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Faith In Brooklyn for Nov. 23

November 23, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Msgr. Guy Massie (far right) receives the 2015 Jewish Faculty & Staff Association Distinguished Interfaith Award in memory of ADL Rabbi Leon Klenicki. Presenting the award is Dr. James Goldman of the JFSA at City Tech. Witnessing the presentation are City Tech President Russell Hotzler (far left), JFSA President Albert Sherman (behind Dr. Goldman) and Program Moderator Dr. Jane Mushabac, professor of English at City Tech. Brooklyn Eagle Photo by Francesca N. Tate
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Filmmaker Couple, Brooklyn Priest Honored at Kristallnacht Program

For 27 years, New York City College of Technology’s Jewish Faculty & Staff Association (JFSA) has produced a Kristallnacht commemoration program. The initial and continuing curator, Dr. James Goldman, notes that this year — for the first time — the Holocaust in Austria was discussed. Previous programs have considered the Holocaust in other European nations such as Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

This year’s theme was “Kristallnacht, 77 Years After: Never Again Anti-Semitism, Indifference and Racism!”  The keynote speaker was lawyer, author and essayist Thane Rosenbaum, Esq.  The son of Holocaust survivors, Rosenbaum also received this year’s JFSA Distinguished Cultural Achievement Award.

Rev. Msgr. Guy Massie, chair of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and senior pastor of Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Catholic Church in Carroll Gardens, received the 2015 JFSA Distinguished Interfaith Award Recipient in memory of ADL Rabbi Leon Klenicki.

Receiving the 2015 JFSA Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award were Holocaust survivor Gita Kaufman and her late husband, Curt. During his lifetime, together they were producers, directors and co-writers. Their most recent documentary, “Shadows from My Past” (2010) was filmed in Austria, Germany, France and the U.S. The film deals with Gita Kaufman’s mixed emotions on returning to her native Vienna, which she had to flee in February 1940.

Ambassador Dr. Georg Heindl, consul general of the Republic of Austria in New York, also offered greetings. He brought a wide range of experience in diplomacy, having served in Vietnam, Russia (Moscow), Senegal and the United Kingdom (London), as well as in Austria.

During this year’s program, an American flag was presented to City Tech President Hotzler, and a contribution was made to the Wounded Warrior Project of the USO.

Last year at the college’s November Kristallnacht anniversary commemoration, Hazzan Leon S. Lissek, a Holocaust hidden child in France, was honored. His daughter, Shira Lissek, is a well-respected cantor who served for many years at Congregation Mount Sinai in Downtown Brooklyn. Shira Lissek could not be present this year, but she recorded the national anthem so that this year’s participants could hear her sing. Next month, Lissek releases a CD titled “P’tach Libi — Open My Heart.”

Event co-sponsors (in formation) include the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Facing History and Ourselves, the Hidden Child Foundation/ADL, Interfaith Committee of Remembrance, CUNY Macaulay Honors College, New York Board of Rabbis, Brooklyn Historical Society, Baruch College Jewish Studies Center (CUNY), St. Francis College, Jewish Historical Society of New York.

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East Midwood Jewish Center’s New Music Series Welcomes Latin Jazz Group

The East Midwood Jewish Center’s new “Music At the Center” concert series welcomes Fernando Knopf and his Latin Power Quintet this weekend. Joining them is guest artist Ben Lapidus. They perform on Saturday evening, Nov. 21.

Fernando Knopf has been hailed as a virtuoso musician in Latin jazz, salsa and Latin American styles, with influences of world music and Israeli ethnic flavors.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails (cash bar). The show follows at 6:30 p.m. A Meet the Artist Reception begins at 7:40 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and students and free admission for those 13 and under. All “Music at the Center” events take place at the East Midwood Jewish Center, 1625 Ocean Ave., between Avenues K and L, Midwood.  

Tickets are available from www.emjc/org or at the door. For information call 718-338-3800. 

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Updates and Clarifications On Synagogue Programs

After last week’s edition of Faith in Brooklyn was published, Congregation Mount Sinai announced a date change for two programs.

The Interfaith Scripture study originally scheduled to have taken place on Wednesday, Nov. 18, has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 2. Plymouth Church (57 Orange St., between Henry and Hicks streets) will host that night’s study, which runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The interfaith group has expanded to welcome the Dawood Mosque, Assumption and St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic parishes. The study group explores the sacred works of all three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Hebrew-in-a-day Reading Course, originally scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, has also been moved to the spring. The synagogues will provide more information in coming weeks.

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Twin Adult Education Series Delve Into Finding Joy At Thanksgiving and Christmas

First Presbyterian Church offers two active Adult Education series on Wednesday evenings and Sundays after worship. The gatherings have addressed every theme and issue from author Michelle Alexander’s monograph “The New Jim Crow” examining the prison industrial complex, to the words of the Christmas carol, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” to understandings of harvest.

A new Christian liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, this year on Nov. 29. Advent is a season of expectation and spiritual preparation for the return of Christ as well as for the celebration of Christmas.

“What does it mean in 2015 to expect the coming of the Prince of Peace?” This is a question to ponder for a Wednesday class that Eric Thomas, the church’s director of Christian Education, will lead. Themed “Howard Thurman Meditations on Advent, this session, on Dec. 2, will incorporate Scripture passages, poetry and reflections on the coming of justice and season of waiting.

Inspirare: Finding the Artistry in Advent is the theme for the Wednesday sessions on Dec. 9 and 16. Susan Schultz will lead this program.

