Spiritual Leader

Pulpit Fiction

05/07/2008
Staff Writer
Which candidate will Yeshivas Lita, an institution of advanced talmudic learning here, choose as its new leader: the elderly and learned son/grandson of the school’s previous roshei yeshiva, or the younger and more charismatic faculty member who has no family ties to the yeshiva? To find out, you’ll have to read “The Search Committee.”

Rabbi Feivel Wagner, 58; Forest Hills Leader

02/17/2006
Staff Writer
Rabbi Feivel Wagner, spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Forest Hills, Queens, for more than two decades, died Feb. 7 in Booth Memorial Hospital from injuries he had suffered two days earlier during a fall in his Forest Hills home. He was 58. About 2,000 congregants and members of the community attended the funeral for Rabbi Wagner in the synagogue, many listening to the service broadcast outside on loudspeakers, before the rabbi's body was flown to Jerusalem for burial, said Nechemia Reiss, executive director of the congregation.

‘On Pins And Needles’

08/25/2006
Staff Writer
Weather permitting, the Jews of New Orleans will participate in what has become a rare event on Rosh HaShanah this year — High Holy Day services in their own synagogues. The last two years, the weather didn’t permit. Last year, it was Katrina. New Orleans evacuated on the eve of the High Holy Days. The year before, Ivan. Ditto. This year, a Jewish community that has returned home in smaller numbers from points around the United States is preparing for the New Year with an eye on the weather forecast.

The Haggadah Hobby

04/16/2008
Staff Writer
Are you familiar with the Haggadah commentary of Rabbi Benjamin David Rabinowitz, an 18th-century scholar in Warsaw? Or of Rabbi Ya’akov Lorberbaum, a Polish rosh yeshiva in the late 1700s and early 1800s? Or of Rabbi David Dov Meisels, a chasidic rebbe in Poland 150 years ago? Probably not. Unless you are a member of the Oceanside Jewish Center.

Back To Bucharest

04/13/2007
Staff Writer
Like most members of his generation, who grew up in communist Eastern Europe during the last years of communism, Sorin Rosen had no Jewish education or upbringing. “Nothing at all,” he says. Like many Jews from former Iron Curtain countries who belatedly discovered their Jewish roots, Rosen became interested as a teen in learning what he had not as a child. After visiting some distant relatives in Israel, he became active in several Jewish organizations in Bucharest, his Romanian hometown. Like some, he drifted toward religious observance.

Latin Mass Row Clouding Pope’s N.Y. Visit

04/09/2008
Staff Writer
Following weeks of international Jewish-Catholic disputes over a controversial Good Friday prayer, Jewish and Catholic leaders in this country are looking for a good Friday, preceded by a good Thursday — days when Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled meetings with the Jewish community — to restore the improving tenor of interfaith dialogue.

Across The Great Divide

03/16/2007
Staff Writer
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.

RIETS’ Rabbi Elimelech Schachter, 93

03/02/2007
Staff Writer
Rabbi Elimelech Schachter, a faculty member at the Yeshiva University rabbinical school for nearly 50 years, died Feb. 26 in Borough Park. He was 93. Rabbi Schachter served as professor of rabbinics at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and taught at many divisions of YU, mentoring generations of rabbinical students. He was the author of “The Babylonian and Jerusalem Mishnah and wrote several rabbinic opinions and scholarly articles.

Side By Side, In Life And Death

02/23/2007
Staff Writer
They met in high school and became lifelong friends. For six years. Carol Kestenbaum, from Bellmore, L.I., and Nicole Schiffman, from Merrick, L.I., — classmates at Kennedy High School in Merrick — were typical teenage friends, “talking together and shopping together and watching movies together,” said Laurie Fontana, a friend of the Kestenbaum family. They graduated together in 2005. “They went together to their senior prom.”
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