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Congregation Mt. Sinai

New program bonds Israeli and American Jews in Brooklyn Heights

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IAC-Shishi Israeli Program to Combine Tradition, Music

By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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.”

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VIDEO: Simchat Torah in Brooklyn Heights

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle – Oct. 17, 2014 Remsen St. became a block party on Thursday night as members of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and Congregation B’nai Avraham spilled out onto the street to dance with Torah scrolls. They were celebrating Simchat Torah (or Joy of Torah). Simchat Torah marks the cyclical tradition of reciting the closing verses of Deuteronomy, which is the fifth book of Moses, and then starting over… Read More »VIDEO: Simchat Torah in Brooklyn Heights

IAC KESHET is an after school immersion and dual language program for Hebrew speaking and non-Hebrew speaking children ages 3.5 and older.

IAC Opens New Hebrew Language Program for Toddlers in Brooklyn

  • by WEDNESDAY, 03 SEPTEMBER 2014 06:38 BY: JV STAFF KesheTOT, a new offshoot of the popular after-school community educational Hebrew dual-language program IAC-Keshet for families with infants and toddlers from birth until three-and-a-half years old, has just opened registration for its classes at Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights. The first class will take place Saturday, October 11. The expansion of the Keshet programming has been spearheaded by the support… Read More »IAC Opens New Hebrew Language Program for Toddlers in Brooklyn

Gita Gansburg, 86, Role Model, Mentor to Thousands of Young Jewish Women

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Originally published on Mrs. Gita Gansburg, a longtime role model and mentor to thousands of young Jewish women returning to Jewish tradition, passed away in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was 86 years old. As “dorm mother” at Machon Chana-Women’s Institute for the Study of Judaism in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, Mrs. Gansburg served as a living example of Chabad-Lubavitch life as a wife, mother and friend—influencing generations of young women… Read More »Gita Gansburg, 86, Role Model, Mentor to Thousands of Young Jewish Women

Judith Clurman

Faith In Brooklyn for Nov. 26

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Originally published on Brooklyn Daily Eagle by Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor

Judith Clurman.

“Testimony” by Stephen Schwartz
(Recording released
Essential Voices USA); rehearsal photographed: Tuesday, June 20, 2017; 11:45 AM at Manhattan School of Music; Room 707; NYC; Photograph: © 2017 Richard Termine
PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine

Prominent Conductor from Brooklyn Releases New Album on Jewish Song

Acclaimed choral conductor Judith Clurman has released a new compact disc, “Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit,” on Sono Luminus (DSL-92182). Clurman, whose Brooklyn roots have stayed with her, now lives here in the borough with her husband, Cantor Bruce Ruben.

“Cherished Moments” features Essential Voices USA, with Clurman conducting, along with soloists Ron Raines, Bruce Ruben and Michael Slattery.

This new CD combines the expertise born of Clurman’s 30 years as a prominent conductor with memories of her own childhood in synagogue and an intimate knowledge of this poignant repertoire to create a unique recording. The recording introduces exciting arrangements of traditional songs that represent the Jewish holidays and life cycle events — from the centerpiece “Songs of Freedom: A Celebration of Chanukah,” a cycle for chorus, soloists and orchestra that premiered at Carnegie Hall, to the 19th-century lyrical classicism of Louis Lewandowski and Emanuel Kirschner, to works by folk artist Debbie Friedman, cantor-composer Bruce Ruben and Canadian composer Ben Steinberg.

The recording also features important new works, among them a minimalist setting of “Set Me as a Seal” by Nico Muhly, Larry Hochman’s “Shomeir Yisrael” and Paul Schoenfield’s “Al Hanisim,” all written for Clurman. The recording features the singers of Essential Voices USA and renowned guest instrumentalists, including composers Hochman and Schoenfield accompanying their own works.

