by Debra Nussbaum Cohen |
Like a cross between the voice of God and a vintage radio broadcast full of pop and hiss, the disembodied sound of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi filled the sanctuary of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.
It was a Shabbat celebration of the 75th birthday of Schachter-Shalomi, the rebbe of the Jewish Renewal movement, who is nearly universally known as Reb Zalman. For four decades he has been considered by many to be a marginal figure but has, in fact, also breathed a spark of spirit into the inner life of mainstream Judaism.
Turmoil continued at the Forward newspaper this week as Jewish philanthropist and co-owner Michael Steinhardt decided to stop sinking his millions into the weekly.
The news follows last week's resignation of Steinhardt's partner, editor Seth Lipsky, who 10 years after launching the English edition was reportedly forced out by the paper's liberal-minded Forward Association board because of his neo-conservative political views.
Lipsky's resignation was announced by Harold Ostroff, chair of the board of directors of Forward Newspaper LLC.
Ina (Catharina) Polak did not know until 20 years ago that an honorary El Salvadoran diplomat, George Mandel Montello, had saved her family from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis by issuing them Salvadoran visas.
Until last week, one of Montello’s son, Enrico, had never met any of the thousands of Jews his father saved.
When the two met at a UN reception honoring righteous diplomats, Montello was nearly moved to tears as he heard Polak’s story and saw the actual visa his father had signed for her, her sister and their parents.
Before Rudolph Giuliani became mayor, the best a young campaign aide with no political experience could hope for after the election was a patronage job as a press aide, or perhaps a spot in the ethnic liaison office.
But with the ascension of Bruce Teitelbaum, Giuliani's aggressive and dogged right-hand man, the bar has been raised for young aspirants to City Hall stardom. In recent political history, no Jewish aide has become more closely associated with his boss than has Teitelbaum with Giuliani.
The rabbi’s tour of the sanctuary at Woodlands Community Temple stresses what isn’t there. “No fixed bima,” Rabbi Billy Dreskin says, pointing to the ark on wheels in the eastern corner of the room, flanked by ceiling-high windows—plain panes, no stained-glass — that open to a woodsy street in Greenburgh.
“No fixed seating.” Instead, there are several rows of folding chairs, which are rearranged for different services and synagogue events.
And, in the pewless space, no sign of prayer books.