The chairman of an organization of blind Jews contends that the major publisher of Jewish religious material for the blind and visually impaired has de-emphasized the publication of Braille prayer books.
Harold Snider said the publisher has neglected the religious material in favor of large print books for recreational reading already available through the Library of Congress.
Snider heads the National Federation of the Blind in Judaism, which he says has 50 members.
Each day this week, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein of Brooklyn, chief chaplain of the New York National Guard, recited morning prayers at a sukkah erected in the plaza facing the main doors of Saddam Husseinís main presidential palace in Baghdad.
"It's a six by eight sukkah and it is there for all to see," he said by phone from Baghdad. "So there I am every morning, benching lulav and esrog," he added referring to the ritual objects used in prayers during Sukkot.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, honored on successive nights this week here by prominent Jewish organizations, spoke forcefully of his support for Israel and commitment to rid his country of anti-Semitism. And though sometimes described as haughty, he sounded nothing like that on Monday night when he said he was unworthy of receiving the Elie Wiesel Foundation Humanitarian Award and spoke of his self-doubts in making difficult national decisions.
Even 60 years later, Philip Bialowitz of Queens is haunted by the Nazi killing factory at Sobibor, Poland.
"I still have sleepless nights," Bialowitz, 74, confides. "I still see the killings. You could see the smoke miles away. They killed my two sisters and a niece at Sobibor. My niece was 8 years old and knew she was going to die."
He says that when he first arrived at Sobibor, someone asked if he came with his family.
As a move is under way to expand the search for Nazi-era Swiss bank account holders, the group established to speed the payment of life insurance policies from that period is coming under attack for allegedly working against the heirs' interests.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of two Holocaust survivors now living in California asserts that because the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims is funded by the insurance companies, it is "inherently biased." The suit also alleges that the commission works to"diminish or deny" claims.
Following his retirement after 36 years as the senior rabbi of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn, L.I., and then being called on to serve the past year as the interim senior rabbi of Temple Israel in Great Neck, Myron Fenster is clearly enjoying himself.
"I got compliments this year I never heard," he says with a broad grin.
And now, as he again contemplates retirement at the end of November, Rabbi Fenster plans to draw upon his 54-year rabbinical career during his High Holy Days sermons.
This Yom Kippur, the Wrightman family of White Plains is being driven by misfortune.
Jeffrey Wrightman and his wife have always walked to synagogue on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, as have their 16-year-old twin daughters. But this year, with the White Plains synagogue they have called home for the past 10 years ravaged by fire, they had the choice of either riding six miles to services or staying home.
French President Jacques Chirac told Jewish leaders here that although Palestinian President Yasir Arafat is to blame for the failure to reach a peace agreement with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Israel must still work with Arafat because only he can reach a settlement.
That statement did not sit well with the half-dozen Jewish leaders who met with Chirac Monday at the French Consulate, according to Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
"Arafat always wants a little bit more," Foxman later told The Jewish Week.
The Hamptons is coming to the Big Apple: thanks to the "Rabbi to the Stars."
After 13 years developing a 500-family Orthodox congregation in Westhampton Beach, Rabbi Marc Schneier has decided to duplicate what he calls the "Shabbat experience of the Hamptons" in Manhattan during the off-season.
It was a different kind of awe.
The spectacular fire that destroyed much of Bet Am Shalom Synagogue in White Plains Tuesday was being called a ìcommunal tragedyî that has left the 420-family Reconstructionist congregation looking for a place to hold services just two weeks before the start of the High Holy Days, or the Days of Awe.