HURRICANE HERO: The New York Jewish Week remembers David Reichenberg, a 50-year-old father of four from Spring Valley, N.Y., who died after being electrocuted while saving a boy and his father from a powerline downed by Hurricane Irene. “He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t think about the risk. He just thought about saving a kid,” neighbor Zev Kowitz tells the paper.
OUR SPIRITUAL CRISIS: The real crisis facing Jews today is not anti-Semitism, or assimilation or Israel’s isolation — it’s a spiritual crisis, says British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. “Where Jewish faith is weak, Jewish life is weak,” he writes in Britain’s Jewish Chronicle. “Assimilation, out-marriage and vulnerability to those who seek us harm are symptoms of that one transcending weakness.”
IS CALIFORNIA JEWISH CUISINE AN OXYMORON?: In San Francisco’s j. newsweekly, Emma Silvers explores what it would mean to eat like a California Jew. “Aren’t I allowed to appreciate the impetus for the Slow Food movement while still lusting after the babka at Canter’s in L.A.?” she writes. “Can’t I celebrate blintzes and kugel as cornerstones of my culture while also recognizing that my Russian and Polish ancestors probably would have loved a fresh mango salsa, if given the chance?”
THEY COME AS FRIENDS: Two young journalists, one from Pakistan, another from Afghanistan, selected as Daniel Pearl Fellows, recently spent a week at the L.A. Jewish Journal. “The idea, according to Daniel’s parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, is to expose journalists whose native media is often hostile to, or ignorant of Jews, to the ‘real’ Jewish community,” writes editor Rob Eshman. “As in years past, it’s an understatement to say we learned as much from these two fellows as they did from us.”
ANNE FRANK TREE’S DIASPORA: Last year, the ailing chestnut tree in Amsterdam that Anne Frank once admired from her hiding place was felled by a gust of wind. But saplings from the tree are expected to be replanted in 11 locations in America by 2013, Seattle’s Jewish Transcript reports. “From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind,” Frank wrote in her diary. “As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy,”
IMAM FOR SHALIT: The 5 Towns Jewish Times speaks with Imam Abdullah Antepli, Duke University’s Muslim chaplain and one of 11 American Muslims to sign a letter urging Hamas to release captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Asked whether he thought the letter would help win Shalit’s freedom, Antepli answered: “We are people of faith and we believe in miracles. If not in the heart and minds of Hamas, but in the heart of Muslims in Gaza, Israel/Palestine. It is an opportunity for the Hamas leadership to develop a higher ethical ground.”