Jerusalem — Harris Switzman, a 20-year-old college student from Toronto, said birthright israel — the five-year-old program that has sent more than 70,000 young diaspora Jews on free trips to Israel — is more than a gift.
Jewish establishment as ‘enemy’ for insufficient support
of Birthright Israel.
Editor And Publisher
A self-professed atheist, Michael Steinhardt might be offended — or else amused — to be described as a modern-day prophet.
It’s not that the businessman-turned-philanthropist preaches repentance and devotion to God; far from it, his primary concern is the survival and growth of secular, or cultural Judaism. He figures the Orthodox can take care of themselves.
Working as a bouncer at an East Side bar with a predominantly black and Latino clientele, Michael Isaacs was surprised one night this fall to notice a predominantly Jewish crowd entering the club.
To show his "solidarity," Isaacs (a burly, chain-smoking Long Island native who recently completed a two-year stint as a combat medic in the U.S. Army) took out his chai pendant, the Jewish symbol of life.
Within minutes, a stranger with an Israeli accent approached Isaacs, 26, asking him if he was Jewish and if he wanted to go to Israel for free.
Over the strong objections of the nation’s major rabbinic organizations, New York Board of Rabbis President Marc Schneier this week launched a new national rabbinic group that includes 30 members from Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism.
The creation of the North American Boards of Rabbis in Washington, D.C., Monday marks the first time an interdenominational rabbinic group has formed since the Synagogue Council of America disbanded under a cloud in 1995, partly for financial reasons and the growing isolationist philosophy of some Orthodox groups.
The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies foundation is known for funding innovative Jewish projects like the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and birthright israel. Now, Bronfman is making his first major gift in a different realm, hoping to further a developing field called genomics-based, or personalized medicine, with a $12.5 million gift to New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.
For a long time, Danielle Durchslag had absolutely no interest in anything Jewish. The 25-year-old Soho resident hated Hebrew school, despised the Jewish overnight camps she was sent to and describes the trip she took to Israel when she was a teenager as “an utter disaster.”
Arecord pledge by a Jewish multi-billionaire has raised the ante for other Jewish philanthropists in the United States, but the exact affect on Jewish communal life of Sheldon Adelson’s gift won’t be determined for several years, according to experts.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.