California

The Starbucks Rebbe

Rabbi Steven Burg reaches out to unaffiliated teens wherever they are — public schools or a certain coffee joint.

01/16/2009
Staff Writer
At Francis Lewis High School on Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens, the hallways ring with calls of “L’Chaims” and “Mazel Tov” from the jean-clad, largely non-Jewish teenagers watching as Rabbi Steven Burg, dressed in a suit and a yarmulke, ambles along with his rabbinic colleagues carrying pizza, donuts and Coke. Together the rabbis enter a classroom, bearing food and Jewish lessons for a meeting of the Jewish Student Union, a national project that hopes to bring a measure of Judaism to unaffiliated students in public schools.

Taking Mussar Into Prisons

Behind bars, many inmates find meaning in the traditional study of Jewish ethics.

01/16/2009
Special To The Jewish Week
Mussar — ethical teachings originally developed in 19th-century Eastern Europe primarily by Rabbi Israel Yisrael Lipkin Salanter to help Jews integrate their daily behavior with Torah commandments and values — has recently come back into vogue. Jews across denominations, and in settings from synagogues to JCCs, have renewed studying these texts. Many people turn to mussar to help them address career frustrations, health setbacks, family difficulties — or simply learn how to deal better with others.

Orthodox Seen Lured Into 'Affinity Fraud' Totaling $200 Million

Lakewood, N.J., real estate developer accused of far-reaching scheme; may have laundered money through charities; grand jury empaneled.

12/30/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

(Posted Tuesday, Dec. 29, 5:45 p.m.) In an alleged financial fraud that has ensnared Orthodox Jewish investors from New York to Florida to London, a Lakewood, N.J., businessman is accused of bilking them out of more than $200 million through phony real estate deals, according to complaints made in multiple lawsuits across the country.

Eliyahu Weinstein: Fourteen lawsuits from around the country have been filed against him.

The Power Of The Image

08/06/2008
Staff Writer
From the penthouses of Park Avenue to the remote villages of rural Africa, women may be finding a whole lot more support in their bra straps — all thanks to the universally versatile technology known as the cellular phone.

For Sephardic Students, A Sense Of Empowerment

02/20/2008
Editorial Intern
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.   

Social Justice — An Orthodox Cause?

06/18/2008
Staff Writer
Tikkun olam,” the powerful Jewish concept of repairing the world, has long been heralded as the rallying cry of Conservative and Reform Jewry. But a growing number of Orthodox 20- and 30-year-olds are trying to revive social justice responsibilities among their Orthodox peers — not as a liberal, humanistic-driven concept, but as one steeped in Jewish tradition and halacha.      

How I Met Your Mother

03/12/2008
Staff Writer
Ellen Braunstein likes to joke that she met her husband, Mark, on an Internet dating site back when “people worried they’d meet ax murderers online. We were pioneers. Back then, no one was doing it.”   

‘Wake-Up Call’ For The Denominations

12/07/2007
Staff Writer
The product of a Modern Orthodox home and a longtime resident of Boston, Yehuda Kurtzer reached an important spiritual decision while he was living in Washington, D.C., for a while three years ago. He and his wife, Stephanie Ives, had become active in the D.C. Minyan, an independent prayer group that meets in the capital’s Dupont Circle area, and wanted to start a similar minyan when he moved back to Boston with her for graduate school. “We knew we had to have something like this in Boston,” Kurtzer says. Today they do.

The Re-founding Of Conservative Judaism

12/24/2009
Special To The Jewish Week

As Rabbi Steven Wernick presided over his first United Synagogue Conservative Judaism biennial, held earlier this month, there was a sense of an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the history and future of Conservative Judaism.  

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