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September 2005 > Community

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Issue #3

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Around Our Community

Send your comments and suggestions to Around Our Community Editor Bruce Ticker at community @ pjvoice.com.

Bruce Ticker is the editor of Crisis: Israel. A Voice for Diverse Commentary.

Community Calendar

As a new feature, an interactive Community Calendar is being created on our website. Stay tuned for more details. 

Is your synagogue or organization missing from our calendar? Send details of your events to Bruce Ticker at calendar @ pjvoice.com to have them include in the next issue.

Community News by Bruce S. Ticker

Previous Features


A few people who live or spend time in New Jersey's river towns must drink their water directly from the Delaware River.

On two trips to New York via the New Jersey Transit River Line, I spotted a large red swastika spray-painted on a concrete underpass a quarter-mile south of the Bordentown train station. The light-rail River Line trains run from Trenton to Camden.

The New Jersey Jewish News subsequently quoted a deputy police chief from Bordentown Township, Frank Nucera, who said the swastika was painted over and the New Jersey Department of Transportation will be contacted "so they can remove it completely."

A few days after the story appeared, I was riding the train home to Philadelphia and observed that the swastika had indeed been painted over.

Several miles south, as the train approached the Delanco station, I spotted a large Confederate emblem draped over a fence outside a private home.

Unfortunately, there are no legal means I know of to stop anyone from displaying this emblem on private property. Maybe the owner should just switch to bottled water. 


An African-American man reportedly employed the same phrase - "Get the Jew" - in attacking a 50-year-old Chasidic man on Monday, August 1, that was used when a group of black youths assaulted Yankel Rosenbaum on Aug. 19, 1991, in the same community, Crown Heights.

The victim, Arie Grudka, told police one of three black men who attacked him on Schenectady Avenue punched him in the face, and one of them reportedly said, "Get the Jew." The assailants fled when other Chasidic men came to Grudka's aid, according to reports in New York Jewish Week and The New York Post.

On the previous Friday night, tires were slashed on two Hatzolah ambulances and eight cars that were identifiable as belonging to Jews. Jewish Week reported that volunteer medics secured another vehicle from Borough Park to respond to calls until after the Sabbath when the vehicles could be repaired. Among officials who denounced the vandalism, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said the acts showed "complete disregard for the value of human life."


Anti-Semitic vandals kept busy in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan in recent weeks.

Starting with Independence Day, a Jewish symbol and anti-Semitic words were found spraypainted on the side of a commercial building at 2 a.m. at 71st Road and Queens Boulevard in the Forest Hills section of Queens (police report, New York Post).

Buildings in both Brooklyn and Manhattan were vandalized on Thursday, July 7. In Brooklyn's Fort Hamilton section, banners which read "tenants…go to hell and you're Jew puppets with you…tenants drop dead" were spotted hanging from a first-floor fire escape at 278 91st St. at 9:30 a.m. (Post).

Graffiti in which the word Israel with a "no" symbol drawn over it in black marker was discovered on a stairwell wall on the fifth floor of an office building at 450 W. 33rd St. in Manhattan's Chelsea section at noon. Two weeks before, a piece of paper was found on the floor of the same stairwell bearing a bizarre cartoon that depicted Uncle Sam wearing glasses with Star of David, and being ridden like a horse by a caricature of a Jewish man.

Several anti-Semitic statements were found scrawled in red marker on an elevator inside 225 Division Ave. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn at 7:35 a.m. Friday, July 8 (Post).

A swastika was discovered spray-painted on the back door of a Howard Beach, Queens, building on 84th Street at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 16 (Post).


The population of Roosevelt, N.J., in northwestern Monmouth County, numbering less than 1,000, is engulfed in a civil war over a proposed Orthodox day school at Congregation Anshei Roosevelt.

The conflict has been accompanied by the discovery of an anti-Semitic poster, a reported scuffle inside the synagogue and a recall petition against Roosevelt's mayor, also a former president of the synagogue.

"It has turned ugly," Etzion Neuer of the Anti-Defamation League told The Jewish State, a weekly newspaper in New Brunswick. "The level of vitriol being used here seems to go a lot further than zoning, taxes or simply about a synagogue board issue."

Current synagogue president Elly Shapiro explained that the day school plan is being considered to maintain the synagogue's existence. "There's been a core group of us trying to keep (it) alive," she said.

