In the lobby of the Coffey Community Center on Manhattan’s East Side, Judy Klemperer gingerly picked up a black prayerbook from a large pile lying in a laundry bin and wiped off the ashes.
“It’s all wet and warped,” she said, shaking her head sadly. “It won’t be used again.”
She then placed it into a large plastic garbage bag. Someone wrote down the dedication on the inside cover for future reference.
At the sentencing last week of a bar mitzvah tutor and social worker convicted of sexually molesting two boys in Brooklyn, a New York State Supreme Court judge lashed out at the offender’s Orthodox community for “a communal attitude that seems to impose greater opprobrium on the victims than the perpetrator.”
With his stinging critique, Judge Gustin Reichbach placed himself at the center of a fierce debate in the Orthodox community over how best to police the problem of pedophilia.
At the sentencing Tuesday of a bar mitzvah tutor and social worker convicted of sexually molesting two boys in Brooklyn, a New York State Supreme Court Judge lashed out at the offender's Orthodox community for "a communal attitude that seems to impose greater opprobrium on the victims than the perpetrator."
With his stinging critique, Judge Guston Reichbach placed himself at the center of a fierce debate in the Orthodox community over how best to police the problem of pedophilia.
Tamara Charm had a watershed experience when she chanted the Torah portion at Yom Kippur services last year at Drisha, the women's Torah learning academy, for a congregation of both women and men.
"It was incredible to daven in a way which conformed to traditional halacha but felt like the women's section was participating as well as the men's," said Charm, 29. "It was very spiritual."
Though it may come as a surprise to the folks in charge of collecting the Yom Kippur pledges, religious people are the most charitable donors in the country.
A new study by Independent Sector and the National Council of Churches shows a direct relationship between being religiously inclined and being a generous philanthropist.
Passaic, N.J., is waging a lonely fight against molestation in the Orthodox community. Will its example spread?
On the night before Yom Kippur in September, Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman stood before his Orthodox congregation, in a room crowded with men wearing black hats and women wearing sheitels, and moderated a panel discussion among five Orthodox Jews who said they had been the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of other Orthodox Jews. The rabbi regularly uses his pulpit to preach against the evils of sexual molestation.
It's a question rooted in an age-old practice but made new by the vicissitudes of modern technology: Is it kosher to ask mechila by e-mail? Asking forgiveness, or mechila, for wrongs committed against others is emphasized during the month of Elul, and given particular attention during the 10 Days of Repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur.
Suddenly, God is seemingly everywhere these days: on the presidential hustings, in the stands at high school football games in the South, overflowing the shelves of the neighborhood bookstore.
But He/She wasn't at Cooper Union last weekend when the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews gathered for its biennial conference.
Didn't even get an invite.
Regina Benshimon was busy preparing for Yom Kippur last September, but she stopped as the sun set the evening before the Day of Atonement would begin to celebrate the Sabbath. After dinner with her husband and the five of her seven children who lived at home (the two eldest were already married) she went to bed early.
It was to be the 44-year-old chasidic woman's last Shabbat.