With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party seen cruising to victory in Tuesday's national election, political pundits speculated on how Sharon was going to form the unity government he prefers with the Labor Party, whose leader has vowed to remain in opposition.
When Natan Sharansky, the ex-Soviet refusenik turned hard-line Israeli cabinet minister, visited several local universities here last month, he brought a pointed message: Yasir Arafat, he told students at Columbia University and New York University, is an unrepentant ìdictatorî who is an ominous presence dooming peace and must be removed.
As many as 1,000 Iranian Jews will soon be able to leave their homeland for Austria, the first step in a two-step process for gaining admission to the United States as refugees.
Until now, these Jews were unable to apply for Austrian visas because they did not have friends or relatives outside of Iran who could put up the requisite $2,100 security deposit needed for those wishing to wait in Vienna while their refugee applications are reviewed. The money is required to assure Austria that the applicants do not become wards of the state.
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.
Back in the Middle Ages, cartographers would draw maps of the world with the Holy Land in dead center, and if you never saw those maps you could pick up the Week in Review section of The New York Times and get the idea.
On one page of the section, Thomas Friedman’s column, “Obama and the Jews” was really about Israel and Friedman’s realization that those who care about Israel will be wiser to vote for the candidate “who will make America strongest ... Nothing would imperil Israel more than an enfeebled, isolated America.”
Local Jewish leaders returned from a 37-hour solidarity trip to Israel this week strengthened in their resolve that, as UJA-Federation executive vice president John Ruskay put it, "We're all in this together."
He added that Israelis seemed committed to "stand firm, particularly after the prime minister had made such an offer for peace" this summer at Camp David. But Ruskay also sensed "an undercurrent of despondency. The choices are difficult and limited, and that's what makes this a crisis."
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.
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.
Ari Sonesh came up with the idea for his 3-year-old company in the mid-1980s while he was overseeing the computer support system at Comverse Technologies in Woodbury.
"I saw the potential to improve customer support services," he explained. "So I put things together and came up with an idea. I discussed it with Steve [Kowarsky at Comverse] and others, and decided it was an idea I had to commit myself to. So I left Comverse."
Sonesh's idea: Allow customers to speak directly with representatives of a company through its web site.