News

Embattled Hamptons Rabbi Moving On

05/19/2006
Staff Writer
After months of legal battles and high-stakes shul politics, the rabbi at the center of a million-dollar contract battle in East Hampton is set to take a new position as senior rabbi at an Upper East Side temple, The Jewish Week has learned. But divisions between supporters and detractors of Rabbi David Gelfand at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, a Reform temple, may continue for some time, as efforts continue to oust board members who refused to extend the three-year contract, which expires at the end of next month.

Home Plate In The Jewish State

05/19/2006
Staff Writer
As U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer has been involved in some major-league negotiations. Now, he's set to negotiate with the major leagues. Kurtzer has been named commissioner of Israel's fledgling professional baseball organization, navigating obstacles between owners and players. A cinch, he says, compared to his diplomatic work. "These are two friendly sides who are not at war with each other," said Kurtzer, a New Jersey resident and Yankee fan, now teaching Middle East policy at Princeton.

'First Step' Toward Education Credit

05/05/2006
Staff Writer
It wasn't quite what they were pushing for, but the coalition seeking a tax cut for parents of private school students is welcoming the break that will put $330 per child back in parents' pockets next year. The break will apply to all families earning under $110,000 with school-age children, in a plan negotiated by both houses of the Legislature. "This is an important first step in empowering families to make the educational choices they want for their kids," said Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Orthodox Union.

Satmar Brothers Seek 'Self-Fulfilling Prophecy'

05/05/2006
Staff Writer
Calm prevailed in Williamsburg this week as the shiva for Satmar Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum ended, and two of his sons continued their rivalry over the reins of the sprawling chasidic movement. Both Aaron and Zalman Lieb Teitelbaum received visitors in Williamsburg, including numerous elected officials, after Aaron left his fiefdom in upstate Kiryas Joel and his followers declared that he was the new rebbe. Denied access to the main Satmar synagogue on Rodney Street, Aaron's faction set up a huge tent for thousands to join him for outdoor services.

Jewish Task Force To Aid Israeli Arabs

05/05/2006
Staff Writer
American Jews must play a greater role in improving the lives of Israel's 1.2 million Arab citizens, members of a newly created task force of communal organizations that met in Manhattan last week agreed. The task force will work to raise awareness of the socio-economic disparities that confront the minority population and steer funding to organizations that address those differences.

Satmar Feud Escalating

04/28/2006
Staff Writer
As the world's largest chasidic sect mourns the death this week of the Satmar Grand Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum, the bitter, litigious (and sometimes violent) feud between two of his sons shows no sign of cooling. In a flurry of courtroom motions, rabbinic rulings and shoving matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, the dispute rapidly shifted from designated succession toward a new struggle between two men, each claiming he is now the new rebbe.

More Tax Credit Haggling Seen In Albany

04/21/2006
Staff Writer
The state legislature and Gov. George Pataki are expected to continue haggling over the scope and nature of a child tax credit following Pataki's budget vetoes last week. The governor, who favors a credit that would aid education spending, nixed a plan ironed out by the Assembly and Senate that would award $330 to the parents of every child in the state between ages 4 and 17. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver intends to override the veto.

Both Sides Faulted In Boro Park Melee

04/07/2006
Staff Writer
Borough Park community leaders are calling for a full investigation of the incident Tuesday night that led hundreds of people to block 16th Avenue, scuffling with police and lighting fires. The situation deteriorated rapidly after an elderly man from a prominent Orthodox family, Arthur Schick, was arrested in a traffic stop. In the course of the evening hundreds of people mobbed the streets, with police helicopters hovering above and cops in riot gear lining the sidewalks. Besides Schick, two others were arrested. Two police officers were reported injured.

Fired Rabbi's Backers Vow To Keep Fighting

04/07/2006
Staff Writer
Freed from a lawsuit that sought to undermine their authority, trustees of The Jewish Center of the Hamptons have voted to fire their rabbi against the wishes of a large segment of the congregation. But supporters of Rabbi David Gelfand, whose contract expires in June, say they will keep up the fight.

Israel On Your Coffee Table

03/31/2006
Staff Writer
If you like conversation pieces that express your Zionism as well as interest in space and geology, consider this: The Bonham's Natural History Auction, to be held here April 11, will feature a quarter-pound chunk of a meteorite in the shape of Israel. It may not qualify as objet d'art, or take on the religious aura of the recently auctioned grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary's image, but the rock has some historic significance, says its owner, Darryl Pitt.
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