National

Behind Bars, Lessons From Wallenberg

09/26/2003
Staff Writer
Fort Dix, N.J.: The residents who traverse the blue cinderblock wall hallways, decorated only by stenciled warnings not to loiter and to "keep your hands out of pockets," are focused on two things: getting through each day and the date they will be released. But on a recent Monday afternoon, two dozen men in dun-colored uniforms are bent over worksheets on their desks in a pair of windowless rooms at the Midstate Correctional Facility here focusing on something larger than themselves: the heroes in their lives.

Rabbi Marder: Another First

05/09/2003
Staff Writer
Being the first isn't a new experience for Rabbi Janet Ross Marder, the newly elected president of the Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis. Twenty years ago, just four years after being ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, she became the first rabbi to lead Los Angeles' predominantly gay and lesbian congregation, Beth Chayim Chadashim. While there, she established a federation-funded AIDS education program for the Jewish community.

Hebrew College To Ordain Rabbis

01/24/2003
Staff Writer
Boston's Hebrew College, the 82-year-old center of secular Jewish studies, plans to open the doors of a new rabbinical school in September, adding to the handful of Jewish independent ordaining institutions in the United States. The new program will likely create competition for students among New York-based seminaries. The move by Hebrew College, which has about 400 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in Jewish studies and Jewish education, is being welcomed in some quarters and criticized in others.

Memorable Moments At Past GAs

11/11/2009
Editor and Publisher

The most dramatic moment I’ve ever experienced at a GA (General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America) took place in 1977, in Dallas, on a Shabbat afternoon, when Golda Meir walked onto the stage for what many of the several thousand in the audience suspected might well be her last appearance in the U.S. And it was. She died in Jerusalem less than a year later.

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Widespread Worker Abuses Alleged At AgriProcessors

05/14/2008
Staff Writer
Two legal experts suggested this week that the federal government could be laying the groundwork for possible indictments against the owners of the country’s largest kosher meat manufacturer.

Jewish Pride On The Rise

10/27/2006
Staff Writer
More people than ever before say that being Jewish "is very important" to them, according to a recent survey by the American Jewish Committee. Sixty-one percent of respondents in the organization's annual survey of American Jewish opinion, which covers topics from international affairs to religious identity, said it was "very important" to them, and another 28 percent said it was "fairly important." Ten percent of this year's respondents said that being Jewish was "not very important" in their own lives.

The Paradox Of Yossi Abramowitz

06/30/2006
Staff Writer
Yosef Abramowitz had the floor at the closing session of the first national Jewish Youth Philanthropy Conference in Denver last April. Striding around the hotel conference room among about 100 teenagers, microphone in hand like a latter-day Phil Donohue, he exhorted them to see themselves as powerful agents of change, as prophets and leaders. He talked about great visions of a Jewish future, quoting philosophers from Zionist thinker Achad Ha’Am to “Star Wars” wise man Yoda. He held their attention for about 20 minutes.

‘Interim Judaism’ And Moral Leadership

04/02/2008
Staff Writer
Rabbi Peter Knobel is on a mission: to propel his colleagues in the Reform rabbinate to exercise moral leadership and speak out with conviction on public issues. According to Rabbi Knobel, president of the 1,800-member Central Conference of American Rabbis, which met for its annual convention this week in Cincinnati, fear of controversy and an over-emphasis on internal spirituality has caused his colleagues to draw back from the prophetic tradition that they once proudly wore as their mantle.

High Stakes Outreach For Obama At Jewish Federations GA

Jewish leaders divided on what Obama should stress in his GA speech.

11/04/2009
Washington Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s speech to the Jewish Federations of North America (formerly UJC) General Assembly next week, his first to a Jewish group since his inauguration, could be a turning point in his low standing in Israeli polls and help blunt the skepticism of many Jewish leaders here about his Middle East policies.

(Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also speak, an embarrassment of media riches for the group.)

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Charities Anxious Over Market Volatility

03/19/2008
Staff Writer
Does the collapse this week of Bear Stearns, with its long history of strong philanthropic ties to UJA-Federation of New York, mark the beginning of a major tailspin affecting Jewish charities? Voicing concerns that parallel worries over the impact of the Bear Stearns’ buyout on the market in general, Jewish officials say it is too early to assess the impact but recognize that the coming period will be marked by uncertainty and belt-tightening.
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