New York

New Message For The Media

Staff Writer
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.

Independent WJC Audit Said Under Way

Staff Writer
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.”

Restitution Group Stands By Singer

Staff Writer, Editor and Publisher
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.

Backlash Vs. Settlers?

Staff Writer
Although the Israeli public initially sympathized with the plight of Gaza and West Bank evacuees, a backlash has begun to occur against some of the settlers for complaining that the government was ill prepared to resettle them properly. “We heard terrible things, like we had gotten compensation so why were we complaining, that we hit the soldiers, that we took the Arabs’ houses and we were asking for mercy we didn’t deserve,” Einat Yefet, a settler youth protest leader told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Anti-Jewish Violence Rages On

Staff Writer
More firebombings rocked Jewish institutions in France, Belgium and Canada in the past week, including three more synagogue attacks, even as an estimated 200,000 Jews in France — half the country’s adult Jewish population — marched Sunday to protest anti-Semitism and in support of Israel.

Executive Action

Staff Writer
Louise Greilsheimer, the top lay leader at UJA-Federation of New York when she served from 1994-98 as its president, has returned to the organization but from a different vantage point — as one of its top professionals. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to make your avocation your vocation and to make it the center of your life,” said Greilsheimer, who will serve as vice president for agency and external relations. She will report directly to John Ruskay, the group’s executive vice president, and serve on his senior executive team.

Israel Tries Carrot And Stick On Violence

Staff Writer
As Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres spoke here this week of a cease-fire plan that would lead to a resumption of peace talks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered troops into another Palestinian refugee camp to destroy homes and huts used as cover to shoot at Israelis. “There are differences of style and nuance,” Dore Gold, a senior aide to Sharon, explained of the Peres-Sharon approaches, “but the substance is the same.”

Three Teens Nabbed In Synagogue Fire

Staff Writer
Authorities say it was vandalism and not anti-Semitism that led three teens to allegedly set fire to the permanent walls of a sukkah in the rear of a Washington Heights synagogue, but the congregation’s president would like to hear an apology from the youths. “I don’t know how to read the motivation of these boys,” said Erich Erlbach of Congregation K’hal Adath Jeshurun, at 85-93 Bennett Ave., which is also known as the Breuer Shul. “People were concerned. Many feel it’s a bias crime, others don’t.”

Friday The Rabbi Stayed Home

Staff Writer
On the evening of May 6, Rabbi Adam Mintz was installed at his congregation, Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, as the new president of the New York Board of Rabbis. An articulate spokesman for Modern Orthodoxy in his 40s, Rabbi Mintz is said to be respected by colleagues in all the denominations that comprise the board. But last Shabbat, the rabbi was nowhere to be seen at Lincoln Square, a leading Orthodox congregation in the city.

The Face Of N.Y. Jewry

Staff Writer
In 1991, there were 1.42 million Jews in the city, Long Island and Westchester. How many there are today? Where are they concentrated? What is their attitude toward Israel?Are Holocaust survivors more or less likely to be poor than other Jews in the city? UJA-Federation of New York will learn the answers to these and other questions beginning this week as it launches a telephone survey that will seek to conduct in-depth interviews with members of 4,000 Jewish households.
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