News

'Shock To The System'

10/03/2003
Staff Writer
The day after Ruchama Clapman appeared on a Jewish radio program to discuss issues raised by two chasidic runaways, the phones were ringing off the hook at MASK, the organization she founded to address at-risk youth in the Orthodox community. Clapman had given the number of a hotline for parents who are concerned that their children, mostly teenagers, may be straying from what is known as "the derech," or path of what is considered appropriate behavior in strictly observant or chasidic communities.

Poll: Chuck Could Beat Pataki

09/26/2003
Staff Writer
All those Sunday press conferences must be paying off. Sen. Charles Schumer, the Brooklyn Democrat who became a statewide official in 1998 with his upset of Republican Al D'Amato, is emerging as one of the most popular figures in the Empire State, according to the latest poll from Marist College. The survey of 912 voters found that Schumer would beat Gov. George Pataki either in a 2004 contest for Schumer's Senate seat (55-39 percent) or in a gubernatorial matchup (50-43 percent).

Holiday Healing

09/26/2003
Staff Writer
During Sunday's morning minyan at Young Israel of Vanderveer Park in Brooklyn, Rabbi Joseph Rosenbluh darted around the run-down sanctuary, stepping over aluminum pans that catch water from the leaky roof, helping daveners find the appropriate page in the book of Selichot. When he read the prayers himself, the rabbi said later, the words had particular resonance. "I ask God not to punish me for my sins, and to let me learn from them," he said, pointing to a spot in the book. "Remove the factors in my life that cause me to make bad judgments."

Child Without A Country

09/19/2003
Staff Writer
Precisely where 1-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky was born seems unlikely to be a matter that could impact U.S. Mideast policy or the peace process. But Menachem's father, Ari, is hoping to use the baby's American passport to shift the way the State Department views Jerusalem and revise its longstanding ambiguity about the city's status. The passport, issued in December 2002 at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, lists Jerusalem as Menachem's place of birth with no reference to a country. Officials refused a request by his mother, Naomi, to add Israel.

The NYPD

09/19/2003
Staff Writer
It's not by chance that a group of Jewish cops who went to Israel earlier this month returned on Sept. 11. "We chose that date purposely," says Detective Sam Miller, president of the Shomrim Society, the organization of Jewish police officers. "We wanted to show that we weren't intimidated, weren't afraid to fly on that date." Many of the members were no strangers to danger, having served in some of the city's toughest precincts and, in one case, as an FBI agent. Miller is currently a hostage negotiator.

Sofer Sex

09/19/2003
Staff Writer
When she debuts Thursday in NBC's "Coupling," perhaps the raciest show on network TV, Rena Sofer will have come a long way since her days as a yeshiva girl in New Jersey. Based on a British show by the same name, "Coupling" centers on the sex lives of six young Manhattanites. Sofer's character, Susan, is "a beautiful and sexy go-getter with an uninhibited attitude toward life and the world of romance," according to network publicity.

Distinguished Service

09/12/2003
Staff Writer
When 2nd Lt. Jonathan Zagdanski arrived in Kuwait last January, he found himself on an urgent supply mission. The kosher meals he had arranged back in Fort Benning, Ga., hadn't arrived, and the supply officer in Kuwait City knew nothing about it. "I had to bust his nuts for two weeks to get me my meals," Zagdanski said. "He got so sick and tired of me, he showed up with a truck": enough meals to feed a kosher battalion, if there was one. Word spread about the food, and dozens of gentile soldiers suddenly turned kosher.

Busch Report Blasted On Shooting Anniversary

09/05/2003
Staff Writer
Marking the fourth anniversary of the shooting of Gideon Busch, family and friends gathered at the site in Borough Park to recite poems and prayers, while politicians called for a new investigation of the incident. Busch was gunned down by police officers who said he charged at them with a hammer after they answered a disturbance call. Witnesses said Busch posed no threat to the cops, and a forensic expert is expected to concur in a civil trial this fall.

Primary Concerns

09/05/2003
Staff Writer
Expect few surprises as New Yorkers head to the polls Tuesday in an unusual primary held only two years after the last citywide election. The races for City Council were prompted by district changes based on the decennial census. Candidates for Civil Court also will be chosen. Most Council members who face primary challenges are likely to cruise to re-election, observers say.

The Mayor's Mensch

08/29/2003
Staff Writer
Most politicians tend to play up their friends in high places. Simcha Felder seems to downplay them. When asked about his cozy relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Brooklyn councilman simply says, "A lot of people have good relationships with the mayor." But a lot of people weren't invited by Bloomberg to fly to Israel this week on his private jet. Felder is one of 10 Jewish members of the City Council, but the only one making the trip.
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