With New York’s congressional delegation overwhelmingly Democratic, it’s not unusual to hear partisan snipes at a Republican administration at the annual Jewish Community Relations Council legislative breakfast.
But the tone and tenor of Sunday’s address by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, which was followed by a rebuttal by Republican Chris Shays of Connecticut, was unusually strident, and left some guests of the organization – strictly nonpartisan, by law – reeling.
New York streets were more dangerous for Jews in 2006 than the previous year. Twenty-three people reported being physically assaulted for being Jewish, a jump of more than 50 percent from the previous year.
It was also a banner year for vandalism, with 165 people on the receiving end of swastikas and other graffiti, up nearly 10 percent. The region’s most heavily Jewish area, Brooklyn, saw a 33 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents, with a grand total of 67, and three of five boroughs saw an increase in incidents.
Though not particularly religious, Boris Karasik enjoyed going to the Orthodox Mapleton Park Jewish Center in the seven years since he arrived in Brooklyn from Belarus.
At the Bensonhurst shul, he could hear a sermon in Russian and recite the Kaddish for lost relatives. But the former Red Army officer, who fought the Nazis and wears his medals proudly on his chest, could also swap war stories with other immigrants over a bottle of cognac.
In full presidential-campaign mode, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton came well prepared to the Northeast AIPAC dinner last week, armed with a speech that touched all the right bases.
The former first lady, a Democrat who hopes to be the first female president, blasted Iran’s “pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric” as well as that country’s ambition to be a nuclear power and the Holocaust conference convened by its president, which she termed “beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptable behavior.”
For David Framowitz, the world became “a little safer” this week.
That’s because Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, who 48-year-old Framowitz says sexually abused him 36 years ago, was arrested last week on unrelated but similar charges. “I’m very, very relieved that justice is finally being done,” Framowitz said Monday in an interview from Israel, where he now lives.
After Uria Ohana, an Israeli-born Lubavitcher chasid, was attacked recently in Brooklyn by teens who allegedly stole his kipa and shouted at him in Arabic, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations denounced the crime in no uncertain terms.
“This act is not representative of our community,” said Faiza Ali, the group’s community affairs director at a press conference at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. A bias attack on Jews is an attack on all people.”
When it comes to rallying the Jewish vote, former Mayor Ed Koch has emerged as the Bush-Cheney campaign’s weapon of mass discussion.
Koch, a Democrat, is on a tour of speaking engagements at Jewish venues in battleground states, making the case for Republican President George W. Bush’s re-election.
His schedule this week called for debating New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a supporter of Democrat John Kerry, in suburban Philadelphia, then traveling to Florida. An Ohio trip was also in the works.
Seeking a strategy for survival in a changing demographic landscape, members of the Rego Park Jewish Center may soon look to a mechitza as the answer to their prayers.
The 65-year-old Conservative congregation, which has lost more than half its members in the past five years, is considering a shift to Orthodoxy to remain viable.
Organized by the campus Hillel chapter, a coalition of students at Rutgers University is planning to take control of a campus humor publication after it ran a widely panned satirical Holocaust cartoon on its cover.
“Students on a grassroots level have to step up and take charge,” said Andrew Getraer, Hillel director at the state-funded college in New Brunswick, N.J.
Leaders in Orthodox neighborhoods will organize centrally located, controlled fires for chametz burning next Passover, hoping to avoid incidents like the one in Brooklyn last week in which five people were burned.
Amid unusually blustery weather on April 5, a fire company in the Borough Park section reportedly put out 125 dangerous fires set by residents partaking in the ritual of incinerating non-leavened food on the eve of Passover.