Gone from an end table near the sofa in Ronald Lauder’s elegant Midtown office, high above Fifth Avenue, is the framed photo of him with his friend Benjamin Netanyahu. In its place, says someone who’s visited the office before, is a photo of the 55-year-old businessman, philanthropist and Jewish leader with the current Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak.
Top trip provider severs ties, saying his ‘marry Jewish’ message is being stifled.
“Momo” Lifshitz is a legendary figure among Birthright Israel participants, a larger-than-life symbol of the free 10-day trip that more than 200,000 diaspora Jews have used to jumpstart their Jewish identities.
When Peter Barland was applying to medical schools 54 years ago, his choices were severely limited — most top universities still capped their Jewish admittances through strict quotas, and winning a seat at such coveted institutions as Harvard, Yale or Columbia was next to impossible.
Trekking through ice-coated fields in a brutally cold Russian October, Lt. Arthur Wollschlaeger pressed on, as he and his swastika-emblazoned companions conquered the western Russian city of Orel — another victory for the unrelenting German Werhmacht infantry. He had earlier taken part in invasions of Poland, Holland and France — a World War II military career that began when he first entered the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland, in 1938.
When Caryn Aviv became pregnant with her daughter three years ago, she immediately decided that it was time to go “shul shopping” and began to scour Denver for a place where she would be comfortable as a Conservative-raised, openly gay, professional mom.