For the last three years, El Al had a new crew — a crew of Torah scribes.
In Israel, the United States and France, sofrim wrote the Hebrew letters and assisted members of the international Jewish community who also wrote letters, in a Torah scroll Israel’s national airline had commissioned. Dedicated last week, in an outdoor ceremony at El Al headquarters in Ben-Gurion Airport, it is the first sefer Torah written expressly for an airline, says Danny Saadon, vice president for North America and Central America.
For many Park Slope tots, Saturday morning means jamming with Debbie Brukman at Temple Beth Elohim.
Brukman, a music teacher with a local coffeehouse following, regularly fills the Reform temple’s large social hall with her “Shir L’Shabbat” sing-alongs for young children and their families.
Brukman had already been teaching “Jewish soul” music in the temple’s nursery school six years ago when Rabbi Andrew Bachman encouraged her to develop a Shabbat program.
“Since bleary-eyed parents of young kids are looking for something to do on Saturday morning, we figured, why not invite them to a Shabbat party with Debbie Brukman?” he told The Jewish Week in an e-mail. “The woman has a heart of gold and we’re blessed to have her in the CBE family.”
Brukman’s Shabbat repertoire combines familiar Jewish preschool songs with Jewish melodies from Uganda, Israeli song festivals and her original compositions. Her band features mandolin, banjo, piano, and hand drums — and toddlers are encouraged to bring their own instruments.
Her fans include novelist Jonathan Safran Foer who frequently listens to her album (available on iTunes, Amazon and debbiebrukman.com) with his children.
“There are precious few CDs that bring a smile to all four passengers in our car,” he says in an album blurb. “These songs — these catchy and inspiring melodies, sung with such obvious and sincere enthusiasm — always lift our spirits. If our dog could smile, she’d smile, too.”
Israeli students show off their inventions, projects and applications to a downtown crowd.
In the last decades, Israel’s high-tech entrepreneurs have established the country’s reputation as the “Start-Up Nation,” a scrappy bunch of innovators, many of them products of the army’s incubator atmosphere.
This week, the next generation of Israeli scientists visited the Big Apple.
A group of Israeli high school students demonstrated their solutions to current problems in “Street Labs,” a hands-on event Tuesday in Union Square.
Ambassador Yehuda Avner’s life story seems to encapsulate the 20th-century Jewish experience. Born in 1928, he made aliyah alone at 17 from Manchester, England, fought in the War of Independence, helped found Kibbutz Lavi in the Galilee, became a diplomat (including consul general of New York and ambassador to Great Britain) and served five Israeli prime ministers as senior adviser.
During the year, the Jewish Community Project Downtown, a family-oriented educational organization in Tribeca that serves Jewish families who live in Lower Manhattan, sponsors a series of classes and seminars, and a Hebrew School Project.
South by Southwest, an annual music and film festival in Austin, Texas, has been around since 1987 yet has managed to maintain its geeky hipster street cred, attracting more than 2,000 artists and 30,000 of the young folk who love them, at its run last week.