Impressed with the outpouring of letters of support to New Yorkers following the 9-11 attacks, a local rabbinical student studying in Israel has organized a similar effort for Israelis. In three months it has triggered 13,000 cards of support.
"I won't give up if you don't give up," said a handwritten card from a youngster named Moshe.
"Dear Israel," wrote 8-year-old Jared from New York, "I watch the news every day. I pray for Israel when I walk from my house to my school and sometimes I cry. I wish I could come to help, but I'm only a kid."
Mainstream Orthodox rabbis have for the first time affirmed that kosher food must not only be prepared in a certain way but that the company doing the work must comply with specific ethical standards.
The centrist Orthodox group, the 1,000-member Rabbinical Council of America, announced last week that it was establishing a task force to develop business and professional ethical guidelines. The RCA is the rabbinic authority of the Orthodox Union, which provides kosher supervision to 3,000 companies.
The developer of a Dix Hills, L.I., condominium complex who Monday ordered residents to remove all outdoor religious displays — including wreaths and mezuzahs — backed down the next day and said he would allow the residents to decide their own rules.
“I want a committee of homeowners to make some recommendations and then I will have a meeting of all the homeowners so they can discuss it and come up with a reasonable accommodation for everybody,” said Lawrence Gresser, the developer.
The Israeli government is dismissing an Egyptian report that kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is in reasonable health, according to Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.
“Unless we will be there or someone we can rely on will give us a symbol of life, I don’t think we can take rumors as proof of what’s going on,” Shalom said following a New York rally last Thursday marking the third anniversary of Shalit’s abduction.
Home Fires Spurning
by James D. Besser
A year ago, with a new Republican administration coming into office, Jewish groups were arming themselves for political trench warfare over a host of thorny close-to-home issues.
But the war on terrorism and the worsening emergency in Israel have shoved those issues into the deep freeze — so much so that some Jewish activists worry that the community’s interests will not be fully represented as Congress chugs along on the domestic front.
The father of kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit said he is looking to President Barack Obama in his efforts to win his son’s release from Hamas kidnappers in the Gaza Strip.
“He is proactive in the Middle East,” Noam Shalit said here Monday. “He is more of a major player in the Middle East [than President George W. Bush] and I believe he will become more and more” involved there.
Pretty much every Jewish reporter was focused this week on President Barack Obama’s meeting with 16 Jewish leaders at the White House – a presidential performance described as masterful even by some participants uneasy about his evolving Middle East policies and his determination to speak bluntly to Israel about issues such as settlements (read the Jewish Week story on the meeting here).