Avi Dichter says program leads to connection to Israel for young people and government should pay more.
Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet (internal security service) and a former minister of internal security, is a Knesset member from the Kadima Party. He was one of six Knesset members who spent last week meeting with Jewish leaders here and in Boston to learn about the American Jewish community as part of a new effort launched by the Ruderman Fellows Program and Brandeis University. The Jewish Week caught up with him for a wide-ranging interview touching on everything from diaspora Jewry to the Goldstone report to Israel’s new missile-defense system.
The Jewish Week's Aaron Herman attends the 7th Annual Broadway Purim Shpiel at the Hudson Theater in NYC, benefitting the Birthright Israel Foundation. Hosted by Gilbert Gottfried the night was full of talented artists such ad Nick Adams,Kelli Barrett, Curtis Holbrook,Garrett Long,J.Elaine Marcos,Anne Nathan,Dave Attel,Kevin Earley,Mitchell Jarvis,Patti Murin and Rachel Potter.
A new landmark in the effort to strengthen Jewish identity and positive connection to Israel among diaspora youth was reached this week with the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that his government has approved $100 million in funding for Birthright Israel over the next three years.
Differences in levels of religious observance between Jewish partners in a relationship often cause tensions and hurt feelings. But in Amy Holson-Schwartz’s new play, “Can I Really Date a Guy Who Wears a Yarmulke?” starting this weekend at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, these differences become the subject of romantic comedy. Directed by Jay Falzone, the play has been described as “Scrubs” meets “How I Met Your Mother,” with a Jewish twist.
During my week in Israel, Alexandra Polsky had a bit of a more hectic schedule than the other olim I was covering as she settled into a yeshiva program in Tel Aviv, a temporary apartment in Jerusalem and searched for a job. So it was hard to keep in touch.
That’s why God created e-mail.
I received a lovely update from her this morning. And since I’m a little blogged out from 10 days of frantic posting, I thought it would be nice to let you hear from her in her own words:
Officials of UJA-Federation of New York are taking a cautiously optimistic view of Birthright Israel, the $300 million effort to provide a free, 10-day trip to Israel for diaspora youth.
“We share their goals and look forward to the opportunity to sit down with the Birthright leadership to learn the specifics of the project as it evolves,” said John Ruskay, UJA-Federation’s chief operating officer.
Birthright Israel, the ambitious and controversial project to provide a free 10-day trip to Israel for diaspora youth, is planning to send as many as 7,000 college students in January and February: even as organizers await the financial backing they counted on for the $300 million enterprise.