It was an opinion from Israel's top judge that American Conservative Jews would have preferred to read in a judicial ruling. But it was enough to put a smile on their faces.
"The lack of civil marriage in Israel is a major violation of human rights," Supreme Court president Aharon Barak told more than 30 members of United Synagogue's Project Reconnect, an organization of former United Synagogue Youth members, during a group visit to Israel last week.
It was 22 years ago that Chava Katz and 12 other young Jewish women were permitted by the Syria government to leave their homeland and travel to the United States to find a Jewish husband. Now, with Israel and Syria talking peace, she has mixed emotions.
"I hope they do it," she said of the peace negotiations. "But I don't trust any Arab countries. Would I ever go back? Never! Even my husband asks me that. But I would never return because times there were very tough."
Grand Central Station will be turned into an Israel showcase during a week in April to demonstrate to New Yorkers the attractions of the Jewish state: its products, its technical know-how, its business opportunities and travel destinations.
"Half a million people move through Grand Central Station each day," said Israel's consul general in New York, Shmuel Sisso. "They spend three to eight minutes in the station and we have to attract their attention" through innovative and interesting exhibits.
The New York Board of Rabbis held its annual sermon seminar last week to permit rabbis to share ideas for their High Holy Days sermons. Rabbi Marc Schneier of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, L.I., and president of the board, chaired the discussion featuring spiritual leaders from all movements.
Jewish Week: What will be some of the themes of sermons this year?
Israel needs your money but save the tzedaka, says the board chairman of a new Israeli mutual fund that will invest exclusively in Israeli companies.
"Israel does not need charity, only investments," said Shlomo Eplboim of the Blue and White Fund (the colors of the Israeli flag), set to debut Dec. 31.
Back in the Middle Ages, cartographers would draw maps of the world with the Holy Land in dead center, and if you never saw those maps you could pick up the Week in Review section of The New York Times and get the idea.
On one page of the section, Thomas Friedman’s column, “Obama and the Jews” was really about Israel and Friedman’s realization that those who care about Israel will be wiser to vote for the candidate “who will make America strongest ... Nothing would imperil Israel more than an enfeebled, isolated America.”
Almost 24 years after Zachary Baumel, an American-born Israeli soldier, went missing in action during the Lebanon war, his family has filed suit against the government of Syria for imprisoning their son and cutting off all contact with him.Baumel’s fate is unknown, but Dr. Stuart Ditchek, a childhood friend of Baumel’s in Brooklyn who has led the advocacy on his behalf, told The Jewish Week that the suit, believed to be the first such legal action against Syria, is an effort not to gain financially but to gain information about Baumel and seek his release, dead or alive.
At a recent four-day training session here in hasbara (public relations/advocacy/spin) for 17 high-level Israeli spokespersons, a young woman who deals with the media for the Israel Defense Forces described one of her most difficult encounters with the press during last summer’s war with Hezbollah.