Short Takes

You've Got Kvitlach

10/03/2003
Staff Writer
Is it a sign of high-tech spiritual devotion, or just another step in the melding of Israelis and their cell phones? Reuters reports this week that an enterprising Jerusalem company is offering a text-message service for those who can't make it to the Western Wall, where Jews traditionally deposit handwritten prayer notes in the ancient crevices. They are called p'takim in Hebrew, but more commonly referred to in Yiddish as kvitlach.

The NYPD

09/19/2003
Staff Writer
It's not by chance that a group of Jewish cops who went to Israel earlier this month returned on Sept. 11. "We chose that date purposely," says Detective Sam Miller, president of the Shomrim Society, the organization of Jewish police officers. "We wanted to show that we weren't intimidated, weren't afraid to fly on that date." Many of the members were no strangers to danger, having served in some of the city's toughest precincts and, in one case, as an FBI agent. Miller is currently a hostage negotiator.

Sofer Sex

09/19/2003
Staff Writer
When she debuts Thursday in NBC's "Coupling," perhaps the raciest show on network TV, Rena Sofer will have come a long way since her days as a yeshiva girl in New Jersey. Based on a British show by the same name, "Coupling" centers on the sex lives of six young Manhattanites. Sofer's character, Susan, is "a beautiful and sexy go-getter with an uninhibited attitude toward life and the world of romance," according to network publicity.

Busch Report Blasted On Shooting Anniversary

09/05/2003
Staff Writer
Marking the fourth anniversary of the shooting of Gideon Busch, family and friends gathered at the site in Borough Park to recite poems and prayers, while politicians called for a new investigation of the incident. Busch was gunned down by police officers who said he charged at them with a hammer after they answered a disturbance call. Witnesses said Busch posed no threat to the cops, and a forensic expert is expected to concur in a civil trial this fall.

Bar Exam Scheduled For Tisha B'Av

08/15/2003
Staff Writer
The state's Board of Law Examiners is assessing what accommodation, if any, will be made for observant Jews who may be forced to take next yearís bar exam on Tisha b'Av. The board has set up an e-mail address, tishabav@nybarexam.org, to determine how many people will be affected if the exam is held on the day of mourning, which is a fast day. Those requesting an accommodation should notify the board in writing by Oct. 10.

Coroner Backs Witnesses In Borough Park Shooting

08/15/2003
Staff Writer
An expert medical examiner has corroborated witness accounts that Gideon Busch was not charging at police when they shot him to death in a controversial August 1999 incident in Borough Park, recent court documents reveal. Suffolk County Medical Examiner Charles Wetli, who is to testify for New York City in a civil suit this fall, told lawyers for both sides during a deposition that the hammer-wielding Busch was "standing straight when he was first shot and his upper right arm was close to his chest."

Longer Sentence Sought For Nelson

08/08/2003
Staff Writer
Lawyers for the family of Yankel Rosenbaum filed a brief last Friday asking a federal judge to keep the chasidic scholar's assailant in jail longer than guidelines suggest when he is sentenced Aug. 15 on a civil rights conviction. But Lemrick Nelson Jr. is almost certain to be released within a year since a jury in May found that he was not responsible for causing Rosenbaum's death, although he admitted attacking him during the 1991 Crown Heights riots. Nelson faces a 10-year sentence for violating Rosenbaum's civil rights; he already has served much of that term.

Catskills Accident Claims 3 From Crown Heights Family

07/18/2003
Staff Writer
The lone survivor of a crash in upstate Monticello that killed three members of a Lubavitcher family has returned to her home in Brooklyn. Rachel Leah Scheinfeld, 10, received only minor injuries when a car driven by her grandfather was run over by a tractor trailer on Route 17B. The grandfather, Isaac Scheinfeld, 65, was killed, as was his daughter, Bella Raksin, 44, who was Rachel's aunt. Scheinfeld's wife, Rose, 62, died at the scene.

Rutgers To Host Anti-Israel Conference

07/11/2003
Staff Writer
A student group at Rutgers University is planning a pro-Palestinian event on campus in October, expected to draw 500 anti-Israel activists from across the nation. The New Jersey Solidarity Movement will host the National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement, with the intention of teaching students to pressure their universities to divest in companies that do business with Israel. An organizer of the event, Charlotte Kates, told The New York Post she considered Palestinian bombings "a very powerful tool of justice."

Lies Alleged As Busch Civil Trial Nears

06/20/2003
Staff Writer
City lawyers are expected to argue in Brooklyn Federal Court next month that witnesses to the 1999 shooting of a disturbed man in Borough Park collaborated on their story. But lawyers representing the family of Gideon Busch in a civil suit believe it was the six police officers who gunned him down that conspired on their version of events. No charges were brought against the cops, although members of the Borough Park community insist Busch was not threatening the officers when they opened fire on Aug. 30, 1999, striking the hammer-wielding man 12 times.
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