WASHINGTON (JTA) -- For the first time in history, a U.S. Supreme Court convened this week with three Jewish justices.
And Jewish defense organizations had their eyes on … Arizona.
Two of the three cases on the docket this session attracting special attention from Jewish groups come from the Grand Canyon State. One addresses tax credits for religious schools; another looks at whether state immigration laws outweigh the U.S. government. The third case, out of Maryland, deals with free speech protections.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society urged Congress not to cut off funding for Supplemental Security Income, which helps elderly and disabled refugees and other immigrants pay for food and shelter.
SSI funding will run out Sept. 30. HIAS urged Congress to extend funding because many refugees who are Jewish and from the former Soviet Union and Iran rely on the money for food and other necessities.
My great aunt Rose came to America in the early 1900s, a refugee from Czarist Russia, and family legend has it she arrived smuggled in a trunk.
By any standard, she was an illegal immigrant – yet she didn't behead anybody and leave the body in the Arizona desert and she didn't fraudulently get welfare services. She went on to a productive life in America, working for almost a half century in the millinery industry, paying taxes and contributing to – and ultimately benefiting from – Social Security.
After nearly 60 years of helping Jewish refugees find better lives in New York, an agency that at its peak aided some 50,000 clients in one year is expected to shut its doors this summer as a result of a dwindling case load and difficulty in competing for social service contracts.
The New York Association for New Americans was founded in 1949 as part of the Jewish community’s efforts to absorb tens of thousands who fled persecution and chaos, mostly from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The refugees were brought to America by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Israel has long beckoned for a group of 20 primarily New York-area college students, all of whom have visited Israel often and experienced the powerful pull of the Jewish state. But the thought of making aliyah on their own seemed daunting.
“It’s very hard to move across the world and to leave your family and friends behind,” said Esti Schloss of Riverdale, a 22-year-old junior at Brandeis University.
As a teenager, Leonard Glickman was an activist in the Soviet Jewry movement. That cause has become his life’s work. Since March he has overseen the resettlement here of Jews from the former Soviet Union in his capacity as executive vice president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Glickman, 35, had served for seven years as executive assistant at the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. Later this month he will be moving from Washington to Millburn, N.J., with his wife, Sandi, and their three daughters.
Yeheskel Davidian of Flatbush is bitter about his decision to emigrate from Israel to the United States 28 years ago and can’t wait to go back.
“It cost me my life,” he said. “Everybody thinks America is the place to make money; it’s not.”
Menachem Grossman of Dix Hills, L.I., became so disenchanted with his homeland that he became an American and gave up his Israeli citizenship.