Submitted by Steve Slavin Back in the 1950s there were dozens of Reform temples scattered throughout what we called Flatbush. The closest to where I lived was Temple Ahavath Sholom, which we always called “the Avenue R Temple,” since it was on Avenue R and East 16th Street in the heart of Gravesend. There was also a Conservative synagogue on the corner of Homecrest and Ave T, Beth El Jewish… Read More »Growing up in Gravesend
The Young Israel was established on December 6, 1921 and held its first Synagogue Shabbat Services on March 3, 1922. In its many years of existence, we have been active on several fronts. The Young Israel was instrumental in providing assistance in rescue efforts for our suffering brethren during the Holocaust, financial aid during the early years of our beloved State of Israel and in its wars of existence, and support to our brothers behind the Iron Curtain. Here at home, we have been the leading Congregation in the community – the force behind the creation of the local Mikveh, the Gemilut Chassadim Organization and the Greater Flatbush Eruv. We have also assisted local Yeshivot, Rabbinic Courts and the needy of our community. In addition to being open all day, every day, we have provided a myriad of services to our membership, including religious and educational enrichment, youth and outreach programs and social activities.
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.