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Each of the 12 tribes of Israel received a specific piece of the Promised Land.
Today, Jews returning to Israel may live wherever they wish. Most English-speaking immigrants gravitate to such central areas as Jerusalem, Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh, and Chashmona’im.
But escalating real-estate prices in these clusters are keeping people from making the move, said Soli Yisrael Foger of Englewood, who grew up in Israel, left in 1983, and is ready to return.
His solution to that problem: Create a new “American-style” neighborhood in the more affordable Lower Galilee as a communal aliyah project.
A 101-year-old Orthodox congregation in West New York has won a court battle against a chasidic group that had signed an agreement with the synagogue’s president giving it control of the building.
In a late April ruling, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Hector Velazquez ruled that under state law, a synagogue building can be transferred only with the permission of the congregation’s membership.
No such permission had been granted by the 60 or so members of Congregation Shaarei Zedek, he ruled.
Often the simplest solution is the best.
And so it was that a team from Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck took first prize in a competition to engineer a system for avoiding collisions on railroad tracks.
“I think we won because ours was the most practical — maybe not the most complex solution, but it got the job done,” said Devorah Saffern of Bergenfield, one of the eight sophomores involved in the project.
“Ours was really simple, economical, and practical, and could be applied in reality,” Chaya Levin of Teaneck added.
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.
Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El of Closter cares about wellness — both his own and that of his congregants.
Kirshner, who attends spinning classes three times a week, also cares about Jewish learning and making the synagogue an exciting place to be.
“We’re doing things here that are fun and different, creative and dynamic,” said Kirshner, who last week coordinated a study session/exercise program for the shul’s women’s study group. “While Judaism is an ancient religion, it has modern things to say about looking after our health,” he added, calling the combined session “out of the box.”
Nellie Harris has traveled a long way — from Morocco to Israel to the United States; from doctoral studies in Yiddish to doctoral work in Jewish education; from heading the Solomon Schechter Day School in Westchester to leading a new school in Rockland County.
“Education was always in my blood,” said Harris, the incoming principal of the Rockland Jewish Academy, a pluralistic community day school founded in West Nyack last year. “It was a part of who I was and how I defined myself.”
Most recently the curriculum and instruction director of the Solomon Schechter Upper School in Hartsdale, N.Y. , Harris will take up her new role in August.
Teaneck’s giant red oak survived the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and even the contentious bankruptcy hearings of the Union for Traditional Judaism, which gave rise to a town-wide battle for the tree’s future.
But the yellow ribbon around this ole oak tree now is cautionary tape. Bergen County surveyed the tree’s inner strength this month — and concluded that its time had passed.
The tree, estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old, sits at the intersection of Palisade Avenue and Cedar Lane, on the property of the modern Orthodox synagogue Netivot Shalom, but Teaneck’s Puffin Foundation paid a preservation easement in 2011 that turned responsibility for the tree — the fourth largest red oak in New Jersey — over to the county.
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.