Most of the 750 young adults who packed a cavernous room in Manhattan’s Puck Building last week wouldn’t have come near a UJA-Federation of New York event three or four years ago, one of the function’s organizers said. And half of those who came last week, he added, will never again be seen by federation leaders.
Severed from their own history — its joys and tragedies — growing numbers of retirement-age Russian Jews here are on a roots journey to uncover as much as they can about how Jews from the former Soviet Union lived and died.And though they have come to the journey later than many American-born Jews, they are making up for lost time, fueled both by the Internet and a nagging feeling of incompleteness.
Max Apple’s people are the folks you might see having lunch at a local diner. There’s Sidney Goodman, the carwash king of Las Vegas, and Jerome Feldman, the outgoing president of the Ohio Association of Independent Pharmacists, along with others who sell scrap metal, industrial tools and trinkets. Apple has somehow eavesdropped over the leatherette booths and followed them out and into their lives, dreams and hearts.
2009 has certainly been a memorable year of highs and lows: From the inauguration of our first African-American president to a deepening recession that led to the highest level of unemployment in a generation; from the Yankees’ World Series win to the Madoff scandal losses. At the end of such a tumultuous year, I for one, plan to sit back and relax with a nice glass of wine. And times such as these, ideally, call for Champagne.
Not surprisingly, as the economic downturn drags on, there is much communal discussion about the need for more and more funding to keep our most precious institutions and programs intact, from the federation system to Birthright Israel to day schools.
On Jan. 15, more than 700 Jews from a mix of backgrounds will head to the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson for four days of lectures, text-study sessions, performances and workshops at the sixth annual Limmud NY Conference.
On Jan. 15, more than 700 Jews from a mix of backgrounds will head to the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson for four days of lectures, text-study sessions, performances and workshops at the sixth annual Limmud NY Conference. Inspired by the Limmud Conference in England — which has been around for more than 25 years — Limmud NY has spawned an entire network, with Limmud (Hebrew for “learning”) conferences now in six U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and New Orleans.
En route to Yom Kippur services last year, Yeshiva University senior Ayol Samuels walked through Washington Heights sporting a pair of flip-flops, with a group of sandal-clad shul-goers strolling ahead. On his way, he passed a group of Dominican children congregated together on a nearby stoop.
Jacob Strumwasser, 24
Young hedge funder who grants micro-loans to Jewish Argentineans
For Jacob Strumwasser, it all began with a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip when he was studying at the University of Michigan. The trip helped him connect with his Jewish past and inspired him to take an active role in building the Jewish future in Argentina.