News

High Holy Days Come To Kabul

09/25/2009
Staff Writer
The entire Jewish community of Afghanistan celebrated Rosh HaShanah this week in a small side room of the lone synagogue in Kabul, the country’s capital. His name is Zebulon Simantov. Simantov, 57, a one-time owner of a small jewelry-and-carpets store in Kabul, returned a decade ago to Afghanistan, his homeland, after spending time in Tajikistan and Israel.

Federation Loses A Pillar In Joseph Gurwin, 89

10/02/2009
Staff Writer
About 80 prominent members of the Palm Beach Jewish community gathered one night early this year, a few months after the extent of their losses in the Bernard Madoff investment scandal became known. The meeting was in the home of one member for a fundraiser on behalf of UJA-Federation of New York. Without prompting, Joseph Gurwin, a part-time member of the community who had lost millions of dollars to Madoff, spoke for a few minutes.

A Class Clown Eyes The A-List

10/02/2009
Staff Writer
Stand-up comic Ray Ellin was performing at a New York comedy club a few days after Rosh HaShanah. It was his usual act — some family stories, some bantering with the audience. As usual, he asked people in the crowd where they came from. “Germany,” said one couple. That’s raw meat for a Jewish comic. “I wish you,” Ellin said, “a year of health and happiness — and reparations.” “It killed — killed,” Ellin says. The crowd roared.

Sephardic Leader Leon Levy Dies At 84

10/13/2006
Staff Writer
eon Levy, a son of Turkish Jewish immigrants who became a philanthropist and leader of several major Jewish organizations in the United States, died Sept. 19 in Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital of heart and lung failure. A resident of Jamaica Estates, Queens, he was 84.

Is Y's Open Door A Barrier?

10/13/2006
Staff Writer
Shortly after Linda Moses and Arthur Gurevitch, a young couple on the Upper East Side, enrolled their 5-year-old son in an art class this fall at the 92nd Street Y, they discovered that the Y's Sunday Young Artists class was starting on Sukkot. Moses and Gurevitch, "somewhat observant" Conservative Jews and participants in Y programming for two decades, had assumed that the art class, as in past years, would skip Sukkot, which was last Sunday, and Simchat Torah, this Sunday.

Delay In State Funding Troubles Day Schools

10/06/2006
Staff Writer
A few hundred Jewish schools are among more than a thousand area nonpublic schools disputing a decision by state authorities to withhold mandated payments because of a disagreement over the formula for allocating funds for a change in attendance taking, The Jewish Week has learned.

Reading Palms

10/06/2006
Staff Writer
Come Sukkot, you can buy your lulav and etrog online. Just visit esrogim.com or gotesrog.com. But if you favor a more tactile experience, you shlep to a Jewish bookstore, or to a street-side stand in a Jewish neighborhood and pick out a set of the Arba Minim, the Four Species, yourself.

Tashlich In Uman

09/29/2006
Staff Writer
According to local memory, thousands of Jewish men, women and children were executed by Nazi soldiers at the edge of a reservoir in Uman, a village in Ukraine, during the Holocaust. More than six decades later, Jews from around the world (nearly all of them men) are returning Jewish life to Uman. For the last 20 years, chasidic Jews and other Orthodox Jews from Israel, the United States and other countries have congregated for Rosh HaShanah in Uman, where Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early chasidic leader, is buried. The rabbi died there in 1810.

Begging For Forgiveness

09/22/2006
Staff Writer
A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.   Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things. He apologized “specifically to everyone in the Jewish community,” to “those who have been hurt and offended by those words.”  

Breaking Ranks With Reform Movement

09/01/2006
Staff Writer
Adrian Shanker, a college student from Westchester, spent this summer working as an intern in Washington. During his time in the capital, he took part in a training program run by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The other young participants in the RAC program shared Shanker’s support for Israel. And, like him, many of them, opposed Israel’s month-long war in Lebanon this summer. A war — spurred by Hezbollah attacks on Israel and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers — that the leadership of the Reform movement supported.
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