What Will The World Say? Don’t Ask

Associate Editor

It’s all up in flames—-our reconciliation with the world, with the church, with the Palestinians. Yossi Klein Halevi writes in The Los Angeles Times (April 8) that all the dialogue and advancements are “threatened by a one-sided Christian approach to the Middle East conflict.” Despite the “outrageous invasion of the Church of the Nativity by several hundred Palestinian gunmen and wanted terrorists...


Staff Writer
Linda Askenazi, happily working at the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, didn’t plan to apply for an opening as executive director of Brooklyn College’s Hillel chapter. But when an insider told her “They wanted a rabbi” and it had to be a man, Askenazi got annoyed and applied. Once hired at Hillel, Askenazi didn’t plan to stay there very long. Two years, she thought. Twenty-five years later — thousands of students and countless we-met-at-Hillel-shidduch-stories later — she’s leaving.

Images Of Modern War

Associate Editor

These past few weeks have underlined the power of the gruesome visual image.

For months there were news briefs about prison perversity in Iraq, but the story would not have vaulted to the top of America’s agenda without the photographs with which we are now so familiar. In the Middle East, the Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera news stations showed footage of Palestinians playing catch and soccer with Israeli body parts, and Palestinians displayed bits of flesh and a severed Israeli head as some sort of trophy testifying to Israel’s weakness.

Beyond The Prom

Staff Writer
Houston - The sanctuary-multiuse room of Congregation Beth El, a Reform synagogue in Sugar Land, a bedroom community near here, was converted one recent spring afternoon into a one-day-a-year use: an enormous dressing room. Amid racks holding more than 500 chic gowns, with bima and Israeli flag in the background, two dozen teenage girls tried on the dresses behind makeshift barricades, and browsed at tables piled with jewelry and other accessories.

For The Bronx, It’s Desolation Row

Associate Editor

“How the city sits solitary that was once full of people.”
Lamentations 1:1

Back when bandleaders played clarinets, and overhead fans whirled over rattan subway seats, the Bronx streets looked like Easy Street for Jews once removed from the Lower East Side or Europe itself. “The Goldbergs” radio comedy was fictionally situated in a Bronx walk-up. In the 1930s and ’40s, the borough was 44 percent Jewish, but some neighborhoods topped 70 percent, a higher percentage of Jews than in Jerusalem today.

Remembering The Rebbe’s Yahrtzeit

Staff Writer
There was a sea in landlocked Cambria Heights on Sunday. A sea of kvitlach. In the open space in front of the gravestone of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement, his followers left small hand-written notes asking for health, a child, a shidduch or other needs from the heart. The notes were in Hebrew, English, Russian and a smattering of other languages.

RCA Seen Caving On Conversions

Staff Writer
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate this week announced details of an unprecedented power-sharing agreement with the main association of Orthodox rabbis in the U.S., in a deal that will determine how Orthodox conversions to Judaism here take place.

Opening The Closet Doors

Staff Writer
As a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the 1990s, Carie Carter was plagued by a feeling that she was “hiding, denying something.” Rabbi Carter spent many years struggling with her sexual orientation before finally realizing she was a lesbian. Once she did, she struggled over whether she should keep it a secret to remain in rabbinnical school. Only now, with the announcement this week that the Conservative seminary will ordain openly gay rabbis, is she willing to have her sexual orientation discussed in print.

100 Years Of The Rebbe

Associate Editor

In 1902, on the 11th of Nisan, in the Ukrainian village of Nikolaev, Chana Schneerson, the mother of newborn Menachem Mendel, the future and seventh Lubavitcher rebbe, receives a telegram from her cousin, the fifth rebbe, Sholom Dov Ber. Before feeding the baby, he writes, she should ritually wash her hands as if before meals or prayer. When the baby cries, his parents, by candlelight, pour water over his little hands and into a small basin by his cradle.

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