The response to the recent news reports I’ve written, with a sense of sadness, about Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) and the Orthodox Union (OU) has been overwhelming — hundreds of letters, e-mails and phone calls from all over the United States and from Israel. In light of the unprecedented interest in this issue, I’ll offer a bit of background and a few observations.
It began almost innocently. In the fall of 1995, on her first day of high school, “Marcia” — not her real name — was happy to be at Hillel, a coed yeshiva in Deal, N.J. A graduate of Shalom Torah, an elementary school in East Windsor, the 14-year-old chose Hillel in part because it seemed an ideal place to continue her quest toward becoming more observant after being actively involved in NCSY, an Orthodox youth group, over the previous two years.
Voicing strong concerns about their children’s safety and mistrust of current policies of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), more than 100 parents, rabbis and lay leaders this week called for far greater parental supervision of the Orthodox Union-sponsored youth group.
Representatives of the 20 synagogue chapters of the Etz Chaim region of NCSY, the nation’s largest (comprising all of New Jersey as well as Allentown, Pa., and Monsey, N.Y.), met at a closed session in Springfield, N.J., Tuesday night.
It's hard to imagine anyone plugged into the fast world of Hollywood deal-making turning his cell phone off for 25 minutes, let alone 25 hours.
Cory Richman does the latter once a week, more during Jewish holidays. He's a partner in the growing talent management firm of Liebman Entertainment, and one of the few Sabbath-observant people in the business.
While it might seem difficult to cater to celebrities accustomed to 24-7 attention, the Teaneck, N.J., native says 24-6 works out fine, with a little explanation.
Self-employed and without any health insurance, Pearl Alleyne exhausted her life savings when she suddenly became ill 10 years ago. Not only were her doctor and hospital bills staggering, but the medicine she needed cost her $75 a month.
“I didn’t buy anything new for myself for five or six years because my illness took everything I owned,” she said.
A four-week summer program that uses academic courses to help high-school students explore the importance of Jewish values, traditions and thought will begin its fourth year July 2 at Brandeis University.
“The courses provide intellectual and creative challenges,” said Leslie Grossman, assistant director of the Genesis program at the Massachusetts school. “We have educators who are very familiar with adolescents and who are experts in their field.”
When Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn of New York saw television pictures of Albanian refugees fleeing Kosovo, their first thoughts were of how best to help them.
“At first we wanted to give money to the Red Cross,” said Harriet. “But then we thought of the American Jewish Committee, where we have a good relationship.”
Their donation had established the AJCommittee’s Interreligious Understanding Institute to promote understanding between Jews and Arabs. So they called and donated money to establish a disaster relief fund.
When Rick Schwartz left his job last February as vice president of production for Miramax Films, the epitome of cutting-edge film production, friends and colleagues questioned his decision, if not his sanity. Why would Schwartz, a soft-spoken fellow in his mid-30s who grew up in a Modern Orthodox home in Teaneck, N.J., and now sends his young children to a Jewish day school in Englewood, want to walk away from the company founded and headed by the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob?
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.