Even as Modern Orthodox Jews see themselves as embattled and on the decline within Orthodoxy, eclipsed by the ascendancy of the haredim to the right, new demographic data offer quite a different picture.
For the last quarter-century, Jewish Renewal has been a grassroots, anti-establishment movement embraced by Jews searching for spirituality in their lives. Now, itís becoming mainstream.
One of the four pillars of the new United Jewish Communities is being called Jewish Renaissance and Renewal. Its 36-member committee is slated to meet in Washington next month to develop ways to make Jewish life more meaningful. Because it is to be the committee's first meeting, it is unclear which areas it plans to address.
Elie Rekhess is a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies and an adviser to the Abraham Fund, which promotes coexistence between the Jews and Arabs in Israel. Born in Haifa, Rekhess, 53, served as a strategic adviser to Ehud Barak during his successful campaign for prime minister. He is currently an adviser to the Ministerial Committee on the Arabs in Israel. He was interviewed during a recent visit to the city.
Jewish Week: How has the attitude of the Arab citizens of Israel changed since the Oslo peace accords in 1993?
Suddenly in Jewish Westchester, land of spacious homes and ample backyards, nothing seems to fit.
Westchesterís Jews, once limited by upper-crust restrictions, are experiencing a 40-percent population surge in the past 10 years, only to find that their infrastructure of schools and shuls now seems too small, tight around the seams.
An influx of grants in the last two years has uplifted the learning experience at Temple Beth Israel. Figure things now to get downright exhilarating. The 225-family Conservative congregation in Port Washington has received a $500,000 donation to enhance Jewish programing in what it is believed to be the largest gift of its kind.
"It will enable us to hire someone with top credentials in Jewish education to turn us upside down and reassemble everything in a new and exciting way," said Rabbi Toni Shy.
With her 10-year-old son at her side, a disabled widow from Long Beach told a hushed group of 500 UJA-Federation lay and professional leaders that the local Jewish community center has "been there for us in the very darkest of times."
"I have an immune disease called fibromyalga," explained Harriet Cohen, 46, at the annual Long Island General Assembly in Roslyn, which provides UJA-Federation-funded organizations an opportunity to display their activities.
Nicole Simon, a 10th-grader at the Solomon Schechter High School in Hicksville, was shocked and hurt recently when she boarded the school bus and a seventh-grader called her a "nigger."
"I didn't know what to do," said the West Hempstead student. "The older kids on the bus had told him that to be cool at high school it was cool to say nigger. I was never called a nigger before. I was appalled."
Saying the last 18 months have been one of the "saddest chapters in our country's history," the executive vice president of UJA-Federation detailed his organization's struggle to deal with the impact of welfare reform.
"I can report to you the panic that ensued" as legal immigrants here more than five years realized they would lose Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and food stamps, Stephen Solender told a recent UJA-Federation-sponsored legislative breakfast.
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
So what do you suppose the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group’s that’s partisan with a capital “P,” thinks about the Democrats’ health insurance reform plans and the administration’s strong support?
C’mon, take a wild guess.
Stumped? They’re against it, just about as much as the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) is for it.
This is what the RJC had to say in an action alert today today:
Friday, July 31st, 2009
The Wall Street Journal ran this headline yesterday: “Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low.” Californians, it turns out, aren’t happy with his role in a budget crisis that brought the state to the brink of bankruptcy and will now produce record cuts to an an already-pared back education system and benefits to the poor, the elderly and the sick.