Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for Jan. 15

January 15, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tova is the determined matchmaker featured in the documentary “Do You Believe in Love?” She is pictured with her husband.  Photo courtesy of Heymann Brothers Films
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11th Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival Brings the Best of Israeli Cinema

Films Explore Defying Conventional Boundaries, Triumphing Over Disability

The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue marks its 11th year, presenting some of the most exciting new films coming from Israel. The 2015 films feature a mix of compelling themes: triumphing over disabilities, experiencing the repercussions of the Holocaust in the third generation, and defying conventional boundaries between Palestinian and Jew. The festival once again features three nights of award-winning, thought-provoking films and discussions with film experts.

The 2015 festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. with “Do You Believe in Love?” (50 minutes, color, Hebrew with English subtitles). This is a funny and inspiring documentary about Tova, the matchmaker — a paraplegic, crippled with muscular dystrophy, who refuses to let disability hinder her, or her clients. Viewers will see how Tova’s tough-love approach leads to a unique matchmaking style and gives insight into her pain, humor and lust for life. Director Dan Wasserman will facilitate a post-film Q&A opening night reception at 7:15 p.m., which precedes the showing.

The festival resumes after the conclusion of Shabbat, on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m., with “Hanna’s Journey” (Germany and Israel, 2013, 100 minutes, color, English, German and Hebrew with English subtitles). This feature follows the story of an entitled German business student who heads to Israel to boost her resume by working with a Holocaust survivor and the mentally disabled. Once there, however, she is taken by surprise when the impact of living in Israel, as well as new relationships with her sarcastic colleague, Itay, and survivor Gertrude Nussbaum, lead her to uncover family secrets and finally know herself. Post-film Q&A will take place with director Julia von Heinz.

The festival concludes on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. with “The Green Prince,” a historical documentary film, directed by Nadav Schirman (Israel, 2012, 95 mins, color, Hebrew with English subtitles).

This gripping spy documentary illustrates the relationship between Palestinian informant Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a top Hamas leader, and his Shin Bet handler, Gonen ben Yitzhak. Both have been made outcasts in their respective organizations; their story of shame, betrayal and friendship would make great fiction if it weren’t actually true.

Tickets are $18 for opening night, $15 each for Saturday and Sunday evenings and $36 for the full series of three films. Online ticketing is now available; tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information about the festival, go to, or visit

The Kane Street Synagogue is at 236 Kane St., between Court and Clinton streets in Cobble Hill.

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Noted Brooklyn Pastor Organizes Rally At City Hall to Pray for NYC’s Healing

The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, national presiding minister at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, has called for a prayer rally at City Hall to intercede for the healing of New York City — and of Mayor Bill de Blasio, in particular. The rally was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 13, as this edition went to press.

The Rev. Dr. Daughtry chose Jan. 13 because of its significance to him; the date marks his 84th birthday. Writing in a guest editorial this week, he gave thanks to God for his birthday, his health and the love and accomplishments he’s experienced. But, darkening all this, he wrote, is the city’s current divisive mood.

“On Jan. 13, 2015, I will be celebrating my 84th birthday. Thank God! But, crises in NYC, particularly the mayor and his family, weigh heavily on my heart, making it impossible for me to fully enjoy all of the many ways that God has blessed my life,” he wrote. “I am blessed with achievements. I am profoundly grateful that God has allowed me to do some good for the human family. I, who was once a part of the world’s problem, have been blessed to pray and work with others to find solutions for the world’s problem.”

The guest editorial continued, “I am blessed with courage. God has blessed me with the courage to stand up and/or speak out for what I believe is right. … I am perpetually grateful for all of the above-mentioned blessings, but I can’t completely enjoy them. For, when I reflect on the state of the world, our nation and, in particular, NYC, I am deeply troubled. Even my sleep is disturbed by images of hate, bigotry and violence.”

Rev. Dr. Daughtry continued, “Therefore, I am asking you to join me at City Hall on my birthday, Jan. 13, 2015, at 12 noon. We will pray for the healing of NYC. Primarily, we will focus our prayers on Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family, that God will grant them continued love, health, protection, serenity; and grant Mayor de Blasio patience, perseverance, wisdom, courage and compassion to lead the city into a new day of peace, justice, goodwill and prosperity.”

Readers can view the complete op-ed at

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‘Growing Up Jewish In Mexico City’ Is Theme of Book Discussion

Congregation Mount Sinai invites the community to a book discussion with author and doctoral candidate Charlotte Gartenberg.

Gartenberg will participate in a talk on “Bubbeh,” the charming story of a young granddaughter paying homage to the family member who showed her the subtlety and sanctity of life. The book weaves a soulful and delicate tapestry of three generations of women; it depicts how the generational pendulum swings out between mother and daughter, then back again between grandmother and granddaughter. Reflecting on her spiritual education, the girl’s memories provide an informative glimpse into the Jewish community of Mexico City in the 1960s.

Gartenberg is a Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literature.

The talk takes place on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Participants are invited to purchase and read the book in advance. RSVP to [email protected], or 718-875-9124. Suggested donation is $5. Refreshments will be provided.

