonprofit communications consultant to advocate for genocide victims.
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