The JW Q&A

A weekly interview with notable figures and names in the news.

LeBron’s Going Home

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt is heading to Cleveland to lead Cavs.

07/22/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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In May, David Blatt coached underdog Maccabi Tel Aviv to a thrilling Euroleague championship victory over Real Madrid in overtime. In June, the Cleveland Cavaliers hired Blatt as head coach. This month, LeBron James announced he was bringing his talents back home to the Cavs. There will be an enormous amount of pressure on Blatt, who has never coached an NBA game, but the reigning Euroleague Coach of the Year is no stranger to pressure. He was the first American to coach the Russian national team, leading them to a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. In a phone interview from Las Vegas, where the NBA Summer League is taking place, the Massachusetts native, who played college ball at Princeton, professional ball in Israel, and coached in Europe for more than two decades, spoke about pressure, coming back to America, and his new team.

David Blatt: Will face a more rugged schedule as an NBA coach that he did in Israel or Europe. Wikimedia Commons

Former Face Of IDF: ‘What Is Israel’s Goal?

Avital Leibovich can hear rockets in her house, and gives her kids a briefing every morning.

07/15/2014
Staff Writer
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Avital Leibovich became director of the American Jewish Committee’s Jerusalem office after leaving the Israel Defense Forces in April following a nearly 23-year career. Leibovich served in a wide range of senior media and public relations positions within the IDF, including as the face of the IDF for the international community during two prior wars with Hamas in 2008 and 2012. She spoke to The Jewish Week Tuesday morning about the latest Gaza conflict.

Avital Leibovich: “The age of traditional war is mostly gone.”

‘Don’t Test Our Power’

MK Ofir Akunis says a third intifada would be a losing proposition for the Palestinians.

07/08/2014
Staff Writer
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Ofir Akunis is the Likud Party’s deputy minister for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a member of the Knesset. From 2010 until 2012, he served as the Knesset’s deputy speaker. In addition, Akunis, 41, has also served as both chairman and speaker of the Likud Party. He was interviewed last week during a visit here.

Likud member Ofir Akunis: Given “huge changes in our region,” Israel should be “careful” about peace steps.

Seeking ‘Fixes’ On Court’s Women’s Rights Rulings

07/01/2014
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Jody Rabhan became director this week of the Washington operations of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), succeeding Sammie Moshenberg, who retired after 33 years with the organization. Rabhan began her career two decades ago as a graduate fellow at the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service. She continued as a lobbyist for six years before pausing to start a family. She then worked as a private consultant for Jewish nonprofits, specializing in advocacy and development projects. Two years ago she returned as Moshenberg’s deputy. She and her husband have two sons and live in Bethesda, Md.

NCJW’s Jody Rabhan

Making A Case For Funding the Technion

The school boasts unique programs, such as one that integrates science, engineering and medicine to do cancer research, Jeffrey Richard says.

06/24/2014
Staff Writer
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Jeffrey Richard of Riverdale is the new executive vice president of the American Technion Society, the national organization that supports the Haifa-based Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Richard, 43, has more than two decades of fundraising experience, including serving as vice president of university development at Columbia University and as an associate director of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. He spoke recently to The Jewish Week. This is an edited transcript.

Jeffrey Richard: Investing in science-centered institutions like Israel’s Technion is a way to “change the world.”

Working To Increase Bone Marrow Registry

Leukemia survivor Jay Feinberg launches fundraising drive in memory of mother who found his donor match.

06/17/2014
Staff Writer
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Jay Feinberg, founder of the Gift of Life bone marrow registry, is a leukemia survivor who founded the registry after he received a successful bone marrow transplant in 1995. Feinberg, 45, of Boca Raton, Fla., was the inaugural recipient of the Charles Bronfman Prize in 2004. 

Feinberg’s mother, Arlene, who died in January at the age of 81, had organized 250 bone marrow match drives that tested 60,000 potential donors before a match was found for her son. In her memory, the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation (giftoflife.org) will kick off a $4 million fundraising campaign with an online “virtual gala” June 22 at 7 p.m.

Jay Feinberg with his mother, Arlene Feinberg, who died earlier this year. Courtesy of Gift of Life Foundation

A Tale Of Two Captives

A former IDF judge advocate general reflects on the differences between the Shalit and Bergdahl prisoner exchanges.

06/11/2014
Associate Editor
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The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years in Taliban captivity, in exchange for the U.S. release of five Taliban terrorists, led to inevitable comparisons with Israel’s release of 1,027 prisoners in exchange for the liberation of Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit after five years in Hamas captivity. The Jewish Week spoke by telephone with Amos Guiora, professor of law at the University of Utah, and a former judge advocate general in the Israel Defense Forces.

Former IDF judge advocate general Amos Guiora: “There is a contract between the state and the soldier.”

14 Years After Abuse Scandal, Lessons Learned

06/03/2014
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The youngest of the Jewish youth movements in the United States affiliated with a major denomination of Judaism, NCSY turns 60 this year. Founded by the Orthodox Union in 1954 as the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, it has connected more than 250,000 Jewish teens with Jewish life, and helped pioneer activities that introduce Judaism outside of a synagogue setting.

The Jewish Week recently spoke, via email, with Rabbi Micah Greenland, the new international director of NCSY, who was a member of the organization during his youth and lives in his native Chicago. The conversation has been edited.

Rabbi Micah Greenfield:  Getting more difficult to reach “social-media generation.”

‘Willingness To Connect’

Betty Ehrenberg joined leaders of other faiths and Pope Francis during his visit to Israel.

05/27/2014
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Betty Ehrenberg, chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), the representative Jewish group that deals with other world religious bodies, was in Israel this week for the two-day visit there of Pope Francis.

Interfaith leader Betty Ehrenberg last year with Pope Francis. Photo courtesy of IJCIC

New OU Head Wants More Unified Organization

05/20/2014
Staff Writer
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Allen I. Fagin, a prominent attorney and former chairman of the Proskauer Rose law firm here, was appointed executive vice president and chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union in April after spending more than 20 years as an unpaid officer of the organization. He is the first person without rabbinic ordination to assume the role.

Allen Fagin: First non-rabbi to head Orthodox Union.
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