Winding her way through the rustic streets of Rome, a young Israeli student enters the pillared halls of La Sapienza University, where she will learn about viruses, participate in gross anatomy and study clinical procedure — all in a foreign language.
Hilla Werner-Zafrani, 29, is a third-year medical school student at La Sapienza, where she is training to become an oncologist. Originally from a poor Moroccan family of 10 children, she grew up enduring constant ethnic discrimination and financial burdens in Israel.
What a difference a decade makes.
In 1998, when Philadelphia attorney Clifford Goldstein wanted to cash in on the staggering increase in Israeli technology stocks, he was disappointed to discover that no index-based mutual funds of Israeli companies existed.
“Wall Street is slow,” Goldstein says, noting that top brokerage firms he approached “told me they didn’t want to invest in kibbutzniks growing oranges.”
With the city Board of Education undergoing its largest changes in more than 30 years and major state budget cuts anticipated, Rabbi Leib Kelman is hoping the girls at his 1,200-student Prospect Park Yeshiva don't lose out on the special needs services, textbooks, remedial support and other aid funneled to the school through the local district.
New York's vast school bureaucracy, which for three-plus decades was administered largely from 32 decentralized districts, is in the midst of a major restructuring, with the mayor and chancellor gaining power.
It's hard to develop a budget when you don't know exactly what you'll be doing with the money. But without a budget, it's impossible to do anything. That's the Catch-22 the new national umbrella organization for Jewish federations (the product of the merger between the United Jewish Appeal and the Council of Jewish Federations) faces as it struggles to get off the ground.
Last year's creation of the United Jewish Communities was spurred by a desire by federations to get services delivered more efficiently and to have a greater say in national decision-making.
It’s 8:30 on a Saturday night and 29-year-old “Ilana,” dressed in a sweater set and skirt that falls just below the knees, is in the hallway of a Brooklyn synagogue, its faded cappuccino-colored walls decorated with black-and-white photos from the 1950s and ’60s.
Nathan Englander's first book, "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," caused considerable buzz when it was released in 1999. Tall and slender, with a mane of dark curls and soft features befitting a biblical hero, the 30-something author became the darling of the Jewish book-fair circuit, drawing swarms of potential book buyers in Jewish Community Centers and synagogues nationwide.
Hebrew is a familiar medium for Walter Turnbull’s vocalists. “We were singing in Hebrew 10 years ago,” says the founder and director of the Boys Choir of Harlem. Psalms are a constant part of the group’s repertoire. “We’ve always sung in Hebrew.”But the world-traveling choir had even more opportunities to practice the language in recent months. In May, Turnbull and 48 of his singers made their first trip to Israel for 10 days of performances, workshops and tours.
Today, the once-struggling Y is in excellent financial shape.
Today, the Y is at the center of the post-9/11 revival of Jewish life in Lower Manhattan, the home to scores of activities and to the Downtown Kehillah, the umbrella group for a dozen local Jewish institutions.