“I f God had to choose His favorite baseball player of all time, who would He pick? Babe Ruth? Ted Williams? Sandy Koufax?”
That was the question Rabbi Beni Krohn, the assistant rabbi at Rinat Yisrael, a Modern Orthodox congregation in Teaneck, N.J., posed to his congregants at the outset of a sermon during the Sukkot holiday.
For a ritual structure intended to evoke fragility and transience, the sukkah enjoys an oddly long life as an object of contemplation and representation.
Two years ago, it was Sukkah City, an architecture competition and public art project in Union Square. It drew an estimated 200,000 viewers to the dozen winning, legally valid but visually untraditional temporary booths built to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, which ended earlier this week.
Last Wednesday night, when much of the Jewish community was still bolting bagels and lox to break the Yom Kippur fast, about 50 Jews were taking in the art and music of Umbanda, an eclectic religion unique to Brazil, at a downtown gallery.
“We tried to provide a creative post-Yom Kippur experience,” said Alex Minkin, 39, a creator of Ticun Brasil, the group that hosted the party. He works by day as a consultant.
When Rabbi Tzvi Graetz was a little boy in the Israel of the 1970s, he would visit the shuk, or market, with his father every High Holy Day season to buy flags to wave during Simchat Torah, when the giving of the Torah is celebrated.
“It was something we would wait for,” reminisced Graetz, the executive director based in Jerusalem of the World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues. (“Masorti” is the Hebrew name of the Conservative movement.) “The flags had glitter, and I even remember a picture of an apple on top.”
For the first time in almost 20 years, UJA-Federation of New York has brought a new agency into its network: COJECO, the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations, which is the central coordinating body of New York’s Russian Jewish community, said Roberta Leiner, senior vice president of agency relations at the federation.
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