A CARLEBACH HOMECOMING: A new synagogue in Chabad’s Brooklyn stronghold is trying to channel some of the spirit of the late Jewish music path-breaker Shlomo Carlebach — himself a former Chabad emissary who wandered off in more New Age-y directions. The basement shul — which its rabbi says is “Carlebach-esque” but “100 percent a Chabad shul” — is attracting young Lubavitcher spiritual seekers, including women who feel excluded elsewhere and some who say that other neighborhood synagogues have too much idle chit-chat. “Ahavas Yisroel may very possibly be the quietest shul in Crown Heights,” one member tells The New York Jewish Week.
TWICE-A-YEAR SHUL: Congregation Ahavath Achim once served hundreds of Jewish families — and was one of three synagogues in the Pennsylvania mill town of Braddock. Today, it is open twice a year, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — thanks to the efforts of devoted members of Braddock’s Jewish Diaspora, who have stayed true to their shul. While try to keep the synagogue in decent shape, the bulk of their fundraising goes to keeping up the cemetery. “Most of the congregants are there now, rather than coming to services, so most of our fundraising efforts go to maintaining the cemetery,” synagogue loyalist John Katz tells Pittsburgh’s Jewish Chronicle.
BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN: The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, Calif., canceled a planned exhibit of art by Palestinian children — which would have featured drawings depicting the Israeli military attacking and menacing Palestinians — after complaints from Jewish groups. While the Middle East Children’s Alliance, a pro-Palestinian group that co-sponsored the exhibit, expressed dismay over the cancellation, the executive director of San Francisco’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Rabbi Doug Kahn, tells San Francisco’s j. weekly: “What people should be outraged by is the notion that an organization would try to use the good name of the museum and take advantage of its openness and good will.”
A MORE MODEST MEMORIAL: Jewish veterans in Toronto finally broke ground on a long-delayed memorial to Jews who died while fighting for Canada in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. There was an earlier plan for an ambitious $7 million work by a famed architect, but funding challenges and internal squabbles resulted in it being scaled down to a more modest $75,000 monument, The Canadian Jewish News reports.
THANKS, CANADA: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had some high praise for Canada on a recent visit. “I am here to express our appreciation to Canada, its government and its people,” Lieberman tells The Canadian Jewish News. “Canada is our best, most reliable friend in the world.” Canada’s conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, has indeed been hailed as a staunch friend of the Jewish state, though others might quibble that his country is still a few billion dollars in annual aid and a U.N. Security Council veto behind its neighbor to the south.
PICK A FLAG: Britain’s Union of Jewish Students is taking some knocks from those who feel that its new “Liberation” campaign isn’t sufficiently pro-Israel. The union is distributing a kit with Israeli and Palestinian flags to campuses to underscore the campaign’s themes of "two states for two peoples" and "freedom, justice and equality" for all, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports. "The vast majority of Jews will find the campaign obsequious, sickening and treacherous,” says Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice-chair of Britain’s Zionist Federation. But Jonathan Arkush, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, says: “Changing the dynamics of these debates on campuses across the country, while remaining true to the ideology of a two-state solution, is a bold move and one that I support."