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Retreat Offers Chance to Experience Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina

Noted spiritual director Lindsay Boyer invites all those interested to participate in a  weekend Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina retreat at the Garrison Institute in early February.

Boyer, who leads a weekly Centering Prayer at Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights, will join Steve Standiford, a longtime Centering Prayer practitioner, retreat leader and certified presenter with Contemplative Outreach, for this retreat, running Feb. 6-8 (Friday through Sunday).

Participants are invited to “come away from your daily life, into an atmosphere of silence and prayer, to immerse yourself in two contemplative practices.”

This silent retreat offers immersion in two contemplative practices from the Christian tradition: Centering Prayer, a form of silent meditation; and Lectio Divina, a way of listening to sacred texts with the ear of the heart.

Boyer and Standiford write, “As longtime meditators know, the best way to integrate contemplative prayer into one’s daily life is through practice and silence. Books and talks can help, but there is no substitute for sitting in the silent presence of God.”

This retreat, suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike, will emphasize time spent in practice. Participants will experience Lectio Divina in many different formats, as individuals and in groups.

Boyer and Standiford will provide instruction, facilitate regular Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina sessions and meet one-on-one with retreat attendees. They have been co-leading retreats with David Frenette and are returning to the Garrison Institute for their seventh year.

The retreat runs from the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 4 through lunch on Sunday, Feb. 8.

The Garrison Institute is housed in a beautifully renovated former Capuchin monastery with simple, comfortable accommodations and healthy, locally sourced food. Located one hour north of New York City, it is easily reached by train. On the banks of the Hudson River, surrounded by forest and fields, it offers a beautiful setting for contemplative exploration.

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Milestone in Faith

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica Dedicated 121 Years Ago This Week

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church had its origins as a mission of the Redemptorists, a religious order of Roman Catholic priests and brothers that was founded by the 18th-Century Neapolitan saint, theologian and doctor of the church Alphonsus Liguori. In 1892, the Redemptorists were serving in two parishes in Manhattan: at Most Holy Redeemer on East 3rd Street and at St. Alphonsus parish on West Broadway. They were also conducting parish missions in New York area parishes. One of their earliest missions was in 1853, in the town of Flushing, Long Island, just six weeks after the Diocese of Brooklyn had been created.

In 1892, St. Alphonsus Church Pastor Fr. Wayrieh asked then-Bishop Charles E. McDonnell of Brooklyn to allow the Redemptorists to establish a mission church in Brooklyn. The bishop arranged with them to establish the church and form a new parish. On Nov. 1, 1892 the Redemptorists purchased the city block bordered by 59th and 60th streets and by Fifth and Sixth avenues, on the hill (or ridge) overlooking the bay (the Narrows). The block cost $40,000. Bishop McDonnell dedicated that original wooden church in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Jan.14, 1894.

During that time, 60th Street was the southern boundary of the city of Brooklyn. Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish began at the southern edge of the city, which was a mostly rural area. Six years later, the Great Consolidation took effect and Brooklyn became a borough of New York City.

By 1905, Our Lady of Perpetual Help church had grown to nearly 5,000 parishioners. Recognizing that a new church building was needed to keep up with this expansion, Pastor Fr. John Frawley moved the masses into the school building, so that the small wooden church could be replaced with a larger building. Construction of the new church began in March 1907. That church opened on Easter Day, April 11, 1909.

Register via the Garrison Institute’s website at

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Milestones in Faith

Danish Seamen’s Church Marks 58 Years at Home on Willow St.

The Danish Seamen’s Church, which serves Danes living and working in all industries around the New York region, held its inaugural service at its current home (102 Willow St.) 58 years ago this month, on Jan. 13, 1957. The building, a brownstone with an entrance that was refurbished within the past five years, was also dedicated on that date. A close look at the photo will reveal the building number and the words “Dansk Sømandskirke.” One can also see the bell displayed in the front yard at street level.

The Danish Seamen’s Church in New York is the Danish folkekirke (people’s church) in the United States and is part of the organization The Danish Church Abroad/Danish Seamen’s Church, according to its bilingual website. The congregation is responsible for the economy of the church, as only the pastor’s salary is paid by The Danish Church Abroad/Danish Seamen’s Church.

The Danish Seamen’s Church worships through services and celebrates Christian holidays such as Easter, Christmas and Fastelavn.

The Danish Seamen’s Church offers baptism, confirmation, weddings and memorial services for anyone who has ties to Denmark and the U.S. Moreover, the church is a cultural center with brunches and other special events. On the second Sunday of each month, at 10 a.m., the church offers Søndagsklub (Sunday Club), at which children and their families can learn Danish hymns like “I østen stiger solen op” and hear the adventure-filled stories of Noah on the ship and Jonah in the belly of the whale. Søndagsklub is for children, ages 3 to 10. Parents and younger siblings are welcome. Participants also prepare for the 11 a.m. family service, an abbreviated liturgy for the entire congregation. After the service, attendees eat lunch and drink coffee together.

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