Each Wednesday gathering begins with a light supper at 6:30 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m. There will be no programs on Dec. 23 or 30 in observance of Christmas and New Year holidays.

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Just in time for Thanksgiving, First Presbyterian Church’s thought-provoking Sunday education series focuses on gratitude.

The Nov. 22 session, titled “World Versus Creation: Gratitude in the Natural Order,” will focus on Pope Francis’ urgent messages about environmental crises and their consequences. The gathering will explore how each member of society fits into this, and will ask “What does gratitude mean in this context?” Rob Meadows-Rogers will facilitate the discussion, which begins at 10 a.m., prior to the 11 a.m. worship service.

“Christmas Carols: Do We Really Believe What We Sing?”  Are those beloved favorites being sung by rote? Can one really believe lines like “The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes?” Eric Thomas leads a two-session examination of the texts of some favorite Advent and Christmas hymns to consider these questions. This class convenes on Sundays, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 in the church’s Thurman Room.

The Sunday adult education programs convene throughout December. Eric Thomas leads “The Defiance of the Advent Epistles,” a two-session class that will examine the “Christ Hymns” found in the Epistles to the Philippians and Hebrews, which send a message of triumph through Christ in an unjust world — both in the 1st and 21st centuries, Common Era. This class also meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Thurman Room.

“Did Christmas Happen For You?” The Dec. 27 class will offer a reflection on the holiday season, with its joys and stresses. Participants will explore how they activate the “God-with-us-ness” of Jesus’ birth in everyday life — in Christmastide and beyond. Interim Pastor Nadine Hundertmark and Eric Thomas will team-lead this class. All of the Sunday classes meet at 10 a.m. in the Thurman Room.

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Santa Cruz and Bushwick Abbey Co-Host Thanksgiving Potluck

Welcoming Congregations Re-Design Worship

Santa Cruz Church and Bushwick Abbey are joining forces for a Thanksgiving Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 22. This first annual event between the two innovative congregations begins with the customary noon service. The meal follows around 1:30 p.m. As Nov. 22 is also “Bring a friend to church day,” participants are invited to arrive with friends, neighbors and a favorite dish to share.

Bushwick Abbey is a welcoming and innovative Episcopal congregation that was founded two years ago as part of the Emergent Church movement. Services are informal. Bushwick Abbey shares space with La Iglesia de la Santa Cruz, a Spanish-speaking Episcopal parish at 176 St. Nicholas Ave., right near the DeKalb Ave. stop on the L train in Bushwick. The worship and meal will take place on the third floor of the community building at that address — just follow the arrows and music upstairs.

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Calvary Hospital Launches Torah Restoration Project

Hospital Specializing in Palliative Care Serves Patients, Families of All Faiths

Calvary Hospital, which serves the entire New York metropolitan area, specializing in palliative care to adult patients with advanced cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, launched the restoration of a historic Torah scroll last week. This scroll, catalogued as No. 515 from the town of Taus-Domazlice, is technically a Holocaust survivor. The restoration kickoff was hosted at the 92nd Street Y. Scroll No. 515 is on permanent loan to Calvary from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London and is housed at the Hospital’s Bronx campus. The goal is to repair this Torah, which dates from 1880, so that it will once again be kosher for use in services and Jewish rituals.

While Calvary Hospital operates in connection with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, it serves patients and their families from all faith traditions. Calvary also maintains a 25-bed Brooklyn Satellite at Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park. More than 6,000 patients are cared for annually by Calvary’s inpatient, outpatient, home care, hospice and wound care services.

Rabbi Moshe Druin from Sofer On Site captivated the audience with his comprehensive presentation about the restoration process and what this project will entail. In nearly three decades, Sofer On Site has helped repair hundreds of Torah Scrolls throughout the world.

Among the dozens of attendees at Calvary’s kickoff event were Anne Cote Taylor and Jim O’Hara (members of Hospital and Calvary Fund boards), Stanley Leffler and Paul Rosenberg (Calvary Professional Advisors Council) and five Jewish Veterans who served in World War II and in Vietnam.

In 1964, the Westminster Synagogue in London, England, agreed to receive 1,564 Torah Scrolls from Prague. They established the Memorial Scrolls Trust to restore the scrolls and distribute them to communities throughout the world. Torahs are currently on permanent loan to more than 1,400 congregations throughout the world; an estimated 1,000 in the U.S. alone. To learn more about the Trust, visit:

“From the Hospital’s earliest years, Calvary has always welcomed patients from all religions. We are dedicated to providing the best end-of-life care that a person can find. At Calvary, we also honor and celebrate the spiritual and faith traditions that are so important to our patients, families and staff,” said Frank A. Calamari, president and CEO of Calvary Hospital. “We are honored that the Memorial Scrolls Trust has loaned us this sacred Torah. We know that it is our responsibility to safeguard and repair it. We have no doubt that we will be able to enlist support for this worthy project from people of all faiths.”

Calvary also presented the sacred Torah to Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan at a private reception at St. Joseph’s Seminary. The hospital educated seminarians and the deaconate about the importance of this project to people of all faiths.

The hospital’s outreach to the Jewish community and the Torah Restoration has been spearheaded by Dr. Michael J. Brescia, executive medical director. Once the hospital raises enough funds to pay for this restoration, any remaining funds will be used to benefit all patients and families at Calvary’s inpatient facilities in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Home Hospice patients throughout the greater New York area.

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