Sam Fink loves the letters of the alphabet. He’s drawn to their forms as well as the words and sentences they create, the ideas they bring into being. A true man of letters, his talent is in using the symbols of the alphabet to make art that is grounded in words and goes beyond words.
Poet, translator and publisher Peter Cole is among this year’s recipients of MacArthur Foundation fellowships, or genius awards, as they are popularly known. The no-strings-attached award, honoring creativity, includes a $500,000 stipend that is paid over five years.
If American Jews are tacking to the right, nobody told them.
That is the finding of a national public opinion study released last week.
According to the National Survey on Race Relations and Changing Ethnic Demographics in the United States of America, commissioned by the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Jews in this country align themselves more with African-Americans on attitudes toward race and poverty, and with Hispanic-Americans on attitudes about immigration, than do other whites.
When a commission investigating Holocaust-era life insurance policies ended its work in March after nine years, it boasted that it had awarded more than $300 million to survivors and their heirs.
Now, a former commission arbitrator is criticizing the group’s work, alleging that a “phantom rule” was used by some of the dozens of arbitrators, accounting in part for the denial of 84 percent of all claims filed. The arbitrator, Albert B. Lewis, who is also a former New York State insurance superintendent, is calling for a reopening of these cases.
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.
Israel, which has won only six Olympic medals ever — its first gold, in sailing, came at Athens in 2004 — is sending 41 athletes to the Beijing Games, which open Aug. 8. Israel’s Olympic delegation attended a recent two-day seminar in Tel Aviv where members were briefed on everything from security to Chinese culture. Past Israeli Olympians discussed their experiences with this year’s athletes, most of them first-time Olympians.
Thursday, March 12th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
Was it really the “pro-Israel lobby” that scuttled the nomination of Chas Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council, as Freeman himself charged in an outburst after his withdrawal on Wednesday and prominent columnists like the Washington Post’s David Broder agree?
Well, it depends on you definition of “the lobby.”