September 23, 2015 |
In the empty sanctuary at Richboro's Ohev Shalom synagogue on Friday, the temple's rabbi, cantor, and Hebrew school principal huddled around an iPhone 6. They were critiquing a rough cut of their educational video about the Avinu Malkeinu prayer, a request for God's blessings that is recited during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. "I think we need to hear more of you," Rabbi Eliott Perlstein told the cantor, Annelise Ocanto-Romo. "Your singing needs to be part of the lead-in. " Ohev Shalom's congregants received the four-minute video over the weekend in an email blast that encouraged them to forward it to friends.
September 14, 2015 |
There will be a couple of innovations this Rosh Hashanah at Torah Links of South Jersey, in Cherry Hill: One of the services will be shorter than usual, and there will be more prayers in English. Other than that, as it will be across the region and the world, familiar holiday traditions - prayers, songs, the blowing of shofars, and reflection in synagogues - will be observed as the Jewish high holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah at sundown Sunday. The sound of the shofar - a ram's horn - will announce the start of the holidays.
August 17, 2015 |
Toward the end of his life, Lee Stanley lived in solitude. But that doesn't mean he was alone. His home, a three-story rowhouse on tiny Mole Street in Center City, was filled to the brim with artifacts from a time gone by: baseball cards, sports almanacs, opera scores, orchestra programs. Pieces of his passions, surrounding him every day. A few times a week, he exercised, inconspicuously, by walking up and down the Art Museum steps, his oversize coat draped over his shoulders.
August 12, 2015 |
Jake Vistoso and his brother, Evan, both wear hearing aids, yet had trouble understanding the rabbi at their synagogue in Newtown. Since Jake had just turned 13, he wanted to tackle that auditory challenge for his bar mitzvah project. The answer was a "hearing loop" - a strand of wire hidden under the carpet of the sanctuary at Congregation Brothers of Israel. Jake helped raise more than $3,000 for the loop system, which transmits audio from the rabbi's microphone directly into most hearing aids.
April 16, 2015 |
In a city of 8.3 million people, they kept finding each other: on random subway lines, at two different birthday parties in the East Village. Of course, those meetings weren't complete coincidence; both Annie and Yosef were students at Manhattan's Jewish Theological Seminary, studying to become rabbis. Friends noticed the spark before they did. Yosef kept protesting, "But Annie and I are such good friends," and buddies would retort, "Don't you see, you're not just friends?" Finally, he saw. After a few months of dating, they were inviting one another to their families' Passover celebrations.
January 20, 2015 |
The top of a tattooed number 6 is still visible on his left forearm. David Wisnia had the rest of "83526" removed by a plastic surgeon. It was a reminder of three dark years spent in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he witnessed unimaginable horrors. Wisnia, 88, of Levittown, remembers collecting bodies of fellow prisoners who had tried to escape and were gunned down. He recalls his Nazi captors' orders to retrieve money and valuables from the clothes shed by countless people before they were shot or gassed.
January 19, 2015 |
Rabbis Debra Bowen and Jon Cutler lead congregations that diverge from mainstream Judaism - in very different ways. Cutler shepherds a small Warrington congregation that meets on alternate Fridays. His synagogue aims to be a place where being Jewish is not tied to a conventional menu of ritual and requirements. Bowen's congregation is largely African American. It was founded by her mother and until recent years worshiped off the radar at a synagogue that was once a church building in West Oak Lane.
December 24, 2014 |
POPE FRANCIS won't arrive in Philadelphia until September, when the World Meeting of Families convenes. But it's not too soon for local Catholics - and people of all faiths - to start thinking about what to share with him when he comes. Philadelphia could offer Pope Francis a tour of shelters, soup kitchens and other programs in which people with resources (holiday toys, winter coats, tutoring, etc.) give to those without. But our region is also gaining a reputation for adopting another strategy to bridge growing social and economic gaps.
December 13, 2014 |
Jane Tausig and her partner were Conservative Jews who came out late in life. But back then, in 2000, the movement had not yet caught up with them. Conservative Judaism was still in the midst of a divisive debate over the ordination of openly gay clergy. Tausig, a psychotherapist, and her partner decided to search for a place where they felt at home. They landed at Congregation Kol Ami, becoming the first openly gay couple to join - and marry - at the Elkins Park synagogue. They felt welcome but believed that true inclusion takes more than the open hearts of fellow congregants.
November 19, 2014 |
Burton D. Shanker, 79, of West Windsor, N.J., former executive director of synagogues in South Jersey and beyond, died of a brain tumor Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center in Plainsboro, N.J. At one point in his career, Mr. Shanker was also president of the North American Association of Synagogue Executives and executive director of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, his son Jeff said. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Shanker earned a bachelor's degree at Gratz College in religious studies and business operations.