‘If I got what I deserved, I’d be dead.” With those words, a 21-year-old who just graduated from the Yatzkan Center, a 10-month residential drug treatment program in Amityville, L.I., told a group of 35 Jewish teenagers how drugs had destroyed the past seven years of his life.
“Now I have to spend the next two years trying to get back to where I should have been,” he told the group. “I’m lucky; I can’t tell you how many of my friends have died.”
State and city funding cutbacks, combined with soaring insurance costs, have caused agencies in the UJA-Federation system to downsize, layoff employees and look at other ways to cut their budgets.
“We all anticipate a very difficult time ahead,” said William Rapfogel, executive director of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty.
Ariel, Israel — Sam Rafaeli and his wife, Roni, used to drive regularly from their settlement home here to Tel Aviv to attend the theater and concerts. Not anymore.
“It has been more than a year since I have been to a concert,” said Rafaeli, alluding to the start of the Palestinian violence in September 2000. “I had a subscription [to a concert series]; I gave it up.”
In what is being hailed as a dramatic shift in approach at the Jewish Agency, the organization that some Israeli Arabs have viewed as out to steal their land has agreed to support the New York-based Abraham Fund Initiatives in its efforts to teach conversational Arabic and culture to elementary school children in northern Israel.
When floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina started rising in Biloxi, Miss., in 2005, a custodian at nearby Keesler Air Force Base raced to the local Jewish chaplain and told him about Jewish objects that he believed were kept in a storage closet on the base.
Gourmet Glatt Emporium in Cedarhurst, whose owners were forced to sell their store in a kosher dispute that prompted a boycott orchestrated by local rabbis, reopened Tuesday morning under new ownership. But the new deal didn’t stop some residents from voicing bitter feelings about the perceived strong-arm tactics and lack of transparency by the local rabbinic board that handles kosher supervision.
In the event of a future terrorist attack aimed at a Jewish institution anywhere in the world, a communications network being established on Long Island would contact each of the 225 Jewish institutions here — including synagogues and day schools — to alert their leadership and provide whatever guidance is necessary.
If you thought Rabbi Joseph Lookstein was a revolutionary in the creation of the 20th century day school, his eponymous Web site aims to change the Jewish 21st century school as much as the talkies changed the movies.
Bar Ilan Universityís Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora (www.lookstein.biu.ac.il), named for its late chancellor who also founded New Yorkís Ramaz School, has taken upon itself to become an Internet-based international clearing house of new educational ideas, facilitating interaction among principals, teachers and parents.
Some say there are really only two Jewish denominations: serious Jews, and all the rest. And serious Jews approach millennial celebrations with what Sir Walter Scott described as ìburning pride and high disdain.î
Yes, the millennium is a Christian moment in time, but Jews were there for all of it. With all the lists marking the end of the epoch, thereís a Jewish story deserving to be told.We donít presume to have a person of the century or of the millennium, but we do have a Top 10 list of pivotal moments and pivotal generations that helped us get from there to here.