The controversy aroused last year by the publication of his latest book, "Defeating Hitler," and a lengthy interview in one of Israel's daily papers continues to trail Avram Burg, as suggested by a Tuesday night forum in New York.
Rabbi Andrew Davids, executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, makes no secret of the challenges his group faces as it tries to increase aliyah, or immigration to Israel, within the Reform movement.
"It’s not an easy thing being a leader,” said Niemat Adam Ahmadi, coordinator of the Darfur Diaspora Association of East Africa, a coalition of organizations that are trying to aid refugees from Darfur and are hoping to take an active role in rebuilding the war-torn province. At times, said Ahmadi, 37, the members and staff of any group could pin their hopes on a particular leader but wind up disappointed — one of her biggest fears.
The two men — Michael Steinhardt and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz — took center stage Monday night at the 13th annual dinner of the Aleph Society, created in 1988 to raise funds for the rabbi’s activities. And although their exchange seemed blunt at times, reflecting the wit of both men and the directness and irreverence often associated with Steinhardt, both men seemed to enjoy the dialogue, which was sprinkled with humor and words like “respectfully.”
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series connected to the 90th anniversary of UJA-Federation of New York. The first part, concerning the federation’s history, appeared last week.
The help that Irina Dubrovskaya receives from the Hebrew Free Loan Society, one of the 24 charter agencies that launched what is now UJA-Federation, is similar to much of the aid the federation funded through the society in its early years.
He’s been receiving threats and insults during the last 10 weeks for his defense of Cesar Rodriguez, charged with the abuse and murder of his 7-year-old stepdaughter, Nixzmary Brown. And in the Jewish community, his name has cropped up as the lawyer representing Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a former teacher at Midwood’s Yeshiva Torah Temimah now facing trial for allegedly molesting three students.
For Shelley Cohen, a member of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side and a mother of three, traveling anywhere with her oldest child, a 20-year-old quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair, can often prove taxing. Her son Nathaniel is afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a congenital, rapidly progressive illness that destroys the body’s muscles.
It’s not surprising that a committee at UJA-Federation of New York is now in the process of reviewing grant proposals, looking at agency budgets and visiting those same agencies. It’s the sort of work that typifies the allocation of money by any large charity, be it federation or another organization.
David Marwell, director of New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, is among that small, but notable, group of historians and scholars whose career focus is on examining the Holocaust, making some sense of it, and conveying its lessons more than 60 years later.
But learned as Marwell is in the field, he avoided introducing his own children to the full horror of the Holocaust until he considered them old enough to absorb it.