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Media coverage of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue has included feature articles and highlights in the New York Times, the New York Observer, the Times of Israel, and many others. Here are a few select articles that highlight the synagogue. Press inquiries may be directed to Ryan Greiss at or 212-877-4050, ext. 267.

Makor Rishon (Hebrew): ‘The Reform Movement is going through an anti-Zionist period’
December 1, 2018
Our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch criticizes the Reform movement’s leadership for taking anti-Israel positions, which deviate from the movement’s values and those of many of its members.

Haaretz: Then We Take Manhattan: How the ‘State of Tel Aviv’ Was Reborn in NYC
November 29, 2018
Haaretz’s New York correspondent Haim Handwerker writes about the phenomenon of Israelis flooding into Manhattan, and how Stephen Wise Free Synagogue encourages Israelis to join, and offers services and activities in Hebrew as part of a program called Chofshi B’Manhattan. This article originally appeared in Hebrew here.

YNET (Hebrew): American holiday, Jewish values
November 23, 2018
YNET spoke to our Rabbi Samantha Natov about how Thanksgiving — a secular holiday — incorporates Jewish values, like tikkun olam, which our volunteers embraced at a Thanksgiving dinner for guests of our on-site Next Step Men's Shelter.

Kveller: Thanksgiving Is Basically a Jewish Holiday. Here’s Why.
November 21, 2018
Our Rabbi Samantha Natov explains how Thanksgiving is profoundly Jewish for a secular holiday, incorporating central Jewish values. “Thanksgiving offers us a chance to replenish ourselves with a sense of gratitude, well-being, and connection. And this is at the heart of Jewish life and practice.”

The Forward: Stop Stripping Female Jewish Converts Like Ivanka of Their Agency
November 20, 2018
Our Rabbi Diana Fersko addresses the media's misogynistic tendency to describe women who convert to Judaism as doing so “for” their husbands — and stripping them of their agency in the process.

NY Jewish Week: Israeli Officials Let Down Guard On Trump, Kotel
November 7, 2018
New York Jewish Week Editor and Publisher Gary Rosenblatt wrotes about off-the-record conversations he's had with Israeli officials about the growing rift in the diaspora-Israel relationship, and mentions Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main concern for the future, which is, as he quoted our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, that: “Those who are not concerned with Jewish survival will not survive as Jews.”

amNewYork: After Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, New York rabbis plan message of healing, resolve
November 2, 2018
Still reeling from a Pittsburgh shooting that left 11 people dead and several more injured, rabbis across New York City are preparing for Shabbat this week, grappling to find ways to help their congregations process their grief and stand strong for the future.  “The way Jews process grief is always communally,”  our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch told amNewYork. “I think they will show up more than regular weekly Shabbat because I feel they will feel they need it, that they need some kind of communal spiritual gathering, simply to be with other people.”

Associated Press: Israel defends Trump amid synagogue shooting criticism
October 31, 2018
With President Donald Trump getting a cool welcome from the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Israel’s envoy to the memorial ceremonies for the synagogue shooting victims came to his defense, saying it was “unfair and wrong” to link him to the tragedy. Our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s relations with American Jews, said the Israeli government mishandled its response to the Pittsburgh shooting: “What the Israelis should have done is express unity with the Jewish community, unity with American society ... and stand in solidarity. That’s all.” This story was picked up by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets.

New York Family: When Should Your Kids Start Religious School?
October 29, 2018
Our Religious School Director Rabbi Rena Rifkin discusses Challah Club, our revolutionary afternoon drop-off class that introduces young children to Jewish learning: “If we want our kids to be as good at Judaism, as well-versed and as thoughtful about Jewish life as they are at math, then we have to start as soon as we can.”

amNewYork: Pittsburgh synagogue massacre unites New Yorkers against hate
October 28, 2018
Following the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, members of the Jewish community gathered at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue for a concert commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. There, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discussed what he felt was a rise in anti-Semitism and hate speech that stems, at least in part, from the rhetoric of President Trump: “Obviously, the tone starts at the top. You cannot isolate intolerant speech on any particular community. If you direct harsh, coarse rhetoric toward a certain group — say Mexicans — it infects our entire society and it gives license to a coarseness and hoarseness of speech to the groups that are perceived as the ‘other.’”

The Jerusalem Post: Reforming the Reform Movement
October 25, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch sat down with The Jerusalem Post's editor in chief, Yaakov Katz, to talk about the state of the relationship between Israel and American Jewry, and the future of liberal Judaism in both countries.

