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Rabbi Martin Rozenberg, scholar who helped found Reform’s Camp Harlam, is dead at 95

(JTA) — Martin S. Rozenberg, a rabbi and Bible scholar who convinced one of his synagogue benefactors to finance the creation of the Reform movement’s Camp Harlam in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, died Nov. 30 at his home in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. He was 95.

In 1957, Joseph Harlam, a wealthy émigré from Germany, recruited Rozenberg as rabbi at  Temple Beth Israel in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. In turn Rozenberg lobbied Harlam to create a summer camp to serve Jewish children in the mid-Atlantic region. With Harlam’s backing they found and negotiated the purchase of a failing basketball camp that in 1958 would become The Joseph and Betty Harlam Camp. Now known as URJ Camp Harlam, it is one the largest and best-known of the 14 camps in the Union for Reform Judaism network.

Rozenberg went on to serve as the educational director at the camp in its first four years.

“He had already helped to recruit many of the campers that came for the first summer, and as the director of the educational program here, he applied his vision to make this a special, intentional and successfully immersive place for Jewish children to find themselves and each other,” Aaron Selkow, the executive director of URJ Camp Harlam, said at a ceremony in 2018 naming the camp’s welcome center in honor of Rozenberg and his wife Estelle.

In addition to his role as a pulpit rabbi — including six years at Temple Beth Israel and 33 years at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York — Rozenberg served as a professor of Bible, Biblical Grammar and Aramaic at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and as associate professor at Ancient Near East Civilizations at C.W. Post College of Long Island University.

He represented the Reform movement on the Bible Translation Committee for “Tanakh,” the modern edition of the complete Hebrew Bible published by the Jewish Publication Society in 1985, and co-wrote, with Bernard M. Zlotowitz, “The Book of Psalms, A New Translation and Commentary” (1999).

Rozenberg also took a hands-on approach to his Bible scholarship, participating in the first survey of digs at Masada, the 2,050-year-old palace on the edge of the Judean desert, and serving as site supervisor at excavations conducted at the southern end of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He served a term as secretary/treasurer of the Israel Exploration Society.

“Martin Rozenberg did not only study and teach Torah,” Rabbi Jan Katzew, associate professor of Jewish Thought and Education at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, said in remarks at Rozenberg’s funeral. “He also loved and lived Torah.”

Martin Rozenberg was born in Lithuania; he was 11 when his family emigrated to the United States from Latvia in March 1940. He received his B.A. from New York University in 1951, followed by bachelor’s, master’s and doctor of divinity degrees from HUC-JIR in New York. He was ordained in 1955, and earned his Ph.D in the department of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963.

He served for nine years as the national chairman of the Commission on Education of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (later renamed the Union for Reform Judaism) and as the chairman of both the education and adult education committees of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He was the founder, in 1984, and president of the Liberal Jewish Day School of Long Island.

In his euology for Rozenberg, Katzew quoted Rabbi David Ellenson, the longtime president of HUC-JIR who died unexpectedly last Thursday at 76. Rozenberg “modeled for me what a rabbi should be,” said Ellenson, according to Katzew.

Rozenberg is survived by his daughters Karen Rozenberg Berman and Sandra Rozenberg Sadove, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and a sister, Lee Greenberg. His wife, Estelle, died in 2019, and a son, Rabbi Robert Rozenberg, died in 2020.


The post Rabbi Martin Rozenberg, scholar who helped found Reform’s Camp Harlam, is dead at 95 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Brown University Investigating Threats of Violence Sent to Hillel Officials

More than 200 Brown University students gathered outside University Hall where roughly 40 students sat inside demanding the school divest from weapons manufacturers amid the Israel-Hamas war. Photo: Amy Russo / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Two officials of Brown-RISD Hillel, a Jewish life  center serving both Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, were sent “violent threats” early Sunday morning, according to a report by The Brown Daily Herald.

After being alerted of threats, which were sent via email, the university’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducted a search of Brown-RISD Hillel and determined there is “no evidence of any one-site threat.” DPS vice president Rodney Chatman told The Brown Daily Herald that “local, state, and federal authorities” are investigating the incident.

“This comes at an especially difficult time of distress on our campuses,” Brown University president Christina H. Paxson said in a statement addressing the incident. “Our students, faculty, and staff continue to grapple with the deaths of Israelis, Palestinians, and others in the wake of the October 7 attacks, as well as a despicable act of violence against a member of the Brown community here in the United States last November, and increases in reports of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate.”

In Sunday’s statement President Paxson said that “robust” security measures will be implemented to protect Brown-RISD Hillel, as well as the officials who were threatened, from harm.

