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JDC lifeline sustains Jews in former Soviet Union

UJA-NNJ group told of ongoing need for funding for welfare and cultural programs

Local | WorldPublished: 20 May 2011

Jewish life is thriving in the countries of the former Soviet Union, according to Amos Lev-Ran of the American Jewish Distribution Committee.

“After 70 years of repression, the rebirth of Jewish life is nothing short of miraculous,” said Lev-Ran, JDC regional specialist for the former Soviet Union, on Monday before the meeting of the Overseas Allocation Committee of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, a major JDC funder.

But Lev-Ran also told the group that while much has been achieved in the region, many elderly Jews suffer in isolation and poverty, and they and others yearn to connect with their Jewish heritage.

 
 

Area marks Yom HaShoah

UJA: ‘We must make sure every child learns about the Shoah’

LocalPublished: 06 May 2011

Survivors, family and friends gathered Sunday at The Frisch School for a Holocaust memorial, but while they were physically in Paramus, their attention was focused thousands of miles away, on Auschwitz, where the annual March of the Living was taking place.

Originally the “march of death,” from Auschwitz to the death camp at Birkenau, now it’s the March of the Living, said Wallace Greene, a member of the Holocaust Committee of the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, the gathering’s sponsor. He noted that 10,000 youngsters take part, most (but not all) of them Jewish.

 
 

Area marks Yom HaShoah

Teaneck: ‘We Jews had to take care of each other”

LocalPublished: 06 May 2011

Holocaust victims were remembered and survivors honored Monday night as the Teaneck Jewish Community Council held its 29th Holocaust commemoration.

The auditorium at Teaneck High School was packed as hundreds of survivors, family, and friends listened to a gripping account of living through the Holocaust by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, who grew up in a small village in Ukraine.

Heller, the keynote speaker, confronted the unanswerable question: “Who were the killers, who killed during the day and ate dinner and listened to Beethhoven at night?”

 
 

Temple Emanu-El of Closter breaks symbolic ground

Emanu-El will expand from within

LocalPublished: 29 April 2011

While some Conservative and Reform synagogues are closing or merging, at least one in the area is experiencing growing pains. Temple Emanu-El of Closter, after a decade at its location in that borough, finds itself in the happy position of needing to expand its building.

With membership “tickling” 800 families, as Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner put it, the Conservative shul has embarked on a project to harvest unused space for religious and cultural purposes and held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project April 18.

“Growth is the sign of a healthy synagogue,” Kirshner said, speaking of the project. “It’s … the idea that the synagogue is an inviting place. If people are comfortable coming to the synagogue, they’ll be comfortable in Jewish life.”

 
 

NORPAC mission ‘a tremendous success’

Local | WorldPublished: 15 April 2011

Last Wednesday the members of NORPAC traveling to Washington on their annual mission to garner support for Israel had a special challenge: The turnover in Congress after the last election gave them 100 new faces to see.

“It was a tremendous success,” said Richard Schlussel, mission chairman, reiterating the importance of connecting with the new members of Congress. “The reception was overwhelmingly favorable.”

The mission brought some 1,100 members to Washington to speak to on Israel’s behalf, said NORPAC president Ben Chouake. Packing the Washington Convention Center ballroom, the record number of members was addressed by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.).

 
 

Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Community mourns a ‘gentle man’

Cover Story Published: 08 April 2011

Henry Taub, a Paterson junk dealer’s son who achieved success and wealth but never forgot his roots, was remembered Sunday for his humility and generosity before some 800 mourners.

“He was an aidel mensch,” said Rabbi emeritus Bruce Block at Temple Sinai in Tenafly. He was “a gentleman — a gentle man in every sense of those Yiddish words,” the rabbi said.

Taub, 83, the founder of what was to become Automatic Data Processing, America’s largest independent computer service company, serving clients around the world, died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York last Thursday after a long illness.

 
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Emerson shul installs rabbi, dedicates Torah

Scroll, illustrated by Israeli artist, commissioned with children in mind

LocalPublished: 08 April 2011

Sunday was a day of double celebration and remembrance at Cong. B’nai Israel in Emerson.

During a festive gathering, Rabbi Debra Orenstein was installed as religious leader at the Conservative congregation and an illustrated Torah scroll was presented in memory of past generations and dedicated to the children of today and tomorrow.

There’s nothing unusual about a rabbi being installed at a congregation, even a woman rabbi, but Orenstein is something of a trail-blazer in the Conservative movement. She was one of the first women rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary, she said in an earlier interview.

“It was definitely a pioneering experience,” she said.

 
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Englewood mounts challenge to Shalom Academy

Teaneck taking a ‘wait-and-see’ position on Hebrew language charter school

LocalPublished: 25 March 2011

Shalom Academy, a charter school set to open in September with Hebrew-language immersion as its stated purpose, is facing a legal challenge from the board of education in Englewood, one of the two districts it is approved to serve. The other is Teaneck, which is awaiting the outcome of the Englewood challenge.

The academy, proposed by Raphael Bachrach of Englewood, was granted a charter by the state on Jan. 18 after four rejections. The Englewood school board has filed an appeal in Superior Court, asking it to overturn the approval.

 
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Berrie Fellows Leadership Program casts a wide net for leaders

LocalPublished: 21 January 2011

Since 2004, the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program has worked to strengthen the North Jersey Jewish community by creating a cadre of action-oriented leaders. Forty-three “fellows,” chosen from the mainstream of Jewish life, have sharpened their skills in two-year seminar regimens and have visited Israel.

Now, for the third “cohort,” the program, administered by UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, is broadening its base and reaching out to members of the Jewish community who have not been on the radar screen.

“We are looking for people who are outside the organization stream; we want to break down barriers,” said Laura Freeman, program director.

Among those sought are spouses in interfaith marriages. “That’s a huge challenge,” Freeman said, noting nearly 50 percent of Jews who marry do so outside of the religion. “We have to embrace Jews by choice and involve them in the community,” she said, speaking of converts to Judaism.

 
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Young Israel of Fort Lee plans ahead

Congregants hope new shul will be built by Rosh HaShanah

LocalPublished: 07 January 2011

A fenced-in lot lies empty at the corner of Parker Avenue and Old Palisades Road in Fort Lee, its only occupant a large backhoe. But the members of Cong. Young Israel envision a beautiful new synagogue rising on the site, they hope by Rosh HaShanah.

Their plans took a key step forward a week ago Tuesday when the Fort Lee Board of Adjustment approved variances, which were needed because the new building will occupy a larger footprint on the building lot than did the old structure, and there is no off-street parking. The next step is the submission of engineering plans for final Planning Board approval.

 
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