New York

Kosher cookery studies take off in New York

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Do you watch the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay from behind the sofa, wishing for once they would ditch the shrimps and bacon and prepare a nice kosher dinner?

Well worry not, New York's Centre for Kosher Culinary Arts is offering students courses in preparing fully kosher
cuisine.

More than 125 students have taken part over the past two years. Devorah-Leah Benson, 19, from Ilford, Essex, was one of them.

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Ireland’s President thanks Jewish donors

By Jessica Elgot, May 25, 2010

Ireland’s President Mary McAleese has personally thanked the Jewish community for a donation of $82,000 given to the victims of the Irish Potato Famine in 1847.

The President was speaking at New York's Temple Shearith Israel, a synagogue founded in Crosby Street in 1654 by Brazilian, Spanish and Portuguese Jews.

In 1847 Jacques Judah Lyons, who was chazan of the synagogue, organised a donation of $1,000 from the congregation to be sent to the victims of the famine. The Irish famine killed more than a million people between 1845 and 1852.

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New York's Chasidic rebels learn to be secular

By Rebecca Schischa , April 8, 2010

Right in the heart of Manhattan is an unusual refuge - a place where New York's 'Chasidic rebels' gather to socialise, meet and learn.

Footsteps, which runs the centre, is the only organisation that exists outside Israel to provide defectors from the Chasidic community with the practical and emotional support they need to make it in mainstream society.

"People don't come to Footsteps for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll," says executive director Paula Winnig. "They're with us because they want to learn."

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Man claims daughter abducted under fake Irish passport

By Robyn Rosen, March 18, 2010

A Jewish father in New York is fighting to have his 11-year-old daughter returned after she was taken to Ireland under a passport he claims had been fraudulently signed.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has demanded that the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, which issues passports, cancels the Irish passport issued to his daughter. She lived in New York two years ago, before, he alleges, being abducted by her mother and taken to Ireland.

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UK 'carrier' blamed for New York mumps outbreak

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

An 11-year-old boy is at the centre of a potential mumps epidemic among New York’s strictly Orthodox community because he is believed to have been the carrier of the disease after visiting the UK.

More than 300 people, almost all strictly Orthodox, have been diagnosed with mumps in the towns of Monsey and New Square, home to over 7,000 Skverer Chasidim.

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Charedi poverty, New York-style

By Paul Berger in New York, December 30, 2009

The shop windows that line Lee Avenue in the Charedi neighbourhood of Williamsburg advertise every aspect of Orthodox life — long black coats, ornate silver menorahs, challahs, prayer books, Jewish-themed toys.

So the gleaming white storefront at number 65 is striking for the fact that it advertises nothing; just a neat row of white blinds.

Behind the blinds is Williamsburg’s first kosher soup kitchen, the Orenstein-Met Council Masbia Kitchen, which opened last month.

“It’s quoted in halachah that the best way to do charity is to go all out,” said Alexander Rapaport.

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Roger Cohen - new target of New York Jews' fury

By Paul Berger, December 17, 2009

It’s been quite a year for Roger Cohen. The British-born New York Times columnist has been called a “self-hating Jew” and accused of attempting to “undermine American solidarity with Israel”. The editor of America’s largest Jewish paper, the New York Jewish Week, even wondered whether his heart had “become brutal”.

Mr Cohen’s crime: a succession of columns sharply criticising Israel and presenting an alternative view of Iran.

“I don’t set out to be provocative,” Mr Cohen says, from his home in Brooklyn. “I set out to write what I believe.”

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Chasidim stop bike lanes

By Paul Berger, December 10, 2009

For some New Yorkers, cycling is a religion.

So, when the city’s department of transport removed a bike lane that cut through the Chasidic area of Williamsburg last week, it was seen as a sacrilege.

“They illegally sold out the citizens of New York,” said Baruch Herzfeld, a modern Orthodox Jew who owns the Traif Bike Geschaft repair and rental shop on the southern edge of “hipster”, or bohemian, Williamsburg.

Mr Herzfeld and other bikers are enraged because, it appears, New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg struck a back-room deal with Williamsburg’s Satmar community.

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Lubavitch reopens debate on messianic beliefs

By Paul Berger, December 3, 2009

A Lubavitch website has reopened a debate over the exclusion of some Chabad rabbis from an Orthodox rabbinical organisation.

The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), which is the main association of Orthodox rabbis in the US, inserted a clause in its membership application some years ago that barred rabbis “with messianic beliefs” from joining the group.

The clause refers to the belief among some in the Chabad movement that the last Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994, may one day return as the messiah.

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Suicide newlywed 'was sex-abused'

By Ellen Tumposky, November 19, 2009

A report that a Brooklyn man who committed suicide two days after his wedding was a victim of sex abuse has riled the Orthodox community.

Mordechai (Motty) Borger, 24, jumped from the seventh-floor terrace of his hotel on November 5. His bride, Mali Gutman, whom he married on Nov 3 after they met through a matchmaker, was asleep in the room.

A spokeswoman for the NYC medical examiner’s office said the death has been ruled a suicide.

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