News

Ancient Texts, Modern Social Justice

06/10/2009
Staff Writer
American Jewish World Service, the 24-year-old, New York-based organization that sends volunteers to “alleviate poverty, hunger and disease among people across the globe,” has increased its Jewish content in recent years. AJWS provides its volunteers a more intensive Jewish background through educational workshops and a curriculum that stresses Jewish sources for its ecumenical work.

For These Hard Times, Lessons In Resilience

06/03/2009
Staff Writer
During the Great Depression Sidney Kronish was, like countless Americans, out of work. He hunched over a typewriter for hours in his family’s cramped Bronx apartment, eventually mailing hundreds of job application letters. Other days, he took the subway to employment offices along Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. “No job was beneath me,” he says. After a series of menial jobs, he found his career in teaching. A keen sense of self-sacrifice, and a family he leaned on for support, kept him going, Kronish says.

Last Of A Breed Of Israeli Presidents

06/03/2009
Staff Writer
For a period in the modern history of Israel, the country’s presidency, largely a figurehead position, was the province of academia, filled — after Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, a scientist and Zionist leader — by men who became president from largely apolitical professions, a poet and historian among them. The last man like that died on Saturday.

Sotomayor Gets Preliminary Thumbs Up

05/27/2009
Staff Writer
Sonia Sotomayor has ruled on only a limited number of cases directly involving the Jewish community or Jewish issues during her 17 years as a federal judge, but her record seems reassuring, according to legal experts and representatives of Jewish organizations. President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated Sotomayor, from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to succeed Associate Justice David Souter, who is stepping down from the Supreme Court when its current session ends this summer.

Jerusalem, United

05/27/2009
Staff Writer
In Israel, it’s known as Yom Yerushalayim, the annual commemoration of the day, Iyar 28 on the Hebrew calendar, when the capital of the Jewish state was suddenly unified during the Six-Day War in 1967. In Israel, it’s become a quasi-religious holiday with political and messianic overtones; a time for singing and dancing, rallies and counter-rallies.

The Day Of Bonfires And Haircuts

05/20/2009
Staff Writer
On the Sea of Galilee, a boat ride. In Moscow, a parade. In Australia, bonfires from Perth to Melbourne. In South Africa, Bedouin-style braais, as barbecues are known there. In Israel, the U.S. and other Jewish venues, festive haircuts and weddings and picnics and other spirited celebrations. On Lag b’Omer, the 33rd day of the period between Passover and Shavuot, a period of semi-mourning because of a divine-sent plague that took the lives of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva 2,000 years ago during the first 32 days of the Omer, joy is a mitzvah.

Battle Of The Books

05/13/2009
Staff Writer
Suddenly, there’s a Siddur War brewing. Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, one of the Upper East Side’s major Modern Orthodox synagogues, will receive a major shipment in the next few weeks — 500 copies of a new prayer book.

These Inspectors Stay Out Of The Kitchen

05/13/2009
Staff Writer
A young rabbi walked into one of Michael Gershkovich’s kosher restaurants on the Upper West Side a few weeks ago, asked for the owner, then began a sales pitch. The rabbi was selling not a product, but an idea — a new form of free kosher supervision that certifies not ritual standards, but compliance with the Torah’s brand of ethics. Gershkovich, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who owns Mike’s Bistro and Mike’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, was convinced.

The Medals Of Mettle

05/13/2009
Staff Writer
Mira, a sergeant in the Red Army during World War II, moved from unit to unit, treating wounded soldiers. Yakov served as a captain, stationed by the navy in several places. Emanuel, an officer, was stationed at the front. If they were still in the former Soviet Union, they would take part in a national celebration last week of Victory in Europe Day, a holiday commemorating the end of what was called in the USSR “The Great Patriotic.”

A Voice For The Homeless Of Gush Katif

05/13/2009
Staff Writer
Like many of the 8,000 Israelis who were evacuated by the Israeli Army from Gaza in August, 2005, Dror Vanunu who lived in Gush Katif and served as a spokesman for the evacuees, is now based in temporary quarters, a pre-fabricated home in Nitzan, near the Mediterranean coast between Ashdod and Ashkelon. He was in New York recently as part of a lobbying and public relations mission.
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