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, 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.
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 ranks of Orthodox rebels, despite being a tiny percentage of a small part of the Jewish community, are drawing a major share of notice in recent days. Books and magazine articles, documentaries and Off-Broadway plays tell the stories of young men and women — products of chasidishe and yesivishe upbringings that shield them from the outside world’s secular values — who step outside what they see as narrowly drawn circles.
Still reeling from the shocking deaths of their rabbi and his wife in a fierce house fire last Friday night, the congregants of Young Israel of Scarsdale this week were gathering photos and videos of the couple from their own family albums — taken at simchas and other gatherings — to share with the four Rubenstein children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.