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.
Twentieth Century Fox will not distribute the controversial film "The Passion," Mel Gibson's take on the death of Jesus. The announcement by Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, came as a small group led by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind protested at Fox News Corp. headquarters in Manhattan on Aug. 28. Some interfaith scholars have warned that "The Passion" could fuel anti-Semitism because of its portrayal of Jews as being behind Jesus' crucifixion.