Financial crises occur. Personal trainers need their access. The All-Star Game can run late.
“I had some, uh, mixed feelings, Seth, about your missing our last appointment,” said Rabbi Stuart Shiff, sitting one morning the other week across the table in a midtown Manhattan office from one of his private students, Seth Horowitz, executive vice-president of sporting goods company Modell’s.
The rabbi thumbed the pages of the Torah on the table. Shiff is one of five rabbis employed by an international Orthodox Jewish organisation known as Aish HaTorah, which offers many services to regular people at its Upper West Side centre. It offers some special attention to those whom its managing director, Rabbi Adam Jacobs, refers to as “very significant people”.
Almost all are accustomed to personal trainers and personal services.
People sometimes seek grounding when times get tough,” he said.
One said he became a participant soon after he married a “very secular” Jewish woman. Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of the Centre for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University in New York, said the Aish programme reflected a long tradition in Judaism of co-operation between the tribes of ancient Israel known as the Zebulun and the Issachar.
“We did classes at Goldman Sachs for years,” said Rabbi Brad Hirshfield, president of the National Jewish Centre for Learning and Leadership.