Schneider, 68, takes over the day-to-day reins of the World Jewish Congress at a time when, he acknowledges, the organization is searching for new causes to champion, and amid questions about its own ability to function effectively after so much internal conflict. But Schneider sought to portray himself in the interview as being above the fray, coming in with a fresh slate to re-energize the organization.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly terror attack, all eyes focused on the fervent rescue effort in Lower Manhattan. With thousands of people buried under mountains of steel and concrete, cultural enterprise suddenly seemed frivolous and art openings, lectures, parties and awards ceremonies nationwide were canceled or postponed.
Who does Israel Singer represent? That's the question several angry Jewish interfaith leaders are asking this week after Singer met privately in Rome with Pope John Paul II and raised several key issues between the Vatican and the Jewish community (apparently without the authorization of IJCIC) the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
Stanton Street Synagogue lives. A small band of worshipers last week secured the right to keep their Lower East Side shul months after their elderly rabbi tried to secretly sell the building to a Jesuit priest.
“I think it’s a victory for the Jewish people,” declared congregant Iris Blutreich, who helped lead the bitter two-year battle to save the 90-year-old synagogue. “If we don’t have synagogues, how can we have peoplehood?”
Jewish leader Israel Singer, under fire on several fronts, announced Tuesday that he would not run for re-election as president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Singer, former secretary general of the World Jewish Congress before his ouster last March, said he had decided not to run because, having lost his WJC position, “I don’t really have a platform or a party, as it were, to run from.”
The decision marked Singer’s effective withdrawal from the last prominent communal position he held.
In a change of course, the organization that disperses Holocaust restitution funds has decided to review the past financial practices of March of the Living, a Holocaust education group dogged by allegations of financial impropriety.
The Conference on Material Claims Against Germany confirmed Monday that it had instructed its chief auditor to examine allegations that March of the Living wrongly dispersed $709,000 to a politically connected consultant from 2002 through 2005.
Seizing the reins of an historic organization riven by bitter feuds and charges of wrongdoing, cosmetics heir and philanthropist Ronald Lauder faces an array of daunting decisions to make about the World Jewish Congress.
Full-scale wars, which Israel has fought many times in the past, and major army operations, which Israel has found itself in during recent weeks in Gaza and Lebanon, usually bring stories of troop maneuvers and military analysis, call-ups of the reserves, and civilian sacrifices. The human side of war is often hard to picture from a distance, particularly when the fighting involves Israel, a country that few Americans, even American Jews, have visited.
The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week.
The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.