With the U.S. economy faltering and nonprofits scrambling to meet their fundraising goals, an unexpected source of philanthropic dollars is emerging: Jews in the Far East.
On the eve of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, which open Aug. 8., a growing Jewish presence in the Far East and Southeast Asia — and its growing wealth — is coming into sharper relief.
Houston — In a schoolroom of Congregation Emanu-El, a Reform rabbi is leading a seminar on patrilineal descent. Down the hall, a discussion on Jewish mysticism is taking place under the direction of a Conservative rabbi. A few doors away, an Orthodox rabbi is talking about Ahavat Yisrael, love of one’s fellow Jew.
Elsewhere in the synagogue, the largest Reform temple in the Houston area, two dozen other classes and meditation sessions and song-composing workshops are taking place at the same time, led by a cross-section of rabbis and teachers and political leaders.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the furthest thing from Joseph Fteha’s mind when he sought to sue the family next door to his elderly mother’s house for building their garage over her property line. True, the property was in East Jerusalem, his late Palestinian father’s native city. But what did a boundary dispute there between him and the Arabs next door to his mother’s property have to do with Middle East politics?
Chai L’Yisrael, the cheaper of the two at $180 round trip from New York, is offering flights tied to the May 17 election for prime minister and parliament, the Knesset. The latter will decide the fate of the Orthodox religious parties.
Kesher’s round-trip flights are for an expected June 1 runoff between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud Party and Ehud Barak of the left-leaning One Israel Party. Kesher’s fares are $449 from New York and $649 from Los Angeles.
Implicitly rebutting several senior government authorities, the Central Jewish Committee of Iran last week publicly asserted for the first time that 13 Iranian Jews currently imprisoned on suspicion of spying for Israel and the United States are innocent.
Putting its own resources on the line, the committee, which serves as the umbrella group for Iran’s 25,000 Jews, also announced it was prepared to raise money for attorneys to defend the imprisoned Jews.
A longstanding power struggle between Iran’s top leaders crystallized this week over the legal system that will decide the fate of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel and America.
Offering the first specifics on the case against them, Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that the 13 were arrested “on charges of illegally gathering secret information, including military information, and handing it over to foreigners.”
For Israel, the pressure has lifted — for now. After weeks of escalating criticism, the Clinton administration has suddenly taken a more benign tack in its dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s meetings with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority chief Yasir Arafat last week reset the clock for the two leaders to make some fateful decisions — decisions that so far they have studiously avoided.
For years, the New York Police Department's annual pre-High Holy Days security meeting had become little more than a big coffee klatch.
With crime down and bias crimes reduced, the gathering became better known as a chance for Jewish leaders from all walks of life and all parts of the city to renew acquaintances and trade stories with each other and police brass.
Since the drill was the same every year, discussion about security became routine.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001.
Which made this year's meeting more serious than it has been for a long time.
The first national Jewish emergency warning system will be launched within the next few weeks, enabling Jewish leaders to communicate quickly during a terrorist threat or attack, The Jewish Week has learned.
It is believed to be the first crisis alert system serving a specific community in the United States.
The project, called Secure Community Alert Network, or SCAN, includes the leading Jewish organizations in the nation, as well as hundreds of Jewish community centers, federations and educational institutions.