Monday, November 2, 2015

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz at Old Broadway

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz


The Crisis


Rabbinic Leadership

Sunday, November 8th @ 7:00 p.m.

at the

Old Broadway Synagogue

Admission Free

Rabbi Breitowitz is the author of "When Leaders Fail: Healing From Rabbinic Scandal"  (Jewish Action: The Magazine of the Orthodox Union, June 4, 2015). Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz is a senior lecturer in Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem. He is the former rabbi of the Woodside Synagogue in Silver Spring, Maryland and associate professor of law at University of Maryland. He received rabbinical ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

The Old Broadway Synagogue is located at 15 Old Broadway, half a block north of 125th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. Take the 1 train to 125th street. Exit on the uptown side and walk east along 125th beyond the bus shelter. Cross 125th at Old Broadway and walk north. The synagogue will be on your right.

 On the street parking is sometimes available but the closest lot is at on 122nd Street across from the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

High Holiday Letter 5776 (2015)

Elul 5775
September 2015

Dear Friend,

We hope this letter finds you and your families well.

In addition to repentance and prayer, the Unesane Tokef teaches us that charity - tzedekah – removes the potential severity of judgement during Yamim Noraim. The concept of absolution through charitable giving requires an explanation.  It cannot be that we can sin, write a check, and then take a spiritual deduction.  It also cannot be that the sacrifice or pain of separating from money provides the atonement, like fasting, because the Torah tells us "You shall surely give to him, and let your heart not be aggrieved when you give” (Deuteronomy 15:10). The Sefer Ha-Chinuch and the Meor ve-Shemesh explain that if we are not happy when we give, then we have not fulfilled the mitzvah.  This too, ostensibly, is strange because from the perspective of the recipient, the money is the same.  So how is tzedakah so powerful and why must it be given joyfully?

The eighth mishnah in the third chapter of Pirkei Avot teaches: "Give Him from His Own, for you and your possessions are His." Only when we forget that God is truly the Master of the Universe and that God helps us with everything are we capable of not following in God's ways. The correction for this is to give happily and therefore demonstrate our faith that everything belongs to God. In this way we also hope that just as God is generous with others, He will be generous with us.
I am very pleased to say that under the leadership of Rabbi and Mrs. Moskowitz, we have been growing in size and in activities. Nearly all of our Shabbos and Sunday morning services have been well attended and Rabbi Moskowitz has also instituted a number of new shiurim. On Shabbos after Kiddush he gives a shiur for women on Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato’s Derekh Hashem. On Sunday morning Rabbi Moskowitz gives a Halakhah shiur after Shacharis and after Rabbi Daniel Fridman’s shiur, he gives a Gemara shiur. Rabbi Moskowitz also gives shiurim on Sunday and Tuesday nights.  He is, moreover, learning one on one with many of the congregants. Under Rabbi Moskowitz’s guidance, one of our congregants is giving a shiur on Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler’s teachings and another is giving an introduction to Hebrew class. Mincha and Ma’ariv are held before each evening shiur and more shiurim are in the works.
We have had a good spring and a good summer. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we were able to accommodate all the people who wished to attend our popular Passover Seder. Both Rabbis Moskowitz and Fridman spoke at the Shavuos dinner, which had the largest attendance to date. Dale Brown led us this past May on another very successful visit to the Old Broadway section of the Riverside Cemetery.  Congregants have also been pitching in to do the Torah reading and keep the building clean.

We had a number of guest speakers since Passover. Israeli author Gila Manolson spoke in April to a nearly 200 people in the shul on “Dating Sanely.” In July, Ohr Somayach Rabbi Yitzchak Greenblatt spoke on “The Sisyphean Struggle of Spirituality.”  Most recently, Adam Rosenberg, a new congregant in the shul, organized an evening with filmmaker Aviva Kempner to discuss her new acclaimed documentary, Rosenwald, about the Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald who helped fund thousands of schools for African-American children in the South.
We are looking forward to the High Holidays. We will be holding our joint Selichos service with the Columbia/Barnard Hillel at 12:30am on Motzoei Shabbos, September 5th/6th.  The service will be led by Orrin Tilevitz, as he has done beautifully for many years. This year we will celebrate our fourteenth 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.
I am grateful to report that the restoration of the exterior of our historic synagogue is approaching completion. Thanks to your generous assistance and also the $25,000 matching grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy the fa├žade has been repointed and the rear and northern walls have been repointed or sealed. We have new exit doors in the back and all the doors and windows have been repainted. The contractor is still working on the rear stained glass window and the fire escape but we hope that these will be done soon as well.
We can now turn our attention to the interior. Our main challenges – recreating our historic ceiling and walls and upgrading the electric system – will have to wait until we can accumulate enough money to address them all at once. Nevertheless, there are many smaller projects that we can work on now. These include replacing the carpet, repairing damaged benches, restoring the stairs to the second floor, restoring the lobby floor, upgrading the light fixtures in the basement and in the Women’s Section, among others.

Your generous support has enabled us to hire Rabbi Moskowitz, maintain our ninety-two year-old building, and welcome the growing number of Jewish singles and families who are moving into Harlem. Now that Columbia’s Manhattanville campus is taking shape two blocks away, we will have even greater numbers. We hope that we will still be worthy of your assistance in the New Year so that we may continue to be a beacon of Yiddishkeit and Torah to the 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.

Le-shanah tovah tikatevu ve-techatemu,

Paul Radensky                                   Mike Moskowitz
President                                            Rabbi

Friday, August 7, 2015

ROSENWALD Documentary Filmmaker & Granddaughter Inform and Inspire at Old Broadway Synagogue

Before Old Broadway Synagogue’s historic bima on Wednesday (8/12/2015) mostly forgotten history from the period of its founding came alive again a century later in the presentation by documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner and Elizabeth Varet.  Ms. Varet provided a passionate, family perspective and reminiscences on her grandfather Julius Rosenwald’s remarkable and inspiring life and works of tzedakah and tikkun olam in one of the 20th Century’s most successful and transformative Jewish and Black collaborations. 

Recounting the making of the documentary film, ROSENWALD (which played in late August at the Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street), Ms. Kempner provided background of her work in documenting under-sung Jewish heroes with the Ciesla Foundation.  That work led her to discover the astounding tale of Julius Rosenwald.  Rosenwald rose from walking peddlers' trails across the midwest as a German Jewish immigrant’s son, to growing into the business genius who partnered with Sears’ sales and marketing genius, to build America’s biggest retailer.  In doing so, he also built one of America’s great fortunes.

It was his learning of the Jewish values and mitzvot of tzedakah and tikkun olam from his rabbi, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, of the Chicago Sinai Congregation. Hirsch, as well as the plight of black America from the works of Booker T. Washington, that led to his historic collaboration.  Teaming up with Washington, Rosenwald became increasingly engaged in helping to provide solutions to some of Black America’s most pressing problems:  accommodations, secondary and higher education, middle class housing, and cultural and intellectual development.  During his life through his Rosenwald Fund he gave over one third of his wealth, more than $1.3 billion in today’s money. The more he learned of oppression, the more Rosenwald gave. 

Ms. Varet helped provide an even more intimate portrait of her grandfather as a heimish and caring mensch and a real person -- someone any of us could aspire to be more like.  She herself has clearly been inspired by him, having devoted so much of her own life and resources to the same mitzvot.  After an early career in art, Ms. Varet went on to become a pioneering feminist leader on Wall Street, and is now deeply engaged in the Jewish community. 

 The crowd was all the more engaged for its intimacy.  Fascinated by the scope, breadth and impact of Rosenwald’s philanthropy, and the presence of the redoubtable Ms. Varet, discussion flowed freely, passionately, and with sometimes touchingly intimate detail.  Much of Black America was touched by this Jewish-Black collaboration, including many leading thinkers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance and political leaders today.  Some in the audience recounted their own connections to Rosenwald’s tzedakah. 

The event was an excellent object lesson and nefesh-to-nefesh experience of the power of tzedakah leading into Rosh Chodesh Elul.  By all accounts, everyone was inspired to learn and do more. 

Adam Rosenberg

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!