Matisyahu’s New Spiritual Groove

Staff Writer
It is only a few miles from Crown Heights to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but in some respects, the asphalt avenues linking them bridge entirely disparate worlds. Matisyahu Miller  — known to his legions of fans by his first name, and to his friends simply as Matis — makes the trip almost daily. He bikes from the Crown Heights apartment he shares with his wife and two young sons to the loft space he’s just rented in the old industrial neighborhood, giving him a place to write and rehearse his next album.

Empty Shelves At Jewish Food Pantries

Staff Writer
Thanksgiving leftovers are still in most of our refrigerators, but Benny Wechsler is already worrying about Passover. Months before the first seder, Wechsler is usually squirreling away funding from state and city sources for his program, the Kosher Food Network of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, so that when he has to buy the holiday provisions that his program distributes to more than 50,000 families for Passover, he has the money saved up. This year, though, for the first time, Wechsler isn’t able to put that money aside.

A Foot In Both Worlds

Staff Writer
Julie Sandorf, on the cusp of turning 50, is also on the cusp of starting a big new job. In January she becomes president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. Revson, with $165 million in assets, according to 2005 tax records (the most recent publicly available), is a major player in both New York and Jewish affairs, two areas that get much of its focus and funding. Recipients of major gifts in the Jewish realm include the Jewish Theological Seminary, for a fellowship in advanced Jewish studies, the Jewish Media Fund, Hillel and the American Jewish World Service.

Feminists Object, But ArtScroll Rolls On

Staff Writer

Walking into a room where the women’s prayer group meets at the Ramaz School, a board member of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance saw about a dozen copies of “Ohel Sarah: Women’s Siddur,” by the ArtScroll imprint of Mesorah Publications.

New JTS Chancellor To Empower Grassroots

Staff Writer
At a time when the Conservative movement is struggling to define its goals and message, the new chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Arnold Eisen, appears set to empower the members themselves to determine its identity. Even “the rabbis are asking me, ‘what does it mean to be a Conservative Jew?’” Eisen told The Jewish Week on the eve of his inauguration this week as the seventh chancellor of JTS, the movement’s anchor institution.

After The Fall

Staff Writer
When John Ruskay met with a major donor to UJA-Federation of New York Monday in the man’s Midtown office, multiple screens on his desk flashed with stock prices and minute-by-minute financial updates. Their first order of business was to talk about the volatility currently wreaking havoc in the hedge fund, credit and mortgage markets.

A Vehicle For Education

Staff Writer
Hazon, the New York-based Jewish environmental organization, is using a yellow school bus to send a green message. Actually, 11⁄2 yellow school buses. In a kick-off ceremony last week outside the United Nations, in honor of Jewish Social Action Month, a “Topsy Turvy Bus,” two chassis fused together, began a three-month journey across the country. The biodiesel-fueled bus, staffed by a few Hazon members, will stop at synagogues and Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions between New York and California to deliver its environmental message.

Not Your Grandfather’s Beit Midrash

Staff Writer
Like thousands of men have done for hundreds of years, Rachel Druck is studying the prohibitions of Yom Kippur these days. In Aramaic, in the Talmud, in a yeshiva.

Interfaith Concert For South Africa

Staff Writer
A first-time visit to South Africa, newly free of apartheid in the mid-1990s, was an eye opener for Rev. Linda Tarry-Chard. Rev. Tarry-Chard, minister for interfaith relations at Riverside Church on The Upper West Side, was shocked by the poverty and the still-inequitable living conditions she saw in the townships where many of the country’s black citizens lived.

Telling Two Stories With One Voice

Staff Writer
Bill Tingling, founder of a Brooklyn-based literacy project that teaches public school students the fundamentals of journalism, was looking for a new way to discuss prejudice a few years ago. Have the students — mostly from the minority community — interview Holocaust survivors, suggested an Irish friend of Tingling.
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