Claims Conference Insiders Nabbed In $42 Million Fraud

Scheme to rip off German government went back to 1994.
11/08/2010 - 19:00
Staff Writer

An 11-month federal investigation into allegedly fraudulent Holocaust reparation claims resulted in the announced arrest this week of 17 Brooklyn residents — including six insiders — on charges that they bilked the Claims Conference out $42.5 million.

Claims Conference’s Greg Schneider said it is believed that some of the Jews who provided the ringleaders with their identificat

Federations Face Donor Problem

At the GA, concern over decline in givers dwarfs recession woes.
11/08/2010 - 19:00

New Orleans — After three days of schmoozing, sessions and feel-good speeches, the 4,000 or so Jewish federation officials who came to the annual General Assembly may have left New Orleans feeling invigorated.

The view expressed by many top officials was that after two years of a tough recession, the worst is over.

An all-time high of 600 college students took part in the JFNA’s General Assembly this week in New Orleans. JFNA

Connecting With A Holocaust Hero’s Son

Ernie Michel finally meets Dieter Heyman, whose father helped him survive Auschwitz.
11/08/2010 - 19:00
Staff Writer

It has been 67 years since another inmate, Stefan Heyman, saved Ernest Michel from what he considered certain death in Auschwitz.

As Michel recalls it, Heyman chose the young man to record in the Nazi’s logbook the names of all Jewish inmates who were murdered each day in the gas chambers there.

Michel, now 87, had studied calligraphy before the war, and the recording job ensured that he had extra food and would be protected.

“You won’t be sent up the chimney,” Michel said Heyman, who was not Jewish, told him.

Mannheim Mayor Peter Kurz, left, with Ernest Michel at event Tuesday marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

A Post-Katrina Mikveh

11/08/2010 - 19:00

Few people are more intimately familiar with water’s destructive potential than Rabbi Uri Topolosky.

When Hurricane Katrina unleashed massive flooding, the rabbi’s synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel New Orleans in Metairie, La., was one of the many victims. Water destroyed Beth Israel’s building, Torah scrolls and, somewhat ironically, even its ritual bath.

But last month, while attending a conference, as part of a New Orleans delegation working to rebuild the mikveh, Rabbi Topolosky had a personal encounter with water’s healing potential.

Rabbi Uri Topolosky (with wife and children) .

Jewish Black Swan Events

11/08/2010 - 19:00

A hot Wall Street concept and media buzzword these days is the “Black Swan Theory” developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. According to Taleb, almost all major scientific discoveries, artistic accomplishments and historically significant events are “black swans” — undirected and unpredicted. The Internet, the personal computer, World War I and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks are examples he gives of Black Swan events.

The Black Swan

New Name, New Look For Ed Agency

11/08/2010 - 19:00

What’s in a name?

Until last week, the name for New York’s central Jewish education agency was a hyphenated jumble of letters and syllables inherited from its newly married parents: BJENY-SAJES.

But the $12 million group just unveiled a shorter, sleeker new identity: The Jewish Education Project.

“We wanted to describe what we’re doing and not who we are,” said the group’s executive vice president, Deborah Friedman. “This says clearly we’re about Jewish education.”

The new logo for The Jewish Education Project, formerly BJENY-SAJES.

Little School, Big-Time Writers

11/08/2010 - 19:00

With only 77 students in nursery through fourth grade, Beit Rabban is one of New York’s tiniest Jewish day schools.

Nonetheless, the nondenominational Upper West Side school is hosting three big names of Jewish publishing — novelists Tova Mirvis, Joshua Halberstam and Joshua Henkin — on Monday night (8 p.m., Shearith Israel, 8 W. 70th St. Suggested donation $10;

Tova Mirvis, Joshua Henkin and Joshua Halberstam: Day schools good for artists?

What Kind Of Name Is AJWS?

11/08/2010 - 19:00

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) marked 25 years of helping poverty-stricken people in developing countries. Naturally that called for a dinner last month at the Frederick Rose Hall at Lincoln Center to honor its president, Ruth Messinger.

ABC News anchor Christiane Amanpour called Messinger “a model of global citizenship.” She added, “You are our conscience and you teach us what it means to be a human being.”

Ruth Messinger celebrates her 70th birthday and the 25th anniversary of AJWS.  Photo by Tim Boxer

Could Election Change Iran Calculus?

Reading the midterm tea leaves, from the GA in New Orleans to Washington.
11/08/2010 - 19:00
Washington Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s mounting political woes after last week’s “shellacking” in midterm congressional elections may indirectly lead to greater U.S. flexibility on the issue of Israeli military action to stop its nuclear program.

Some analysts say an administration committed to stopping Iran from going nuclear — but whose options may be even more limited after a big Republican victory based heavily on voters’ economic anxieties — may choose to let Israel take care of the problem.

The Last Liberal Does Down

As Feingold exits, Senate loses a principled Midwesterner.
11/08/2010 - 19:00

Washington — The speech that Russ Feingold gave to end his career in the U.S. Senate was much like his career itself: by turns crystal clear, obscure, ornery, defiant and gracious — and quoting a fellow Great Plains Jew to boot.

Russ Feingold in Eau Claire, Wis. A fiercely independent streak put him in office and may well have pushed him out. JTA
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