New York

A woman rabbi (by any other name)

By Hilary Krieger, New York, June 3, 2009

Sara Hurwitz considers herself a rabbi.

She recently completed the same tests Orthodox men take to be ordained. Last month she underwent a conferral ceremony at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, one of the largest Orthodox synagogues insuburban New York, where she has been acting as Torah scholar, and adjudicating Jewish law, for several years.

But there is one problem: she wasn’t given the title rabbi. Instead, she is known as Maharat — a neologism which stands for Madrichah Hilchatit, Ruchanit v’Toranit, or Leader in Jewish Law, Spiritual Matters, and Torah.

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Charedim battle sex-abuse bill

By Nathan Guttman, May 27, 2009

Attempts to bring justice to victims of sexual abuse are opening old wounds in New York’s strictly Orthodox community and its leadership, which is largely viewed as trying to block these attempts.

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Shul ‘terror plot gang’ in court

May 21, 2009

Four suspected terrorists have been arrested by police who claim they caught them planting bombs near two Synagogues in the Bronx area of New York.

State prosecutors say James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, planned to detonate a car filled with plastic explosives outside the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Centre.

In April the group are said to have agreed on the synagogue they intended to attack and conducted surveillance.

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Russian leadership plan

April 22, 2009

A $2.7 initiative to promote leadership among Russian-speaking Jews living in the US has been announced in New York.

The money will go to training lay leadership in the community and supporting professional development.

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Rabbi is jailed for £5m fraud

By Tom Tugend, April 7, 2009

A Brooklyn rabbi has been jailed for two years after pleading guilty to a tax fraud and money laundering scheme.

Rabbi Moshe Zigelman was key to a conspiracy which used five charities of the ultra-Orthodox Spinka group as fronts. Contributors received receipts for large sums which they wrote off on their tax returns. Then they were secretly repaid most of the cash.

In 2006 alone, Zigelman helped solicit more than $8.5 million (£5.3m), of which just $750,000 (£500,000) was kept by charities.

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London and New York: a tale of two marches

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2008

As organisers of a pro-Israel street rally finalised plans for their event later this month, a similar march in New York last weekend set them an impressive target to beat — with a claimed 100,000 participants.

Even allowing for the difference in Jewish populations (London: estimated 250,000; New York: just under one million), New York City’s Salute to Israel Parade last Sunday dwarfs London’s ambitions.

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