A city report is charging that a Houston-based international conglomerate has been quietly taking over local, family-owned Jewish funeral homes and inflating prices.
The result is that a Jewish funeral in Manhattan at a funeral home run by Service Corporation International costs 50 percent more than at an independent firm, according to the report issued this week by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Those involved in the business of getting New York's Jews to their final resting place have long been aware of problems in smoothly accomplishing their goal. This week, after several years of negotiations, the Jewish Community Relations Council is poised to sign an agreement with a group of New York City-area Jewish cemetery officials that would help alleviate some of these problems.
"I think this is a terrific agreement for everybody. It's good for the cemeteries, the community and the public at large," said Gerald Hass, president of the Jewish Cemetery Association.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses
International businessman Ronald Lauder told American Jewish leaders unequivocally last week that he had never given material support — directly or indirectly — to the political campaigns of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
The assurance, coming in the wake of a Jewish Week story that renewed questions about such ties, abruptly aborted a brewing movement to postpone voting Lauder in to lead organized Jewry’s most prominent umbrella group.
Spanish is a loving tongue, goes the song, but not too many ever felt that way about Yiddish, right? Of course, right. Yet, just when ìchutzpahî was becoming as American as ìpizzaî or ìcroissant,î Time magazine is pulling the plug. No more Yiddish.New York magazineís Intelligencer (Feb. 1) reports Timeís editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine is asking Timeís writers to write only in English.
Jews across the state have a higher opinion of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani than other groups, but most would choose First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton if the two squared off in a Senate race, according to a recent poll.
The survey of 513 New York State voters conducted by Marist College in Poughkeepsie found that 63 percent of Jews would choose the Democrat Clinton, while only 36 percent would support the Republican Giuliani. The mayor took more than 70 percent of the Jewish vote against Jewish Democrat Ruth Messinger in winning re-election in 1997.
A foreshadowing of the debate that could result from the state's recently passed charter schools bill, and proposed tuition voucher programs, played out last week in a free-wheeling panel discussion that touched heavily on issues of race and religion.