The Jewish State reported that the flap can be traced back to March when two representatives of Yeshiva Me-On Hatorah in New York's Riverdale section proposed creation of a yeshiva at the synagogue. Roosevelt is located south of Princeton.

Borough administrator Robert Clark said in the August 5 edition that the borough has not yet received applications for official action from the yeshiva or its representatives.

Opponents objected to the yeshiva at a borough council meeting and circulated a petition to recall Mayor Neil Marko, the former president of the temple. Residents demonstrated outside the synagogue on July 28 during the congregation's annual meeting. Some opponents are Jewish.

Jay Goldman, declaring himself the proxy for his stepfather, Nobert Singer, a congregation member. "I got about halfway inside, and they couldn't find the name Nobert Singer on the list, so one of the congregants grabbed me and lifted me out," he told the newspaper.

In a related article in The Jewish State, state police said they were investigating the discovery of an anti-Semitic poster that was affixed to the borough's bulletin board at the post office.

The poster was reported to include a drawing of a house with the words "Mayor Marko's yeshiva," plus a picture of a truck filled with Zyklon B, the gas ued in the Nazis' extermination camps.

Other news outlets reported that Marko has been accused of a conflict of interest, and this situation was the latest in a series of episodes in which residents were angered with Marko's performance as mayor.


Don't you feel left out whenever one of these notorious but stupid real-life soap operas explode all over the cable news stations? Whether it's Tonya Harding, Michael Jackson, Aruba or any of these moronic situations that overwhelm what we should really care about, very rarely is any Jewish angle mentioned. Some may argue that the Jewish people are better off without such inclusion, but not us. We intend to remedy this Christian-washing…er, whitewashing…of the news.

For starters, take those three jurors who joined in the verdict to acquit Michael Jackson in his latest trial. Now they are repudiating their votes and argue that they should have voted to convict him. Here's what the mainstream goyim press omits: Three jurors, six opinions.

If you peer closely at a photo of Runaway Bride Jennifer Wilbanks performing her community service, you'll recognize that she is wearing an orange jumpsuit as she mows the lawn outside the municipal building in Lawrenceville, Ga. Since orange is the symbolic color of opponents to the Gaza withdrawal, shouldn't some reporter have asked her why she is meddling in Israeli politics?


Patients who receive free hearing aids at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem can thank American Jews from such disparate sections of the United States as Blue Bell, Boca Raton, California, Denver and, last but not least, the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield.

Meyer Markowitz, a 75-year-old retired store designer from Blue Bell, said he has spent the last two years collecting 200 used hearing aids which are ultimately donated to indigent Israelis in need of hearing aids at Hadassah Hospital.

He sends the hearing aids to the Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah in West Bloomfield where they are refurbished through a fund established by Phyllis and Albert Newman, and they are in turn sent to the hospital.

Markowitz said he first learned of the program when he read an article in a southern Florida Jewish weekly, The Jewish Journal, about a 14-year-old Boca Raton girl who collected hearing aids for this purpose. He was living in his winter home in nearby Cocoanut Creek when he read the article. Then he learned more by calling the girl's family.

Since then, some contributors have called from Denver and California, he said. Very often, the hearing aids are supplied by the widow or widower of a deceased spouse, he added.

Of course, Markowitz is not satisfied with 200 hearing aids. He hopes that there are people out there who can supply more hearing aids for that next ear in Jerusalem. Readers can call Markowitz at 610 278-1055 or e-mail him at Sfumhm@aol.com.


Education Director MiraLeah Colflesh with her husband and daughter. Tzedek v'Shalom, Newtown's Jewish Reconstructionist synagogue, has announced the appointment of MiraLeah Colflesh as the congregation's first Education Director.
Colflesh comes the position with rich experience in Jewish education. She has taught in both Conservative and Reconstructionist synagogues, as well as serving as Israel Specialist at a JCC camp. In addition, she has been an advisor for a teen leadership program. Colflesh is currently enrolled in Gratz College in the Masters in Jewish Education program, with an emphasis on teaching and administration.

Over the summer Mira has met with Tzedek v'Shalom's education chairpeople and teachers, preparing for the upcoming year. Rabbi Sigal Dagan Brier, the congregation's rabbi, has also coordinated efforts with the new Education Director, laying out plans for the year that mesh with the community's other educational, spiritual, and social action efforts. The hiring of an Education Director both enhances the Tzedek v'Shalom's educational program by providing a professional director for the school and frees Rabbi Brier for other synagogue work. -- Naomi Mindlin, Tzedek v'Shalom.