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.
November 11, 2014 |
Rabbi Steven Lindemann stepped into a tall shadow when he became senior rabbi at Cherry Hill's Temple Beth Sholom in 1992. "I was 44," he recalled last week, and his predecessor, Rabbi Albert Lewis, "had been here 44 years. He started this congregation the year I was born. And he had a very distinctive teaching style. " Leadership stays on at this giant Conservative synagogue. Yet now, after 22 years as Beth Sholom's senior rabbi, Lindemann finds himself in the role of the new tall shadow.
October 4, 2014 |
A cantor and popular member of a Roxborough synagogue was killed by a former houseguest who broke into his East Mount Airy home Tuesday night, according to law enforcement sources and police reports. Ronald Fischman, 54, was stabbed to death after he confronted a man who used to live in his home but had been asked to leave. Jonathan Williams, 33, also known as William James, was charged Thursday with murder, burglary and related offenses in connection with the slaying. Around 11:19 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to a call reporting a break-in on the 200 block of East Phil Ellena Street.
October 1, 2014 |
THERE IS no "typical" Shabbat service at Society Hill Synagogue. One week, Rabbi Avi Winokur might include the works of Sufi mystics and Muslim spiritual giants. The next might feature writings by Christian leaders, noted intellectuals or Jewish religious thinkers. One way the synagogue describes its open approach is by citing an old joke: "Two Jews, three opinions. " That is to say, different people celebrate their faith in different ways. "It's very eclectic," said Winokur, who has led the congregation for 13 years.
July 4, 2014 |
It might have been any social function: a buffet table, a bar, and the buzz of conversation about theater, about books, about kids. But this was no typical affair - although it's been going on for generations. The Annual Fellowship Dinner for Two Congregations, as it is simply named, has for almost 70 years brought together members of Philadelphia's Christ Church and Congregation Mikveh Israel, two institutions steeped in American colonial history, and intertwined with each other for just as long.