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April 11, 1944 and April 11, 2010

Sixty-five years after the Holocaust, and Yom Hashoah -- April 11 -- remains, appropriately, a day that the Jewish community can't figure out how to observe. And rightly so. Most holy days are actually on the day something unique happened, unlike Yom Hashoah, whose Nissan 27 date was a Knesset compromise rather than a holy anniversary.

New AJC Survey: No Big Swings in American Jewish Public Opinion

I haven't had a chance to fully digest the American Jewish Committee's 2010 survey of American Jewish public opinion, released today without any warning to unsuspecting Jewish newspaper editors. We've posted a JTA story on the release here.

But one number jumped out at me. When asked about President Barack Obama's handling of U.S.-Israel relations, 55 percent approved, 37 percent disapproved.

Kyrgyz Jews hold breath amid upheaval

04/08/2010
JTA

MOSCOW (JTA) – As the capital of Kyrgyzstan erupted in violence Wednesday, members of the Central Asian nation’s small Jewish community held their breath and sat tight.

The ORT school in the capital, Bishkek, shuttered its doors, sending students home just as they were returning from their Passover break. With public transportation suspended and the city in disarray, only three people made it to morning services at the local synagogue. Meanwhile, Jewish community leaders exchanged frantic phone calls, updating each other about the situation on the street.

A Soldier’s Pesach With Peres

04/07/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Three days before Passover, Eytan Meyersdorf, a 20-year-old American oleh and soldier in a unit of the Israel Defense Force’s elite Golani Brigade, was told by an officer to pack a bag, leave his post near the Gaza Strip and head to Jerusalem.

Obama's Christianity on display - not that it will quiet the rumor mongers

Over at the Spiritual Politics blog, Mark Silk, who heads the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, has an interesting and provocative analysis of President Obama's appearance at yesterday's White House Easter prayer breakfast.

Knesset Bill Would Expose Foreign Backers Of NGOs

Human rights groups say they are being unfairly targeted

04/07/2010
Staff writer

Concerned that some nonprofit groups in Israel are quietly being bankrolled by foreign political entities, seven Knesset members have introduced a bill to require that they immediately report receipt of such funds and publicly announce it in all written and oral political presentations.

Supporting Sofia’s Renaissance

Five Towns, Suffolk JCCs partner with
emerging Bulgarian Jewish community.

04/07/2010
Staff Writer

A letter two years ago from the president of the re-emerging Jewish community of Sofia, Bulgaria, to officials at UJA-Federation of New York has opened a new world for them and two Jewish community centers here.

“We would love and feel a need for collaboration with the global Jewish community that New York and Israel represent,” wrote Alexander Oscar. “The needs of my community are Jewish education, staff training, the building of a nursery school, as well as being connected to the global Jewish community.”

Five Towns JCC Director Rina Shkolnick visits a Holocast memorial in Bulgaria during a December mission.

The Pursuits of Maira Kalman

From Obama to Tel Aviv to the New Yorker’s legendary ‘New Yorkistan’ cover,
the brainy Israeli-born painter/writer/blogger explores modern life.

04/07/2010
Staff Writer

When Barack Obama won the presidency, Maira Kalman was thrilled. It was not only a fresh start for America, she thought, but one for her own work as well: The New York Times was looking for another assignment for Kalman after her wildly successful illustrated blog, “The Principles of Uncertainty,” which documented her own life, debuted in 2006.

An gouache painting by Maira Kalman, titled  “Israel Bed” (2008).

Time For Netanyahu To Be Creative

04/07/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Golda Meir had a technique for fundraising in Israel. Gather a hundred of the wealthiest people in the community, she advised, and lock them in a room until each pledges a designated sum. Tell them that if anyone refuses to contribute, that person’s name and refusal will be spread around town.

Nobody turned her down.

Iran excepted from Obama’s new nuclear policy

04/06/2010

(JTA) -- President Obama's new strategy to limit U.S. use of nuclear weapons would not apply to "outliers like Iran and North Korea," he said.

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