On a cloudy Wednesday afternoon, the sidewalks of lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan are bustling with last-minute holiday shoppers. But two flights up, in a nondescript building near the Banana Republic, a half-dozen rabbis and laypeople are concerned only with the liberation of Jewish women.
They comprise a controversial new rabbinical court, or bet din, which is granting speedy, affordable divorces to agunot — known as “woman in chains” — whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce, or get.
Saying the last 18 months have been one of the "saddest chapters in our country's history," the executive vice president of UJA-Federation detailed his organization's struggle to deal with the impact of welfare reform.
"I can report to you the panic that ensued" as legal immigrants here more than five years realized they would lose Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and food stamps, Stephen Solender told a recent UJA-Federation-sponsored legislative breakfast.
Isaac Bashevis Singer sleeps in a cemetery plot as salacious as the plots contrived by the demons in his own short stories: He shares an earthly bed with his wife, her first husband, and her first husband’s second wife. To add to this witches brew, the tombstone calls Singer the winner of not the Nobel Prize but the Noble Prize, as if some yenta in Miami was describing his award.
If you were Singer’s restless soul, no doubt you’d also fly away from that New Jersey cemetery to be with your old friend Dvorah Telushkin.
This year’s Salute to Israel Parade will do more than reflect on the first 50 years of the Jewish state. For many spectators and participants, it will reflect on American history as well.
For the first time in 33 years, those marching down Fifth Avenue on May 17 will include both Jews and African Americans as they combine support for Israel with commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Minister Louis Farrakhan’s new point man in New York is calling for improved ties with the Jewish community as he works to strengthen the Nation of Islam’s base in the area.
But Minister Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, like Farrakhan, refuses to repudiate — or even acknowledge — the black Muslim movement’s links to anti-Semitism, a task Jewish leaders say is a necessary first step to opening dialogue.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
What next? As Mayor Rudolph Giuliani basked in his smashing election victory, New Yorkers, a famously demanding bunch, already were considering what they expected of his second term.
For Jews, at least, it appears that more of the same will not be enough.
For all their enthusiasm for the huge drop in crime during Giuliani’s first four years, Jews appear to be more adamant than most among the growing constituency calling on Giuliani to make education his priority this time around.