Aimee Beyda steals away for 45 minutes every morning to the quiet of her second bedroom, where she engages in an ancient practice that has transformed her life. Wrapped in a soft blanket, Beyda focuses on her inhalations and exhalations, the ebb and flow of her breath. She allows thoughts to wash over her, but not to drag her in or under.
“Meditating is like a pill. It takes the edge off things a little bit,” says Beyda. “If I’m down, I just say it’s OK. I can deal with that.”
There were plenty of words last Sunday morning on East 92nd Street, but not the sort The Jewish Museum had hoped for when it planned a provocative exhibition of contemporary art meant to rekindle dialogue about Holocaust memory.
About 100 yeshiva students, politicians, Holocaust survivors and other community members, most of them from Brooklyn, directed chants of “Shame on You” and “Don’t go in” toward anyone who approached the museum’s front doors at the 10 a.m. opening of “Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art.”
WABC TalkRadio is giving Jews an earache. Despite numerous complaints, the popular AM radio station has refused to stop running an ad from the Jews for Jesus group that many Jewish leaders term offensive.
As a result, hundreds of New York pulpit rabbis have been asked to encourage congregants to protest to WABC management.
The Ford Foundation, one of the country’s largest private foundations, has set a course of late to influence the religious debate in America, and this week its largesse reached to the world’s largest gay and lesbian synagogue.
“I have been funding a number of projects to bring new voices into theological discussions and debate,” said Ford program director Constance Buchanan, explaining the $250,000 grant to Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Greenwich Village, believed to be the first time Ford has funded an individual synagogue.
Although he lives in a borough with a sizeable Muslim population and leads a congregation of Bukharian Jews, a community that hails from a mostly Muslim region of the former Soviet Union, Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov says that, until Sunday, he never visited a mosque.
Moreover, his congregants expressed concern for his safety when they learned he would make the visit, says the rabbi, who leads Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim, a synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills.
In Russia, a three-day gathering of physicians and breast cancer survivors. In Hungary, a nationwide breast cancer screening program. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a breast cancer hot line.
Four years after the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee joined the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in a series of pilot advocacy and educational programs in three former Iron Curtain countries, tens of thousands of women are learning to take their health, literally, into their own hands, leaders of the initiative say.
Programs to combat domestic violence and drug abuse in the Jewish community were among the items in the state's $73.3 billion budget adopted last week by the state Legislature.
"Drug abuse is becoming an increasing problem in the Jewish community," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), who noted that he helped secure for Ohel Children's Home and Family Services in Brooklyn a $50,000 federal anti-drug grant, as well as several hundred thousand dollars in state money.
When a board member of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island died 10 years ago, people were told that the cause was cancer. But not until her husband died a year or so later were people told the real cause of their deaths: AIDS.
"Their son became the poster boy for the necessity of having education about AIDS," said Scott Feldman, the former program director of the JCC. "He was involved in the leadership group at the JCC, and he and his brothers and sisters made a family decision to reveal what their parents had died of."