Steve Schwager took a few days' vacation last week before starting his new job. "And I spent a full day on the phone, and on-line," on business, he says: the needs of world Jewry can't wait.
Schwager, 54, who was named executive vice president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee this month, takes over at the organization that helps keep Judaism (and in many cases, Jews) alive in South America and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and other Jewish communities that lack their own resources.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a letter sent last week to Romanian President Traian Basescu urged Romania to restore and protect the country’s Jewish cemeteries, which fell into disrepair during the communist era. “Cemeteries are an important issue to worldwide Jewry, and Jewish cemeteries are no exception,” Schumer wrote. “For many Jews in the United States these cemeteries are the last link to their ancestry.”
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.
Visitors to a new Jewish museum, which opens Thursday in the heart of Munich, will be able to learn on four exhibition floors about Jewish life and culture in Germany’s Bavaria region.
And at the entrance to the building they will learn a bit about a Jewish family from Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Ten original cartoons from “Everything’s Relative,” a decade-old comic strip that appears in this newspaper and a handful of other Jewish papers in the U.S., will be posted as silk screens on the walls at the front door.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.
A Manhattan rabbi who is organizing, for the first time, High Holy Days worship services this year in her neighborhood, has a message for New York City’s active, identified, affiliated Jews: Stay where you are.
Many profiles of prominent athletes feature their “p.r.” That stands for personal record, the competitor’s best-ever performance in his or her sport, not for personal religion. So it’s often difficult to determine the religion of an athlete.
In this issue and next week’s, The Jewish Week highlights some members of the U.S. Summer Olympics squad competing in Athens who are known to be members of the Jewish community.
Zion Ozeri, globetrotting photographer who lives on the Upper East Side, packs a few camera bodies, several lenses and lots of film when he sets off on a working trip.
But that’s not the most vital part of his job.
“I have a big smile,” says Ozeri, whose pictures of Israeli families, with roots in native lands around the world, are featured in these pages. “People have to trust you. You have to convince them to allow you into their homes.”
Every year for the past quarter-century, Rick Landman has held the same Torah scroll during the hakafot dancing on Simchat Torah at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Greenwich Village. The sefer Torah belongs to him.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.