It's not by chance that a group of Jewish cops who went to Israel earlier this month returned on Sept. 11.
"We chose that date purposely," says Detective Sam Miller, president of the Shomrim Society, the organization of Jewish police officers. "We wanted to show that we weren't intimidated, weren't afraid to fly on that date."
Many of the members were no strangers to danger, having served in some of the city's toughest precincts and, in one case, as an FBI agent. Miller is currently a hostage negotiator.
Among klezmer and chasidic music circles, reedman Howie Leess was known as "the mountain goat."
The saxophone player "created harmony lines that were so apropos and actually adventurous, he climbed the tune like a mountain goat," said the pianist Pete Sokolow, who first met Leess in the 1960s when they played together in Jewish ensembles like Sy Kushner's Mark III and the Epstein Brothers Orchestra.
"He had ears like nobody's business," Sokolow recalled this week.
At first, 15-year-old David Gokar of Brooklyn and his parents were hesitant about the prospect of him spending the next three years at a high school in Israel.
But after attending a presentation that stressed the high caliber of the education (as well as the 98 percent graduation rate among the 9,000 Jewish teens from 32 countries who had enrolled since the program started 12 years ago) David signed up and became one of the first six North Americans admitted to the Elite Academy program.
Marking the fourth anniversary of the shooting of Gideon Busch, family and friends gathered at the site in Borough Park to recite poems and prayers, while politicians called for a new investigation of the incident.
Busch was gunned down by police officers who said he charged at them with a hammer after they answered a disturbance call. Witnesses said Busch posed no threat to the cops, and a forensic expert is expected to concur in a civil trial this fall.
Islamic anti-Semitism is increasing. Roman Catholic leaders are eerily silent about Mel Gibson's filmed Passion play and its negative portrayal of Jews. Southern Baptists are reaffirming their call to convert Jews.
Stepping into this current state of interfaith affairs comes David Elcott, who this week assumes the post of U.S. director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
But Elcott, a 54-year-old California native who has spent most of his career in Jewish communal work, says he's excited to assume the post, which has been vacant for a year.