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Larry Yudelson
 
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Ethan Tucker: Torah belongs to Jews, not denominations

Mechon Hadar founder seeks to integrate halacha and ethics

Cover Story Published: 25 February 2011

Rabbi Ethan Tucker has created an institution, Mechon Hadar, that combines the free-form Torah study of the Orthodox yeshiva with the co-ed, egalitarian ethos of liberal Conservative Judaism. Mechon Hadar identifies with neither denomination although its faculty, students, and lay leaders overlap with both.

Tucker stumbled into his career as non-denominational institution-builder in 2001, when he invited friends to informal Shabbat services in his apartment. This was not the first minyan to bring together young participants from the Orthodox and Conservative worlds on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with a combination of traditional davening and egalitarian participation, but for whatever cultural and demographic reasons, Tucker’s initiative tapped a tremendous demand. Sixty people showed up.

 
 

Ethan Tucker: Torah belongs to Jews, not denominations

Solomon Schechter studies Torah with Mechon Hadar

Cover Story Published: 25 February 2011

The seventh-graders sat around the tables in the bet midrash — study hall and synagogue — of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford. They were studying from hand-outs of rabbinic texts.

At each table was a guest, a fellow at New York City’s Mechon Hadar. Together, the students discussed the texts in front of them in light of questions posed by Rabbi Ethan Tucker, co-founder and rosh yeshiva of Mechon Hadar. (See related story.)

“It made me feel that I was on a high level,” said Yael Marans, “because I was studying with someone who chooses to go to a yeshiva and I just go to seventh grade.”

 
 

Jumping in

The Yudelson FilesPublished: 24 February 2011
 
 

Dan Bern: A Dylanesque singer in the Holocaust’s shadow

MusicPublished: 19 February 2011

Dan Bern can’t escape the Bob Dylan comparisons:

Songwriter who plays guitar and harmonica, solo or with a backing band – check.

Sardonic songs about love and ambiguous relationships – check.

Lyrics ripped from the headlines – check.

Name-dropping of cultural icons – check.

Small town Midwestern Jewish upbringing – check.

 
 

Menendez meets with Conservative rabbis

Egypt is a topic of 90-minute conversation

LocalPublished: 18 February 2011

Sen. Robert Menendez met with a dozen Conservative rabbis from across the state in his Newark office on Feb. 10. During the 90-minute meeting, the conversation ranged from international concerns, including the unfolding events in Egypt, to sanctions against Iran to such domestic issues as health-care reform and bullying.

“It was a positive exchange,” said Rabbi Benjamin Shull of Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley, in Woodcliff Lake. “There wasn’t much in the way of disagreement of any kind.”

 
 

Hoboken says shalom to first kosher restaurant

LocalPublished: 18 February 2011

Why is Maoz different from other restaurants in Hoboken?

The vegetarian falafel restaurant, which opened last week, is the first kosher restaurant in the city, and while the owners didn’t set out to open a kosher restaurant, the addition of the international franchise is a leap forward for the city’s growing Jewish community.

Owned by Ray Merelas and his father-in-law Stan Picheny, Maoz is certified kosher by Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg, who supervises a number of restaurants around New York City. Merelas said he was introduced to the franchise by his cousin, who owns a Maoz in Boca Raton, Fla., and fell in love not only with the food but with the concept of the toppings bar.

 
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Yavneh student raises money for firefighting in Israel

LocalPublished: 11 February 2011

I heard in school about the fire; teachers showed me pictures of it,” said Yair Berger, 13. “Although I’m only in eighth grade, I’m still a Jew and I have a passion for Israel. I knew I couldn’t sit around and do nothing even though I’m 6,000 miles away.”

Yair, an eighth-grader at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, conceived the idea for a fund-raising project to benefit Israel’s firefighting efforts in the wake of December’s deadly Carmel forest fire in northern Israel, just south of Haifa.

With the help of his mother, Annette Berger, the Teaneck boy reached out to Jewish National Fund and turned his concern into action.

 
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