Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

Katz’s Deli Defies Flood To Stay Open

May 22, 2014

This piece first appeared on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.

katzsflood

World-famous Katz’s Delicatessen remains open for business following a water main break right in front of it at the intersection of E. Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side on Thursday morning.

The break is reported to have taken place took shortly before 11 a.m., and all lanes of East Houston Street were closed in both directions between Allen and Essex Streets.

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management issued an alert at 11:45 AM, warning drivers to expect road closures, traffic delays, and emergency personnel in the area, and to consider taking alternate routes. There was no response from OEM to a request for further information on the situation.

“The water main burst right in front of us,” Jake Dell, a fifth generation owner of Katz’s Deli told the Forward. The street had apparently completely collapsed, leaving a huge sinkhole.

Click here to read more and watch a video.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

In ‘Visible City,’ Tova Mirvis Adds Pain To Her Palette

May 11, 2014

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Author Tova Mirvis. (photo credit: Nina Subin)

Author Tova Mirvis. (photo credit: Nina Subin)

Even without knowing how substantially Tova Mirvis’s life has altered in the past decade, readers familiar with her previous novels, “The Ladies Auxiliary” (1999) and “The Outside World” (2004), will read new her novel “Visible City” (2014) and sense something has shifted for the author.

The first two novels dealt with life within the Orthodox Jewish community. In the new novel, which takes place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, it is implied that most of the characters are Jewish, but none of them are Orthodox. Judaism and issues of Jewish identity and community play no role in the narrative, save for mention of the Orthodox upbringing of a young husband and father named Jeremy, who is no longer observant.

A lot can happen in ten years. For author Tova Mirvis, the decade has included a divorce and leaving Orthodox Judaism. Perhaps “Visible City,” about the parts of ourselves we reveal to the world and the parts we keep hidden, is a window into Mirvis’s inner changes.

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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