J-Wire: Israel is The Nation State of The Jewish People
October 25, 2018
At the Jewish Federations GA in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said what worried him more than the Western Wall was loss of Jewish identity outside of Israel. He cited an op-ed in JTA by our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch to illustrate his point: “In the modern world, those who are not committed to Jewish survival will not survive as Jews.”

Times of Israel: Blaming ‘ultra-Orthodox street,’ Netanyahu defends freezing Western Wall deal
October 24, 2018
At the Jewish Federations GA in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quoted our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who wrote in JTA: "Those who are not committed to Jewish survival will not survive as Jews." Hirsch's op-ed, adapted from his 2018 Yom Kippur sermon, "From the Ghetto," is here.

The Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu: Loss of Identity is Most Serious Challenge for Diaspora Jews
October 24, 2018
At the Jewish Federations GA in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quoted our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who wrote in JTA: "Those who are not committed to Jewish survival will not survive as Jews." Hirsch's op-ed, adapted from his 2018 Yom Kippur sermon, "From the Ghetto," is here.

JTA: Netanyahu says he supports a Palestinian ‘state-minus’ controlled by Israeli security
October 24, 2018
At the Jewish Federations GA in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said what worried him more than the Western Wall was loss of Jewish identity outside of Israel. He cited an op-ed in JTA by our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch to illustrate his point: “In the modern world, those who are not committed to Jewish survival will not survive as Jews.”

The Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu Reaffirms Commitment to Demilitarized Palestinian State
October 24, 2018
At the Jewish Federations GA in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quoted our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who wrote in JTA: "Those who are not committed to Jewish survival will not survive as Jews." Hirsch's op-ed, adapted from his 2018 Yom Kippur sermon, "From the Ghetto," is here.

JTA: Non-Orthodox leaders downplay ‘backchannel’ delegation of rabbis that met with Netanyahu
October 23, 2018
Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States downplayed the delegation of 20 rabbis, which included our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who were invited to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Haaretz: Fed Up With Critics, Netanyahu Opens Back Channel to Undermine US Reform, Conservative Leaders
October 22, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch traveled to Israel as part of a delegation of 20 rabbis to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials. “Our movement is too narrowly focused on politics and religious pluralism, and not focused enough on what’s going to make or break our movement in Israel,” he told Haaretz. This article was also published in Hebrew here.

NY Jewish Week: Liberal Branches On Rise In Israel
October 16, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responded to a new study showing Israeli Jews are increasingly identifying as Reform or Conservative. “There is a huge unrealized potential,” Hirsch said, a “historic” opportunity for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism to strengthen their foothold in the Jewish state.

Macaroni Kid Upper West Side: How to Build Your Young Child’s Independence
October 16, 2018
Miriam Kalmar, director of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Early Childhood Center, shares expert advice for building independence in young children.

Broadway World: 80 Years After Kristallnacht, Classical Concert in NY will Commemorate Nazis' Victims
October 9, 2018
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and its Anti-Semitism Task Force will host a concert this Oct. 28 to commemorate 80 years since "Kristallnacht," the Nazi pogrom against German Jews.

JTA: This is the gravest threat to the future of liberal Judaism
October 5, 2018
In this op-ed based on his 2018 Yom Kippur sermon, "From the Ghetto," our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch writes about how the growing inclination among liberal Jews to de-emphasize Jewish distinctiveness is the gravest threat to the future of liberal Judaism.

NY Jewish Week: Trying To Bridge The Great Divide
September 26, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch weighs in on the difficulty incoming Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac “Bougie” Herzog will have in bridging the growing chasm between Israeli and diaspora Jewry.

The Jerusalem Post: The 50 Most Influential Jews of the Year
September 9, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch was named one of The Jerusalem Post's "50 Most Influential Jews of the Year." "Hirsch is a charismatic and passionate Jewish leader, a strong advocate for Israel and a standard-bearer for liberal values, messages he is disseminating from his pulpit in New York," wrote The Post's Jeremy Sharon.

New York Post: Why masters of this ram horn are getting rock-star treatment
September 7, 2018
The New York Post interviewed our talented master shofar blower, Jeff Nussbaum, ahead of Rosh Hashanah.

NY Jewish Week: Discord Forcing Rabbis To Choose Roles
September 5, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discusses the moral role of rabbis during these contentious and politically charged times: "A rabbi’s role is not to avoid upsetting people … but to speak boldly and publicly about our understanding of Jewish values. Since the way the community determines values is through policy, we have an obligation to participate in the public formulation of policy that represents our collective approach to social problems."

New York Family: 8 Tips on Separating from Young Children for the New School Year
August 31, 2018
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Early Childhood Center interim director, Miriam Kalmar, shares expert advice for parents as they prepare to drop their young children off to start the new school year.

