Zviya Lushe, Chana Ben-Shoan, Yitzchak Caravani and Dorit Baxter didn’t know the five disabled Israeli athletes who came here last week to compete in the New York Marathon, but the former Israelis who now live in the New York area opened their homes and businesses to the visitors.
“Most of all, their hearts,” said Yoel Sharon, executive director of Etgarim (Hebrew for challenges), an 8-year-old organization that brings outdoor and adventure sports to Israel’s disabled population. Etgarim sponsored the Israeli delegation in the marathon.
American public support for Israel in the ranks of the country’s most educated, most informed citizens has risen for the first time since the current round of Palestinian-Israeli violence began two years ago, according to a national poll conducted by two pro-Israel organizations. The survey by ISRAEL21c and The Israel Project found that 50 percent of “opinion leaders” identify themselves as supporters of Israel, compared to 42 percent in July.
Rabbi Irving Block, the longtime spiritual leader of the Brotherhood Synagogue who brought an ecumenical flavor to the historic Manhattan congregation, died Oct. 31 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 59.
Rabbi Block, who formed the congregation in 1954 and retired 40 years later, described himself as an “Orthodox rabbi serving a Conservative congregation with mostly Reform members.” He was among the first Jewish leaders to sponsor programs for the homeless and Jews with addictions.
Saying there cannot be a greater expression of solidarity with the people of Israel, Jewish leaders here announced that arrangements have been made for visitors to Israel to donate blood at their hotels or other convenient locations.
Some 25 mobile units will be made available to accommodate visiting groups of Jews and non-Jews who wish to donate blood, which will be used to meet regular medical services as well as the demands of terror victims and soldiers.
City-funded nurses have been quietly pulled from dozens of parochial schools by the Bloomberg administration, and members of the City Council are trying to ratchet up the pressure to get them back.
“It’s a question of equity,” said Councilman Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, sponsor of a bill introduced last week that would require the city to make full-time registered nurses available at all private schools with more than 100 students. “It’s a question of making sure the health of all children in the city is protected.”