Other than the occasional murder, few newspaper stories, if any, originate from the desolation of East Tremont Avenue; certainly no stories in Jewish newspapers, now that all the Jews have long ago scattered from these Bronx streets. Thereís nothing left on East Tremont, is there? But let it be written, in the words of the biblical Jacob: ìSurely, God is in this place ó and I, I did not know.
An influx of grants in the last two years has uplifted the learning experience at Temple Beth Israel. Figure things now to get downright exhilarating. The 225-family Conservative congregation in Port Washington has received a $500,000 donation to enhance Jewish programing in what it is believed to be the largest gift of its kind.
"It will enable us to hire someone with top credentials in Jewish education to turn us upside down and reassemble everything in a new and exciting way," said Rabbi Toni Shy.
For 12 years, Diane Thurer of Dix Hills has been filling boxes with school supplies and holiday treats for a poor family in Mississippi she has never met but which expresses its gratitude through letters.
"It really is a commitment, but you do bring sunshine into that family's home," said Thurer of the national Box Project. "You really get back more than you give."
Now a Jewish group wants to replicate that effort in behalf of the Jewish poor in Suffolk County. If successful, there are plans to extend the project to Nassau.
Despite The New York Times frequently distinguished and always-considerable attention to Jewish subjects in the last 15 years (at least), more than a few Jews continue to look upon the paper with what Elvis called ìsuspicious minds.î For most of the last century, the Times has returned the suspicion, looking upon anything Jewish with squeamishness bordering on contempt.
Holocaust survivors dealing with the sometimes mystifying restitution process now can get help in filling out the forms.
The newly created Holocaust Compensation Assistance Project will offer the assistance on claims for the German Slave and Forced Labor fund and the Swiss bank settlement, as well as other free legal help and support to survivors and their families.
In a synagogue library in northern Westchester, a dozen senior citizens sit around a long table discussing current events. In a temple conference room on the Upper West Side, a young family talks about the tensions raised by a child’s serious illness. In the meeting room of a Long Island JCC, a group of recent widows share photographs and memories of their late husbands.
Friday, July 31st, 2009
This just in from the Jerusalem Post: President Barack Obama’s failure to name a special envoy on anti-Semitism “raises questions about the importance the new administration attaches to the fight against anti-Semitism,” according to Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington DC-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.”
Friday, July 17th, 2009
Pretty much every Jewish reporter was focused this week on President Barack Obama’s meeting with 16 Jewish leaders at the White House – a presidential performance described as masterful even by some participants uneasy about his evolving Middle East policies and his determination to speak bluntly to Israel about issues such as settlements (read the Jewish Week story on the meeting here).
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Eight months after Minnesota voters went to the polls, the state is about to get a new senator. And it’s not the old one – Norm Coleman, the Republican whose last appeal of the razor-thin election was rejected by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday in a unanimous decision.
A lower court ruled that Democrat Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comic, won the election by 312 votes, but Coleman continued to argue that an additional 4000 absentee ballots should be counted.
Thursday, June 25th, 2009
As this blog reported last week, longtime U.S. Middle East peace negotiator and pro-Israel think tanker Dennis Ross is going over to the White House; as numerous blogs have reported, it’s something of a promotion for Ross, who had a nebulous role at the State Department as a special envoy to something or other.
Here’s what the NSC spokesman had to say: