Ellie Schneiderman remembers how her boss, Stuart Levy, told her about the trip. He said: “I have some news for you. A part of it you’ll love – we want you to lead a Birthright trip; and a part, you’ll hate – your co-leader will be Yonatan Hochman.” Stuart knew how Ellie felt about Yonatan.
“My late husband wished me to re-marry,” said Judy Brown, “but it took me sixteen years. At first, I couldn’t even think about a second marriage, and then when I was ready, there was no one waiting in line to meet me.”
They’re both Americans – he’s from Missouri and she’s from Florida – but they met in Ra’anana, Israel. In the spring of 2011, Andrea “Andy” Surasky, then 20, was living in Ra’anana with her family, who had come to live in Israel after Andy graduated high school. Jason Ast, then 23, was living in another Israeli town, but would come to Ra’anana to visit his friend, Simcha.
A few years ago, I moderated a series of focus group conversations about Israel. The participants were mostly middle-aged Jews affiliated with Reform and Conservative congregations. As discussion touched on Israel’s policies on settlements, peace negotiations and civil rights, participants argued back and forth, with many expressing tempered criticism of Israeli positions. But when the conversation turned to the Chief Rabbinate’s authority over matters of personal status, including marriage, divorce and burial, debate gave way to expressions of bewilderment and outrage.
Rabbinate acknowledges Avi Weiss' authority; Weiss insists they recognize all American Orthodox rabbis.
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The Chief Rabbinate of Israel will accept letters confirming individuals’ Judaism from Avi Weiss, a New York liberal Orthodox rabbi, but that's not quite enough for Rabbi Weiss and his colleagues, according to a statement.
A trip to Israel created 'sparks' for St. Louis couple as they were drawn to the holy land, and each other.
Jewish Week Online Columnist
The trip was about kesher (connection) – people meeting people. But it came as a surprise when Wendy Rosenblum and Jeremy Lieb discovered each other – romantically. They knew each other before the trip. They were colleagues in the St. Louis Jewish Federation. Wendy was assistant director of development, and Jeremy was a development associate.
“I got lucky when they asked me to lead this trip,” says Wendy, a local St. Louisan. “Another person had the assignment but she had to cancel. Though I had just 10 days to prepare, I was thrilled to step in. I had been to Israel eight times before, but I really wanted to lead the Rubin Israel Experience.”
As some of my readers may remember, I am getting married later this month. I feel so lucky to have met my soulmate, and our relationship gets stronger and stronger as the months pass. And, though I’ve officiated at dozens and dozens of weddings, I find myself feeling as though we are creating the whole thing from scratch. I guess I expected myself to be an expert on all things wedding, but I’ve learned the lesson that you are probably all anticipating: it’s always different when it is your own event!