The next big idea in Jewish life will have a foreword, table of contents and bibliography.
It may not have a budget or board of directors.
A competition sponsored by Brandeis University for a new academic chair in Jewish Communal Innovation, which has led to discussions about the founding of a new initiative like birthright israel, has winnowed 231 applicants down to five finalists. But their proposals focus on the ways Jews think, not necessarily on a new program or institution that the Jewish community will develop.
Buenos Aires — At first glance, the once-thriving capital of Argentina looks as thriving as ever. The downtown commercial area, near the banks of the Rio de la Plata river, is filled with people. The shelves of the upscale shops are stocked with the latest goods. The city’s distinctive yellow-and-black taxis cruise the streets.
But at second glance …
Chapel Hill, N.C. — With 11 minutes left in the first half of a recent University of North Carolina home basketball game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the giant TV screens above the Dean E. Smith Center flash the image of a graying, bespectacled septuagenarian Jew from the East Bronx.
Luba Gendelman, Jewish activist in her native Ukraine and Hebrew-school teacher in Brooklyn, had a simple reason for joining a leadership training program offered by the American Jewish Committee two years ago.
“I didn’t know anything about the American Jewish community,” she says.
The Super Bowl, this Sunday’s National Football League championship game, isn’t the only notable sports event to take place on a Feb. 3 — there was also the 26 points scored by Phil Rabin of the Kingston Colonials against the Brooklyn Jewels in a 1937 American Basketball League game, and the Buffalo Bisons’ Max Kaminsky’s 1943 appearance in the first American Hockey League All-Star Game.
First came the dogs. At 5, two years after he was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor, Spenser Scharfman had developed a love for animals, and he told his parents he wanted a pet. “When you’re 7, we’ll get you a dog,” they told him. “We had no idea what that meant,” Stewart Scharfman says — they didn’t think Spenser would survive two more years.
A refugee from Nazi Europe and a Long Island pharmacologist who began his career during the Depression received good news from Stockholm last week — announcements that they had won Nobel Prizes.
Viennese-born Walter Kohn, professor emeritus of physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, received the 1998 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He shares the award and a $978,000 prize with John Pople of Northwestern University in Chicago.
For weeks rumors have circulated that the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), a pro-peace process group, was on the verge of shutting down – or merging with another organization.
This week there were reports that the group may merge with the Center for American Progress, a group that defines itself as “a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action.”
For some students, summer vacation isn’t a vacation from studying or from community service. While many high school and college students spend June through August making money or working on their tans, others use the time giving their time. This summer there were members of the American Jewish Society for Service who built Habitat for Humanity houses in Wyoming, and volunteers from Yeshiva and University Students for the Spiritual Revival of Soviet Jewry group who tutored at Jewish camps in the former Soviet Union.