Special Sections

President Endorses Gay Synagogues


President Baruch O. Bauma, head of The White House Synagogue (commonly known as The White Shul) in downtown Washington, D.C., announced today that he was in favor of gays and lesbians in his congregation being granted the same rights currently enjoyed by all other members.

Brooklyn Named Holiest Jewish City


BROOKLYN—For the first time in recent history, the borough of Brooklyn, New York, has surpassed Jerusalem, Israel, as “The Holiest Jewish City on Earth,” according to the World Jewish Federation.

As Jewish Boomers Retire, Is South Florida Losing Its Appeal?

Small but significant drop-off seen as retirees look elsewhere. Arkansas, anyone?


Is the long-standing trend of Jews retiring to South Florida on the decline? It depends how you look at the numbers, according to demographer Dr. Ira Sheskin.

A view of Washington Avenue and 15th Street in South Beach, Miami, once a prime spot for Jewish seniors. Wikimedia Commons

Starting Late, But Not Too Late

In a memoir about music and taking risks, Ari Goldman takes up the cello (again) — at a certain age.

Culture Editor

As he was approaching his 60th birthday, the author and journalism professor Ari Goldman took up the cello, an instrument he had played on and off — mostly off, of late — for the last 35 years. He decided to adopt a regimen of regular practice, lessons and playing with a group, and set a personal goal — playing publicly for many friends at his 60th birthday party.

A devotee of classical music, Ari Goldman finds his voice by returning to playing the cello. Kali Kotoski

Affirming Life, Right To The End

The founder of the Jewish Renewal movement (with the help of a ‘skeptical’ author) offers a spiritual roadmap for facing mortality.

Culture Editor

The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who died earlier this month just short of his 90th birthday, said that he’d been training himself since he was young for the moment he would die. As a yeshiva student, he’d ride the subway to Brooklyn and would imagine that he was ready to depart from life, and would tell himself that he’d be gone from life by the next station. Then he would repeat the “Shema” to himself several times, so that he would be saying the ancient prayers with his last breath.

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, with author Sara Davidson

The Good Life July 2014

Affirming Life, Right To The End; Jewish Renewal Founder’s Spiritual Roadmap; Starting Late, But Not Too Late; Staying Young, With Cello; As Jewish Boomers Retire, Is South Florida Losing Its Appeal?

The Good Life July 2014

The Sephardic Scene

As a readership service, the information below was provided to The Jewish Week by the advertisers appearing in this special section.


Angela Siegel

Effective April 1, 2014, the New York State estate tax exemption was increased from $1 million to $2,062,500.  This means that a New York resident can now leave up to $2,062,500 of assets to his or her non-spousal heirs without incurring an estate tax in New York.  This new legislation also provides for annual increases in the exemption through 2017, at which time the New York exemption will match the 2013 federal exemption of $5,250,000.

Yemenite Jewish Music, ‘Set To Beats’

Erez Safar helped put Sephardic musical culture on the map, and in the process honored his mother’s heritage.

Special To The Jewish Week

At the beginning of the new millennium, just out of the University of Maryland, Erez Safar was establishing himself as something of an outlier in the Jewish music scene here. Based in Brooklyn, he was an outer-borough guy in a scene dominated by Lower Manhattan. He was a creator gliding easily between hip-hop (as DJ Handler) and jazz/klezmer/progressive rock (as a drummer with Juez, which sounded like a funky blend of Lenny Pickett, the Microscopic Septet and the Klezmatics). He started his own record label, modular moods, and he helped a lot of rising artists break through, most notably the black and Orthodox hip-hop singer Y-Love.

“I wanted to shine a light on [a different] aspect of Jewish music,” Erez Safar said.   Courtesy of Erez Safar

Sephardic And Egalitarian

B’nai Jeshurun’s new service offers progressive touch with its ‘Sefarad-Yerushalayim’ approach.

Special To The Jewish Week

Liberal and egalitarian prayer services have for years taken their cues from Ashkenazi liturgy and homegrown American tunes. But that is changing.

Rabbi Rolando Matalon: Established Sephardic service at B’nai Jeshurun in keeping with his family’s Syrian background.

‘We Want A Seat At The Table’

As he builds a community on the Upper East Side, Rabbi Elie Abadie, a champion of Sephardic culture, says mainstream American Jewry can learn from his society’s way of life.

Editor and Publisher

One of the most tangible signs of the growing presence of Sephardim in Manhattan is the emerging community anchored by the Edmond Safra Synagogue on the Upper East Side, which will soon will include a day school and a 12-story community center.

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