Jewish philanthropy

With Aid Boom Come Questions

Staff Writer
As contributions for Asian tsunami relief through Jewish organizations soared to $13 million and counting this week, a newly formed alliance with a unified bank account began mulling who will get the money — and not everyone appears on the same page. Some of the 36 members of the Jewish Coalition for Asia Tsunami Relief are urging that Israel-based organizations working in disaster-plagued areas get first crack at the funds, helping them carry out operations that have generated positive publicity for the Jewish state and opened new diplomatic ties.

Costly Quints

Staff Writer
Seventeen months have passed since quintuplets born to the Klaver family brought the national media into their Brooklyn living room. But now that they’ve faded from the limelight, the family has been forced to go public again as they face financial peril. The Klavers have been ordered to vacate their crowded Flatbush apartment by their landlord, who is selling the house. Both parents are in poor health, and federal assistance they have been receiving is about to expire.

School’s In For The Sudanese

Staff Writer
The Israeli government is joining with a half-dozen Jewish organizations to provide educational aid for displaced and orphaned Sudanese children. The coalition was to present $100,000 this week to the Jewish Coalition for Sudan Relief to benefit some 18,000 refugees from Sudan living in the Kashuni refugee camp in northeast Chad. More than half the refugees are children, said Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, who was to announce the grant Wednesday with Israel’s consul general here, Arye Mekel, and other leaders.

Fresh Rift On Jews’ Giving To Israel

Assistant Managing Editor
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s denial last week that northern Israel is in dire need of aid — the very picture painted by Jewish federations that have raised millions in war relief funds — is etching the latest chapter in the complicated tale of diaspora philanthropy. The United Jewish Communities’ Israel Emergency Campaign has raised some $260 million to address economic and social service needs created by the month-long rain of Hezbollah rockets last summer and the continuing shelling of Sderot from Gaza in the south.

A Lesson In Giving

Staff Writer
It was while Judith Stern Peck was thinking of a birthday gift for her first grandchild that she came upon an idea that promises to give her and her granddaughter enjoyment for years to come. “This child didn’t need another dress or another toy,” said Peck. “And I think it is very important to teach the value of giving back. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating a Children’s Gift Fund.”

Protecting ‘The Underdogs’

Staff Writer
A $17,000 grant to provide counseling and vocational training to women victims of domestic violence was one of two gifts awarded last week by the 3-year-old Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York. The foundation, which itself just received a $500,000 grant from UJA-Federation to hire clerical staff and cover promotional expenses, also presented a $25,000 check to the New York Legal Assistance Group. The goal of both grants is to educate low-income Jewish women so they can become economically self-sufficient and reduce their dependence on welfare programs.

Jewish Giving Goes Universal

Staff Writer
When Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn of New York saw television pictures of Albanian refugees fleeing Kosovo, their first thoughts were of how best to help them. “At first we wanted to give money to the Red Cross,” said Harriet. “But then we thought of the American Jewish Committee, where we have a good relationship.” Their donation had established the AJCommittee’s Interreligious Understanding Institute to promote understanding between Jews and Arabs. So they called and donated money to establish a disaster relief fund.

Commitment To The Poor

Staff Writer
Just months after Susan M. of the Bronx underwent triple bypass surgery following a heart attack, she was threatened with eviction and a cutoff of her phone, gas and electric service. “I didn’t know where to turn,” said the 58-year-old widow. Susan, whose husband died of cancer 20 years ago, leaving her with two small children and no life insurance, said she was physically unable to return to her secretarial job and had no savings.

Center-Right Groups Outraged At Post-War Money To Arabs

Staff Writer
A broad swath of center-right American Jewish groups is expressing shock and outrage that millions of dollars being raised by Jewish federations in North America for the post-war recovery effort in Israel is being used in part to help Israeli Arabs.

Birthright-Type Trips Planned For Teens In North

Staff Writer
In an effort to help war-weary young adults in northern Israel escape the constant rocket attacks by Hezbollah and learn something about their country, Taglit-birthright israel will begin providing free weeklong trips similar to the educational programs offered to diaspora Jewry.
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