'Main Street USA,' Just Across the River

The Jews of Roosevelt Island like the small-town feel of their outpost.
03/31/2010 - 20:00
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

05/16/2002 - 20:00
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

03/23/2006 - 19:00
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

12/22/2005 - 19:00
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?

03/08/2007 - 19:00
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.

New Challenge For Rego Park Shul

09/30/2004 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Seeking a strategy for survival in a changing demographic landscape, members of the Rego Park Jewish Center may soon look to a mechitza as the answer to their prayers. The 65-year-old Conservative congregation, which has lost more than half its members in the past five years, is considering a shift to Orthodoxy to remain viable.

Shuls Using Cash As New Lure

11/19/2007 - 19:00
Staff Writer
When David Isler and his wife, Esther, were looking to move from their home in Kew Gardens, Queens, to a house on Long Island, they sought out small Orthodox communities where “everybody knows everybody and is warm and friendly.” And the $25,000 cash incentive one of them offered didn’t hurt.

Devastated But Together

09/10/1998 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Renewal, a theme of the High Holy Days, will resonate in particular this year for the congregants of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue, which was heavily damaged last month by fire. “I’m going to speak about the lessons one unfortunately takes from a trauma like this,” said Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “I’m going to talk of the vision of rebuilding, something that unfortunately Jews are accustomed to doing. And I’m going to say that just as buildings can be rebuilt, so can lives.”

Great Neck Shul Fire Accidental

12/12/2008 - 19:00
Staff Writer
A fire that heavily damaged the second floor ballroom of Temple Israel in Great Neck early Tuesday was sparked by sawdust that spontaneously ignited, according to fire officials. “Last night they were sanding the floor and the contractor put sawdust in a closed container in a corner of the room,” explained Victor Fuentes, chief of the Great Neck Alert Fire Department. “There was a spontaneous combustion from the sawdust and the chemicals [from the floor].”

A New Beginning In Syosset

07/12/2007 - 20:00
Staff Writer
They marched in joy and they marched in sadness, under a sweltering sun. And for the marchers, it was an ending and a beginning, the poignant close of one chapter and the promising opening of another. More than 250 congregants joined in a ceremony Sunday in which seven Torahs from the Bethpage Jewish Community Center were carried some three miles to their new home at the Midway Jewish Center in Syosset as the congregations officially merged.
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