News

Suit Presses Falash Mura Solution

07/25/2003
Staff Writer
Israel's new Interior minister for five months has declined to carry out a cabinet decision that would speed up the emigration of the Falash Mura from Ethiopia, their advocates claim. This week Avraham Poraz, who succeeded Eli Yishai in March as head of the ministry, must tell the Supreme Court why. An Israeli law firm last month brought suit in the Supreme Court against Poraz compelling him to enforce the cabinet resolution.

A Messenger For Portugal's Hidden Jews

07/25/2003
Staff Writer
Fernando Manuel da Costa will speak for a few minutes tonight at the Ashkenazic synagogue in Lisbon. That's not unusual for the 32-year-old native of the Portuguese capital; he's been attending Shabbat services there for nearly two decades. Now da Costa wants to tell other Portuguese with suspect Jewish roots how they can return to the fold.

The Very Definition Of Hadassah

07/18/2003
Staff Writer
Bernice Tannenbaum's lifetime in Hadassah, highlighted by international meetings with presidents and prime ministers and other heads of state, began with a Hadassah board member's fiat in a Kew Gardens living room.

Summering In South America

07/18/2003
Staff Writer
Jennifer Mesrie had planned to study drama this summer. Michal Benzaquen was going to earn some money as a lifeguard. Shaanan Meyerstein "was definitely going to travel somewhere." All three are traveling to South America this month: as Jewish community volunteers, not tourists.

Civil War Or Civil Dialogue?

06/17/2003
Staff Writer
Fifty-five years ago this week, a flat-bottom ship that had conveyed American troops during World War II pulled into the Mediterranean waters near Kfar Vitkin, 23 miles north of Tel Aviv, and became a black mark in Israeli history. The Altalena is little known to young Israelis; the Hebrew anniversary of its arrival and eventual destruction went almost unnoticed last week.

Mussar On The Upper West Side

06/13/2003
Staff Writer
About 100 Jews will practice meditation and recite confidence-building affirmations, often-criticized staples of the New Age movement, on the Upper West Side next week. And it will all be under reliable Jewish supervision. A conference at the JCC in Manhattan on June 22 will incorporate a wide variety of spiritual practices when it introduces mussar, a popular component of Orthodox thought, to a largely non-Orthodox audience.

Counting On The Faith

06/06/2003
Staff Writer
Rabbi David Forman got some bad news from his publisher the other day: his latest book is selling well. Which makes "50 Ways to be Jewish" a failure, if you believe the rabbi's words. The book, produced by Gefen Publishing House in Jerusalem, is a personal, eclectic, traditional but innovative guide to Judaism for those who don't know the hows and the whys.

Scared But Staying

05/23/2003
Staff Writer
The day after terrorist attacks rocked the Jewish community of Casablanca (four of the damaged buildings were identified as Jewish) Natalie called to check on her relatives who still live there. She had moved to Queens five years ago from that Moroccan city. "They are scared, for sure," she said. Natalie's relatives are looking to leave after Israel issued an open invitation to Morocco's remaining 5,000 Jews to make aliyah, she said, but added they aren't likely to immigrate soon.

Saving Cemeteries Here And Abroad

05/16/2003
Staff Writer
Jack Goldfarb's first memories of Staszow were second-hand. As a child in Philadelphia, the son of immigrants, he heard his parents' stories, in Yiddish, about landsmen in Staszow. He heard about heroic relatives in that market town in south-central Poland who defied the Nazis during World War II and paid with their lives. He heard about the postcards with news of the mishpocha crammed in tiny Yiddish letters that would arrive several times a year, until the war started.

New Broth

05/16/2003
Staff Writer
A middle-aged woman walked into J. Levine Judaica, a Midtown bookstore, one recent afternoon, looking for an inspirational gift for a friend with cancer. Owner Danny Levine pointed her to the self-help section. The customer chose one of the "Small Miracles" books, with many Jewish stories, by Brooklyn authors Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal. The woman said someone profiled in one of the books reminded her of her friend. The woman, Levine says, spent "a good 15, 20 minutes" reading many stories in many books.
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