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In the 19th century, the heart of European Jewry – its centers of Torah learning, its crown of glory – was centered in the vast expanse of the Russian Empire. There, under the hand of the czars, lived millions of Jews – poor in material wealth but blessed with a love of Torah and a dedication to their faith that was unshakeable.
It's Iyar 11, the yahrzeit of Methuselah at the 969 years of age (according to one opinion). I suppose on this day Jewish geezers go down to the park and pass judgment on the pigeons (You call that pecking?). It's also the yahrzeit, in 1884, of Judah Philip Benjamin, the second Jewish senator in U.S. history (from Louisiana), who also served in the cabinet of President Jefferson Davis (yes, yes, they lost).
One thing is certain about Robert Feinland - he has shuls on his mind. His career has spanned over 40 years, exploring landscape, cityscape, sculpture and abstraction. For many of those years he has focused on the relentlessly changing urban landscape of New York, feeling the necessity to document and, in some way preserve, the physical fabric of the city he loves. A selection of recent paintings, most concentrating on the Crown Heights community, is currently at the Chassidic Art Institute. Many of the images are of shuls.
Former pro-Soviet Jewry activist and local Upper West Side all around tzadik Glenn Richter has been collecting food from the Ohav Zedek synagogue and similar institutions and bringing it to homeless shelters for more than 20 years, but recently, when he attempted to bring a traditional Shabbat cholent leftovers from a shul kiddush, he was refused on account of the Bloomberg administration's decree against giving too much salt, fat and fiber to the homeless.
"When someone completes his job faithfully you must pay him fully, even if no benefit comes from the work. For example, if a person ordered a delivery of medicine for a critically ill patient, and the person died or recovered meanwhile, the driver must be paid."
Shabbat is a time of menuchah, of rest. It is also a time of simcha, of happiness. We are often too busy during the week to stop and think about how we can do something simple to bring simcha into someone else’s life. When we can combine the menuchah of Shabbat together with its inherent simcha, we can bring ohr laYehudim, light to all of us.
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses many of the various aspects of the mishkan. The Torah dictates in detail the manner in which the walls of the mishkan were to be erected. At the instructions’ conclusion, the pasuk says, “Vahakeimosa es hamishkan, k’mishpato asher har’eisa bahar – and you shall erect the mishkan according to its laws, as you will have been shown on the mountain” (Shemos 26:30).
"Although a shomer sachar is generally obligated in theft and is expected to watch extra carefully, he can stipulate with the owner for a lower level of responsibility . . . A number of authorities maintain that when the owner was aware of the conditions in which the merchandise would be kept, it is considered as a stipulation that such guardianship suffices."
Border Policeman was caught on camera stealing from a shul pushkah.
Kanner Hall was the site of Ohr HaChaim’s recent annual melaveh malkah. The shul, known as the Spiegel Shul and located in the Fairfax-Hancock Park community, was originally founded by Spiegel family members. The Spiegels still tend to the shul’s needs.
"Fine & Feder Furniture" had been a landmark in the shopping center for decades. The two partners had opened a small store thirty years before and now ran a humongous showroom. Rumors were circulating of a breakup in the partnership, though, due to developing mistrust.
In response to community objections, a prominent Brooklyn synagogue will not proceed, for the moment, with the construction of a 65-foot annex to its main building, according to several members of the Syrian Orthodox community in Brooklyn who asked not to be named. However, they will most probably not permanently shelve the project altogether.