Phyllis Blackman had been alternately attending the West Side Jewish Center and a Chabad synagogue when she suddenly sprained her ankle and found herself unable to walk more than a block. "And then like magic, they opened this synagogue around the corner from me," she said, referring to the Jewish Enrichment Center on the second floor of 176 Madison Ave. at 34th Street. "I had known the rabbi from [his previous pulpit at] the Murray Hill Synagogue. When he opened here, he called me and invited me to check it out."
An influx of grants in the last two years has uplifted the learning experience at Temple Beth Israel. Figure things now to get downright exhilarating. The 225-family Conservative congregation in Port Washington has received a $500,000 donation to enhance Jewish programing in what it is believed to be the largest gift of its kind.
"It will enable us to hire someone with top credentials in Jewish education to turn us upside down and reassemble everything in a new and exciting way," said Rabbi Toni Shy.
Friday, August 14th, 2009
Since I’ve been talking a lot about health care reform in the last few days, here’s another item: the Reform movement has launched its own site to serve as a resource for Jewish activists who want to see some kind of universal health plan passed this year, out-of-control town meetings notwithstanding.
In a synagogue library in northern Westchester, a dozen senior citizens sit around a long table discussing current events. In a temple conference room on the Upper West Side, a young family talks about the tensions raised by a child’s serious illness. In the meeting room of a Long Island JCC, a group of recent widows share photographs and memories of their late husbands.
‘What has 600,000 legs, 300,000 hearts and speaks with one voice?” In the hazy pre-dawn of an already hot July 14, Alecia Sachs, 43, from Miami, waved a placard with that question outside the “Today” show’s street-level studio window.
It began with a visit to a single grave.
About a decade ago, Rabbi Manfred Gans, spiritual leader of Congregation Machane Chodosh in Forest Hills, accompanied a congregant, a recent widower, to the man’s late wife’s grave in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, L.I. The congregant, Jack Kremski, and his wife, Anna, were Holocaust survivors, natives of Czestachowa, in Poland.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
Here’s the good news for the ADL and other Jewish groups that have fought for it for than a decade: the Senate today passed a new hate crimes bill expanding coverage of existing statutes to include, among others, gays and lesbians. The House already passed the measure.
A recent opinion piece in The Jewish Week by three doctors expressing alarm about so-called kiddush clubs, a phenomenon mostly found in Modern Orthodox shuls, was bound to generate some controversy.
Check next week’s letters page for some pro and con responses.
Whether or not rabbis should allow shul members to step out of services, usually during the Torah reading, to enjoy a private kiddush of mostly liquor and some snacks is a question that probably dates back through generations.
Two new books are sitting on my desk, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
One is by Aaron Klein, a young journalist who made aliyah from the U.S. and it catalogues a litany of woes facing Israel. Its title: “The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation’s Survival.”
Nothing new here, just the Iranian nuclear threat, Palestinian terrorism, internal Israeli division and corruption, etc.