In a historic partnership, dozens of local paramedics and technicians from the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Service are being trained by Magen David Adom to field emergency calls in Israel in the event of a major war.
"We have told Magen David that we are ready to go when you need us the most," said Chevra Hatzalah president Heshy Jacob, who hopes to have 60 volunteers trained and ready before the High Holy Days.
Agencies in the UJA-Federation network are gearing up for a major funding shortfall at the end of the month, when allocations from state grants are due.
The emergency measures initiated by Gov. George Pataki and passed by the Legislature, which traditionally keep the state running until a budget is passed, this year have included only funds for health care, welfare, food stamps and state payrolls.
So when funds allocated before the end of the fiscal year expire this month, there will be no new funds for numerous other projects until a budget is passed.
One day after the worst blizzard in seven years hit New York City, the Queens Jewish Community Council was open for business, ready to assist the elderly or otherwise needy who may be having a rough time coping with the snow.
"We specifically wanted to be there in case people would call and say I don't have food," said council director Manny Behar. "It's happened in the past. But this time we didn't get any calls like that." In fact, it was all quiet all day at Beharís Forest Hills offices.
Jewish professionals are moving on several new fronts in their war against drug abuse with the opening of two new treatment centers, while an upcoming conference on at-risk teenagers in the Catskills is expected to draw as many as 500 participants.
After Uria Ohana, an Israeli-born Lubavitcher chasid, was attacked recently in Brooklyn by teens who allegedly stole his kipa and shouted at him in Arabic, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations denounced the crime in no uncertain terms.
“This act is not representative of our community,” said Faiza Ali, the group’s community affairs director at a press conference at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. A bias attack on Jews is an attack on all people.”
As the political landscape continues to shift under a re-elected and re-energized Bush administration, local Jewish agencies are bracing for what could be a sea change in government assistance to human services in an age of tax cuts and a surging federal deficit.
Federal funds and aid to states that allow local grants amount to about 50 percent of the billion dollars on which UJA-Federation depends to run its vast network of beneficiary agencies.
Nearly 10 months after ceasing its operations, an adoption agency with Jewish communal origins has reached an agreement with a similar organization to house and manage documents from some 80 years of services.
The decision between the defunct Louise Wise Services and Spence-Chapin means that thousands of people whose lives were affected by adoptions will continue to have limited access to birth records and other material that might aid them with reunion efforts or health crises.
There will be more money for AIDS prevention, breast cancer counseling, domestic violence programming and to work with former Soviet immigrants, the executive vice president and CEO of the Federation Employment and Guidance Service revealed this week.
The FEGS executive, Al Miller, said the new money was realized after strong investments made it possible to use the earnings to pay employee pension premiums.