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  • Brains, luck, nerve, and true Grit
    Local man details his extraordinary life, from pre-war Germany through Asia to an honor from Holy Name Medical Center
  • Connecting through music
    Yemenite singer from Tenafly to take stage in Dumont
  • Felix and Meira
  • Dentistry in Africa
    Local father-daughter duo fix teeth in Jewish Ugandan village
  • Surviving ‘Monuments Man’ to speak in Teaneck, Paramus
  • A parent’s plea
    ‘Do This One Thing for Me’
  • Terrible journeys
    Irene and Manny Buchman talk about their Holocaust experiences
  • Kosher or not?
    Fourth-graders in Woodcliff Lake learn about kashrut
  • Portraits highlight stories of Holocaust few in Ireland
  • The with-luck-not-too-lonely woman of faith
    Local hiker joins love of Judaism and wilderness to create walking adventures 


Standing together with Israel

Local groups join for evening of unity as they discuss ways to protect Israel

Lee Lasher of Englewood has a deep interest in ensuring that different parts of the local Jewish community come to trust, respect, and even like each other.

To that end, Mr. Lasher, an alumnus of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Berrie Fellows Leadership program, and fellow alums — and now friends — Ian Zimmerman of Glen Rock and Ari Hirt of Teaneck, formed a group called Unite4Unity, which until now has explored the bridges that actually do span the community.

Now, the three friends have decided to multitask. Another cause dear to all of them is Israel. What could be better, they thought, than to bring the community together around the Jewish state? And given their own orientation toward action, what would be best would be to give people information they can use to present Israel positively, to combat such threats as BDS with knowledge, insight, and passion.


Considering German Jews

Spätzle, weiner schnitzel, stuffed cabbage, and German chocolate cake are on the menu for Shabbat dinner on May 1 at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake. It’s all part of the shul’s weekend exploration of German Jewish heritage.

German Jews are known not only for their signature cuisine, however. They tend to have a reputation as “yekkes” — obsessively punctual, punctilious, and a touch pompous.

The shul’s Rabbi Benjamin Shull admits he bought into that stereotype — he is the descendant of Lithuanian Jews — until he discovered through genealogical research that he, too, has German-Jewish ancestors. So do about a third of his regular congregants.


Balancing attraction and halachic law

Local Orthodox rabbis meet with therapists and LGBT Jews

On Sunday, some leading Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Shmuel Goldin of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood and Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot of Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, met with mental-health professionals and members of the Orthodox gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community for a conference on “sexual orientation and gender identity in the Orthodox and chasidic world,” as a press release put it.

The conference, about 150-strong, held at the Kraft House on Columbia University’s campus, was organized by the modern Orthodox, Upper West Side Lincoln Square Synagogue; the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology; and JQY, a nonprofit that provides support to young LGBT Orthodox and chasidic Jews.


Letter from Israel

Peaceful Ashkelon

Considering the number of Hamas missiles launched toward Ashkelon last summer (4,564, to be exact), we did not expect the Leonardo hotel in this lovely Mediterranean shore city, eight miles north of the Gaza Strip, to be filled on a random March weekend.

We had chosen Ashkelon in order to spend some beach time in a less expensive and crowded city than Tel Aviv or Netanya, and to give the local tourism trade a boost after a financially disastrous summer season.

So imagine my surprise when, just as I was returning to the scrumptious breakfast buffet for a second — okay, third — helping, I saw a man with a nametag around his neck reading “Robert Levine, Teaneck, NJ.”


Who’s giving?

Republican candidates and their Jewish backers

WASHINGTON — Election Day is 19 months away, but the campaign already has begun. Aside from Democrat Hillary Clinton, three Republican candidates with reasonable chances at the nomination have declared and several others are on the cusp.

The Republican Party says it’s been making inroads with Jewish voters, who traditionally have favored Democrats by 2-to-1 margins.

Here’s a rundown of the views of three declared Republican candidates — and two likely candidates — on issues of Jewish interest, and their connections to the community.


Russia jolts Israel with Iran missile deal

‘Silent’ strategy on Ukraine backfires

After Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2014, Israel resisted pressure to join the United States and its European allies in condemning the move, citing in particular its concern not to antagonize Russia for fear it could provide Syria with a powerful anti-aircraft missile called the S-300.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was eager to mollify the Obama administration’s anger over Israel’s refusal to endorse sanctions on Russia or support a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according to an op ed published last year by Israel’s former U.S. ambassador, Itamar Rabinovich, and noted concerns about the possible missile sales in a meeting with U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice.

But if Israeli silence indeed was designed to keep S-300s from its doorstep, then that policy clearly has failed.


How does this phone work?

Meet comedian, writer, actress, all-around-funnywoman Rita Rudner

How does this phone work?

Meet comedian, writer, actress, all-around-funnywoman Rita Rudner

Heidi Mae Bratt

I’m a minute into a phone conversation with Rita Rudner, explaining that I’m adjusting to a new recording app set up by my tech-savvy teen daughter when the comedian got it.

“Oh, I have a 12 1/2, nearly 13-year-old daughter myself,” she offered.

“Who helps you with technology? I asked.


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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