Macaroni Kid Upper West Side: 4 Back-to-School Tips to Get Your Kid Ready for the New Year
August 25, 2018
Miriam Kalmar, director of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Early Childhood Center, shares expert back-to-school tips for getting your kids ready for the new school year.

YNET: 'People turn to me, broken: Whats happening to our Israel?'
August 11, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discusses how recent events in Israel — including a controversial new nation-state law and the detention of a rabbi for performing a non-Orthodox wedding — are affecting the relationship between the American-Jewish community and Israel.

Yediot America (Hebrew): 'People turn to me broken: What's happening to our Israel?'
August 3, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch discusses how recent events in Israel — including a controversial new nation-state law and the detention of a rabbi for performing a non-Orthodox wedding — are affecting the relationship between the American-Jewish community and Israel.

Mosaic Magazine: The Answer to the Israel-Diaspora Malady Lies Not in Better Organizations But in More Committed Jews
July 26, 2018
Mosaic Magazine asked our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, along with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and MK Michael Oren, Elliott Abrams, and Allan Arkush, to respond to Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy's thoughtful essay, "Can American and Israeli Jews Stay Together as One People?"

NY Jewish Week: For Liberal Jews, ‘Israel Has Lost Its Way’
July 25, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to a series of troubling events in Israel — including a controversial new nation-state law and the detention of a rabbi for performing a non-Orthodox wedding.

Maariv (Hebrew): The American-Jewish community has a hard time dealing with developments in Israel
July 25, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to a series of troubling events in Israel — including a controversial new nation-state law and the detention of a rabbi for performing a non-Orthodox wedding.

Times of Israel: Why liberal Jews should embrace Tisha B’Av
July 19, 2018
Rabbi Diana Fersko explains why it's so important to mark Tisha B'Av in light of current events in the U.S. and worldwide.

J. Weekly (San Francisco): Why liberal Jews should embrace Tisha B’Av, this year more than ever
July 17, 2018
Rabbi Diana Fersko explains why it's so important to mark Tisha B'Av in light of current events in the U.S. and worldwide.

JTA: Why liberal Jews should embrace Tisha b’Av
July 16, 2018
Rabbi Diana Fersko explains why it's so important to mark Tisha B'Av in light of current events in the U.S. and worldwide.

St. Louis Jewish Light: Why liberal Jews should embrace Tisha b’Av
July 16, 2018
Rabbi Diana Fersko explains why it's so important to mark Tisha B'Av in light of current events in the U.S. and worldwide.

New York Family: Is Your Toddler Ready For School?
July 10, 2018
Early Childhood Center Interim Director Miriam Kalmar shares expert advice on how to tell if your toddler is ready for school.

Makor Rishon (Hebrew): Disengagement plan: the Reform movement is moving away from Israel
June 3, 2018
Our Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch criticized the Reform movement's response to American recognition of Jerusalem: "Except for the extreme left, all the Zionist parties in the Knesset support the embassy move. The statement that was published does not represent me, and certainly not all members of the Reform movement."

Al-Monitor: Can Netanyahu Scratch Americans from Jewish Roster?
January 17, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to friction between progressive American Jews and the Israeli government.

Jewish News Syndicate: Reform Movement Retreating From Opposition to Trump’s Jerusalem Decision
January 1, 2018
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is credited for challenging the URJ’s opposition to the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Religion News Service: Was Trump Right About Jerusalem?
December 19, 2017
A column by Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin highlights an op-ed by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch that urges leaders of the Reform movement to clarify their response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

JTA: My Reform Colleagues Were Wrong On Jerusalem
December 18, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch urges leaders of the Reform movement to clarify their response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Maariv: A Desperate Struggle: Benjamin Netanyahu Prepares for the Last Battle for his Political Life 
December 17, 2017
A popular Israeli newspaper showcases Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch and his perspective on religious pluralism in Israel. (In Hebrew)

New York Times: Today in New York
December 5, 2017
The New York Times’ “Today in New York” series highlights a story in the West Side Rag about our rabbis and their productive dialogue with an Upper West Side bookstore about the children’s book “P is for Palestine.”

JTA: How a Kids’ Book on Palestine Ensnared This Manhattan Store in a Political Crossfire
December 4, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch talks to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about the synagogue’s stance towards a local bookstore that supported a controversial children's book.

West Side Rag: Rabbis and Bookstore Owner Break Bread After Split Over Palestine Book
December 3, 2017
An article highlights the productive dialogue between our rabbis and Book Culture’s co-owners about the word “intifada” and the children’s book, “P Is for Palestine” — and showcases the bookstore’s statement against terrorism and the BDS Movement.

