Rabbi David Seligson, former spiritual leader of Central Synagogue in Manhattan and a leading figure in the Reform rabbinate, died this week in Manhattan. He was 92 and lived the last two years at the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan.
Rabbi Seligson served at Central Synagogue for 25 years, becoming rabbi emeritus upon his retirement in 1972. After serving as an Army chaplain during World War II, he joined Central Synagogue in 1945. He became senior rabbi in 1950.
It's a thank you that has lasted 55 years. In 1944, the Niedziolka family, Catholics, who lived on a small farm in eastern Poland, took in four members of the Charatan family and two other escapees from a nearby concentration camp, all Jews. For 14 months, until the Russian Army came, the Niedziolkas fed the six and protected them in a hidden bunker under a barn.
Afew dozen people showed up when Bruce Kahn gave his first speech on on-line Jewish genealogical research in 1993. The setting was the annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS).
Kahn, then a research scientist at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., and a founder of the city's JGS branch, predicted that the Internet would revolutionize genealogical research.
"People thought I was crazy," he says.
U.S. Jewish organizations have joined Polish government and Jewish community leaders in denouncing the volatile language in a property lawsuit that accuses Poland of a pattern of ethnic cleansing of Jews after World War II. One Polish newspaper editor attacked the lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court as "a priceless gift for anti-Semites in Poland." The round of criticism comes as Polish legislators began summer vacation after drafting landmark legislation to return private property seized from Polish citizens by the Nazis or the Communists more than 55 years ago.
Abraham Gordon, a good Jew from Poland, has a favorite Christmas tradition. Each year on Dec. 25 he tells the story of the cast iron stove. It’s a tale with a happy ending — about the family that saved Gordon and his family from the Nazis.
On Christmas Eve, 1943, the youngest son in the Ziemczonek family — Catholics who lived on a farm in the part of Poland that became Byelorussia in 1939 — carried the heavy stove to the cave in the forest where the Gordons were hiding. The stove kept young Abraham, his sister and parents alive through the winter.
Birthright Israel, the ambitious and controversial project to provide a free 10-day trip to Israel for diaspora youth, is planning to send as many as 7,000 college students in January and February: even as organizers await the financial backing they counted on for the $300 million enterprise.