Brooklyn Orthodox shul hires female spiritual leader

A modern Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn has hired a woman as its spiritual leader, JTA reports. Prospect Heights Shul has hired Michal Kohane as its interim spiritual leader, to serve under Senior Rabbi Ysoscher Katz. Her title, rosh kehila, translates in English to “head of the community.”

A press release from the synagogue yesterday said Kohane will host community events and serve as a “teacher and spiritual guide.” “Michal has all the essential qualities necessary for successful spiritual leadership: she combines knowledge of Torah, passion for Yiddishkeit, and extreme sensitivity to others,” Rabbi Katz said.

Court rules for gay mother, formerly chasidic, who lost custody of children

A formerly chasidic mother who had lost custody of her children after coming out as gay, and was barred from telling her youngest children about her sexuality, in a first-of-its-kind Brooklyn court ruling, has had the earlier decision reversed on appeal.

The New York Post reports that Chavie Weisberger, who in 2009 divorced Naftali Weisberger after revealed that she was attracted to women, received primary residential custody of the couple’s three children, custody that reverted to Naftali in 2012, then went back to Chavie in a recent appeals court decision.

 

Munich to memorialize slain Israeli Olympians

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin yesterday departed for Germany to dedicate a memorial to the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics, according to Haaretz. Rivlin was invited by his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is sponsoring the ceremony together with Horst Seehofer, prime minister of the German state of Bavaria.

The memorial in Munich’s Olympic Park, which will be commemorated today, is the first permanent museum that pays tribute to the victims.

The 11 Israeli victims of the massacre at the ’72 Munich Olympics. JTA

Deli owner apologizes for High Holidays ‘Nazi’ menu

The Jewish owner of a deli in suburban Chicago has come under fire for a cartoon of a Nazi on its High Holidays catering menu, the Jerusalem Post reports. The menu, posted last month on the Max’s Deli Facebook page, featured a doodled figure wearing a military uniform, a Nazi swastika armband, and a T-shirt that reads “I’m With Alt-Right.” The figure’s blonde hair is evocative of President Trump.

Deli owner Greg Morelli posted an apology last week. Under the heading “Atonement,” a post read in part:”3 Little Words. I Was Wrong. To those of you who called, who reached out, who saw me against the ropes, who offered a hand instead of a fist, L’Chaim! To those of you who bashed, who reacted without thinking, who fed on the indignation of others, who threatened my business, L’Chaim!”

Ex-chief rabbi: Reform Jews worse than Holocaust deniers

Jerusalem’s chief rabbi yesterday criticized Reform Jews, calling them worse than Holocaust deniers for defying Orthodox Jewish law on gender separation and insisting on the right to mixed-gender prayer at the Western Wall in the city, the Times of Israel reports.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s comments, delivered in a weekly sermon and reported by the charedi website Kikar Hashabbat, followed last week’s High Court response to petitions filed by five liberal Jewish organizations, including the Women of the Wall and the Israeli Reform and Conservative movements, that would force the government to implement its pledge to build a mixed-gender prayer site at the Western Wall.

“They’re trying to throw dust in the eyes [of the public] and say that the Orthodox extremist Jews invented [the separation of sexes],” said Rabbi Amar, a former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel. “It’s like Holocaust deniers, it’s the same thing. They shout about Holocaust deniers in Iran, [but] they deny more than Holocaust deniers.”