When it was created more than three years ago, the Trust for Jewish Philanthropy was seen as an innovative endeavor designed to channel significant dollars and creative ideas from some of the largest Jewish foundations into the Jewish federation network. But after achieving only limited success, its end was announced this week, a victim of economic hard times.
The announcement, made in the form of a press release Tuesday evening by its parent organization, the United Jewish Communities, came as a surprise to many.
Why can't Long Island support kosher restaurants? That's the question some are asking with the closing this weekend of the fourth of five kosher establishments that opened on the Island in the last three years: the first non-deli kosher restaurants outside of the Five Towns and Great Neck in recent years.
ëSee here how everything leads up to this day. And itís just like any other day thatís ever been,î go the lyrics to a Grateful Dead song framed in the Manhattan office of Rabbi Brad Hirschfield.
It was like any other day, explains the rabbi. He was walking in Jerusalem with his wife, Becky, and their two small daughters. The older girl, Avigail, 7, was hungry. They turned onto King George and Jaffa streets midway through afternoon. The kids let him know, again, they were hungry.
ìWhat would you like, honey?î he asked.
Rush Limbaugh, just before his blitz on black quarterbacks, said presidential candidates claiming Jewish ancestry is ìgetting out of hand.î Limbaugh was ticked off by reports that the retired Gen. Wesley Clark is descended from five generations of rabbis before being raised as a Christian.
Israel needs your money but save the tzedaka, says the board chairman of a new Israeli mutual fund that will invest exclusively in Israeli companies.
"Israel does not need charity, only investments," said Shlomo Eplboim of the Blue and White Fund (the colors of the Israeli flag), set to debut Dec. 31.
Yehudit Moch of Park Slope walked into St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village last week sporting a T-shirt embroidered with a large Star of David.
"You'd better close your jacket," said the receptionist, who was half-Jewish. "It's not safe to be wearing that on the streets of New York."
Other than the occasional murder, few newspaper stories, if any, originate from the desolation of East Tremont Avenue; certainly no stories in Jewish newspapers, now that all the Jews have long ago scattered from these Bronx streets. Thereís nothing left on East Tremont, is there? But let it be written, in the words of the biblical Jacob: ìSurely, God is in this place ó and I, I did not know.
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.
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."
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.