In the late 1970s the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the New York-based organization that supports Jewish life in small communities around the world, needed someone to head its office in Tehran.
Two JDC staffers told Ralph Goldman, the Joint’s executive vice president, that he should consider Michael Schneider, a social worker in London.
After a four-hour interview with Schneider, a native of South Africa who left his homeland to escape arrest for anti-apartheid activities, Goldman offered him the job in Iran.
Timisoara, Romania — As a child Luciana Friedman attended the community seders here each year with her parents and grandparents.
As a young adult, she comes with her husband. And she comes as a leader of an emerging part of the city’s small Jewish community.
Grodno, Belarus — Tsilia Brido remembers her early Belarus Passover in her Polotsk hometown, her grandfather leading the seders in Hebrew, women from the neighborhood baking their matzahs in her family’s large wood stove.
“It was before the war,” she says, referring to World War II. Belarus was the first of the former Soviet Union’s republics to be invaded by the German army.
Brido remembers the seders ending after 1941, first under the Nazis, then under the communists.
One testified with his words. Samuel Hilton, a Holocaust survivor, sat in the witness chair and described how he lived through the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Others testified with their presence.
A dozen recent emigres from the former Soviet Union, also Holocaust survivors, occupied the last two rows of the spectators’ section and listened reverently to Hilton. Most wore Jewish stars, made from yellow paper, on their blouses.
James Tisch this month completed the first year of his three-year term as president of UJA-Federation. He recently reflected on his tenure in a conversation with The Jewish Week.
Jewish Week: Has this year been fulfilling?
With evidence suggesting that Ashkenazi Jewish women are five to 10 times more likely than other women to be born with a mutant gene associated with breast cancer, Columbia Universityís College of Physicians and Surgeons is preparing a booklet to help such women decide whether to undergo genetic testing.
"There are legal and social issues that a woman may wish to consider," said Sherry Brandt-Rauf, associate research scholar at the schoolís Center for the Study of Society and Medicine.
The city's Planning Department revealed last week that more and more former Soviet Jews are immigrating to the city not as refugees but for family reunification and on lottery visas, a fact that has been observed on the streets of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
As a result of these changes, Kenneth Gabel, executive director of the Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach, said his board has established a master policy committee to study demographic, service and market trends in south Brooklyn.
The first 76 Jews from the Quara region of Ethiopia arrived in Israel this week on a regularly scheduled Ethiopian Airlines flight after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an all-out effort to bring them to Israel.
Life had been a struggle for Mrs. M, her husband and four children. And when her husband found himself out of work in August, the Long Island family quickly found themselves behind in the rent and the oil company demanded cash on delivery.
"We needed help and we didn't know where to go," Mrs. M recalled. "We had no money in our pockets and we were waiting for unemployment checks to arrive."
For the first time, a son of Safed is prime minister. All right, so Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the Palestinian prime minister, but Israelís fate is in his hands as much as anyoneís. When he insists that peace depends on Israel recognizing the Arab right of return, heís talking about himself and heís talking about Safed.