Archive for the ‘The Jewish Past, Present and Future’ Category

‘Control’ Alternating With ‘Delete’

July 10, 2014

This article first appeared in June/July 2014 issue of Hadassah Magazine.

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Lisa Samick was 35 when she watched her younger sister, a new mother, die of metastatic breast cancer.

Judah Schiller was 35 when he was left to raise three kids alone when his wife suddenly died of massive internal bleeding three days after giving birth to their third child.

Gabrielle Birkner was 24 when she got a call at work informing her that her father and stepmother had been murdered in a home invasion.

We all contend with loss, mourning and grief. Everyone confronts the death of a loved one at some point. But for some of us it comes sooner rather than later. While no one is truly prepared for loss, young adults in their twenties and thirties feel even less prepared. With few—if any—of their peers having gone through a similar experience, they are left charting their own course through the emotional and practical challenges that come in the wake of an immediate family member’s death.

Some young Jews find comfort in age-old Jewish rituals and in their local Jewish community. However, in the Internet age, when we live so much of our lives online, those experiencing loss often turn to Google in search of relevant and resonant resources. They may sit shiva but also reach out to their social media circles for support.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

NY Orthodox Rabbi’s Got His Congregation On The Rails

July 10, 2014

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Rabbi Berkowitz giving opening prayers at 2 Broadway (MTA headquarters in lower Manhattan) at the Veteran’s Day Memorial in 2011. (Photo credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin)

Rabbi Berkowitz giving opening prayers at 2 Broadway (MTA headquarters in lower Manhattan) at the Veteran’s Day Memorial in 2011. (Photo credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin)

Harry Berkowitz is a rabbi on the move. It could be no other way for the head chaplain for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the largest transportation network in North America.

Berkowitz developed and oversees a program that ministers to upwards of 65,000 MTA employees working an over 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State and Connecticut. It’s not the job the Orthodox rabbi originally set out to do, but from his first subway ride-along with transit police in 1978, he knew he had found his true calling.

Three and a half decades later, Berkowitz, 67, is still chugging away, but no longer going it alone. Having steadily built up the MTA’s chaplaincy, he is now assisted by a team of 100 volunteer clergy of every religion and cultural background. They’re on call 24/7 to support the MTA family in coping with everything from run-of-the-mill personal and employment issues, to fatal train incidents (nearly 100 people died along the MTA’s 2,047 miles of tracks in 2013), to unfathomable national tragedies like 9/11.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

Anti-Semitic Incidents Disrupt Silicon Valley Jewish Community

June 10, 2014

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Congregation Kol Emeth’s Rabbi Laurie Matzkin wants to address an uptick in anti-Semitism encountered by Silicon Valley’s Jewish students. (Courtesy)

Congregation Kol Emeth’s Rabbi Laurie Matzkin wants to address an uptick in anti-Semitism encountered by Silicon Valley’s Jewish students. (Courtesy)

The publication of a slight against a Jewish student in a Cupertino, California high school yearbook has brought to light what some see as an uptick in anti-Semitism among Silicon Valley youth

A student planted an insult against a student from a Jewish Israeli family in a caption beneath a team photo in the Monta Vista High School yearbook. The student’s changing the last three letters of the Israeli classmate’s name to “jew” went unnoticed by the yearbook advisor.

According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, the school has not acquiesced to the Jewish family’s request that the run of 1,600 yearbooks be recalled, claiming that it is too late now that they have been distributed to students and have been filled with handwritten messages from friends and classmates. The Fremont Union High School District paid $64,000 to produce the yearbooks, and they were sold to students at $90 a piece.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 185 other followers