In late February, Joel Sprayregen, a national Jewish lay leader, briefly met New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer at an American Jewish Committee dinner in Chicago. Sprayregen, a Chicago attorney and honorary national vice chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, recalled that when he told Spitzer he was glad to have learned that the attorney general’s office was investigating the World Jewish Congress, “the attorney general replied, in effect, that to call it an investigation would be an overstatement.”
Renewal, a theme of the High Holy Days, will resonate in particular this year for the congregants of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue, which was heavily damaged last month by fire. “I’m going to speak about the lessons one unfortunately takes from a trauma like this,” said Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “I’m going to talk of the vision of rebuilding, something that unfortunately Jews are accustomed to doing. And I’m going to say that just as buildings can be rebuilt, so can lives.”
After a rocky first year, the much-heralded UJA-Federation Unity Campaign designed to help the Conservative, Orthodox and Reform movements raise money for their own projects in Israel has raised nearly $10.5 million in pledges and organizers said they have begun to pull their act together. This effort comes at a time of a booming economy that has helped 36 federations across the country achieve record high levels of donations.
Just months after Susan M. of the Bronx underwent triple bypass surgery following a heart attack, she was threatened with eviction and a cutoff of her phone, gas and electric service.
“I didn’t know where to turn,” said the 58-year-old widow.
Susan, whose husband died of cancer 20 years ago, leaving her with two small children and no life insurance, said she was physically unable to return to her secretarial job and had no savings.
Zionism and the need to remedy a nursing shortage are working hand-in-hand in southern Israel. For the past eight years, the head nurse of the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheva, Masha Hechtlinger, has been traveling as often as five times a year to the former Soviet Union to interview and recruit potential Jewish nurses.
She goes armed with the promise of financial support, while the nurses learn Hebrew and prepare to take Israel’s rigorous test to become registered nurses. And she holds out the prospect of employment at Soroka for those who pass the exam.
Yeshiva University justified in barring gay couples from student housing, proclaim Orthodox Jewish group and AJCongress.
by Stewart Ain
For supporters of two lesbians at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York law is clear-cut: the school may not discriminate against them in housing.
But two Jewish groups are not so sure, and two others have weighed in on the side of the school.
At the heart of the issue is the college’s policy of restricting its graduate housing to students only — except in the case of married students, who are given priority for studio apartments.
Palestinian elections Jan. 9 and the start of President George W. Bush’s second term Jan. 20 are causing the Israeli government to adopt a new approach in its message to the media.
“The hasbara [public image of Israel] we knew is now over,” said Aryeh Mekel, Israel’s consul general in New York. “Over the last four years, we explained that we were the victim, that the Palestinians were the villains, and that we were not using excessive force [in chasing down Palestinian terrorists]. Sometimes we were successful; sometimes we were not.
An independent audit of the World Jewish Congress is being performed now for presentation at the group’s plenary next month in Brussels, according to the president of the WJC’s American section.
“It is an outside, independent audit,” said the official, Evelyn Sommer. “It is very important to make it very clear that the allegations of Isi Leibler have no basis. … I would hope that everything would be public. There is no reason it should not be.”
Despite the sudden dismissal of Israel Singer from the World Jewish Congress, which he helped steer for 35 years, the leaders of a major Holocaust restitution group he presides over this week said they are standing by him.