Cleveland — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not attend the General Assembly, the annual convention of the United Jewish Communities here this week, as originally planned. In his stead he sent his foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, a respected but low-key politician whose speech to the delegates at a plenary Sunday night drew applause for his portrayal of the strong bonds between Israel and American Jewry but tugged at few heartstrings.
John Faso, the Republican and Conservative nominee for governor, acknowledges that he is fighting an uphill battle against his popular Democratic opponent, Eliot Spitzer. But he told The Jewish Week that should there be a Democratic sweep Nov. 7, it would inevitably spell "much higher taxes" for New Yorkers.
Day school enrollment around the country grew by 11 percent in the last five years, according to a new census, and if present trends continue, there will be a nearly 25 percent increase in the decade between 1999 and 2009.
While non-Orthodox schools showed modest growth, more than 80 percent of the 205,000 students nationwide are in Orthodox schools, and 68 percent of all day schools in the country are in New York and New Jersey. (In New York, which has more than 300 day schools and yeshivas, 97 percent of the schools are Orthodox.)
A bill permitting civil marriage in Israel, which the government of Ehud Olmert had promised to propose, is finally ready for submission to the Knesset. But its chief advocates are opposed, saying it is too narrowly drawn.
As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought to shore up his coalition government this week by adding right-wing lawmaker Avigdor Lieberman, media reports spoke of an imminent showdown between Fatah and Hamas, military tensions on the Syrian border, and threats of a Palestinian attack.
"This is the calm before the storm," Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, vowed at a press conference after Israeli troops reportedly killed seven Palestinians in clashes in the Gaza Strip Monday.
An electrical fire raced through a wing of the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Plandome, L.I., Monday, forcing the evacuation of 75 nursery school children and about 20 teachers and staff. There were no injuries.
Sylvia Jacobs, the synagogue's executive director, said the blaze was discovered shortly before 11 a.m. in a wall leading to the basement. It destroyed a men's room, hall carpeting and a portion of the roof before firemen from six departments extinguished it.
When he arrived at the Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center in Commack three years ago, Stanley Golditch said he could not feed himself and had difficulty walking.
Golditch, 71, of Forest Hills, Queens and diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, said doctors told him he had "an aggressive degenerative condition."
But with the help of positive thinking under the guidance of Karen Nash, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, Golditch adopted a "positive and courageous" mindset that resulted in improvements in his condition.
An owner of a major kosher supermarket in the Five Towns says he has been given an ultimatum by the organization that provides him with kosher supervision: either sell his business by Feb. 1 or it will withdraw its kosher supervisors.
Mark Bollander, a partner of Gourmet Glatt Kosher Meat Market in Cedarhurst, told The Jewish Week that the threat was made by the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Rockaway, which has virtually dominated supervision of kosher establishments in the Five Towns for about 30 years.
The federal judge overseeing the allocation of the $1.25 billion Swiss bank settlement is considering increasing the amount of money being awarded to the heirs of Swiss bank depositors, angering those who would like the extra money used to benefit needy survivors.
Prompting the reassessment is the fact that about half of the $800 million the court set aside to pay the claims of Swiss bank account holders has yet to be distributed. The Holocaust-era money deposited in those accounts either was never claimed or the banks refused to release it after the war.
(JTA): The issue of divestment from Israel is resurfacing in a Boston suburb. Voters in the 27th Middlesex District, representing half of the precincts of Somerville, Mass., will decide Nov. 7 on a non-binding resolution instructing the district's state representative to support legislation calling for the state to divest from Israel Bonds or companies supplying military equipment to Israel.