Sensing a growing economic crisis, Jewish groups are getting behind President Obama’s stimulus package.
A spiraling economic emergency has upset the traditional political calculations of Jewish groups and prompted several to become active in the national effort to avert an even deeper calamity.
This week the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the United Jewish Communities (UJC) were lobbying for versions of the massive economic stimulus bill now moving through Congress, a dramatic and revealing shift for organizations that have traditionally steered clear of positions on core economic issues like taxes and spending.
Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism was named to President Obama’s faith-based advisory board.
President Barack Obama may be seeking an elusive middle ground on major “culture wars” issues in the early days of his presidency. And according to some analysts that could cause headaches for Jewish church-state groups that were hoping for a sharp reversal of former President George W. Bush’s ambitious faith-based initiative.
Last week’s administration decision revamping the Bush-era faith-based office raised more questions than answers about contentious issues like job discrimination and proselytizing.
Jamie Hertz jumps off the school bus one recent afternoon, runs into her house, whisks by Danny, her 11-year-old brother, and heads to the refrigerator. "Where's the soda?" she asks her mother. A can of soda and a bag of candy in hand, Jamie runs upstairs. She is agitated. Her shoulder-length brown swings in the air as she shakes her head.
A bribe of more sweets entices Jamie downstairs. A hug calms her. Arms around her mother, Jamie sits on a couch in the living room of their Rye Brook home.
Pearl Resnick's father immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine before World War I, intending to send soon for his pregnant wife and three daughters. But the war broke out, there was a ban on American visas, and Resnick's family was not reunited here for nearly a decade.
By the time Jonathan Nierenberg walked into the Young Israel of Woodmere one recent Saturday morning for shacharit in the main sanctuary, the men's section, seating about 375, was nearly full.
He was a few minutes late: his 3-year-old son, Benji, had tripped on the way.
In the coatroom Nierenberg exchanged Shabbat greetings with congregants arriving for a second shacharit down the hall in an already crowded study hall: and with members coming for the "Not Just for Beginner" introductory service in the gymnasium/social hall.
The chief rabbi of Moscow, in the United States during the shooting attack at a Jewish community center near Los Angeles last week, was distressed by the anti-Semitic incident, but encouraged by the forceful reaction of American political leaders.
Russian leaders are silent about recent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in Moscow, he says.
Afew dozen people showed up when Bruce Kahn gave his first speech on on-line Jewish genealogical research in 1993. The setting was the annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS).
Kahn, then a research scientist at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., and a founder of the city's JGS branch, predicted that the Internet would revolutionize genealogical research.
"People thought I was crazy," he says.
Four months before Hadassah was to kick off a major fund-raising campaign for an emergency medical center in Jerusalem, at the beginning of 2002, 9-11 happened. The American economy crashed. Americans donated their shrinking amount of charity dollars to the terrorist attack's relief effort.
"We were scared to death," says Joyce Rabin, Hadassah's coordinator of development. Maybe the drive for the new hospital would fail.
Reports from the field will be grim when delegates to this year’s Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum gather in Washington on Sunday — the first major Jewish meeting since the economic furies hit full force and the first since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
In Detroit, soaring unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies are battering a proud, prosperous Jewish community, and local agencies — already facing budget cuts — are scrambling to keep up.