Thursday, June 4, 2015

Weekly Schedule of Shiurim at the Old Broadway Synagogue

We are pleased to offer new and continuing shiurim 
(classes) at the Old Broadway Synagogue:

Sunday Morning:
8:00am Shacharis
Halacha Shiur with Rabbi Moskowitz 

Parashah Shiur with Rabbi Fridman

Moed Katan Shiur with Rabbi Moskowitz

Sunday Night:
7:30pm Mincha
Followed by Rabbi Moskowitz on 
Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzato's Derech Hashem
8:30pm Maariv

Tuesday Night:
7:30pm Mincha
Followed by Rabbi Moskowitz on the Slonimer Rebbe's 
(Rabbi Sholom Noach Berezovsky's) Nesivos Sholom
8:30pm Maariv

Thursday Night:
7:30pm Mincha
Followed by a class in introductory Hebrew 
with Rafi
8:30pm Maariv

Friday Night:
Shiur between Mincha and Maariv

Saturday Morning:
8:55am Koheles Shiur

Shabbos day after Kiddish:
 Derech Hashem Shuir for women

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meet Rabbi Mike and Rebbetzin Keren Moskowitz!

The Old Broadway Synagogue is pleased to introduce you to our new Rabbi and Rebbetzin, Mike and Keren Moskowitz. Mike hails from Richmond VA, where he lead a kollel and substantial outreach efforts. Keren works at Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future in the Rabbinic Placement Department. 

Mike and Keren's engagement photo.

Please introduce yourself  to Moskowitzes and wish them a mazel tov.                         
                                     They look forward to meeting you!                                                                            

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our President's High Holiday Letter, 5775

Elul 5774
September 2014

Dear Friend,

I hope this letter finds you and your families well.

We have exciting news to share! After thirteen years without a rabbi, we have finally found an outstanding spiritual leader for our community, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz. He is warm, energetic and as enthusiastic to be the rabbi of Old Broadway as we are enthusiastic to have him. Rabbi Moskowitz studied in the major yeshivos of Mir and Lakewood, and received his semichah from Rabbi Nehemia Zalman Goldberg in Israel. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he returned there after finishing his studies and became the mashgiach ruchani (dean of students) at the Yeshiva of Virginia. Later Rabbi Moskowitz created the Torah Learning Center in Richmond, in which he directed a kollel for advanced students and established a number of outreach activities including a beginners’ minyan. After the high holidays, Rabbi Moskowitz will be joining our community with his wife Keren, who has long been involved in Jewish life in New York and is an administrator in the rabbinic placement department of Yeshiva University.  

With more Jews moving into Harlem and with Columbia building their new campus two blocks away, now is the time to raise Old Broadway’s profile to make it an even more exciting and welcoming for the neighborhood’s growing Jewish population. Rabbi and Mrs. Moskowitz will employ their energy, vision and learning, walking in the footsteps of Rabbi and Mrs. Kret, to grow the shul both in people and in Torah. We will need your help to fund Rabbi Moskowitz’s salary, but I can say with confidence that your contribution will be a great investment in the Jewish future.

The situation in Israel this past summer has set everyone in the Jewish community on edge. We are reminded once again that the very existence of the Jewish people is a threat to those who wish to do evil.  Our anxiety about Israel and the Middle East this year finds an echo in the Jewish liturgical calendar during the late summer and early fall. The Haftaros from the Shabbat following Tisha ba-Av to the Shabbat preceding Rosh Hashanah are called the Sheva de’Nechamta (Seven Haftaros of Comfort), all taken from the Book of Isaiah.

The Haftaros acknowledge the presence of our enemies, but remind us that they are nothing before God (40:17). Ultimately, the nations will acknowledge us (49:22-23). We will spread out and will not be ashamed (54: 3-8) and finally, we will be able to live in our land in peace and security, as the prophet says, “No longer shall violence be heard in your land, [nor] plunder and breakage in your borders, but you shall call God’s salvation your [protective] walls and [His] praise your gateways” (60:18). Although Isaiah prophesied over 2,700 years ago, his words continue to give us consolation and hope today.

We are looking forward to the High Holidays. We will be holding our joint Selichos service with the Colunbia/Barnard Hillel at 12:30am on Motzoei Shabbos, September 20th/21st.  The service will be led by Orrin Tilevitz, as he has done beautifully for many years. This year we will celebrate our twelfth annual Rosh Hashanah dinner. I am delighted to note that our wonderful High Holiday baalei tefilah, Yosef Tannenbaum and Rabbi Reuven Hoff, will be back again to lead us in davening this year.

As I reported previously, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded us a $25,000 Jewish Heritage Fund matching grant to help pay for repointing of the exterior of the building, replacing the rear exit doors, repainting the fire escapes and restoring the rear stained-glass window.  Thanks to your help, we raised the $35,000 in matching funds needed to be eligible for the grant. Since then, the Landmarks Conservancy has given us an additional $7,000 grant but has asked us to expand the project to include the façade of the building so that the total cost will be $80,000. This means that we will have to raise another $13,000 to cover the cost of the project. We hope that we can turn to you again for assistance. Your support will enable us complete the exterior and move on to restoring the interior of the building.

We have had a good spring and a good summer. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we were able to accommodate all fifty people who wish to attend our popular Passover Seder.  Raif Melhado, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, taught at the Shavuos dinner. Micah Halperin, a rabbi, author and columnist for the Huffington Post, served as a guest scholar in the spring and in the summer. Rabbi Daniel Fridman continues to give his excellent shiur every Sunday morning after Shacharis.  Thanks to Dale Brown’s efforts our garden in the back provides a verdant and welcome place for contemplation. Dale also led us this past July on another very successful visit (I believe it is our thirteenth) to the Old Broadway section of the Riverside Cemetery, where we tended to the graves of our deceased members and recited Kel Male in their memory.  

I would like to thank you for your ongoing generous support. You have enabled us to welcome people with beautiful davening, a beautiful shul and a warm community. As the New Year approaches, and as we hire a new rabbi, we turn to you again. We hope that we continue to be worthy of your assistance so that we may continue to be a beacon of Yiddishkeit and Torah to many Jews in Harlem, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side.  May Hashem inscribe and seal you and your families for good health, happiness and success for the New Year.

,לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו
,א גוט געבענטשט יאר
Dr. Paul Radensky


Sunday, September 7, 2014

High Holidays at the Old Broadway Synagogue, 5775


Please join us for inspiring Selichos services 
led by our own Orrin Tilevitz
 at 12:30am on Sunday morning 
(motzoei Shabbos), 
Selichos September 20/21, 2014

Cantor Joelson leadng the Kol Nidrei Service in "The Jazz Singer"
(source: Museum of Family History)

We are now taking reservations for our 
Rosh Hashanah Seder and Dinner, 
on Wednesday night, September 24, 2014
 following 6:30pm services.

The cost for the dinner is be $40 per person.

Rosh Hashanah: September 24-26, 2014
Yom Kippur: October 3-4, 2014

We are delighted to announce that services
 will be led by the talented baalei tefilah
Rabbi Reuven Hoff and Mr. Yosef Tannenbaum.
Purchase your High Holiday reservations now!
Reservations are $60 per person.

To reserve please send a check for the appropriate 
amount made out to 
“Old Broadway Synagogue”and send it 
to the shul at 15 Old Broadway, 
New York, NY 10027.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sam and Dora Ratner and the Old Broadway Synagogue Sukkah

Four years ago, in 2010, we rebuilt our fixed sukkah in the back courtyard on foundation of the sukkah that was donated to the synagogue by Sam and Dora Ratner back in in 1954. Since this year is the sixtieth anniversary of that sukkah, it is appropriate to reflect on the Ratners and their contribution to the synagogue.

Before I go further, I should say that it was much that the Ratners donated the sukkah, they most likely donated the materials, but moreover, Sam built the sukkah with his own hands. And a great job he did at that since the sukkah was in operation until 2009 when the heavily reinforced roof flaps started pulling the walls apart.

Dorothy and Dora Ratner, middle to late 1940s.
According to Sam's grandson, Ken Ratner, Sam was born in 1897 in Zelva, Byelorussia, and came to the United States via Ellis Island. The origin of the name "Ratner" is shrouded in mystery, since the family's original name was "Bublatzky." One theory has it that the name was the maiden name of a woman who married into the family. Another theory is that the orignal name was changed at Ellis Island (I myself am usually suspicious of such stories, and on the Ellis Island site, one can find both names on the lists of arriving passengers). In any event, it seems to have been changed by Sam's father, Eliahu (Bublatzky) Ratner. Please click here for further notes on the Ratner family genealogy.

Sam opened a dry good store in lower Manhattan and later another one on White Plains Road in the Bronx, but lost these stores in the Depression. Later, he moved to Harlem and opened another dry goods store.

Ken and David Ratner and Abraham Klein, 1966
In 1921, Sam married Dora Sackinsky in Brooklyn. Sam and Dora son, Herbert, married Dorothy Rogoff in the late 1940s and had sons Robert, Ken and David. Herbert and Dorothy, their children and Dorothy's mother, Esther (Kiki) Rogoff,  lived at 160 Claremont, and then moved briefly into the Manhattanville Houses when they opened in 1961. After a few years, the family moved into 180 Claremont (where the Krets, the Rubinsteins, the Feigenblatts and the Libermans lived, among others). When Sam died in 1958 (four years after building the sukkah), Dora married member of the Old Broadway Synagogue, Abraham Klein Sometime in the 1970s, the Kleins moved to Florida, where Abraham died in 1979 and Dora died in 1996.
Esther Rogoff, 1985
Robert Ratner Bar Mitzvah Photo, 1963

When we decided the the sukkah built by Sam Ratner was no longer safe, we considered a couple different options. One would be to demolish the old sukkah and just put up a nylon sukkah, as many people in the suburbs have. The second option would be to recreate our original sukkah as best we could. In light of the fact that the old sukkah had served us well, and also because it was built in an old European style which included moveable roof flaps (compare with the images of the sukkos that appear in the extraordinary sukkah decoration was created by R. Aryeh Steinberger and hangs in the first floor of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan), we decided to recreate the sukkah that Sam Ratner built. We had to raise the money from a number of contributors to build the new sukkah, and because none of us had Sam Ratner's expertise, we hired Alex Myftarago, the contractor who rebuilt the roof, to build the new sukkah. As was noted above, the new sukkah was built upon the foundation of the old sukkah and largely along the same lines. To express our continuing thanks to the Ratners for nearly 50 years of the sukkah, we installed the old sukkah plaque next to the new one, which thanks our recent generous donors. Let's hope the new sukkah will last as long as the one it replaced!

Plaque thanking the Ratners on the left, and plaque thanking the contributors to the new sukkah on the right, 2010.