Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

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.

 

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Trains Join The Jerusalem Traffic Fray

August 19, 2011

This post first appeared as “After Delay, Jerusalem’s New Light Rail System Opens With Many Kinks” on The Shmooze blog of the Forward.

For those of you who drive in Jerusalem, you know that pedestrians just stepping out into the street without looking can be a big problem. Well now it could end up being an even bigger problem as the city’s new light rail system finally starts running today, after years of delay.

The system, which is opening years behind schedule, still has many kinks to work out. They include air conditioning issues, electrical and communications glitches and the operation of the ticketing system — the latter leading to the declaration that passengers will ride free for the first two weeks.

Another problem not completely solved is

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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.