Fueling Hate

Staff Writer
Gene Lesserson rushed to his synagogue in Hauppauge, L.I., at 7:30 Sunday morning after learning that an arsonist had torched the building during the night, destroying a ground floor office. “It’s a sickening feeling to see our little shul damaged by an arson fire,” he said later. “I walked in there and had the feeling that my own house was destroyed. You could still smell the smoke from even outside the building. It was everywhere — in the carpets and the talleisim. … Everything is going to have to be cleaned.”

‘A Perfect Storm Of Economic Issues’

Staff Writers
Faith Abramowitz lives with her husband and two teenagers in Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island. While they used to feel like they were middle class and managing, because of illness coupled with rising expenses, they are now struggling — and really not making it at all, Abramowitz says.

Schiavo Case Creates Ethical Debate

Staff Writer
Should a tube that provides food and water to a person unable to swallow be considered medicine that may be withdrawn at any time, or is it a basic necessity of life whose withdrawal would be tantamount to murder? Must a feeding tube be inserted if the surgery would be so dangerous it might kill the patient? Those are some of the questions experts in Jewish law and ethics pondered this week as the case of Terri Schiavo moved from Florida’s state courts to the federal courts following the intervention of Congress and President George W. Bush.

Kosher Wars Hit South Florida

Staff Writer
Delray Beach, Fla. — The full-page ad for Winn-Dixie Stores in a leading metropolitan daily here last week trumpeted the headline, “New kosher deli and bakery ... plus better kosher selection.” Another full-page ad in the same newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, called on Jewish readers to “stop by Publix and let us provide dinner for you. We’re offering two different Passover meals arranged by Gourmet Kosher and guaranteed kosher under personal Orthodox rabbinical supervision.”

A Hero’s Fall From Grace

Staff Writer
Christoph Meili, the Swiss bank guard whose actions led in 1998 to a $1.25 billion settlement with Holocaust survivors and their heirs, is finally going to get his reward. Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman is expected to approve as early as next week a $1 million payment to Meili in settlement of a suit he filed against the bank after it had him fired for rescuing incriminating bank documents meant for the shredder.

Blacksburg Chabad House Now On ‘Fast Track’

Staff Writer
The shooting spree last week at Virginia Tech that killed 32 students and faculty members has convinced leaders of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement that a Chabad Student Center is needed there immediately, according to Rabbi Yossel Kranz, executive director of the Richmond-based Chabad of the Virginias.”

OU Censured On Ritual Slaughter

Staff Writer
The animal rights group PETA has called into question the manner in which cows are killed at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that is under the supervision of the Orthodox Union. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals videotaped the process, which it calls “evidence of cruelty to animals,” but the OU’s kosher supervisor said the animals were slaughtered in a painless manner.

Determined To Make Voices Heard

Staff Writer
Jews in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania turned out in large numbers to vote Tuesday, despite rain and long lines in some parts of the country. In Florida, exit polls by Frank Luntz, who has worked with Republicans in the past, showed that 74 percent of Jews supported Kerry and 23 percent supported Bush. Robert Glaser, 72, of Boca Raton told The Jewish Week he had considered voting for Bush again but switched to Kerry in the last few weeks.

The New Wedge Issue

Staff Writer
The bitterly fought 2004 presidential race may be remembered as the first election in recent memory in which the Republican incumbent put the Democratic challenger on the defensive about his support for Israel, essentially turning Israel into a wedge issue for Jews. Concern about Israel was heightened by the four-year Palestinian intifada that has killed more than 1,000 Israelis, the fear of another terrorist attack in the United States and apprehension about the war on terrorism launched after 9-11.

Passions Rising In Palm Beach

Staff Writer
Boca Raton, Fla. — Rosita Bard, a retired accountant from Lake Worth, came to a Republican Jewish Coalition training session at the Rascal House here two weeks ago and was clearly glad to meet fellow Jewish Republicans. “Everybody I know is for anybody but Bush,” she said. “And they are so hostile. … I’m afraid to tell people I’m Republican. When I do, they say they can’t believe I’m Jewish.”
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