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$1 Million 'Jewish Nobel Prize" To Be Awarded Annually By Israeli PM


The establishment of the Genesis Prize,  touted as a "Jewish Nobel Prize" and worth $1 million, was announcedTuesday in a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that included Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Genesis Philanthropy Group founder Mikhail Fridman.

The international prize will be awarded to Jews who win global recognition for their achievements in the fields of science and the arts.

Sharansky, In NY Visit, Downplays Shift In Jewish Agency’s Role

Assistant Managing Editor

A day after the Jewish Federations of North America voted to stop automatically channeling funds for Israel through the Jewish Agency, its chairman downplayed the major shift in diaspora relations as “technical disagreements” during an appearance in New York.

Natan Sharansky: Funding change "will have no meaning in history."

Jewish Agency to Close For Two Weeks to Save Money


NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish Agency for Israel will close for two weeks over the summer and deduct several days' pay from employees' paychecks in a bid to close a budget gap of some $3.5 million.

The deal was worked out between the agency, which is one of the two main overseas conduits for money from the Jewish Federations of North America, and its employees union as an alternative to laying off 50 workers, the Jewish Agency said in an announcement Thursday. As part of the agreement, the union also will contribute $500,000 to the agency's budget.

Nefesh B’Nefesh Cuts Staff, Salaries


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The aliyah organization Nefesh B'Nefesh says it has slashed18 percent of its staff and will cut the salaries of its remaining employees.

The organization last week made across-the-board cuts of 15 employees. Salary cuts were instituted at all levels as well, according to Yael Katsman, its marketing and communications director.

The cuts were first reported Thursday in Haaretz.

Services to olim will not be affected, Katsman stressed.

More Than 19,000 Immigrants to Israel in 2010


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- More than 19,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel in 2010, a 16 percent rise over last year.

The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption announced the increase in aliyah, the second year in a row following 10 years of declining numbers, in a statement released Tuesday.

Some 16,465 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2009 and 15,452 in 2008.

Israeli Population in U.S. Surges, but Exact Figures Hard to Determine


SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) – The number of Israelis living in the United States grew by about 30 percent over the past decade, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Some 140,323 people living in the United States today were born in Israel, up from 109,720 in 2000. Of the Israelis living here, 90,179 have U.S. citizenship and 50,144 do not.

Children Evacuated From Israel’s North Get Chanukah Activities


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Hundreds of children evacuated from communities in Israel's north will participate in Chanukah activities run by the Jewish Agency.

The activities announced will include outings and performances in the center of the country.

The activities are being run in coordination with the relevant government authorities and in cooperation with the Migdal Or Association and the Noar Ha`oved ve Halomed youth movement.

Israeli Chess Grandmaster Achieves World Record


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- An Israeli chess grandmaster bested an Iranian's world record by playing 527 ranked chess players simultaneously in Tel Aviv and winning 87 percent of the games.

Alik Gershon began playing the concurrent matches on Thursday morning in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in an attempt to break the Guinness simultaneous chess world record set in 2009 by the Iranian grandmaster Morteza Mahjoub. Gershon completed the games by early Friday.

Kibbutzim College Wants To Make Your Acquaintance

Special to the Jewish Week

Even though the Kibbutzim College of Education Technology & the Arts has been training teachers in Israel for seven decades it is not widely known on our shores.

Founded by the kibbutz movement in 1939, it serves 3,300 students at its campus in Tel Aviv.

The college chairman, Hagai Meirom, recently held a reception at the home of Israeli Consul General Asaf Shariv in New York to draw attention to the accomplishments of the teachers college.

Eran Peretz and Maya Rose Hormadaly perform at Kibbutzim College reception. Photo by Tim Boxer

Campaign to Bring More Falash Mura to Israel Gains Steam


NEW YORK (JTA) -- After months of fits and starts, advocates for Ethiopian aliyah are hoping that a visit to the African country this week by Israel’s minister of immigrant absorption will help set in motion a process that will bring some 7,500 additional Ethiopians to Israel.

So far, the Israeli government has committed to checking only 1,800 of them for aliyah eligibility and bringing those who qualify to Israel.

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