Winding her way through the rustic streets of Rome, a young Israeli student enters the pillared halls of La Sapienza University, where she will learn about viruses, participate in gross anatomy and study clinical procedure — all in a foreign language.
Hilla Werner-Zafrani, 29, is a third-year medical school student at La Sapienza, where she is training to become an oncologist. Originally from a poor Moroccan family of 10 children, she grew up enduring constant ethnic discrimination and financial burdens in Israel.
Kaddish became a daily tradition for Mark Leinkram, a publisher-printer from Clifton, N.J., after his sister Sharon died of cancer last year. Not from an observant family, he faithfully recited the Aramaic mourner’s prayer, but didn’t understand all the meaning behind it.
Now he’s starting to learn.
Leinkram, 50, is one of the first to turn to mykaddish.com, an on-line resource guide established last week by Partners in Torah, an educational outreach organization affiliated with Torah Umesorah, and by the incubator Afikim Foundation.
First came the date for the bat mitzvah. Marcy Marbut and her parents picked that out three years ago.
Then the invitations. They were mailed out a month and a half ago.
And there was the bat mitzvah tutor, the party planner, the outfit for the simcha and other details.
"This was very organized: everything was planned," Marcy said. "The only thing I didn't plan on was getting sick."
The snag: a ruptured appendix.
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."