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  • ‘Stop at the Red Apple’
    Founder’s daughter talks about her childhood at the Route 17 landmark
  • Unity first
    Groups from across the Jewish spectrum make solidarity missions to Israel
  • Cookin’ it up!
    Tales of a Teaneck kitchen prodigy
  • ‘This Is Our Youth’
  • From the Union to the Union
    Rabbi Daniel Freelander of Ridgewood moves from one Reform institution to head another
  • Are you listening?
    The case for Israeli music
  • Passage to India
    Local academic finds Jewish parallels in Hindu university
  • Movie Jews
    Local film maven looks at cinematic Hebrews
  • ‘Chanah’s Voice’
    Haviva Ner-David’s Jewish feminist journey continues
  • Jews in the Garment Center
    Local documentary maker looks at Jewish garmentos, anarchists, musicians, and other unusual Americans


Stairway to heaven

Yeshivat Noam inaugurates an ark of memories

The ark of Martha Cohn, who loved children but had none of her own, has come to a rest among the middle schoolers of Yeshivat Noam in Paramus.

Born in German in 1902, Ms. Cohn was already in her thirties when Hitler rose to power. She and her sister heeded the signs and found their way to America. The rest of her family was murdered.

In 1965, she was hired by Rabbi Steven Riskin as the first secretary of the nascent Lincoln Square Synagogue. The synagogue was meeting in an apartment in the Lincoln Square Apartments, part of the urban renewal project that included nearby Lincoln Center. Soon it would build its own building, and by the 1970s it had become the foremost modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan — if not all of America.


‘Why then oh why can’t I?’

Slichot services in Franklin Lakes to begin with cabaret

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

That’s a quote from Victor Hugo, the 19th-century French Romantic, via Rabbi Joseph Prouser of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey in Franklin Lakes.

Rabbi Prouser has been thinking about music a great deal as the High Holy Days approach. “I am interested in maximizing the musical experience of the holidays,” he said. “I think that music and the cantorial arts, especially over the High Holidays, touch people on a different level than the purely intellectual sermon or academic lecture might.”

To that end, he is bringing Lois Kittner of Bogota, a fifth-year student at the Academy for the Jewish Religion in Yonkers, N.Y., to share her voice and her spirit with the congregation for Slichot, the Saturday night penitential service that ushers in the melodies, liturgies, themes, and preoccupations of the holiday season.


Keeping the troops well supplied

Former Teaneck residents do volunteer stints on IDF base

Robert Hyman celebrated his 61st birthday in uniform under fire from Hamas missiles, assembling medical kits at the Israel Defense Forces’ large medical supply base.

“I could not think of a better birthday present to myself,” he says in all sincerity.

Mr. Hyman and his wife, Nancy, made aliyah from Teaneck last October. They raised their three boys in New Jersey and now live in Efrat near their son Yakir and his family. Even before they saw an urgent call for volunteers from Sar-El Volunteers for Israel, they had signed up for three weeks of service wherever the IDF needed them.

“Because of the situation, we had a unique opportunity to step forward and do something we wanted to do, at a time when Israel was at war,” said Mr. Hyman, who had been a senior executive at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.


Reckoning at Nariman House

Looking back at the horror at Mumbai’s Chabad house, finding hope in its rededication

The last time I visited Nariman House — Beit Chabad in Mumbai was in 2009, less than a year after the horrific terrorist attack there.

I had been on my annual visit to India, but I was not sure whether I wanted to see Nariman House again. In 2008, my daughter and I spent a Shabbat at Chabad-Nariman House with Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, whom everybody seemed to call Gabby, and his wife, Rivka. My memories of the house were very positive. I had particularly strong memories of Gabby’s pleasant nature and openness. Still, when some acquaintances at the Indian Express asked to go back to Nariman House, I had mixed feelings.

Until that point, I had only audio memories of that night, when I acted as an interpreter to another Chabad rabbi, speaking to one of the terrorists by phone in an unsuccessful attempt to save the Jewish victims. This visit, however, was much a more real and vivid testimony to the events of Thanksgiving Day, 2008. I noted the bullet holes on the walls of Nariman House, along with the message painted in Hindi and English by the Hindu and Muslim neighbors: “We condemn the terrorist attacks of 26-11-2008.” Over time, there were fewer and fewer newspaper reports, and the memories faded from my immediate consciousness. Still, as a Jew and as an Indian, and as somebody with a close connection to the terrorist attack, I could not forget it entirely.


Taking the J Street challenge

Charles Jacobs screens film, answers questions in Teaneck next week

“The J Street Challenge: The Seductive Allure of Peace In Our Time,” is a controversial film that examines the left-leaning organization through a right-of-center lens. Its producer, Dr. Charles Jacobs, will answer questions after the screening.

Dr. Jacobs, who was born in Newark and now lives in the Boston area, is an international civil-rights activist who co-founded the David Project, the American Anti-Slavery Group, and Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

The Jewish Standard spoke with him by phone in Denver, during a multicity tour of his controversial film, which premiered last February in Miami to a standing-room-only crowd.

First Person

Laughing with Joan

I made Joan Rivers laugh.

Of course she made me laugh, like she did to millions of others through her decades-long, often unfiltered, and ever-funny career, but yes, I made Joan Rivers laugh.

At the time, I was working at the celebrity-obsessed New York Post, and as the features writer for its women’s section, I had reason to ring up the raspy-voiced, Brooklyn-born blonde for a quickie. I had to grab a quote for some story that I was writing. As I recall, the conversation had turned to food, a favorite subject of the Jewish woman on my end of the phone, and, apparently, of that Jewish woman on the other end as well. Joan told me that she just adored the creamed spinach served at the legendary Brooklyn restaurant, Peter Luger’s — a must-have accompaniment to its famous and robust steaks. Joan told me she would dine there with a hairdresser-to-the-stars, the late Kenneth Battelle. (She kept her physique petite with this practice: She never ate anything after 3 p.m. If she did find herself dining with someone, she popped Altoids to keep her mouth busy.)


The Jewish ‘Fifth Beatle’

Brian Epstein figures prominently in new book on Fab Four

LOS ANGELES — It was 6 a.m. on August 19, 1964, when the phone rang in the Los Angeles apartment of Ivor Davis, the young West Coast correspondent for London’s Daily Express, circulation 4 million.

On the other end was the paper’s foreign editor, who told Davis to drive to the airport and catch the 11 a.m. flight to San Francisco. His assignment was to cover that evening’s gig at the Cow Palace by a hot British pop group called the Beatles.

For Davis and the band, it would be the start of a whirlwhind 34-day, 24-city tour across the United States and Canada.

“I had unfettered access to the boys ... I lived and ate with them, played cards and Monopoly until the early hours of the morning,” Davis recalled. “I was there when they popped pills, talked candidly about their passions … and how they coped with the revolving door of women that was the inevitable result of their perch as global sex symbols.”


Noshes: celebrity names in the news


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25 February 2011
7 January 2011
20 February 2009


Temple Beth El Re-Dedication
4th Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition 2011
Kehillah Partnership Pilot Program


Teens from Sha’ar Communities met with Jack Antonoff of the Band FUN, pictured back row, center, to talk about Jewish identity. Rabbi Adina Lewittes of Sha’ar facilitated the discussion as part of a series,  “Teens 2.0: Hitting the Refresh Button on Jewish Identity.” Courtesy Sha’ar

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