On the morning of the 99th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Esther Malka Boyarin is sweeping trash off the stoop of the Stanton Street Shul, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Shortly before noon on a sunlit weekday morning, elderly men and women begin shuffling into the basement of a Brooklyn synagogue, some with the aid of home attendants. Many of the women wear attention-grabbing print tops, large necklaces and, in a few cases, sunglasses. The men opt for their best leather shoes and a suit, a few embellished with red-and-gold medals for heroism on the Eastern front during World War II.
A gay couple from Tel Aviv has petitioned Israel’s high court for the right to have a baby through a surrogate mother, an option now open only to heterosexual couples. The request by Tel Aviv spouses Etai Pinkas and Yoav Arad comes as the gay community in Israel is experiencing a small-scale baby boom.
After a five-year absence, the Village Voice’s list of “New York’s Ten Worst Landlords” has made a comeback. And, as it has been every year that the list has run — for the quarter-century I’ve lived in New York — my first reaction was to scan the roster for Jewish names.
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