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September 24, 2012

Greenpoint's Only Synagogue Grows With Demand

Long brown hair flowing past her shoulders, Margaret Teich stepped in her sandals and jeans out to the organic garden for a break from happy hour. Back in the Noble Street building a mellow cluster sipped wine and nibbled apple pie among star-shaped lamps, as the Jewish New Year approached. And Teich, 28, beamed that she'd found her niche. "It's a rad place," she said of the Greenpoint Shul, a Modern Orthodox congregation she has attended the past three years. "It's like Planet Fitness — no judgment here."

January 07, 2013

Community Emerging In Unlikely Greenpoint

In ‘Little Poland,’ gentrification and an inclusive Orthodox rabbi with a garden are reviving Jewish life.

Until recently, Yoni Kretzmer, a disillusioned former Orthodox Jew, spent most Friday evenings performing on his sax, while Jesse Beller, who describes himself as unaffiliated, would spend Friday nights at a friend’s house or a bar. But last Friday night, the two were at Congregation Ahavas Israel, the only Orthodox synagogue — indeed, the only Jewish congregation of any type — in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. . .

August 12, 2011

This "Gift" Garden Keeps on Growing

It takes a lot of faith to make this garden grow. Greenpoint Shul and Greenpoint Reformed Church volunteers joined forces to till a mini-farm behind the Noble Street synagogue this week to ensure a healthy crop of vegetables and fruits for the church’s food pantry and soup kitchen.


This year, the locals were joined by another set of greenthumbs who traveled all the way from Michigan to lend a hand, their expertise, and a few tools to build several new raised beds and turn over some hardened topsoil. . .

June 14, 2010

Rabbi Maurice Appelbaum of the Greenpoint Shul in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Maurice Appelbaum wasn’t always certain he wanted to be a rabbi, but he knew he wanted to be a teacher and a psychologist while incorporating his passion for Judaism. "I put the three together and it equals rabbi," he said. But that’s just the short answer. "It was just something that it took me a long time to realize but it was something that I felt like I needed to do and I wanted to do." Not only did he choose to become a rabbi, he also chose to become a rabbi at a truly unique and historic synagogue: The Greenpoint Shul in Brooklyn. . .

December 01, 2009

Beauty in Plain Sight

Ever had one of those things you were always meaning to do but somehow never got around to? Today I checked one such item off my list: visiting Greenpoint’s only operating synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Israel. This afternoon I met with its (newish) Rabbi, Maurice Appelbaum, and he took me on the grand tour. Don’t let the outward appearance of this building deceive you: it is absolutely breath-taking. Mr. Appelbaum is no slouch either: he’s an incredibly nice guy! Let’s get started, shall we? . . .

September 10, 2014

Knish You Were Here: An Expert on Dough-Heavy Food Hosts a Feast at the Greenpoint Shul

The small, historic Greenpoint Shul was stiflingly hot during Shabbat services last Friday, but downstairs, the air conditioning made it cool enough to want to eat heavy potatoes wrapped in even heavier dough. It was time to feast on knishes.

And as a mitzvah, on hand was Laura Silver, the world’s leading expert on the knish, an honor she can claim by virtue of writing a book on the quintessential Jewish comfort food. So who better to tell a room full of Jews about the history of the knish as they’re scarfing down the little treats? . . .

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