Members of fire-ravaged Central Synagogue on Manhattan’s East Side expressed heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his brief visit to show support for the congregation devastated by an Aug. 28 blaze.
The visit last Sunday marked Netanyahu’s first official trip to a Reform synagogue since he took office two years ago. Reform movement leaders said it signified progress in their attempt to gain greater recognition in Israel.
The nation’s largest Modern Orthodox rabbinical group is preparing to denounce the legal principles used by some advocates of agunot — Orthodox Jewish women whose husbands refuse them a religious divorce. Within the next few weeks, the Jewish legal court associated with the Rabbinical Council of America, Inc. will issue a detailed response calling the halachic principles published by Agunah, Inc. “erroneous and misleading,” said Rabbi Yonah Reiss, director of the New York-based Bet Din of America.
It has been the setting for art exhibitions and military stagings.
It is cavernous and utilitarian.But on short notice, for the Ten Days of Repentance, the Seventh Regiment Armory on the Upper East Side was turned into a house of worship.
Within days of the late-August fire that gutted Central Synagogue, New York City's oldest Reform Congregation, Gov. George Pataki granted permission for religious activities to be held in the Armory, a half-mile away, on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Then the work began.
For the first time, New York State has bought State of Israel Bonds directly from the Israeli government. The state recently purchased $5 million in Bonds from the Development Corporation for Israel.
State Comptroller H. Carl McCall said the action was prompted in part by his trip to Israel in April for a celebration of the nation’s 50th anniversary.
“Seeing what was happening with the economy and what they were doing with the money was reassuring,” said McCall.
Turn on the TV in Brooklyn or Long Island and you’ll see former mayor Ed Koch praising Sen. Al D’Amato as “a real mensch.” Or you may see Holocaust survivor Estelle Sapir ask God to bless the Republican for helping her retrieve her father’s plundered fortune from Swiss bankers.
Jewish education will itself become the subject of education at a Jewish university next year — for the first time at a nonsectarian institution of higher learning in North America.
A new Chair in Jewish Education will begin in September 1999 at Brandeis University, a nonsectarian school in Waltham, Mass., President Jehuda Reinharz recently announced. “This is a big step,” Reinharz said.
The holder of the academic chair will be a professor to be chosen during an international search that begins this month, Reinharz said.