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September 06, 2002 - Image 133

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

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318 West Fourth Street • 248-544-7949

Judge, the Catholic priest killed
at Ground Zero, had been sta-
After Kalinsky photographed the
rabbi and the company of beefy
firefighters, he nearly cried as he
told the men that — though he'd
taken pictures of Ali, Michael
Jordan and the pope — he consid-
ered the firefighters the true role
models for our age.
Each firefighter then hugged
9-11 has left an impact on the
rabbinic world as well, Potasnick
says. He's noticed "more of a
friendship" between rabbis of
the different denominations
since the attacks, and "a little
more understanding of our
human differences."
This book will help break
down preconceived notions about
rabbis, Potasnik says.
Since many of the book's subjects
don't wear typical rabbinic garb, the
book "will show you can't define
people by their appearance," he says.

CJ (lava elq leers :dig



Rabbi Rachamim &min- , the director
of Chabad of Venice, is pictured in a gondola
on a Venetian canal on the cover of
"Rabbis — The Many Faces of Judaism,"
to be published in October.

Rabbis In Action

While Rabbis defies conventional wis-
dom about Jewish religious teachers,
Kalinsky says he took pains to paint
respectful portraits of his subjects.
He'd heard of one book of off-the-wall
rabbinic pictures but wanted to take a
different approach.
"Just do what you do, and I'll pho-
tograph you," he told the rabbis.
And he did. There's Rabbi Niles
Elliot Goldstein, founder of the New
Shul in New York's Greenwich Village,
striking a karate pose on a New York
City roof (the Twin Towers still visible
in the background), and Ethiopian
Jewish leader Rabbi Yosef Hadana,
clenching his fists in front of a
stained-glass window.
It was while capturing a rabbi in
action when traveling in the former
Soviet Union in 1988 that Kalinsky
began conceiving this project.
The photographer discovered an old
rabbi hunched over a desk in the
Moscow synagogue, his wife sitting
opposite, and an unidentified man sit-
ting in the shadows.
It turned out that the mysterious
observer was a KGB agent whose job
was to watch over this Jewish religious
leader all day. The agent and rabbi
never spoke.
That photo later ran in the New
York Times and generated a strong
response, Kalinsky recalls, in part
because it spoke about the lack of reli-

gious freedom in the Soviet Union.
RabbiS came into Kalinsky's life
again when his wife was diagnosed
with brain cancer in 1994. He sought .
Rabbi Shalom Paltiel's help, and the
rabbi — with his own wife present —
held Kalinsky's wife's hand while she
lay in a coma. Though the doctors
gave her only a few months to live, she
survived for another year.
The photo of Paltiel, of Chabad
Congregation in Port Washington,
N.Y., also appears in the book.
Later, another rabbi told Kalinsky he
would "find an angel," and four years
later he fell in love and remarried. It
was his second wife who convinced
him to dedicate a book to rabbis.
Aided by Rabbi David Saperstein,
head of the Religious Action Center of
Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.,
and Lubavitch leader Rabbi Yehuda
Krinsky, Kalinsky drafted a list of can-
didates and began contacting them.
Slowly Kalinsky began meeting rab-
bis such as Rachamim Banin, the
director of Chabad of Venice, whose
picture, in a gondola on a Venetian
canal, graces the book's cover.
After several trips and 18 months of
interviews, planning and shoots, Kalinsky
finished taking most ofhis pictures.
The vivid color photos form a photo-
graphic tapestry for the coffee-table size
book, which is set to retail for $39.95.
This rabbinic mosaic shows that
many rabbis are "not only spiritual
leaders, but they are leaders of the
Jewish people," Schneier says.
"Each one is making [his or her] own
contribution to the Jewish people."


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9/ 6



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