United Jewish Communities and UJA-Federation of New York announced this week that they were launching Israel Emergency Campaigns to help Israelis during the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza. The UJC was expected to announce a $300 million campaign; UJA-Federation hopes to raise $60 million.
A religious court in Jerusalem has taken up the case of sex abuse charges levThe roughly once-in-a-decade UJA-Federation of New York population survey has huge implications for the country’s largest federation in terms of its funding priorities and allocations. John Ruskay, president and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, sat down with The Jewish Week on Monday, the day the survey was released.
Jewish Week: What was the most surprising aspect to you of the new population study?
Just 10 weeks into Larry Zicklin’s tenure as president of the board of UJA-Federation of New York in 2001, came the attacks of 9-11. Much of the next three years was spent responding to the enormous social and economic after-effects of that trauma, as well as the ongoing terror in Israel and the financial crisis faced by the Jewish community of Argentina.
Since Hezbollah's surprise cross-border raid on Israel July 12 that started a month-long war, American Jews have been digging into their wallets with an outpouring of money to help the northern Israeli cities that came under attack.
Some $300 million has been raised by the Israel Emergency Campaign of the United Jewish Communities, the network of 159 North American Federations. But the mayor of Haifa, Yoni Yahav, surprised leaders of UJA-Federation of New York here last week when he told them his city "didn't get a penny."
UJA-Federation of New York has allocated $850,000 to organizations assisting Hurricane Katrina evacuees in four states (the first distribution from the more than $4.1 million in hurricane relief it raised in the past two months) the philanthropy announced Tuesday.
Now UJA-Federation is considering expanding its assistance to Florida, which was battered last week by Hurricane Wilma. The storm was responsible for at least five deaths, knocked out power to 6 million people and caused damages of up to $10 billion.
About a half-dozen elderly Jews come to the East Concourse Luncheon Club every day by city bus. ìThis is the Waldorf of senior center soup kitchens,î says Ida G., one of the diners. ìThere are places closer to me, but this is excellent, home-cooked, like a mother would cook,î though itís been a long time since anyone has seen their mom.
James Tisch this month completed the first year of his three-year term as president of UJA-Federation. He recently reflected on his tenure in a conversation with The Jewish Week.
Jewish Week: Has this year been fulfilling?
With its focus on Jewish poverty here and in the former Soviet Union, UJA-Federation's annual fund-raising campaign raised $129.5 million for the year ending June 30. Combined with donations to the capital campaign and planned giving and endowments, the philanthropy brought in $228.8 million: $25 million more than a year ago.
The outpouring of support (an increase of 11 percent) shattered all records, except for times when Israel was at war with its Arab neighbors, according to Stephen Solender, the organizationís executive vice president.
Grandparents can now donate to UJA-Federation and in return the charity will help fund their grandchild's college education.
A recent change in Internal Revenue Service regulations has created a "flip unitrust," which unlike other trusts providing donors with immediate income for the rest of their lives, allows donors to defer income from their gifts.