Two months after apparently squelching an insurrection, the leadership of the World Jewish Congress is facing renewed calls in its ranks for an independent audit and increased accountability.
Isi Leibler, a senior vice president of the organization whose public appeals for improved governance and transparency regarding WJC financial dealings prompted his dismissal in September, has refused to step down, and he seems to have found allies among the leadership of the Swiss branch of the WJC.
Think of My Jewish Learning — the Jewish Internet-based venture from mega-donors Lynn Schusterman and Edgar Bronfman launched this week — as “Encyclopedia Judaica” on Broadband or Maimonides Meets Microsoft.
Schneider, 68, takes over the day-to-day reins of the World Jewish Congress at a time when, he acknowledges, the organization is searching for new causes to champion, and amid questions about its own ability to function effectively after so much internal conflict. But Schneider sought to portray himself in the interview as being above the fray, coming in with a fresh slate to re-energize the organization.
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.
Jerusalem: Sitting in a converted bomb shelter in the basement of the hotel at the Ramat Rachel Kibbutz here, about 40 American Jewish college students are sharing their anxiety.
Like a group therapy session, they talk about their frustration, fear and anger over the recent rising levels of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments on their campuses by pro-Palestinian activists, as violence continues unabated in the Middle East.
The battle of the heavyweights may be over, but the race for cash continues. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's stunning departure from the race against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton transforms what was expected to be the most expensive U.S. Senate campaign in history into a race against time for Giuliani's replacement, the relatively unknown Long Island Rep. Rick Lazio.
"The key question is now how quickly he can ramp up his fund raising," said Sheila Krumholz, research director for the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign watchdog group, of Lazio.
While a religiously split Jewish community was verbally sparring over which U.S. Senate candidate to support, many notables were putting their money where their mouth was.
They were contributing to what is being considered the most expensive Senate race in history, with about $33 million being spent. At the same time they were looking to support the candidate they felt meshed best with their own interests, whether it be the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn or the Conservative and Reform Jews of Manhattan.
Jewish leader Israel Singer, under fire on several fronts, announced Tuesday that he would not run for re-election as president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Singer, former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress before his ouster last March, said he had decided not to run because, having lost his WJC position, “I don’t really have a platform or a party, as it were, to run from.”
The decision marked Singer’s effective withdrawal from the last prominent communal position he held.
Seizing the reins of an historic organization riven by bitter feuds and charges of wrongdoing, cosmetics heir and philanthropist Ronald Lauder faces an array of daunting decisions to make about the World Jewish Congress.
The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week.
The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.
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