New York

Leaving The Strife Behind

06/29/2000 - 20:00
Staff Writer
The next head of the New York Board of Rabbis will have a new headquarters, but the same headaches, as the outgoing executive vice president. Running an interdenominational organization, to which members of the four major denominations of Judaism belong, gets harder each year, said Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, who retired last week after a decade in the position. "Unequivocally, yes," Rabbi Rosenthal said on his last day on the job, sitting in the board's temporary office, a plain conference room in the Bnai Zion building on East 39th Street.

Prague Cemetery Row Hits N.Y.

06/22/2000 - 20:00
Staff Writers

A sea of black hats filled Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side as demonstrators protested in front of the Czech Republic Consulate Monday. The Orthodox contingent is claiming the Czech government and a major Czech insurance company have violated a 3-month-old agreement to protect a recently uncovered medieval Jewish cemetery in Prague.

'The Fire Killed The Entire Community'

06/15/2000 - 20:00
Staff Writer
Satmar chasidim make a pilgrimage to Williamsburg every Shavuot to celebrate the holiday with their rebbe, Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum. This week, unexpectedly, they also mourned with him. The rebbe's brick house in the Brooklyn neighborhood, down the street from the main Satmar synagogue, was a shiva house following the deaths in a two-alarm fire of his granddaughter, Sarah Blima Halberstam, 20, and her 5-month-old daughter, Chaya Esther.

Timing Is Everything

06/01/2000 - 20:00
Staff Writer
A Minneapolis newspaper a few decades ago told about a baseball fan whose love for the sport had limits: a time limit. He would attend a Twins game, sometimes with his son, and leave after two hours whether or not the game was over and regardless of the score. A baseball game, this fan reasoned, should last 120 minutes. If the games were getting longer, a continuing phenomenon today, that was not his problem. Now Steve Rosenberg is no sports fan ("I never watch games," he says) but he has imposed a similar limit. His arena: Saturday mornings in synagogue.

Homecoming At Last

03/30/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
During 31 years at Columbia University, Rabbi Charles Sheer has seen a succession of political movements wax and wane: anti-war at the beginning, then feminist issues, and gay rights in recent years. But the rabbi's most poignant memories at the university are about small classes, not sweeping events. Since becoming the school's Jewish chaplain in 1969, two years after he was ordained by Yeshiva University, Rabbi Sheer has taught classes every semester, usually in Chumash (Torah) or Gemara (Talmud).

New Tack In Get Wars: Damage Claim

03/16/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
A lawsuit that may provide a legal weapon in the United States for agunot (Jewish women whose husbands are withholding a Jewish divorce) resumed this week in Canada. Stephanie Brenda Bruker, a former resident of Montreal who moved to New York City 10 years ago, is suing her ex-husband, Jason Benjamin Marcovitz, for $1.35 million in damages in Quebec Superior Court. Her claim: emotional distress and breach of contract.

Dialogue, As Well As Death Camps

03/09/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
The March of the Living will meet more people living in Poland this year. And the meetings started this week in New Jersey.

Making The Connection

03/02/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
First came the Shema. Douglas Rubin would recite it in the morning. Then, the Shemona Esrei, the heart of the Jewish prayer service that Rubin said before going to work. Finally, he started to put on tallit and tefillin.Slowly, over a three-year period, Rubin, a 47-year-old investment banker and self-described "modern, liberal Jew" from Westchester, made Shacharit (the entire morning prayer service) part of his daily regimen. After a 30-year hiatus. Rubin, like many Jews of his generation, left Judaism after his bar mitzvah.

A Breakthrough Bat Mitzvah

02/17/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
Jamie Hertz jumps off the school bus one recent afternoon, runs into her house, whisks by Danny, her 11-year-old brother, and heads to the refrigerator. "Where's the soda?" she asks her mother. A can of soda and a bag of candy in hand, Jamie runs upstairs. She is agitated. Her shoulder-length brown swings in the air as she shakes her head. A bribe of more sweets entices Jamie downstairs. A hug calms her. Arms around her mother, Jamie sits on a couch in the living room of their Rye Brook home.

Giving Life To Deserted Shul

02/03/2000 - 19:00
Staff Writer
During a stroll in the summer of 1993, Gabor Baross noticed a crumbling building in southeast Hungary. Baross, director of the National Hungarian Choral in Budapest, was leading a first-time musical festival in Kunszentmarton, a farming village of 11,000. The two-story building was the Kunszentmarton synagogue, not used as a Jewish house of worship for some 30 years. The grass outside was as tall as him.Baross went inside. "The roof was broken. Everything was down. Only fragments remained intact." Baross decided to renovate the building.
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