The Israeli government struggled this week to find a way to end the barrage of Palestinian Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev city of Sderot as beleaguered residents there staged a series of protests to compel the government to act.
Although there were reports that Defense Minister Amir Peretz intended to permit a massive Air Force operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in an effort to end the rocket fire, observers said at midweek that no final decision had been made.
In the belief that there is an "untapped potential" in terms of synagogue volunteers who wish to help the Jewish poor in their communities but don't know how to start, UJA-Federation is encouraging its agencies to team up with synagogue volunteers. It recently awarded $750,000 to facilitate eight such partnerships.
For the last quarter-century, Jewish Renewal has been a grassroots, anti-establishment movement embraced by Jews searching for spirituality in their lives. Now, itís becoming mainstream.
One of the four pillars of the new United Jewish Communities is being called Jewish Renaissance and Renewal. Its 36-member committee is slated to meet in Washington next month to develop ways to make Jewish life more meaningful. Because it is to be the committee's first meeting, it is unclear which areas it plans to address.
The Jewish Communal Fund, which has consistently been the largest single contributor to UJA-Federation, broadened the scope of its support last year with gifts to UJA-Federation's fund that supports building projects.
Noting that JCF donations in the past have been used for UJA-Federation's general operating budget, JCF's endowment committee decided also to "help the network of services to the Jewish and general community by targeting specific projects," according to Lynn Kroll, JCF's endowment committee chair.
While he was a second-year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1992, Gary (Gidone) Busch was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease that changed his life.
"He learned that he had a kidney disease that causes partial renal failure, and a nephrologist told him it could be life threatening," recalled his brother, Glenn, 39, a Manhattan lawyer.
Local Jewish leaders returned from a 37-hour solidarity trip to Israel this week strengthened in their resolve that, as UJA-Federation executive vice president John Ruskay put it, "We're all in this together."
He added that Israelis seemed committed to "stand firm, particularly after the prime minister had made such an offer for peace" this summer at Camp David. But Ruskay also sensed "an undercurrent of despondency. The choices are difficult and limited, and that's what makes this a crisis."
You have to give this to major Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League: they’re persistent. A bunch of them have been lobbying for a major new hate crimes bill for more than a decade, and even though it has passed numerous votes in both Houses of Congress the measure never quite makes it into law.
The cherry blossoms have come and gone, which means it must be spring meeting season for Jewish groups.
Next week it’s the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which has a star-studded program for its annual “Consultation on Conscience.” As usual, the focus will be on domestic and social social justice issues, with a strong focus this year on the impact of the global economic downturn and its economic implications.