Once upon a time, a world ago, people would leave their homes at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning and head for the local synagogue to hear a cantor chant the penitential prayers that opened the High Holy Days season. They needed no more inducement to attend a S’lichot service than the knowledge that Rosh Hashanah was only days away.
That was then and this is now. People still turn out for the opening S’lichot service of the penitential season, but not at 2 a.m., and as synagogues have discovered, a little entertainment as a lead-in does not hurt attendance.
This year, on Saturday evening, Sept. 8, before the chazan chants the opening strains of Ashrei, synagogues will offer musical diversions, films and discussions of those films, workshops, topical speakers, a little meditation and some yoga throw in, a taste of Leonard Cohen, and food (of course, food; well, dessert, anyway).
Dozens of teachers from New Jersey and New York gathered at Congregation Ahavat Torah in Englewood a week ago Thursday to learn about “Rescue as Resistance.” Presenting was Dr. Eva Fogelman, co-director of Child Development Research (CDR) and a Pulitzer Prize nominee for her book on rescuers, “Conscience and Courage.” Also presenting was Dr. Mordechai Paldiel, former director of the Department of the Righteous at Yad Vashem. Paldiel spoke about Jews who rescued Jews, with special mention of the Orthodox rabbi, Michoel Ber Weissmandl.
The conference, sponsored by CDR, an umbrella organization for a number of projects involving child survivors of organized persecution, was made possible with the cooperation of Dr. Paul B. Winkler, executive director of the State of New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Winkler spoke to the teachers about bullying in schools and “the three H’s.”
With the arrest of a second Lodi resident, the Bergen County Prosecutors Office has announced that they have resolved all the executed and planned attacks on area synagogues in December and January.
Nineteen-year-old Aakash Dalal is being charged as co-conspirator in the most dangerous attacks, in which firebombs were thrown into the rabbi’s residence at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford. According to Prosecutor John Molinelli, who announced the arrest at a Friday afternoon press conference, Dalal has been friends since middle school with Anthony Graziano, who was arrested in January and charged with nine counts of attempted murder for the Rutherford attack.
Two local institutions have been awarded grants from the Orthodox Union as part of the organization’s day school affordability initiative.
Yeshivat He’atid, which is scheduled to open next year in Bergenfield, is among seven projects receiving a challenge grant. The winners were announced Monday at the end of a two-day “Summit on the Affordability of Jewish Education” arranged by the OU that was held in Woodcliff Lake.
The summit brought together 150 lay and professional day school leaders, communal rabbis, and leaders of foundations, federations, and others who are affiliated with more than 80 institutions primarily across the spectrum of Orthodoxy.
It starts with a roar and then a solid wall of sound, pounding feet, voices raised in the production of what charitably could be called song but more accurately is described as pure gleeful noise.
Then there is the wind made by the rushing of many hundreds of bodies, the blur of brightly colored or piercingly pastel t-shirts and banners and flags and hats and costumes, and the onslaught of hormones so potent that a middle-aged observer starts worrying if she is late for homeroom.
It is the annual USY international convention, the huge, jubilant, incredibly noisy meeting that brings together the largest number of Jewish adolescents in any one place in the world. (USY is United Synagogue Youth, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s program for teenagers.)
A Holocaust musical. Those words really don’t go together at all, or at least they shouldn’t (although we know that the Nazis demanded such monstrosities at Terezin).
But someone decided to put them together. Not just in the privacy of his own basement, either, but in public. On stage. For an audience, made up of people who pay money to see it.
And the someone isn’t Mel Brooks, and the butts of this exercise are not the Nazis but the Jews, and the humor isn’t over-the-top outrageously brilliant but nonexistent (despite the flop sweat it wrings from its hapless actors as they attempt to wring jokes from dust-dry straw), and the scheme isn’t sublime but jaw-droppingly offensive.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9), a member of the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee, said in a statement on Monday that “[t]he United States and our allies are all monitoring the situation on a minute by minute basis and encourage a peaceful and democratic resolution to the current Egyptian unrest. My heart goes out to all of those who have been killed or injured during the mass demonstrations in the Egyptian streets.
Jacques Pluss, arrested Wednesday morning in Ridgewood for allegedly threatening the national director of the Anti-Defamation League and charged with bias intimidation and harassment as well as weapons possession and contempt of court, is no stranger to The Jewish Standard.
In a Jan. 27, 2006 article, then managing editor Jacob Berkman wrote of Pluss’ permanent suspension from his post as an adjunct professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University, his membership in the National Socialist Movement, and his appearances on “White Viewpoint,” NSM’s Internet radio program.