77 WABC Radio: Religion on the Line
November 12, 2017
Rabbi Hirsch discusses faith, gun violence, and our synagogue history with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik and Deacon Kevin McCormack. (His segment in the 11/12/17 program begins at 37:12.)

ReformJudaism.org: Look What Happened When We Welcomed Israelis into Our Congregation
October 13, 2017
Rabbi Diana Fersko highlights the meaningful cultural exchange made possible by the synagogue’s Chofshi B’Manhattan Israeli outreach program.

YNET (Hebrew): Why Does Israel Turn its Back On American Jewry?
October 10, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch elaborates on the theme of his Yom Kippur sermon in a popular Israeli news outlet.

New York Jewish Week: Reform Jews at Crossroads on Israel
October 4, 2017
In an op-ed, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch urges American Reform Jews to fund and support a stronger progressive movement in Israel.

E-Jewish Philanthropy: Insights from The Greenhouse
October 4, 2017
Rebecca Schumer, chief innovation officer of The Greenhouse, shares insights about the launch of the synagogue’s new teen-led platform for social innovation.

New York Jewish Week: Rabbis to Tiptoe Around Trump
September 13, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch comments on his decision to address the Trump presidency in his Rosh Hashanah sermon.

New York Jewish Week: New 'Portal’ on Jewish Learning
August 23, 2017
Our Religious School’s Portals program, which brings our experienced teachers to families’ homes for one-on-one learning, is featured. 

New York Daily News: Why We Cannot Close Our Doors to Refugees
June 28, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch draws on the synagogue’s recent refugee relief mission to Greece and Germany and responds to President Trump’s travel ban. 

Maariv: Netanyahu Proves He Does Not Care About American Jews
June 28, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is quoted in an article in a popular Israeli newspaper about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to halt a project that would have allowed men and women to pray together at the Western Wall. (In Hebrew)

ReformJudaism.org Blog: 5 Guidelines for Talking to Young Children About the Refugee Crisis
June 28, 2017
Lori Schneider, director of our Early Childhood Center, shares takeaways.

The Forward: Inside the Lives of Middle Eastern Refugees
June 21, 2017
Stephen Wise member Roberta Schuhalter Karp reflects on the synagogue’s refugee relief mission to Greece and Germany.

The New York Jewish Week: A Passion for Teaching, from Shul to Prison School
May 25, 2017
Kayla Kirshenbaum, assistant director of education at our Religious School, is named among the Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36.”

The Times of Israel: This Passover, Let Us Step Into the Shoes of the Refugee
April 6, 2017
“This year in particular, in the aftermath of a deadly chemical attack in Syria, Passover offers a call to action to all Americans to defend human dignity and uphold our common humanity,” Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch wrote in the Times of Israel.

NY1 New Yorker of the Week: Norman Roth
March 18, 2017
NY1 Spectrum News features Norman Roth as “New Yorker of the Week.”

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Not Just Prayers
March 10, 2017
“Judaism is a faith that believes in action, in making the world a better place through policy,” Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch said in an article that highlights the synagogue’s recent social action work.

YNET:  Ambassador Nominee Apologizes, As Rabbis Call for Fair Hearing
February 15, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to President Trump’s controversial pick to serve as US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

The Forward: How I’m Turning Tu B’Shevat Into A Subversive Political Act
February 7, 2017
“Tu B’Shevat is not fun only anymore,” Rabbi Diana Fersko wrote in this column.With the election of a climate-change-denier-in-chief, it’s a chance to assert our values and even our politics.”

The Times of Israel: Making America Great
January 26, 2017
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch reflects on the real meaning of national greatness.

City & State New York: Manhattan Borough 50
October 3, 2016
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is praised as “the boroughs most influential voice” for Manhattan’s more than 300,000 Jews.

E-Jewish Philanthropy: Beyond One-Size-Fits-All: Better Jewish Education
August 26, 2016
“To be effective, Jewish education must diversify,” Rabbi Diana Fersko writes in this column. “We must offer selection, choice, adaptability, and as much customization as possible.”

Huffington Post: What Hillary and Bernie Taught Me About Passover
April 20, 2016
Rabbi Diana Fersko draws a parallel between the gender politics of the election season and women’s seders.

New York Times: Bernie Sanders’s Criticism of Israel
April 19, 2016
“Don’t attack Israel, and Israel will not attack you,” Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch wrote in a letter published in the New York Times.

New York Times: Purim! The Musical
March 18, 2016
The New York Times features member Norman Roth and his legacy of Purim spiels at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.

Huffington Post 5 Surprising Ways Queen Elsa is A Lot Like Queen Esther
March 10, 2016
Rabbi Diana Fersko finds surprising similarities between two beloved queens.