An ethereal chasidic melody is sung in a small room by a minyan waiting for evening prayer. Yakov B., having led the afternoon prayer as mourners will, and having said the final Kaddish of his mournful year, now sits in a pew, closing his eyes. On waves of the wordless tune, his soul slips from earthly mooring; he has an inner vision: He is at a family simcha, the end of something. His father, for whom Yakov was saying Kaddish, looked young, beatific, in the middle of a circle dance.
Jewish leaders from New York and Washington met with 16 black representatives from across the nation last week to clear up misunderstandings and forge closer ties. The meeting was noteworthy for the large scope of participants: including Democratic Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, John Lewis of Georgia and the dean of New York's delegation, Harlem's Charles Rangel.
But also creating a buzz are reports that the event was put together by a 21-year-old summer intern from Flatbush.
In 1971, Ronald Brown visited Prague for the first time and was disturbed by what he saw at the famous 500-year-old Charles Bridge: a centuries-old crucifixion statue framed by one of Judaism's most sacred prayers. The then-25-year-old rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College was upset by the symbolism of the Hebrew inscription in relation to the cross. The quote was taken from the prophet Isaiah ("Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts") which the angels chant to praise God, according to Jewish tradition.
When Anna Motsenyat graduated Be’er Hagolah Institute in 1994, her last day of classes did not mean goodbye. “I kept in touch,” said Motsenyat, a 22-year-old who came here from St. Petersburg in 1987.
Many of Be’er Hagolah’s students maintain ties with the yeshiva which, located in Starrett City, currently has an enrollment of 1,000 students from the former Soviet Union. But Motsenyat took her connection with the school a step further last year when she returned to her alma mater as a Judaic Studies teacher and program coordinator.
Eleven days in Germany provided an education for teachers who teach about the Holocaust. The group of 28 educators from Westchester and Rockland counties visited schools and memorials recently to observe how the genocide of World War II is taught in the land where it began.
It was a trip marked by changes.
Some of the teachers said their view of Germany — and of contemporary Germans — was changed by meetings with teachers and students. Others said they will bring a new perspective to their classrooms.
The Zionist Organization of America did not orchestrate a campaign against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the group insisted this week, prompting a retraction and apology from the Anti-Defamation League.
In a statement issued last Friday, the ADL called on the Jewish community to denounce "ZOA's campaign against Hadassah," which on Tuesday bestowed an award on the first lady and likely U.S. Senate candidate at its annual convention. Critics of the award say it amounts to a political endorsement of a candidate they view as pro-Palestinian.