Religion

The Spinka Rebbe’s Namesake

As the chasidic sect’s leader goes to jail, remembering his great-uncle and a remarkable Holocaust photo album.

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

This week, an undisclosed federal prison will become the new address of prisoner No. 46835-112, Naftali Tzvi Weisz, known to his thousands of followers as the Grand Rabbi of Spinka of Borough Park. Last December, Weisz, 61, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to heading up a decade-long, $10 million money-laundering scheme in which donors to Spinka charitable institutions secretly received kickbacks of up to 95 percent of their donations. The rabbi’s gabbai, or assistant, Moshe Zigelman, also received a two-year sentence.

Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Weisz, left, the great-uncle of the current Spinka Rebbe, arriving at Auschwitz.

Bringing Peace To Nursery School

Project SEED consultants defuse behavior
challenges and strengthen teacher skills.

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The 4-year-old boys constructing towering structures at the Lego table here at the JCC of Harrison’s nursery school behaved pretty much the way one would expect — boisterous comments about exactly what they were building, comparisons to what other children were doing — until one of them, frustrated by perceived slights, yelled loudly at his tablemates.

For Ellen Weisberg, who was sitting quietly observing the boys, the outburst was one of the reasons she was in the classroom.

“I try to stay out of the way,” says mental health consultant Ellen Weisberg, here with a nursery school student at the JCC.

The Dimensions Of Revelation

05/04/2010

Candlelighting, Readings:
Candlelighting: 7:39 p.m.
Torah Reading: Lev. 25:1-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Sabbath Ends: 8:44 p.m.

Must the precepts of Torah have productive purposes? Must they, in other words, “have a point”? Most modern thinkers have thought so. God’s Revelation, they assumed, must surely be as rational as the human species that God created to receive it.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

Innovation Is Not A Synonym For ‘New’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

In late 2002, when our Joshua Venture Group (JVG) cohort was announced, the term “Jewish social entrepreneur” did not yet roll easily off the tongue. There was no “innovation ecosystem” to speak of, few incubators interested in helping us grow our ventures, and little confidence that Jewish life could or should blossom outside of existing institutional frameworks. JVG was founded to help emerging leaders change the Jewish world with their ideas.

Jerusalem, The Mundane City

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu received a standing ovation at the recent AIPAC conference when he declared, “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital.” Pronouncements about Jerusalem as the united, eternal capital of Israel have long served as guaranteed applause lines in virtually every Jewish audience. Israel and world Jewry devote a great deal of attention to the city’s current and future political status.

Halacha and Innovation Are Not Mutually Exclusive

The case for the evolution of gender roles in Jewish life.

05/04/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

This past week, Rav Hershel Schachter, eminent Torah scholar and leading figure at Yeshiva University, issued fighting words. The ordination of women as rabbis is such a serious infraction of Jewish Law, he insisted, that it technically falls under the rubric of “Yehareg Ve-al Ya’avor”—one should sooner be killed than violate the Law.

Seeing Beyond the Immediate in the Synagogue

04/30/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Witnessing Haiti: A Call for Transparency in Disaster Relief

04/29/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

We all watched in dismay when Haiti was struck with a devastating 7.0 earthquake; the consequences of this natural disaster intensified by Haiti's status as the 2nd poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. One hundred days later, hundreds of thousands are living in tents in refugee camps without sanitation as the devastation and fear continues with little signs of progress.

Tevel B’Tzedek Israeli volunteer therapist
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