Short Takes

The Family That Prays Together...

09/04/2009
Staff Writer
Uri Cohen and his group of just-out-of-college Jewish friends didn’t know what size crowds to expect when they rented three classrooms and the gym of Manhattan’s Heschel School for a new interdenominational program on a Friday night five years ago. The program, Tikvat Yisrael (Hope of Israel) was sponsoring three concurrent worship services followed by a joint kosher meal. “I thought we might not get a minyan for one or more of the services,” Cohen says.

The Rat And The Rabbi

09/11/2009
Staff Writer
‘God,” says Rabbi Avi Weiss, arguably the highest-profile Jewish activist in the country, “has a funny sense of humor. They’re protesting in front of my shul.”

How To Arrange To Hear The Shofar

09/11/2009
Staff Writer
Rabbi Kasriel Kastel tells of a Jewish family he knew in the Bronx years ago. They couldn’t afford to join a synagogue. So they didn’t go to High Holy Days services. Instead, on one day of Rosh HaShanah each year, they would go to a body of water and do Tashlich, the symbol casting away of sins. “Tashlich is free,” the rabbi says. The children “keep up the tradition.”

How To Arrange To Hear The Shofar

09/11/2009
Staff Writer
Rabbi Kasriel Kastel tells of a Jewish family he knew in the Bronx years ago. They couldn’t afford to join a synagogue. So they didn’t go to High Holy Days services. Instead, on one day of Rosh HaShanah each year, they would go to a body of water and do Tashlich, the symbol casting away of sins. “Tashlich is free,” the rabbi says. The children “keep up the tradition.”

Forward-Thinking Fundraiser

05/14/2008
Staff Writer
The chasidic rabbi who made his name in Israel’s schoolyards and discotheques is reaching out in another arena. This time it’s basketball. Again.

Pulpit Fiction

05/07/2008
Staff Writer
Which candidate will Yeshivas Lita, an institution of advanced talmudic learning here, choose as its new leader: the elderly and learned son/grandson of the school’s previous roshei yeshiva, or the younger and more charismatic faculty member who has no family ties to the yeshiva? To find out, you’ll have to read “The Search Committee.”

Warren Buffett's Kosher Connection

06/30/2006
Staff Writer
The story of the Jewish student at Columbia University who wrote a letter a few years ago to Warren Buffett, asking for an internship at Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha insurance and investment firm where Buffett is CEO, is already lore in parts of Omaha's small-but-close-knit Jewish community. Multi-billionaire Buffett receives many such missives, but he liked something about that letter. He offered the student an internship. And when Ian Jacobs, an Orthodox Jew from Toronto, finished his MBA at Columbia two years ago, Buffett hired him as a personal assistant.

Grave Matters

06/16/2006
Staff Writer
The small Jewish cemetery in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, in the shadow of a century-old department store, is locked most of the time, visited only by prior appointment. A groundskeeper will be visiting the Congregation Shearith Israel Cemetery on West 21st Street, one of the oldest in the city, in the coming weeks.

Aid Camp For Falash Mura Resumes Operations

05/25/2006
Staff Writer
A Falash Mura social welfare compound in northern Ethiopia that closed last week, following threats against its local leadership, was reopened on Sunday, after its director was released from jail, according to Ethiopian Jewry activists. The facility in Gondar, which provides food and education for some 10,000 members of the Falash Mura community, "functions as before, without any change," said Avraham Neguise, general manager of the Jerusalem-based South Wing to Zion advocacy group.

'A' For Nazi-Hunting Effort

05/05/2006
Staff Writer
The United States received a grade of A for its role in bringing accused Nazi war criminals to justice during the past year, while eight countries, including Austria, Norway and Syria, received failing grades, according to the sixth annual status report on the "Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals" issued by the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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