What a difference a half-block makes. The staff of The Jewish Week — working well into the night — completed much of this week’s edition at The New York Times late Tuesday night after police ordered an evacuation of The Week’s Times Square offices following the collapse of a construction elevator and 20 floors of scaffolding at a skyscraper being built across the street.
The broad-based coalition government handcrafted by Prime Minister Ehud Barak to win support for his peace initiatives began to unravel this week even as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were slated to resume talks Monday in Washington following a two-week hiatus caused by Palestinian street rioting.
In the belief that nothing gets Jews more involved in their community than a trip to Israel or seeing a Jewish community in distress, UJA-Federation is revamping its missions programs to give participants a deeper understanding of the communities they visit and the work of the philanthropy there.
Officials of UJA-Federation of New York are taking a cautiously optimistic view of Birthright Israel, the $300 million effort to provide a free, 10-day trip to Israel for diaspora youth.
“We share their goals and look forward to the opportunity to sit down with the Birthright leadership to learn the specifics of the project as it evolves,” said John Ruskay, UJA-Federation’s chief operating officer.
It was as part of a 1993 senior citizens’ lobbying trip to the state capital in Albany that Dorothy Epstein realized there was more to effective lobbying than just showing up and handing out position papers.
“We had divided into groups and each was to visit the chairman of a legislative committee we were interested in,” she recalled. “Although we were in groups of five or seven, only one or two people spoke first.
Sometime during the late 1980s, my family’s Passover seder table found itself embroiled in revolution. The cause of revolution had arrived one seder night disguised as an innocent gift from my uncle. This uncle bore a bottle of wine that, upon closer inspection, became an object of considerable suspicion. This bottle of wine, marked kosher yet bright pink, simply did not look Jewish.
It was while Judith Stern Peck was thinking of a birthday gift for her first grandchild that she came upon an idea that promises to give her and her granddaughter enjoyment for years to come. “This child didn’t need another dress or another toy,” said Peck. “And I think it is very important to teach the value of giving back. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating a Children’s Gift Fund.”
Get ready baseball card collectors, Israel Bonds is coming out with its own collectible collection — and it’s guaranteed to make money. Israel Bonds is reaching out to those who give bar and bat mitzvah gifts of $125 or $150 in checks and suggesting they instead buy its new $136 Chai Bonds. They mature in five years at a value of $180.
In a scene reminiscent of an Andy Hardy movie, Ozzie Goldman remembers walking into a Manhattan hotel room in May 1949 and seeing five men on bended knees hunched over a large map of the world and planning the first flights of a nonexistent Israeli airline.