NYC marathoners get ready to daven • A Jewish soccer star’s next goal • Bizarre Hanukkah gifts


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MARATHON MENSCH: Meet Peter Berkowsky, who for the 36th time will organize the morning minyan at the New York City Marathon, which returns Sunday. (Jewish Week via JTA)

  • “We get a lot of people who are not Orthodox, a lot of people who are not observant at all, but they come to the minyan because they know all the Jewish runners are going to be there,” he tells our Julia Gergely.

MEMORY BOOK: Before she moved out of her apartment in Washington Heights, Steve North’s grandmother handed him a book that would unlock the secrets of her Jewish childhood in Germany. (Jewish Week via JTA)

  • Her autograph album is full of messages of love, hope and foreboding, written by friends, relatives and classmates, all long gone.

GOAL-ORIENTED:  New York City native, soccer star and labor union organizer Yael Averbuch West is headed to the playoffs — this time as the interim general manager of NJ/NY Gotham FC, the National Women’s Soccer League club that she used to play for. (JTA)

  • “I realize more and more that just being me — a Jewish woman — and especially with the name I have, is setting a really important example for other Jewish athletes who aspire to play high level sports,” she tells Emily Burack.



Rabbi David Keehn, a hospital chaplain at NYU Langone Manhattan who was remembered by one friend as “a fountain of giving that never ran dry,” died Oct. 25 at age 54. The Belle Harbor, N.Y. native served 23 years as Jewish chaplain and director of pastoral care at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens, where he ministered to Jewish families and people of all faiths, and developed relationships with the leading clergy in the community. A former president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, he also served as an inspiration to colleagues and patients who, like him, were legally blind.


American Jewish Committee awarded Bradley J. Butwin, chair of the O’Melveny law firm, its 2021 Judge Learned Hand Award in recognition of his “outstanding leadership in the legal profession and in the community.” Butwin recently cofounded the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, which has united almost 300 firms in the fight against structural racism in the law.


Not sure about having kids? This week’s portion, writes Rabbi Tali Adler, suggests that the matriarch Rebecca was herself ambivalent, and that we should all make space for people to share their fears of parenthood just as they share their joy.


News Quiz Logo JW

(Janice Hwang)

Our friends at Kveller have chosen 2021’s most bizarre, most random Hanukkah gifts. Can you spot the fake one in the list below?

  1. Hanukkah Double Decker Cat Scratch House, to “make sure your feline is ready to celebrate the eight nights of the Festival of Lights.”
  2. Hanukkah Cappuccino Stencils, which let you draw little stars of David and other symbols in your coffee foam.
  3. Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Hanukkah Bobblehead, which is, well, just what it sounds like.
  4. William Shatner’s “Hanukkah Enterprise,” a collection of holiday songs by the former “Star Trek” captain and recent real-life astronaut.

(See answer below.)


Join the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for an in-person program exploring Leonard Bernstein’s legacy in Israel. The program will feature a screening of “Leonard Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic,” a new short film commissioned by American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic, and will feature a panel discussion with Bernstein’s son Alex Bernstein; Danielle Ames Spivak, executive vice president and CEO of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic; and Ivy Weingram, curator of the exhibition “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music.” 36 Battery Place, New York. Register here. Sunday, 3:00 p.m.

Photo, top: Yael Averbuch West, left, interim general manager of NJ/NY Gotham FC, the National Women’s Soccer League club that she used to play for, says a few words about Gotham player Carli Lloyd on her retirement, at Red Bull Arena in N.J., Oct. 31, 2021. (Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty Images)

(Answer to News Quiz: 4. The Jewish Shatner did release a Christmas album in 2018. )