Phyllis Blackman had been alternately attending the West Side Jewish Center and a Chabad synagogue when she suddenly sprained her ankle and found herself unable to walk more than a block. "And then like magic, they opened this synagogue around the corner from me," she said, referring to the Jewish Enrichment Center on the second floor of 176 Madison Ave. at 34th Street. "I had known the rabbi from [his previous pulpit at] the Murray Hill Synagogue. When he opened here, he called me and invited me to check it out."
Henreich Heine, the German-Jewish poet, wrote more than a century ago, ìder vorhang fallt, das stuck ist aus,î the curtain falls, the play is done. Then, in that tragic coda, the ax fell, too. Yet the drama goes on, a few German-Jews puttering around on a stage they refuse to leave, enchanted by that language.ìWir haben viel fur einander gefuhlt,î how deeply we were wrapped in each otherís lives, wrote Heine.
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 the nation riveted to the political turmoil in Washington, Jewish women at a conference in Woodbury were told that the Jewish community's clout depended on their involvement on the political stage.
"Political activism is necessary for the preservation of Jewish freedoms and institutions, and for the safety and security of Israel," said Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the Orthodox Union's Institute for Public Affairs. "Jews have reached a point of privilege in society because they have fought in the political arena and made their voices heard."
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.
Citing a "glass ceiling" in Jewish communal life that has prevented women from advancing to leadership positions in national Jewish organizations and large city federations, the newly created Trust for Jewish Philanthropy has announced that its first initiative will be to tackle the gender gap.
To help the project get off the ground, the philanthropist Barbara Dobkin, who founded and chairs Ma'yan, the Jewish Women's Project of the JCC of the Upper West Side, said she and her husband, Eric, are donating $1 million in seed money.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein is on the phone to another rabbi, trying to get him to help process “some wonderful candidates for conversion” the following Sunday. The Israeli chief rabbinate had pushed for narrower straits for converts to pass through, and the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Lookstein’s group, went along with it.
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: