When I visited Israel for the first time, I fell in love.
Not with any individual, although, like seemingly everyone else in the Overseas Student Program at Tel Aviv University, I harbored a hormonally charged admiration for the tan, arrogant, gun-toting young sabras who roamed the land.
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.
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.
Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.: Francelia Morales, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant living in a roach-infested, leaky apartment with mildewed walls, has been thinking a lot about the crisis in the Middle East lately.
"I feel a link to the Palestinians I never knew before," she said as she sat with her husband and three children amid the cardboard storage boxes, children's toys and English-language instruction video cassettes that crowd her small living room.
Her neighbor from just a few doors down feels similarly.
Inside a Kew Gardens Hills spa that pampers its customers with manicures and facials, only a few women are having their nails done this morning. “Customers are not coming as often,” says the owner, a middle-aged woman with a Russian accent, declining to give her name. A year ago, she says, “there was always a waiting line.”
For years the small group of black men has occupied the center island of Times Square several times a week preaching against white devils and declaring that they are the true descendants of the biblical Hebrews.
Anne Lown, a Jewish woman from Boston, had worked nearly 25 years for the Salvation Army's children's services arm in New York when she was thrust into the world of faith-based initiatives.
Lown, associate director of the local Salvation Army's government-funded Social Services for Children, was one of 18 employees to leave or be dismissed in 2003-04 for allegedly refusing to sign forms swearing loyalty to the group's Christian principles.
As liberal groups hope bank fraud conviction leads to better business practices, Orthodox ones question zeal of prosecution.
Sholom Rubashkin, the manager of the now-infamous Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa, has only completed one of two federal trials, and already — barring a successful appeal — he is looking at a life in prison.
The prospect of such severe punishment — for a man who many credit with making affordable kosher food available in previously underserved markets and for contributing generously to tzedakah, particularly to the Chabad community — has some Orthodox Jews complaining that the kosher meat tycoon is more victim than criminal.
At the same time, liberal Jewish groups that have been critical of the company’s practices — particularly its alleged mistreatment of workers — are hoping the conviction prompts better business practices in the kosher industry and Jewish nonprofit sector.