When the New Israel Fund sent an action alert to protest gender-segregated buses in Israel, we got an enthusiastic response.
When we and the human rights groups we fund were attacked in Israel, viciously and dishonestly, we asked for signatures to a petition to Prime Minister Netanyahu in support of democratic dissent, and we got a very enthusiastic response.
But the immediate reaction we got to a brief, carefully-balanced letter we sent about the...well, let's call it the disastrous incident of the Gaza flotilla... now that was a response.
Jewish groups have always recognized the importance of breaking our nation’s crippling dependence on foreign oil, much of it from unstable and sometimes antagonistic countries in the Middle East. And many regard the protection of our increasingly fragile planet as a reflection of core Jewish values.
As the Orthodox community grapples with increasing drug use, attention is shifting to the question of who will provide much-needed prevention and treatment services.
There is no problem identifying groups to attack the problem. There are an estimated eight to 12 grassroots and professional agencies, most of them Brooklyn-based, taking different roles in the frum war on drugs.
They range from a grassroots mother's support group to professional counseling to a "kosher" pool hall in Flatbush where at-risk kids can hang out in a supervised setting.
Activists for Jewish, Catholic and independent private schools have founded a new lobby to make educational expenses, including tuition, deductible from state taxes.
But in a departure from previous efforts, the coalition is also advocating for public school parents by seeking tax credits for tutoring, mentoring, test preparation and other expenses.
From million-dollar fund-raising operations at national organizations to toy drives and cookie-baking by yeshiva girls, the Jewish community here is increasing its response to the tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia as the scale of dead, missing, homeless and destitute continues to unfold.
The American Jewish World Service fund on Wednesday had reached $3.25 million, and numerous other organizations and schools pitched in by starting drives or steering donations toward larger relief funds.
After last week’s record-setting carnage at Virginia Tech, the National Council of Jewish Women reacted by calling for a “renewed effort” on gun control.
“As the toll from gun violence mounts, we feel compelled to ask, how many more tragedies will it take to spur lawmakers to take decisive and effective action …?” asked the organization’s president, Phyllis Snyder, in a statement.
The organization is not alone in pressing for stricter measures to control firearms; it is an agenda item of almost every mainstream Jewish group.
They are among hundreds of victims of Palestinian terrorism, but there was something about the tragic story of the Bloombergs of Ginot Shimron that prompted Rabbi Moshe Drelich to act.
“You start with one family at a time,” said the rabbi, assistant principal of SAR Academy in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. “You save the world one neshama [soul] at a time.”
Proponents of a state bias crime bill in the Jewish community stepped up their political pressure on New York officials this week following the brutal murder of a gay college student in Wyoming.
“It’s time for the Albany shuffle to end,” said Howard Katz, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League at a press conference last Friday. “The three leaders have each said it’s the other guy’s fault.”
Last summer they took a road trip across America, stopping in 36 cities for programs intended to help them develop a Jewish political voice and get involved in social change.
Earlier this month, many of the Etgar 36 teens assembled for a reunion, picking New Orleans as the venue for its opportunities to do good deeds. That included cleaning up a trash-strew area of the Big Easy’s still-struggling Lower Ninth Ward, left, where solar-powered, affordable homes are being built by the Make It Right Foundation.