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  • Inclusion by design
    Sinai Schools honors Holy Name Medical Center for community partnership
  • ‘Build me a sanctuary’
    ranklin Lakes shul to examine the Tabernacle’s specs from many directions
  • ‘Above and Beyond’
  • One bullet at a time
    French priest finds graves, unearths stories from Europe’s killing fields
  • Meet Stefan Zweig
    Jewish novelist who inspired ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is having a comeback
  • Slaughter in Paris
    Dirty Charlie
  • When is a Jewish movie a Jewish movie?
  • Scheherazade in Cresskill
    Former Palmach, Palyam fighter talks about his adventures in Russia, Palestine, Egypt, and Brooklyn
  • Shlomo Carlebach musical has the soul to heal frayed race relations
  • Past and future in Kosovo
    In heart of Muslim province, Jewish remnant stakes its claim


Where no rabbi has gone before

Interfaith activist to speak at brotherhood breakfast

Rabbi David Rosen brings a unique perspective when it comes to evaluating Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah.

Abdullah’s supporters note that in the 20 years that he led his kingdom, he sided with America against Al Qaeda, proposed a peace plan that would recognize Israel, and let women serve as supermarket cashiers.

Detractors note that women in Saudi Arabia still can’t drive, Christianity is banned, and the kingdom flogs wayward bloggers.

Count Rabbi David Rosen among those praising the Saudi glass as half full.

As the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, he was among the Jews — and the sole Israeli — invited to the unprecedented interfaith meeting Abdullah convened in Madrid in 2008.


Fighting for the rights of survivors — and their heirs

Cresskill couple gets SSA to clarify statute on exemptions

Barbara and Michael Lissner have a mission.

“It’s who we are — what we do,” said Mr. Lissner, who has spent practically his entire life witnessing — and furthering — efforts to help Holocaust survivors get the benefits to which they are entitled.

The couple, partners in the New York law firm Lissner & Lissner LLP, are both children of survivors.

Michael Lissner’s father, Jerry, started the firm, which soon came to win the trust of the “tightknit community of German Jews living in Manhattan and Queens,” the son said. “He was an incredible man, able to help people in a very knowledgeable and calming way. He became a tall pillar in the community.”

Mr. Lissner, who formally started working with the firm in 1983 but “had been around the firm my whole life,” was able to maintain the trust of that community.

Ms. Lissner was no stranger to survivors’ unique needs. Her parents were from Poland — her father was on Schindler’s list, while her mother survived in Eastern Russia. Both lost many relatives.


At night of learning, NJBR revisits Sinai

Community rabbis will take us back to the mountaintop

Now in its sixth year, Sweet Tastes of Torah — a project of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis — remains committed to its original goal.

“The Bergen County Jewish community is siloed in many ways,” said Rabbi Steven Sirbu, religious leader of Teaneck’s Temple Emeth and president of the NJBR. “We’re attached to our synagogues. We identify with our municipalities. It’s difficult to realize we’re part of a greater Jewish community.”

One reason to sponsor the annual night of learning, he said, is “to emphasize that we are much more when we connect with other communities.”

Apparently, this message resonates with its intended audience.

“Every year the community shows up and participates,” Rabbi Sirbu said. “The feedback has been one of gratitude.”

This year’s program — Sinai Revisited: Views from the Mountaintop — will bring together 20 rabbis from Bergen and Passaic counties, who will explore the topic from a variety of perspectives.


Transformative learning

Local YU students learn about service from the Joint

“People think Jews only give to Jewish causes, so it’s important to immerse ourselves in different cultures to learn about them and to show that Jews are there to help everybody,” said Yoni Mintz of Fair Lawn.

Mr. Mintz, 20, is a second-year psychology and business student at Yeshiva University. He had just returned from a winter-break American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee program, the Insider Service Trip to Haiti. On that trip, 15 Y.U. students collaborated on several humanitarian projects and met with JDC partner organizations. They learned about the ongoing difficulties Haiti has faced as a result of the massive earthquake there five years ago.

Mr. Mintz said that he was proud to learn that the Israel Defense Forces sent one of the first delegations that reached Haiti to provide disaster relief. Galila Shapiro, an Englewood senior at Y.U.’s Stern College for Women, was taken aback to see how much the Haitians appreciate help they continue to receive from Israeli and American Jews.


Are you a good Berrie Fellow?

Federation’s leadership program is recruiting a new class

Do you have what it takes to step up to the plate and help lead the Jewish community of northern New Jersey? Are you between the ages of 32 and 52? Are you now a volunteer with a synagogue, school, or other Jewish organization in Bergen County?

The Berrie Fellows Leadership Program is accepting applications for its next set of fellows.

Since its founding by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Russell Berrie Foundation back in 2004, the program has trained three groups of 20 people. Participants have gone on to head the Jewish federation, area synagogues, and day schools.

Now, there’s one week left to apply to join the fourth cohort.

“We need to continue this stream of leaders into our community to keep it vibrant,” said Laura Freeman, the program’s director.


Survivors return to Auschwitz determined to share their stories

KRAKOW, Poland— What kept you alive?

Did your non-Jewish friends reject you?

Could you ever forgive?

Those were some of the questions Jewish young adults posed to Holocaust survivor Marcel Tuchman on Monday at the Galicia Jewish Museum here.

“What kept me alive was having my father with me,” said Tuchman, 93, a physician from New York who was born in Poland and survived several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. “And another thing was the hope I had that one day I will be able to tell the story to the likes of you, so you can tell it to the next generation.”

His meeting with young Jews was one of many such encounters taking place in and around Krakow on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet army’s liberation of Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered, many of them gassed.


Netanyahu’s planned speech roils pro-Israel community

WASHINGTON — When Israel wants something from the United States, it typically makes three stops: the pro-Israel lobby, Jewish members of Congress, and the White House.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored all three when he accepted an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to address Congress about U.S. Iran policy.

Neither congressional Jews nor the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were notified of the speech, much less consulted. The White House found out three hours before Boehner announced the address on January 21.

The result: Muted yet palpable discomfiture among the three sectors that Israel relies on to ensure continued support from Washington.


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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