As Hurricane Katrina barreled through the Gulf Coast, Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin got a frantic call from a woman in Long Beach who had lost touch with her brother, a Chabad rabbi in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.
It was less than a month before the annual Chabad Telethon -- that quirky TV fundraiser studded with dancing rabbis and Jewish celebrities -- and Cunin, the director of West Coast Chabad, was busy scrambling to put together the program for the 25th anniversary show. For the last quarter-century, the telethon has raised millions of dollars each year to support the 200 Chabad centers, its schools and programs on the West Coast.
But when Rishi Greenwald called Cunin that Monday, he decided he had no choice but to drop everything and try to locate Rabbi Yossi Nemes, one of the five Chabad emissaries in Louisiana.
Philanthropist and game show icon Monty Hall took center stage last week at Temple Shalom for the Arts when he stepped up to the bimah to read from the Torah at his bar mitzvah. Hall embraced the ancient tradition of a second bar mitzvah surrounded by an overflowing group of friends and well-wishers who turned out to share this "second" special life moment.