Vandals in Brooklyn and Queens greeted the Jewish New Year with slashed tires and swastikas in what appeared to be a wave of bias crimes.
Some 35 cars in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, were vandalized on Yom Kippur, while swastikas were painted the previous night at the Queens Jewish Center in Forest Hills and the Reform Temple of Forest Hills. On Tuesday, swastikas were also etched in chalk in front of homes in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. Last month, Jewish residents of Staten Island reported that eggs were tossed at them on the way to synagogue.
Shabbat Shuvah, the Saturday between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, traditionally presents rabbis the opportunity to sermonize before a packed congregation about problems in the Jewish community.
This year Shabbat Shuvah presented some rabbis with a problem.
Should they encourage members of the Jewish community to attend a rally promoting economic and civil rights for immigrants in the United States, but which took place on Shabbat?
Is it a sign of high-tech spiritual devotion, or just another step in the melding of Israelis and their cell phones?
Reuters reports this week that an enterprising Jerusalem company is offering a text-message service for those who can't make it to the Western Wall, where Jews traditionally deposit handwritten prayer notes in the ancient crevices. They are called p'takim in Hebrew, but more commonly referred to in Yiddish as kvitlach.
For Jewish soldiers in the combat zone, the Days of Awe have replaced shock and awe.
Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, chief chaplain of the New York National Guard, arrived in Kuwait from New York this week bringing with him four Torahs, five lulav and etrog sets for Sukkot, challahs, honey cake and other supplies to enhance the High Holy Days that begin this weekend.