As Agudath Israel of America mourned the death of its longtime leader and visionary Rabbi Moshe Sherer this week, officials of the organization put off for now any discussion of who will inherit the reins of the influential, ultra-Orthodox umbrella group.
During Yankel Rosenbaum’s six months in New York, the fax machine at his parents’ home in Melbourne would grind out a daily letter detailing his exploits. If the Australian scholar, who was doing research here on the Holocaust, missed a letter because of Shabbat or a late cricket game, there would be two letters the following day.
Outside the new Second Avenue Deli, a gold plaque dedicates the restaurant to the memory of Abe Lebewohl, whose death in 1996 was the beginning of the end for the storied eatery’s East Village location, which closed its doors 10 years later after more than a half-century doling out kosher, if artery-clogging delicacies.
A reward poster on the front door reminds visitors that his murder during a robbery remains unsolved.
Three Long Island college students who drowned tragically while trying to save a friend from a turbulent upstate river accomplished something in death rarely seen in the Five Towns: the entire Jewish community coming together to share their grief.
"The whole community is torn emotionally," said Dr. Lee Weitzman of Woodsburgh, a close friend of two of the teens' families. "We're all sitting around and crying, lending support to each other. It's really devastating."
The contrast between the American spectacle of celebrity death worship and the Jewish tradition of mourning has rarely been as sharply defined as it is this week.
I write these words 12 days after Michael Jackson died, his funeral arrangements and burial site still undecided. The star’s death has become as big a phenomenon as his troubled life. His family members hold press conferences, appear at music awards ceremonies and allow tickets to be distributed through a lottery for a huge, public memorial ceremony.