Synagogue

Making Your Website Work for Your Synagogue or Jewish Organization

Quite often I get asked to consult synagogues on their Web presence. The first thing I do is take a look at their current Web site and try to determine in which year it was created. I can usually tell its production date within a few years based on several factors. I then explain what a Web site should do today. After I explain its function, I let them know that the look of the site matters less today than its functionality. Today's Web site needs to be an extension of the community the synagogue is trying to create (or in some cases, has already created). 

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Mayor of the Minyan

Every synagogue minyan (daily prayer group) has the one person who always seems to be there. In some congregations, this might be the gabbai (a ritual director of sorts). In other shuls it might be the rabbi. And in others it might be a lay person who is very dedicated and wants to ensure there is always a minyan (quorum of 10) so others can say the Mourner's Kaddish. Some minyans have a group of dedicated individuals who make it a point to always attend -- regardless of rain, sleet or snow.

Forget being a sage, prophet or king... become the mayor of your minyan!

Exercising Their Goodness

Two bat mitzvah projects hit close to home for a couple of local teens, and help kids here and in Israel.

07/23/2008
Editorial Intern

He was a distant cousin — literally; he 6,000 miles away in Israel, she on the Upper East Side.
But Katy Mayerson, 13, had grown close to Noam Mayerson over her many trips to Israel to see family.
“I really, really liked him and everybody liked him,” Katy said of her cousin. “I don’t know one person who didn’t — he was really smart and nice and loving, and there wasn’t really any bad aspect about him.”

Katy Mayerson was able to see her bat mitzvah project come to life.

Mom's Bat Mitzvah

In a group ceremony, women enjoy a belated, but gratifying, rite of passage.

06/18/2008
Editorial Intern

Bonnie Panzok is just trying to catch up with her children.

When Panzok sent her kids to Jewish day school to get the education she never got, she watched as their knowledge grew exponentially and surpassed her own. But now, Panzok, after a crash course in Jewish history and rituals, has soared ahead, filling in the gaps in her own Jewish learning.

Sixteen women from Temple Gates of Prayer in Flushing studied together for two years in preparation for their b’not mitzvah.

Mom's Bat Mitzvah

06/20/2008
Editorial Intern

Bonnie Panzok is just trying to catch up with her children.

When Panzok sent her kids to Jewish day school to get the education she never got, she watched as their knowledge grew exponentially and surpassed her own. But now, Panzok, after a crash course in Jewish history and rituals, has soared ahead, filling in the gaps in her own Jewish learning.

'Main Street USA,' Just Across the River

The Jews of Roosevelt Island like the
small-town feel of their outpost.

04/01/2010
Editorial Intern

Talk about a Jewish diaspora.
Cut off from the Manhattan mainland and its very Jewish heartbeat, the Jews of Roosevelt Island may be the least-known Jewish community in the area.
Which is OK by them.

Rabbi Zalman and Nechama Duchman and their children. The Chabad emissaries settled in Roosevelt Island four years ago.

Present At The Creation

05/17/2002
Staff Writer
Talk about a job with growth potential. In 1952, Rabbi David Halpern (single and newly ordained by the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University) took what he thought was a temporary pulpit in a pioneer Brooklyn Jewish community later to be named Mill Basin. Congregants met in a store on Avenue N, paying the owner $5 per service. A daily minyan was hard to come by, but families were steadily trickling into the area from such fading Jewish areas as Brownsville and East New York.

Shearith Israel Rebuilds

03/24/2006
Staff Writer
After two decades and several development plans, the nation's oldest Jewish congregation has won approval to rebuild its Upper West Side community center, despite the disapproval of many neighbors.

Burglars Plaguing Brooklyn Shul

12/23/2005
Staff Writer
Bernie Lazar dreads answering his phone these days if it rings in the morning. The president of Bnai Zion of Midwood fears it will be news of another break-in at the 75-year-old congregation, which has been targeted seven times in less than two months, most recently early Monday morning. "It's so heart-wrenching when I get these calls at 6 in the morning," says Lazar, a Bnai Zion worshiper for more than 50 years.

For Brooklyn Shul, Deal Or No Deal?

03/09/2007
Assistant Managing Editor
Though not particularly religious, Boris Karasik enjoyed going to the Orthodox Mapleton Park Jewish Center in the seven years since he arrived in Brooklyn from Belarus. At the Bensonhurst shul, he could hear a sermon in Russian and recite the Kaddish for lost relatives. But the former Red Army officer, who fought the Nazis and wears his medals proudly on his chest, could also swap war stories with other immigrants over a bottle of cognac.
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