Saturday, September 13, 2014

More Again From Crown Heights III

This Sunday is an important day for Jews. In New York and Berlin rallies will be occurring to bring attention to the growth of antisemitism in our current state of affairs.

When I was a young boy my family belonged to a synagogue in Newark, NJ. Temple B'nai Abraham was a landmark institution with a very prominent rabbi, Joachim Prinz. Dr. Prinz was the chief rabbi of Berlin in the 1930's but escaped the Nazi debacle. He was an extremely charismatic personality, and was part of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic presentation in Washington, DC, He was given the honor to say some words to the mass of marchers just before Dr. King gave his landmark speech.

Dr. Prinz's speech in its entirety can be read here. But a few sentences stand out as apropos for our time:

'When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.'

So, tomorrow as we march at 12 Noon from Columbus Circle to Sixth Avenue for the 1pm rally, we will not be silent. Here's the Facebook link

Here's more from Crown Heights.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Afternoon in Crown Heights Part II

Sunday was the first time, since beginning my exploration of the neighborhood, that I sat in one of the eateries to have a bite (I'm on kind of a diet, y'know?). Here's more as a continuation from the previous blog post.

Monday, September 8, 2014

An Afternoon in Crown Heights

This past Sunday I spent a few hours in Crown Heights, Brooklyn to gather material for a long term project on which I've been working. I've also visited Williamsburg to collect similar images, where I've encountered a bit of hostility. Not so in Crown Heights. The people couldn't have been more friendly. Generally the afternoon Mincha service begins at this time of year at about 3:15pm with some singing just prior to it. I arrived at the synagogue at about 2:45 to find that many of the people from the neighborhood had gathered outside to await a funeral procession. To be able to experience that ritual was an added bonus to the whole experience of the day.

Waiting outside for the funeral:

Inside the synagogue just before the Mincha service:

The beginning of the service: