Will Schneider |
Special To The Jewish Week |
Every December, the countdown to the end of the year reliably includes several dozen “best of the year” lists, hundreds of “holiday” shopping deals, the all-important kiss at midnight, and, for the philanthropic community, a frenzy of last-minute check-writing. The end of 2009 was no different. In 2010, I would like to make a bold suggestion: start now on your giving plan for 2010.
A report has been commissioned by the national policy-making body on Jewish community relations to study the relationship between and among the top national defense agencies — including the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and Anti-Defamation League — specifically dealing with longstanding complaints about their “duplication, excessive competition, lack of coordination and actual conflict.”
But before you breathe a sigh of relief and think to yourself, “it’s about time,” let me point out that the report in question was commissioned in January 1950, exactly 60 years ago this week.
Is there is a common thread to — and lesson to be learned from — Israel’s agonizing efforts to obtain the release of Gilad Shalit, its ongoing crisis in dealing with the Palestinians, and President Barack Obama’s failure to dissuade Iran from its relentless effort to develop a nuclear bomb?
It appears to be this: the more you compromise with a bully, the worse off you are.
Remember Y2K? Ten years ago this week, on the eve of a new year, a new decade and a new millennium, there were daily headlines everywhere predicting various forces of doom on the horizon, from computer malfunctions when 1999 slipped into 2000, to international terrorism to a full range of apocalyptic events of biblical proportions.
To paraphrase those classic 1980s TV commercials for the brokerage firm E.F. Hutton, when John Ruskay talks, people listen.
Last Tuesday, when some 500 hundred lay and professional leaders in the community came together to honor him on his first decade as executive vice president and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, there was much anticipation of the speech he was about to give — he did not disappoint; more on that in a moment — and numerous references to the talk he gave 10 years ago, on coming into his post, a classic in communal circles.
I have no doubt that if the Maccabees, heroes of the Chanukah story, were around today, they would be leading the West Bank settlers’ current protests, decrying the Jerusalem government for abandoning its Zionist and religious imperative to claim all of the land of Israel as holy and non-negotiable.