By Adam Cohen My family grew up in Brooklyn including my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and both sets of grandparents. I was dubbed a first generation New Jerseyan by many of my family members. As you could imagine, we spent a lot of time in Brooklyn. My parents would take my sister and I into Brooklyn on a whim and show us where they grew up, met, and dated. They… Read More »Memories of Sheepshead Bay
Presented by Brooklyn Heights Synagogue
Israeli cinema is receiving international acclaim!
How are the Jewish challenges of identity, diversity, and responsibility reflected in Israeli films?
These films, all entertaining and challenging, create a springboard for our learning and conversation.
Grapple with the issues brought to the surface by these films through a dynamic discussion following each screening, facilitated by Isaac Zablocki, Executive Director of the Other Israel Film Festival.
Four Sessions: (see films below) all shown at 131 Remsen Street, Brooklyn NY 11201Read More »BHS’ 5th Annual – Israel: Talking @ the Movies
by Ellen Levitt
Brooklyn has a large number of synagogues, and they come in many varieties. You can easily find various types of Orthodox shuls,as well as Conservative, Reform, non-denominational; Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Congregations with perhaps a bare minyan and others with a few thousand members. But for all the synagogues Brooklyn has within its midst, it has also seen many synagogues disappear. Some have merged with other nearby congregations while others closed up, their members and assets dispersed. Dozens of shuls have been closed up and the buildings torn down, other structures erected on their lots. Other closed synagogues still exist in a bittersweet fashion: their buildings still stand but the sites are now occupied by churches, schools, medical facilities, or even serve as private residences.
I have been documenting these “lost synagogues” of Brooklyn, as well as in the other NYC boroughs and Governors Island, for more than a decade. In my 2009 book The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn, published by the scholarly press Avotaynu, I offer photos and text about more than 80 former synagogues. Read More »Brooklyn’s “Lost Synagogues”
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Purim holiday which took place this past weekend was a lot more festive for hundreds of people in Brooklyn, thanks to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which distributed food packages to families in Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park and Borough Park as part of its Kosher Food Network.
Volunteers from the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush and the Jewish Community Council of Far Rockaway delivered 500 two-person meals to homes on Friday, March 14, in time for the Jewish festival.
The food giveaway allowed residents to partake in holiday festivities despite the often prohibitive costs of kosher food, organizers said. The meal included traditional staples such as challah, stuffed cabbage, vegetable soup, chicken, and potato kugel.
“Purim is a time for celebration and thanks to a generous Met Council supporter, 1,000 food insecure New Yorkers will be able to join the Jewish community in marking the occasion with joy and dignity,” Metropolitan Council CEO and Executive Director David M. Frankel said prior to the food distribution.
The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services on March 17 treated the Brighton Beach community, which was seriously affected during Hurricane Sandy, to a festive Purim party at Tatiana restaurant on Brighton Beach Avenue as part of the UJA-Federation’s Post-Sandy Community Outreach Program. The program provides emotional and spiritual help to members of the Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Staten Island who have been seriously affected by the hurricane. The free program, which is offered in both English and Russian, is unusual because it combines pastoral with psychological counseling. Read More »For Sandy victims in Brighton Beach, Purim story has a double meaning
I remember when it happened. March 1, 1994. I remember the horror and sense of devastation. Jewish children targeted once again! A van filled with yeshiva students on the Brooklyn Bridge sprayed with bullets… four were shot and one died as a result of his injuries – sixteen-year-old Ari Halberstam.
All I remember thinking is “How is his mother coping with her devastating tragedy and wondering if she had collapsed under the horrific blow, unable to face life in its aftermath, in the absence of her beloved firstborn.”
Over the years there has been no shortage of reporting about Devorah Halberstam, Ari’s mother. Even in Israel, thousands of miles from the Halberstam home, there have been frequent references in the media to Ari’s mother. Do you know why?
Because Devorah Halberstam, the beautiful young Jewish mother, did not collapse. On the contrary, she rose like a phoenix from the fire. She accurately identified the shooting as a terrorist act and criticized the authorities for treating it as an ordinary homicide. She fought – the police, the FBI and the U.S. Congress – to have Ari’s death investigated as a politically-motivated act of terrorism.
In the process she developed relationships with law enforcement officials at the highest levels. With rare insight and determination, she cut through political correctness during the pre-September-11 era, an unheard of accomplishment. Former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credits Devorah Halberstam with being a “a major force in the political world” and having a powerful impact on the creation of anti-terrorism laws in New York State, among them “Ari’s Law,” a comprehensive New York State law controlling gun trafficking across state lines.
Keshet, a successful and well-known educational community afterschool program for Israelis in Brooklyn, is expanding with the support of the Israeli-American Council (IAC) and will be renamed IAC-Keshet Programs.
IAC-Keshet is an afterschool Hebrew dual language program for both Hebrew- and non-Hebrew-speaking children, ages 3 and up. In addition to Hebrew-language education, IAC-Keshet also explores different aspects of Jewish and Israeli identity, helping students make a strong connection to Israel. The Hebrew word Keshet means “rainbow.”
With the change, IAC-Keshet Programs will be moving from Congregation Beth Elohim, a Reform congregation in Park Slope, to Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace, a JCC with multiple locations in Brooklyn. The program is expanding in order to reach out to the broader Israeli and Jewish communities in Brooklyn and beyond.
This new development reflects a growing trend in which Israeli-American programs are expanding, while engaging the broader Jewish community under the IAC’s leadership.
Yehudit Feinstein-Mentesh, the newly appointed IAC New York regional director and the founder of Keshet, told the Brooklyn
Eagle during a presentation at the Kings Bay Y that she and a group of Israeli parents started gathering several years ago to create a space for sharing cultural identity.
IAC-Shishi Israeli Program to Combine Tradition, Music
Singing and sharing a meal together is a universal joy. A new program coming to Brooklyn Heights will celebrate song cuisine and togetherness as it is experienced in Israeli culture.
IAC-Shishi Israeli, a new program of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), will bring together Israeli and American Jews in Brooklyn Heights, fusing their distinct cultures and customs to create a shared community around the Shabbat table.
This new family program, which will run every few weeks at Congregation Mount Sinai, will combine traditional Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming the Sabbath) prayers and Israeli shira betzibur (singalong) as well as a traditional Shabbat dinner with Israeli foods, adding authentic Israeli flavor to the evening. The first event will take place on Friday, evening Sept. 12. Tickets are necessary.
IAC-Shishi Israeli seeks to use music to convene the community and enable participants to create a family-inspired Shabbat experience that is both Jewish and unique, combining time-honored traditions with modern rituals. Accomplished musicians, who will make the perfect accompaniment for this special dinner, include Arlene Gould, Daniel Ori, Hadar Noiberg, Dan Aran and Dan Nadel.
Rabbi Seth Wax of Congregation Mount Sinai said in a trailer video introducing the event, “Congregation Mt. Sinai welcomes people of lots of different backgrounds, and wants people to feel like they have a home.” He added, “Share food, music, culture; and build relationships.”