For seven years Bertha Laufer, an intelligent, articulate, retired New York City English teacher, lived in a non-Jewish nursing home in the Bronx and would help some of her nurses with their high school equivalency courses. But none of her relatives lived in New York and as the years went by, she became lonelier and lonelier.
"She wanted someone to talk to her about books and ideas," recalled Laufer's niece, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer of Philadelphia. "She could quote Milton and Shakespeare by heart and there was no one for her to talk to."
The board chairman of Yeshiva University's boys and girls high schools expressed confidence Tuesday that his board would raise the $1 million in pledges the university has sought before allowing the schools to become independent.
The City Council’s Jewish Study Group, founded in response to a rash of Jewish concerns in the early ‘90’s, will take on a higher profile in coming months, says its founding chairman, Councilman Herbert Berman (D-Brooklyn).
“We are planning a whole series of meetings to reinvigorate” the group, which has been virtually inactive since shortly after its inception, said Berman. “It’s important that members be educated as to the problems facing the Jewish people in city, state, federal [issues] and Europe and Israel.”
It was the third day of the Crown Heights riots in 1991, and a sense was growing among the besieged Lubavitcher community that members may have to take matters into their own hands. A meeting was planned that night between some of the community’s leaders and then-Mayor David Dinkins. Frustrated that violence against Jews seemed unabating while police were taking minimal steps to protect the chasidim, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein took a decidedly unorthodox tack: He urged chasidic businessmen who were licensed to carry firearms to attend, and to bring their weapons.
It’s mid-morning in mid-Manhattan, and a former Hollywood comedy writer is working the crowd.
“Yossi,” asks Mort Scharfman, “you were in the armed forces?”
“Sure,” says Yossi, a veteran and proud of it.
Yossi, an American veteran, shakes his head in mock disgust. The crowd groans.
Scharfman, MSW, is rolling.