The incident is not the first antisemitic act of hatred since Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

In December, the university’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity opened an investigation into an incident in which someone slipped a threatening note underneath the door of an off-campus apartment rented by Jewish students.

“Those who live for death will die by their own hand,” said the note, which, according to the Brown Daily Herald, matches lyrics from a song by an early 1980s punk band. The paper added that the note was found by an electrician, who brought it inside.

A similar incident occurred last November at a Brown-RISD Hillel. Additionally, in 2020, a swastika was graffitied in Brown’s Hegeman Hall. In 2017, another was found in a gender-neutral bathroom at RISD. It was drawn using human feces, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

Last week, President Paxson rejected the demands of anti-Zionist students who were participating in a hunger strike in an effort to force the Brown Corporation to vote on a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel and make other concessions.

The university has twice ordered the arrests of extremist anti-Zionists student protesters, who have held unauthorized demonstrations in administration buildings, sometimes occupying them for hours after being asked to leave. Over 40 were arrested in December while onlookers shouted “Shame on Brown, Shame on Brown!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Brown University Investigating Threats of Violence Sent to Hillel Officials first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘Free Palestine:’ Texas Church Shooter Suspected of Having Pro-Hamas Ideology

Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, shot a man at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, on February 12, 2024. Photo: Twitter

A woman who stormed a church in Houston, Texas, on Sunday with an AR-15 rifle and shot one person before being killed by police was apparently a Hamas supporter, according to details on the incident reported by CNN.

On Monday, the outlet reported that “Free Palestine” was written on the shooter’s rifle.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the shooter has since been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36. The woman has an extensive criminal history which includes arrests for marijuana possession, assault, theft, and forgery.

On Sunday afternoon, Moreno walked into the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas — an institution famous for being the church of charismatic Christian preacher Joel Osteen — with a child and a gun. Wearing a trench coat and a knapsack, she threatened to have explosives, according to multiple reports. Most of the worshipers in attendance were Hispanic and attending a Spanish language service.

Moreno shot one man, leaving him critically injured, and was shot and killed by Houston Police. A child was also shot during the incident, but police are still unsure of whether they or Moreno are responsible for doing it.

“I want to commend those officers. She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,”  Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during a press conference later in the day.

An investigation of Moreno’s motives is ongoing.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘Free Palestine:’ Texas Church Shooter Suspected of Having Pro-Hamas Ideology first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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London Theater Facing Legal Action After Comedy Show Turns Into ‘Antisemitic Rally’

British comedian Paul Currie. Photo: Instagram

A London theater is facing legal action after an Israeli man was hounded out of a comedy show on Saturday night by a comedian performing a one-man show that turned into what some audience members compared to an “antisemitic rally.”

A spokesperson for the UK’s Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the group was in touch with the Israeli man and other members of the audience who fled from the theater.

“What the Jewish audience members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account,” the CAA spokesperson told London’s Evening Standard news outlet. “These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theaters is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”

The comedian, Paul Currie, had been performing a one-man show entitled “Shtoom” at London’s Soho Theater. Towards the end of his performance, he retrieved a Ukrainian and Palestinian flag and invited members to stand and applaud.

After the round of applause was over, Currie pointed to a man in the second row of the theater and quizzed him over why he had not stood up.

The unnamed man, an Israeli, replied, “I enjoyed your show until you brought out the Palestinian flag.” An infuriated Currie began screaming, “Leave my show now! Get out of my f—-ing show!” in response.

As the man and his partner rose to leave, accompanied by a handful of other shocked audience members, the assembled crowd began chanting “Get out” and “Free Palestine.”

In a written complaint to the theater over his treatment, the man wrote: ” Shaken and feeling threatened by the growing antagonism, we exited and tried to complain/ get some support from the front-of-house team at the theatre, who were not very sympathetic but did give us an email address to make a complaint. By this time, the show had ended and the audience started exiting, a number of whom were glaring at us aggressively and in a very threatening way. We all left the scene.”

He added: “Our friends later received a message from someone they knew who had also been at the show, saying that after we left, the situation became even more inflamed. What had been intended to be an evening of comedy turned out to be what felt like an antisemitic rally.”

The theater eventually apologized, issuing a statement expressing regret an “an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday 10 February, which has caused upset and hurt to members of audience attending and others.” It added: “We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can. It is important to us that Soho theatre is a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

Currie has remained largely silent since the incident, save for a post on Instagram which quoted Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz saying: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”  He then added: “If you were at my show last night… you’ll know.”

The post London Theater Facing Legal Action After Comedy Show Turns Into ‘Antisemitic Rally’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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