Short Takes

Leaders Meet Envoys From Tsunami Region

Staff Writer
Representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations met Wednesday morning with diplomats from the four countries hardest hit by the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster.

Jack Newfield, Crusading Columnist

Staff Writer
Jack Newfield, a columnist driven by commitment to social justice and political accountability, died Monday at 66. The cause was cancer. Newfield was a supporter of Israel and also wrote extensively on matters regarding black-Jewish relations. Growing up in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, he attended a school that was 75 percent black, and traveled in the South as a young man to demonstrate for civil rights in the early 1960s. He was once incarcerated with Michael Schwerner, who was later murdered in Mississippi.

Getting A Bump From ‘Juno’

Assistant Managing Editor
Barry Louis Polisar wasn’t up for an Oscar on Sunday night, but his work made a brief appearance in the 80th Academy Awards broadcast. The scene from Best Picture nominee “Juno” included the harmonica solo from “All I Want Is You,” a song Polisar wrote 30 years ago that is featured in the film’s opening credits. A singer and writer of children’s books and music, Polisar was thrilled when approached by “Juno” director Jason Reitman for permission to use the song after he stumbled across it on iTunes.

Easing Their Pain

Staff Writer
They are among hundreds of victims of Palestinian terrorism, but there was something about the tragic story of the Bloombergs of Ginot Shimron that prompted Rabbi Moshe Drelich to act. “You start with one family at a time,” said the rabbi, assistant principal of SAR Academy in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. “You save the world one neshama [soul] at a time.”

Costly Quints

Staff Writer
Seventeen months have passed since quintuplets born to the Klaver family brought the national media into their Brooklyn living room. But now that they’ve faded from the limelight, the family has been forced to go public again as they face financial peril. The Klavers have been ordered to vacate their crowded Flatbush apartment by their landlord, who is selling the house. Both parents are in poor health, and federal assistance they have been receiving is about to expire.

Staten Island ‘Dream’ Come True

Staff Writer
There is no greater symbol of thriving Jewish life on Staten Island than the new 100,000-square-foot, $33 million community center soon to rise in Willowbrook. But one thing that won’t be rising is the JCC’s mortgage costs, thanks to a $2 million donation announced this week by Alan and Joan Bernikow, supporters of the center for more than 30 years.

A Gay, Jewish Hawk For Hillary

Assistant Managing Editor
Talk about strange transitions: Donald Rumsfeld’s hawkish aide in the Pentagon is now one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s emissaries in the gay community. But between these two titles, Stephen Herbits — no stranger to controversy — rode out the storm as Israel Singer’s successor at the scandal-plagued World Jewish Congress.

AM’s Odd Couple

Staff Writer
One is an Orthodox rabbi known for controversial self-help books who has challenged anti-Semitism in the black community. The other is a former writer for the Village Voice who parted ways with the paper over his favorable coverage of the Rev. Al Sharpton. Can these two men share a radio show without driving each other crazy? Time will tell, as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach teams up with Peter Noel starting Monday on WWRL-AM (1600), a station geared toward black audiences.

Nursing A Budget Deficit

Staff Writer
City-funded nurses have been quietly pulled from dozens of parochial schools by the Bloomberg administration, and members of the City Council are trying to ratchet up the pressure to get them back. “It’s a question of equity,” said Councilman Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, sponsor of a bill introduced last week that would require the city to make full-time registered nurses available at all private schools with more than 100 students. “It’s a question of making sure the health of all children in the city is protected.”

Midwood Mideast Flap

Staff Writer
A high school newspaper in Brooklyn was improperly supervised when it allowed unfounded charges against Israel to be published as an op-ed, said the city’s Department of Education. The article in The Argus, the student weekly at Midwood High School, likens the fear experienced by Americans after Sept. 11 to the daily experience of Palestinians under Israeli rule.
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