Aftermath of a Wildfire: JNF And Environmentalists - Don’t Plant A Tree

Israeli forest experts argue for letting nature run its course in the Carmel.
12/14/2010 - 19:00
Israel Correspondent

Beit Oren, Israel — As Israel’s largest fire in history devoured thousands of acres of the Carmel, Jewish National Fund Chairman Effie Stenzler vowed to sponsor a week of tree planting to replace the millions consumed by the blaze.

But as environmental officials begin plotting the reforestation of the Carmel, there’s a consensus among Israeli forest experts that the symbolic ritual of tree planting should be avoided in order to let nature take its course.

Should nature take its course after devastating fire?

Speaking Volumes About ‘Hush’ Of Sexual Abuse

Novel, three nonfiction books on problem in Orthodox community point to growing awareness as cases persist.
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Early on in the deeply affecting new novel “Hush,” (Walker Books) the book’s narrator, a chasidic young woman named Gittel, finds herself sitting across from a social worker in the 66th Precinct in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Urged on by her only non-Jewish friend, a neighbor named Kathy, Gittel is there to give information about an act of sexual abuse she witnessed as a child — the rape of her best friend by the friend’s brother.

The author of “Hush,” a haredi woman, cautions that “there is still so much ignorance” about abuse in the Orthodox community.

Anti-Israel Rhetoric Raises Alarms At Brooklyn College

Growing aggressiveness of new Palestinian Club startles Jewish students on a relatively quiet campus.
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In a discomforting scene last month, three young Palestinians found themselves detained at an Israeli “checkpoint,” where an unsympathetic soldier ordered them to kneel on the pavement, hands behind their backs, and blindfolded them. As shouting began, both by the soldier and by the three detained Palestinians, the possibility of violence seemed to become a real possibility.

Students affiliated with the Palestinian Club created a mock Israeli checkpoint on campus late last month. Felix Bergan

Elderly Jews Traumatized Anew By Madoff Suits

‘Claw-back’ actions causing fresh suffering in Florida, elsewhere.
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Boca Raton, Fla. — As he approaches his 90th birthday, a retired physician here had expected to live out his final years with his wife and a comfortable savings gleaned from 20 years of investments with Bernard Madoff.

That dream was shattered with Madoff’s arrest two years ago for orchestrating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme; it was completely destroyed last week.

Long-Term Support Versus Putting Out Fires

When is the best time to give money?
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Crisis fundraising is something the Jewish community does well. From the tsunami in Indonesia to the earthquake in Haiti, established Jewish organizations have perfected the art of mobilizing millions of dollars quickly in the wake of international disaster. (Raising money for domestic social service needs has proven to be a far more difficult task.)

So when the fire broke out in northern Israel that killed 43 people and scorched thousands of acres of forest in the Carmel, established Jewish organizations immediately shifted into high gear.

As the smoke clears in the Carmel forest, philanthropy experts weigh in on the best time to give.

What’s Next For Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy?

After collapse of U.S.-brokered talks, both sides dig in their heels, but some hope ‘core status’ focus could at least yield modest gains.
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Washington Correspondent

In the wake of the collapse of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks and the abrupt end of U.S. efforts to negotiate an extension of Israel’s West Bank settlement freeze, all sides are maneuvering for position as the Obama administration seeks more pragmatic peace policies.

Will Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s expanding role in the Israeli-Palestinian situation lead to progress?

Maccabeats Rewrite Musical Expectations

YU a cappella group atop Billboard charts, adored by media.
12/13/2010 - 19:00
Associate Editor

Just as the Maccabees continued the Chanukah wars long after the eight days of flames disappeared into a wisp of smoke, the story of the Maccabeats — an a capella group formed by Yeshiva University students — and their Chanukah video continues to dazzle even as the holiday fades.

United Synagogue Leader Bruce Greenfield Dies At 64

12/13/2010 - 19:00

Bruce Greenfield, the longtime executive director of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Metropolitan New York District, died Dec. 12 following a heart attack in his North Bellmore, L.I. home. He was 64.

Mr. Greenfield, who served as head of the Conservative movement’s activities in the Greater New York area, and previously as the region’s youth director, for 35 years, left USCJ two years ago as part of an investigation into possible financial improprieties at the organization.

Aaron Listhaus to Head Hebrew Charter School Incubator

12/13/2010 - 19:00

(JTA) — Aaron Listhaus, the chief academic officer for New York City’s Office of Charter Schools, will take over as the head of the Hebrew Charter School Center.

Listhaus, who has spent a year-and-a half helping to oversee nearly 70 authorized charter schools in New York City, will assume his new post in January.

Diaspora Rabbis Urge Israeli Colleagues To Speak Out On Rental Ruling

12/13/2010 - 19:00

(JTA) — Over 750 rabbis and cantors of all denominations signed a letter urging their Israeli colleagues to speak out against a ruling by 39 municipal rabbis banning renting to non-Jews.

“The recent halakhic ruling from community rabbis in Israel that forbids leasing apartments to non-Jews has caused great shock and pain in our communities,” said the letter, initiated by the New Israel Fund. “The attempt to root discriminatory policies based on religion or ethnicity in Torah is a painful distortion of our tradition.”

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