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  • ‘Indescribable’ connections
    Zahal Shalom brings Israeli veterans to Ridgewood for touring, love
  • Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish roots ‘very much intact’
  • We’ve got the horse right here…
    Local Orthodox family wins the Kentucky Derby. Really!
  • The father of modern Israel
    Yale’s Jewish Life series looks at Ben-Gurion
  • 100 years in Hoboken
    United Synagogue’s building celebrates its centennial
  • Mom’s Day in motion
  • Book magic
    Federation hosting ‘Golem and Jinni’ author Helene Wecker
  • Moving from music to art
    But, says local cantor, leaving is hard
  • Q&A with Jorma Kaukonen on Jefferson Airplane and Judaism
  • 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

 

Everybody’s on the bus

Bergen, other local counties send 1,500 to lobby for Israel on Capitol Hill

The relationship between Israel and the United States might be somewhat strained right now, so at least 1,500 concerned Jews from around the area traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to plead Israel’s case.

Many of the members of that Norpac delegation are from Bergen County.

“It was very gratifying,” said Norpac’s president, Dr. Ben Chouake of Englewood. Norpac brought 33 buses to the nation’s capital on May 13.

“We cut off registration on May 4, the deadline date,” he said, noting that while the organization has been known to extend the deadline, this year, as the number of would-be attendees steadily grew, that was not possible.

“The turnout was really impressive,” said Dr. Chouake, adding that the large number of legislators who cleared time in their calendar to meet with members of his group was impressive as well.

 

The North, the South, the Civil War, and us

In Teaneck, Princeton rabbi to examine the war’s roots, its results, and its effects on the Jews

Maybe you think that we fought the Civil War to stop slavery.

Maybe you think that the causes of the war were entirely economic, and had nothing to do with slavery.

Maybe you think that good and evil were clear in the Civil War, and that the North — that would be us — represented unsullied virtue.

Well, you’d be wrong, according to Rabbi Eric Wisnia of Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction. The North was as morally culpable as the South in the great vice of slavery. There were no angels. He will discuss his understanding of American history at length and in detail during Kabbalat Shabbat services at Temple Emeth in Teaneck on Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m., in a talk he’s called “An Impartial Jewish View of the War of Yankee Aggression.” The talk coincides with the 150th anniversary of the war’s end.

 

A band of sisters

It makes sense, really. There was music everywhere. They were a family immersed in music, four sisters who sang together for years, a talented songwriter, and dreams for the future that always included music.

What else could the Glaser sisters do?

“I always wanted to be a singer in a band,” said the eldest sister, Faige Glaser Drapkin, 34, who, with her sister Chaya, one year younger, helped make that dream come true.

Chaya, too, wanted music to be “a big part of my life.”

Much of it had to do with the link between music and family. “When I saw the Mamas and Papas on Ed Sullivan, I actually thought they were a family,” she said. “I loved their harmony, spirit, and colors, and it looked like they loved what they were doing! I knew that I wanted in on that beautiful fun too.

 

How to become a liberal Europe rabbi

Russian rabbinical student, intern at Temple Israel in Ridgewood, tells his story

It’s a neat trick, but Alexander Grodensky pulls it off.

At just 32, he manages to be an entirely singular person, with a life that has taken a number of unpredictable turns, and at the same time a walking, breathing symbol of Jewish life in Europe today.

How’d he do it? And what does he symbolize?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Mr. Grodensky — who will become Rabbi Grodensky in August, when he is ordained by the Abraham Geiger College, part of the University of Potsdam — is in Ridgewood through the end of May. He’s here for a six-week stint shadowing Rabbi David Fine of Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood. Rabbi Fine teaches at both Geiger and the new Zacharias Frankel College, also at the University of Potsdam.

 

Old books, new art

Artists’ Beit Midrash at Teaneck’s Beth Sholom displays creations

There’s a 10-year-old cover from the Jewish Standard pinned to a panel in the social hall of Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck.

The cover is from the first time this paper reported on Beth Sholom’s Artists’ Beit Midrash. While the program is now concluding its 11th year, the art produced by its students is new. It will be on display at Beth Sholom over the Shavuot weekend.

The Beit Midrash — or study hall — has three components. There is an hour of text study, led this year by Rabbi Gary Karlin, a doctoral student in Jewish education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, who is writing a curriculum on Jonah for the Schechter day school network. In the six fall sessions the group studied the book of Jonah, which is read during the afternoon on Yom Kippur; in the six spring sessions it looked at the Book of Ruth, which is read on Shavuot. Then there is an hour of more artistic study, led by Harriet Finck this year. Ms. Finck brought in art and literature related to the biblical texts, and she led discussions of the third component: The art project that students worked on at home.

 

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, in Israel, likes it but stays neutral

TEL AVIV — In 2003, two years after the website was founded, the editors of Wikipedia faced a dilemma: How should they refer to the part-fence, part-wall Israel was building along the West Bank border?

The article’s first iteration — published amid the bloody second intifada, or Palestinian uprising — called it a “security fence” and focused on Israeli support. Within half an hour, another editor added a sentence about a United Nations condemnation. Later that day, the Palestinians’ preferred term, “apartheid wall,” appeared.

Following thousands of edits on the free online crowdsourced encyclopedia, the article now calls it the “Israeli West Bank barrier” and links to a list of alternative names, from “separation fence” to “wall of apartheid.”

“The right thing to do, if you’re new to the issue, is you should be told what is this debate about,” Jimmy Wales, a Wikipedia founder, said on Sunday during an interview here. “That’s a struggle. You have to be taught about those issues. You don’t want to, in an unclear way, use language that carries with it a hidden conclusion.”

 

We who live will learn

70 years on, Hitchcock Holocaust doc finds an audience

“This was a woman,” the narrator explains, as the camera pans over a figure so emaciated and burnt that it’s barely recognizable as human.

It’s one of the more arresting scenes in “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” a highly unusual Holocaust documentary shot and scripted 70 years ago, and crafted with the help of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. But it almost didn’t see the light of day.

The recently completed film has begun making the rounds, and held its New York premiere Tuesday night at Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

“German Concentration Camps” draws heavily on the footage taken at Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz, and Dachau by combat and newsreel cameramen in the weeks after liberation. It shows former prisoners who had managed to survive gas chambers, typhus epidemics, and starvation taking the first steps toward rebuilding their lives.

 

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PODCASTS

25 February 2011
7 January 2011
20 February 2009
 

VIDEOPOSTS

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

PHOTOGALLERY

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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