With the nation riveted to the political turmoil in Washington, Jewish women at a conference in Woodbury were told that the Jewish community's clout depended on their involvement on the political stage.
"Political activism is necessary for the preservation of Jewish freedoms and institutions, and for the safety and security of Israel," said Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the Orthodox Union's Institute for Public Affairs. "Jews have reached a point of privilege in society because they have fought in the political arena and made their voices heard."
For 12 years, Diane Thurer of Dix Hills has been filling boxes with school supplies and holiday treats for a poor family in Mississippi she has never met but which expresses its gratitude through letters.
"It really is a commitment, but you do bring sunshine into that family's home," said Thurer of the national Box Project. "You really get back more than you give."
Now a Jewish group wants to replicate that effort in behalf of the Jewish poor in Suffolk County. If successful, there are plans to extend the project to Nassau.
Ari Sonesh came up with the idea for his 3-year-old company in the mid-1980s while he was overseeing the computer support system at Comverse Technologies in Woodbury.
"I saw the potential to improve customer support services," he explained. "So I put things together and came up with an idea. I discussed it with Steve [Kowarsky at Comverse] and others, and decided it was an idea I had to commit myself to. So I left Comverse."
Sonesh's idea: Allow customers to speak directly with representatives of a company through its web site.
With her 10-year-old son at her side, a disabled widow from Long Beach told a hushed group of 500 UJA-Federation lay and professional leaders that the local Jewish community center has "been there for us in the very darkest of times."
"I have an immune disease called fibromyalga," explained Harriet Cohen, 46, at the annual Long Island General Assembly in Roslyn, which provides UJA-Federation-funded organizations an opportunity to display their activities.
Nicole Simon, a 10th-grader at the Solomon Schechter High School in Hicksville, was shocked and hurt recently when she boarded the school bus and a seventh-grader called her a "nigger."
"I didn't know what to do," said the West Hempstead student. "The older kids on the bus had told him that to be cool at high school it was cool to say nigger. I was never called a nigger before. I was appalled."
Despite The New York Times frequently distinguished and always-considerable attention to Jewish subjects in the last 15 years (at least), more than a few Jews continue to look upon the paper with what Elvis called ìsuspicious minds.î For most of the last century, the Times has returned the suspicion, looking upon anything Jewish with squeamishness bordering on contempt.
Saying the last 18 months have been one of the "saddest chapters in our country's history," the executive vice president of UJA-Federation detailed his organization's struggle to deal with the impact of welfare reform.
"I can report to you the panic that ensued" as legal immigrants here more than five years realized they would lose Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and food stamps, Stephen Solender told a recent UJA-Federation-sponsored legislative breakfast.
Citing a "glass ceiling" in Jewish communal life that has prevented women from advancing to leadership positions in national Jewish organizations and large city federations, the newly created Trust for Jewish Philanthropy has announced that its first initiative will be to tackle the gender gap.
To help the project get off the ground, the philanthropist Barbara Dobkin, who founded and chairs Ma'yan, the Jewish Women's Project of the JCC of the Upper West Side, said she and her husband, Eric, are donating $1 million in seed money.
Holocaust survivors dealing with the sometimes mystifying restitution process now can get help in filling out the forms.
The newly created Holocaust Compensation Assistance Project will offer the assistance on claims for the German Slave and Forced Labor fund and the Swiss bank settlement, as well as other free legal help and support to survivors and their families.
Jewish educational opportunities have grown — and grown more complex — in the last 15 years, according to a new study of the field that emphasizes the need to build links within communities between formal and informal programs, between families and schools, and between communal agencies that too often compete rather than coordinate.The 36-page report, “Linking The Silos: How To Accelerate The Momentum In Jewish Education Today,” was done by a research team headed by Jack Wertheimer, provost and professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary,