That can be a sobering milestone for people. While it might not be old, it is unequivocally no longer young.
But camps are different. They are all about being young, but they also are about continuity and staying power. Fifty absolutely is something to celebrate, and the next 50 is something to look forward to with joy.
On Sunday, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires — which in fact isn’t in the Berkshires at all, but in Wingdale, N.Y., and draws campers from New Jersey, New York City, Westchester County and Long Island — celebrated its anniversary with a huge reunion. About 1,000 people trekked up Route 684; some are young now, and others went to remember being young, and to feel young again.
Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) of Cliffside Park, who died on Monday, was 89 years old, the oldest member of the Senate, and the New Jersey senator who cast more votes in the upper house than any other.
As befits that status, he was old-school all the way; the Senate’s last World War II veteran, a member of the clichéd but still extraordinary Greatest Generation, an old-fashioned liberal who cared deeply about such unglamorous but wide-reaching issues as gun control (he wrote a law that kept guns away from people convicted of domestic abuse and fought vigorously for gun control until the very end of his life); smoking on airplanes (he wrote the law that banned it), and drunk driving (he got the blood alcohol standard lowered and so kept some drunk drivers off the streets, and he spearheaded the drive to make all states’ drinking age consistent at 21).
When you interview many people for a story about Rabbi Neal Borovitz, who is about to retire from Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge, you’d expect a little whisper of dissatisfaction. No one is beloved by everybody all the time.
You know that you wouldn’t include any of that criticism in your story — it’s not that kind of piece — but you’d hear it nonetheless. Just a hint. After all, he’s human.
We would all like to believe that if you can lay out facts, make a case, and show that there is both moral and strategic good on your side, you will win. But in order to do that, you have to have someone in front of whom to lay out the facts. You need someone who will listen when you make your case.
That is as true about winning support for Israel as any other issue.
So if you are passionate about Israel, know your stuff, and want to make a difference, all you have to do is talk to your friend the politician. Master your facts, shape your argument, make it — the way to influence legislators, and therefore to affect legislation.
Barnert Temple — once of Paterson, now firmly planted in Franklin Lakes — is 165 years old.
It predates the Civil War, tracks the development of the Reform movement in this country, and was long established by the time the great waves of Jewish immigration hit American shores. When the State of Israel was established, it was more than a century old.
Rabbi Elyse Frishman has led Barnert for 18 years. Last week, the synagogue celebrated her anniversary and its own with a gala dinner.
Like Barnert, Frishman models a way to be Jewish in the world, and how to affect change Jewishly. Most recently, her actions with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem have shaken the Jewish world.
There are some things that most of us never have and never will experience. We can imagine what it would feel like, but we never will really know.
One of those things has to be entering a huge arena and jumping, dancing, twirling, flying, seemingly beyond gravity’s pull. For about a minute and a half. To music. In front of thousands of people, clapping for you, and tens of millions more sitting in their living rooms all across the world watching you. Judging you. At the Olympics.
You’re very young when you do this — just 18. It’s the Summer Games in London last summer. You do very well in all your competitions — and you get the gold in your last one, the floor program. You are the first American woman to do this. You also win a bronze medal for your work on the balance beam. You are also the team captain, and the whole team wins the overall gold, as well.
How can you be a stranger and a permanent presence at the same time?
How do you balance the eternal truths of the Torah and the specific time-bound, culture-bound lens through which each of us must peer at it?
To Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, who heads Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood and is the president of the Rabbinical Council of America, that is the essential conundrum of an authentic Jewish life.
Goldin has just published “Unlocking the Torah Text: Bamidbar,” the fourth and penultimate book in his series on the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. In each book, “what I have done is provide, both for those who have studied Torah before and those who have not, and in-depth yet accessible analysis of the parsha” — the Torah portion read each week on Shabbat.
Professor Stephen M. Berk, who teaches history at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., can shift easily between different emotional tones.
Ask him about his grandchildren’s school, the Gerrard Berman Day School, and he rhapsodizes.
Ask him about the existential dilemma facing Israel, and the mood darkens. And then, despite all that follows, it ends with hope.
First, the logistics. Berk, the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies at the small, well-regarded liberal arts college near Albany, spoke at a fundraising party for the school in a home in Saddle River.