Just hours after outlining ways he would like to use the entire $20 million allocated by the United Jewish Communities for school security, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office was told he could use only $8 million. The remaining $12 million is now to be used for other projects.
“The $12 million is now off the table [for school security],” Stephen Hoffman, UJC’s chief executive officer, told Avigdor Yitzchaki.
“It is news to me that the $12 million has now vanished,” Yitzchaki said.
After 35 years of confining its Israel-designated funds to within the Green Line, the primary fund-raising arm for the American Jewish community has changed its policy. In an historic move, the board of trustees of the United Jewish Communities, meeting Monday in Chicago, unanimously “adopted a broad interpretation of the UJC charter to permit the organization to provide assistance to Jews around the world, irrespective of where they live,” according to an official statement.
At a time when private Jewish foundations are doling out perhaps more money on their own than the entire Jewish federation network in North America, the Jewish community is set to strike back.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the United Jewish Communities’ announcement last week, overshadowed by the appointment of Stephen Solender as president of the newly reorganized social service network, was the establishment of a national foundation to bring America’s most wealthy into the communal tent.
As Rabbi Jerome Epstein left the synagogue in the Ethiopian city of Gondar Tuesday morning, a dozen children were pounding on the door of the closed food pantry next door.
The children, ages 4 to 7, had come to the pantry as they had for months, apparently “too young to understand that the cupboard is now bare,” said Rabbi Epstein, executive vice-president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.