One of these days, probably in the dark of winter’s early evening, Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, a “fast approaching 50” native of Manhattan, with a large knit kipa atop her closely cut gray hair, will walk up the front stairs of a Jewish funeral home on the edge of Borough Park.
It’s a 15-minute drive, door-to-door, from Allison Silver’s apartment on the Lower East Side to the corner of First Avenue and 14th Street on the far east side of Manhattan. Silver, a teacher who has taken time off from teaching to raise her three young sons, makes the trip five mornings each week.
Monday to Friday she drops off 3-year-old son Nachum at the 14th Street Y, where he is enrolled for the second year, in a pre-K program.
On any given day, you can find Jackie Ebron answering the calls of the most desperate New Yorkers, navigating through despair, hunger, poverty and illness to try to restore some calm and dignity to their lives.
Judy Shapiro is just your average Jewish woman with a cause. Or, to be more precise, nine or 10 causes.
Whether it’s Soviet Jewry, Israel’s missing soldiers, organizing bone marrow registry drives, promoting Jewish heritage programs, boosting the morale of the Israel Defense Forces, mobilizing against Iran’s nuclear program or fighting against the division of Jerusalem, Judy Shapiro is well known among fellow Jewish activists for being front and center.
The Gemara says, half-comically, half-tragically, that in a second marriage there are always four people in the house. When the Satmar rebbe, Joel (Yoilish) Teitelbaum, sat down for dinner in Brooklyn in the early 1950s, there were six people at the table: The rebbe, his rebbetzin Feige, and also the spirits of the rebbe’s first wife and three daughters who all died natural deaths.
As the Lower East Side continues its evolution from relic to renaissance, “Simply Tsfat” was the music on Clinton Street a few weeks ago, three young Breslovers playing two guitars and a fiddle in the social hall of the Chasam Sofer shul, a relic of the 1800s restored to a 21st-century sheen for a 20s and 30s demographic.