Four hours before my flight to Berlin is scheduled to depart from JFK International Airport, I stand at the check-out counter of Zabar’s, attempting to lift three overstuffed shopping bags. They contain $150 worth of coffee, babka, bagels, rugelach, hard salami, chocolate and smoked salmon — all Zabar’s own house brand — plus Melinda’s hot sauce and some aged Kilkenny Irish cheddar cheese.
When Rabbi Dov Yonah Korn arrives for services at New York University on Friday nights, it’s like the captain of the football team has shown up at the homecoming party. As a student leads the evening prayers, Korn works the men’s side of the mechitza, doling out shakes, hugs and brotherly kisses. His sharp Borsalino fedora and untrimmed beard are exotic amid students’ small yarmulkes and neat dress shirts, but Korn himself couldn’t be more familiar.
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.
As Passover approached, Israeli and Jewish families around the world were urged to save an empty seat around the Seder table for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held in captivity by Hamas for more than three years.
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.
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