The Jewish community shares the pain of the Kletzky family in the wake of the tragic death of eight-year-old Leiby. The fact that so many people put aside their daily concerns to join the search for the youngster last week is but one sign of the solidarity and compassion that was evident throughout the painful ordeal.
In Response to Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Of Balaam And Birthright: When A Curse Is A Blessing” (July 15), in which he masterfully uses Kiera Feldman’s own words to show that the Birthright experience is indeed, “far-reaching, effective and successful.” I would like to add my own observations fresh from “the field.”
The July 15 column by Gary Rosenblatt, "Of Balaam And Birthright: When A Curse Is A Blessing," brings up the recent Nation article by Kiera Feldman, which attacked Birthright Israel. He accurately mentions the author's anti-Israel bias and argues that the vehemence of her critique underscores Birthright's success as a pro-Israel program. (I've communicated with several people at The Nation on my displeasure with her article.)
We were very pleased that Gary Rosenblatt, in his column, “Baby Steps Toward Arab-Jewish Cooperation” (July 8), recognized that “dialogue is not enough” and that the new focus should be on wise and slow grassroots cooperation between communities and leaders on quality of life concerns. This is the methodology developed by JCRC-NY’s CAUSE-NY Intergroup and Community Building division.
If the Israeli Knesset wants to win the important, global battle against those who want to delegitimize the Jewish state, the last thing it should do is provide rhetorical weapons to Israel’s most vicious critics. (“Boycott Bill Generates Controversy,” July 15)
Yet, in voting to outlaw calls for a boycott against Israel and its West Bank settlements, the Knesset has aided and abetted those outside of Israel who are demonizing the Jewish state and turning it into an international pariah.
I came to the Jewish world five years ago, when JDub was the big cultural kid on the block and the Six Points Fellowship was starting with close to a million dollars in support for emerging artists.
The Foundation (then NFJC) was struggling for its existence and the Jewish world seemed a place that was all about embracing the innovations of the young. It saddens me that in this short time, when countless studies have shown the power of Jewish culture to engage young people, that JDub is closing its doors. This is a failure of the Jewish philanthropic system.
It seems a long way off, but before we know it, summer swelter will give way to autumn cool, and we will be back in synagogue listening to Kol Nidre. The roots of Kol Nidre lie in this week’s parashah, where Moses cautions the people, “If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he may not break his pledge.”
Does Taglit-Birthright Israel have a political agenda?
Questions about Taglit trip’s content have come to the fore, perhaps a natural consequence of it becoming a rite of passage for diaspora young adults, magnified by the intensity of current debate about Israel. The questions are not new, and from the time the first planeload of participants landed in Israel, observers have been looking for the political agenda. But political agendas are more in the mind of the observers than the program.