Clurman’s Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) is widely regarded as one of New York’s preeminent choral ensembles. It is composed of a highly talented roster of both seasoned professionals and auditioned volunteers. Within this group, Clurman has created a dynamic choral model in which the size of the ensemble is dictated by the unique needs of each project. EVUSA performs regularly on the Carnegie Hall subscription series with the New York Pops and at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. For more information, visit


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East Midwood Jewish Center – 90 Years

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Shalom! 90 years ago, a group of committed Brooklyn Jews came together to articulate a vision. They wanted to build a Jewish Center – a collective home to live their Jewish lives. It would be a uniquely American edifice; a place not only to pray, celebrate holidays, raise Jewish families, and explore the endless richness of Jewish text, history, and culture, but also a place to engage in social events… Read More »East Midwood Jewish Center – 90 Years

Brooklyn in Film

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On The Waterfront – 1954

by Prof. Joe Dorinson

Coney Island, a special place for “R and R,” beckoned to moviemakers. In many ways a freak show in the early years of mass entertainment, it became a vital part of popular culture–and, of course, fodder for the movies. A 20th Century Fox movie starring Betty Grable capitalized on both name and association. Perhaps, the best film inspired by Coney was a semi-documentary, The Little Fugitive about a little Bensonhurst boy, Richie Andrusco who runs away from home and school. Made in 1953, it won rave reviews among the cognoscenti.

Coney’s Brooklyn neighbors invited cinematic treatment too. The Brooklyn character answered deep-rooted needs in the kaleidoscope that is American culture. Often pegged to the lowest common denominator, shades of Phineas T. Barnum, Hollywood moguls offered national audiences a proliferation of dumb blondes, laconic cowboys, precocious children, refined Englishmen, and a host of other gargoyles. They took certain recognizable traits and magnified them as the Brooklyn New York type.

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Sarina turns 60

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A video celebration of a Brooklyn Jewish life in progress. BJHI’s own Sarina Roffe, mazel-tov!

Summer of 1961 at East 42nd Street between Church and Snyder – Flatbush

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By Bruce Friedman The doorbell rang and I ran down the stairs skipping two steps at a time, then jumped to the landing, yelling: “It’s for me!” My father waited for me at the bottom of the stairs: “How many times do I have to tell you. You don’t have to come down like a herd a herd of elephants. Now go back and come down one step at a… Read More »Summer of 1961 at East 42nd Street between Church and Snyder – Flatbush

Brooklyn Dodgers 1957


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By Joe Dorinson

Brooklyn Dodgers 1957

Brooklyn Dodgers 1957

When Walter O’Malley—author Pete Hamill’s choice for the third most evil man in history—pulled the Dodgers out of Brooklyn with the bibulous Horace Stoneham in tow, this baseball tycoon drove a dagger deep into our city’s heart. Our borough minus the Dodgers is like Romeo bereft of Juliet, corned beef on white bread, Abbott less Costello, and Steve Lawrence sans Edye Gorme. As the poet wrote: “After such knowledge, what forgiveness?” Who, besides a brainless Supreme Court, argued that baseball was a sport, not a business?

Since 1957, despite the resurgence of Yankee power and the birth of the Mets, there has been a void in New York, New York. That vacuum, which Mother Nature abhors, will be filled when HBO Productions in conjunction with major league baseball airs a documentary film, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush. This wonderful voyage back in time to our “Glory Days” (the title and the subject of an excellent exhibit that once “played” at the Museum of the City of New York as well) under the aegis of executive producers, Ross Greenburg and Rich Bernstein with able assistance from Brian Hyland, Amani Martin, Ezra Edelman, and Caroline Waterlow evokes another time and a revered place in New York City, no, American history.

Narrated by Liev Schreiber, currently starring in Donovan, this engrossing film opens with a splendid view of Brooklyn’s Great Bridge, which couples art and technology in high fidelity. The camera eye fixes on Manhattan; then retreats into Brooklyn, where the film’s principal narrative charts the heroic odyssey of Jack Roosevelt Robinson and his pilgrim’s progress into mainstream America by way of Brooklyn. Fortified with “talking head” testimony from Dodger teammates Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, and Ralph Branca and enriched by the recollections of Rachel Robinson, his beautiful, articulate, and courageous wife, the film features amazing footage of this “American Samurai,” re: David Halberstam, in action. Before Jackie’s advent into major league baseball, black athletes projected either brute force: Jack Johnson and Joe Louis or gifted clowns like the Harlem Globetrotters. Black stereotypes pervaded film, radio, and graphic arts.