A few summers at day camp changed Alan Siskind’s life.
Siskind, who retired in the fall as executive vice president of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services after 16 years in that position and 33 years at the agency says his days as a counselor at the Mount Vernon Y’s summer camp, influenced him to become a social worker.
At the camp he observed the directors, all trained in social work.
Speaking before several dozen people munching on babaganoush and taboule and chatting away in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and English, the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury invoked the hallowed name of Al-Andalus.
"And if we do not find it, we can build it in our hearts," he said at the reception for a literary event last week in the Soho studio of Iraqi-born sculptor Oded Halahmy.
What next? As Mayor Rudolph Giuliani basked in his smashing election victory, New Yorkers, a famously demanding bunch, already were considering what they expected of his second term.
For Jews, at least, it appears that more of the same will not be enough.
For all their enthusiasm for the huge drop in crime during Giuliani’s first four years, Jews appear to be more adamant than most among the growing constituency calling on Giuliani to make education his priority this time around.
In the clearest account to date of how Israeli political candidates exploit U.S. charities for their campaign needs, an activist for Israel’s new centrist party, Mercaz, this week detailed its plans to raise at least $750,000 from U.S. donors through an American nonprofit organization.
“[We’ve] created a ‘Friends of Mercaz’-type agency to which people can actually donate their money,” enthused Shelly Sitton, referring to the Mercaz Party. “The other parties have been doing it for decades.”
Rebecca Spilke walked slowly to the lectern at Sutton Place Synagogue. Taking a deep breath, the petite, brown-haired 26-year-old spoke of her love for Benjamin Blutstein.
"I was almost excited to come here; I was expecting to see Ben," she confided to the audience of about 200.
But Ben would not be at the East Side synagogue. Nor would eight others who were killed with him on July 31when a terrorist bomb exploded in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus.
The presidents of Columbia University and Barnard College are publicly opposing a faculty-sponsored campaign calling for their institutions to divest from Israel.
Lee Bollinger of Columbia and Judith Shapiro of Barnard issued written statements last week as a group of faculty and staff members prepared to lobby Columbia's Board of Trustees to endorse their divestment petition this week.
Columbia University history professor Simon Schama stood at the podium in the Center for Jewish History's auditorium Sunday night relating how the desecration of hundreds of Jewish graves in England last week had affected him personally.
"The headstones of my uncle and great-aunt were turned over," when 386 Jewish graves were damaged in East London, he said.
Thus began a three-day international conference in New York on the rise of global anti-Semitism.
In recent months a debate has emerged on American college campuses about whether the teaching of Middle East history and politics on American campuses is slanted by the prevalence of Palestinian professors.
Last winter, the Jewish chaplain at Columbia University called for administration officials to hire a full-time Jewish academic to teach Middle East politics, to "balance" the several full-time professors of Palestinian or Arabic descent who conduct classes on the subjects.