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.
In a memoir about music and taking risks, Ari Goldman takes up the cello (again) — at a certain age.
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.
The founder of the Jewish Renewal movement (with the help of a ‘skeptical’ author) offers a spiritual roadmap for facing mortality.
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.
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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.
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.
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.