Long Island

Long Island Kosher Scandal Stuffs Dockets

Accused caterer files defamation suit against synagogue after it gives him the boot; meanwhile, Nassau County investigates fraud charges.

Staff Writer

In the latest wrinkle involving Morrell Caterers, the Long Island kosher caterer accused of violating kosher laws, Morrell filed a $10 million defamation suit against the rabbi of the Conservative synagogue in which it operates after the rabbi recommended terminating its contract because of a “loss of trust in Mr. Morrell’s integrity.”

The ballroom of the Woodbury Jewish Center.

Nassau DA To Probe L.I. Kosher Caterer

It’s a kosher consumer’s worst nightmare: charges that pork, shrimp were prepared in temple kitchen.

Staff Writer

The office of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Morrell Caterers of Woodbury, L.I., prepared shrimp, lobster, pork and other non-kosher food in the same kitchen in which kosher food was prepared.

And the three Nassau synagogues at which Morrell is the caterer have been deluged with calls from frantic congregants who have booked upcoming affairs with Morrell.

Both Thomas Cataldo, Morrell’s former general manager, left, and Michael Savitsky, its former executive chef.

New L.I. Reform Congregation Starts With A Miracle

Editorial Intern

Don’t be fooled by the 90-degree weather; it’s time for Chanukah. Just ask Rabbi Alan Stein. His newborn congregation, Temple Shalom in Woodbury, is holding its first-ever community event on July 24th.

“This event is designed to put the Chanukah celebration into perspective, at a time when people are not so stressed out by formal observance of the actual holiday itself,” Rabbi Stein says.

Nathan Englander: Thespian?

Jewish fiction is alive and well in America, and holding up a large pike in the tent is Nathan Englander. The Orthodox day school drop-out, born in 1970 on Long Island, has never made his affinity for Jews a secret: "The Ministry of Special Cases," his 2007 best-seller, focused on Jews who disappeared during Argentina's "dirty war." And his first collection of short stories, "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" (2000), was riddled with Jewish-themed works.

Cutthroat Jewish Education: Long Island

Charges of poaching leveled at L.I. Orthodox day school.

Staff Writer

When a seventh-grade parent at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County pulled the familys teenager out of the Conservative school last summer, the parent took more than just the teenager to their new high school, the North Shore Hebrew Academy.

The parent also had a coveted prize in hand: Schechter’s class list, complete with students’ names, addresses and phone numbers, which the parent turned over to officials at North Shore.

North Shore Hebrew Academy, above, sent mailers to Solomon Schechter students, anger ensued.

Unorthodox Rabbis Growing Two L.I. Synagogues

Openness, outreach keys for AJR grads leading Conservative congregations.

Staff Writer

 One is a kind of rabbinic Dr. Phil, taking the unorthodox step of asking those saying Kaddish to rise from the pews — as if in a grief support group — and to talk about their deceased mother or aunt or lifelong friend.

The other, like a jazz player improvising a new ritual on the fly, will switch from Hebrew to English to chant particularly meaningful sections of the Torah and Haftorah — and then offer a “short overview” of the significance of that section.

Rabbis Irwin Huberman, left, and Paul Hoffman: Orthodox backgrounds, flexible philosophies.

HANC-Plainview Finds Its Niche

With a $1 million infusion, and more pledges to come, a yeshiva that attracts a variety of families plans for the future.

Associate Editor

The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County-Plainview is only a half-hour’s drive from Long Island’s Five Towns, one of the world’s largest hubs of Orthodox life.

But Rabbi Kalman Fogel, who has been HANC-Plainview’s principal for six years, doesn’t think his centrist Orthodox school, a satellite of the large West Hempstead institution, has much in common with the many yeshivas and day schools that dot the Five Towns and other inner-ring New York suburbs.

HANC spirit: The school now has the goal of growing 5 to 10 percent a year. Photos courtesy of HANC

In Search Of A Miracle

Staff Writer
Vered Ben-Shimon speaks slowly, rolled up on a couch. She is frail and constantly short of breath. Once an Israeli dance teacher who worked out four times a week, she now sleeps 14 hours a day. She cannot lift or take care of her 19-month-old son."I can't do anything physical. I can't drive," says Vered, 34. The Huntington resident, who moved from Israel with her husband, Uri, in 1987, has been diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, or congestive heart failure. "I need a new heart. I could die any day," she says.

Saluting A 'Holy Martyr'

Staff Writer
Stephen Odzer's first reaction on an overcast autumn day four years ago, when his pager beeped and a call home informed him that a kidnapped Israeli soldier had been killed by Palestinian captors, was to make a small blessing. "Baruch Dayan Ha-emes," he recited. Blessed is the True Judge: the words traditional Jews say when told of a death.

Tracks And Tractates

Staff Writer
Standing with as many as 180 other Orthodox Jews in a Long Island Rail Road car en route to Manhattan, Michael Markovitch of Lawrence shook his head.
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