The JW Q&A

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

Secular Humanists Take N.Y.

08/23/2016 - 17:08

Paul Golin is the new executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism (, the congregational arm of the Humanistic Jewish movement in North America. He previously served as associate executive director of Big Tent Judaism (formerly the Jewish Outreach Institute) and is co-author of “Twenty Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren to Do (And Not Do) to Nurture Jewish Identity in Their Grandchildren,” (Torah Aura Production, 2007). The interview was conducted via email.

Society for Humanistic Judaism’s new head Paul Golin to open first office here.

Israel’s Settlers’ New Face

08/09/2016 - 11:12

With the recently launched French peace initiative, and possibly a regional peace push, looming, the Yesha Council, the umbrella group for Israeli settlements, last month appointed a new chief foreign envoy to make the settlers’ case to the world. Lt. Col. (res.) Oded Revivi, 47, former mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, sat down with JTA last week to discuss his plans for the job.

New Yesha Council leader Oded Revivi. Courtesy of Avi Hyman Communications

Are Israeli Pols Really That Corrupt?

08/02/2016 - 16:11

The Israeli prime minister is being investigated, and the media is atwitter. Reports say Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of money laundering. It’s not the first time authorities have looked into suspected wrongdoing by Netanyahu or his wife, Sara. And if a full-blown criminal investigation were opened, it certainly wouldn’t be the first probe of a sitting prime minister or prominent public official.

Bibi Netanyahu: Under investigation. Yair Sagi/Flash90

Americans Bullish On Giving

Robert Evans, founder & president of Evans Consulting Group, on the surprising trends in Americans charitable giving.

06/28/2016 - 15:47
Staff Writer

Robert Evans is founder and president of the Philadelphia-based Evans Consulting Group, which works with Jewish and other nonprofits on fundraising issues and other strategic matters. He is a member of the editorial review board for the annual Giving USA report of the School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He previously served as campaign director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and as a senior executive at Israel Bonds. The Jewish Week caught up with him by phone just after the report was released.

Philanthropy consultant Robert Evans: “American donors’ priorities have changed.”

Weld: Fight Terror As ‘Criminal Conspiracy’

06/21/2016 - 11:51
Staff Writer

William Weld, the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president, is a former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts who earlier served for seven years as a federal prosecutor. He is running on a ticket headed by Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. The Jewish Week caught up with him by phone last week a few days after the Orlando terror attack.

William Weld: Sees scenario for his Libertarian Party ticket winning the presidential election.

Assessing The Risks Of Female Suicide Bombers

05/24/2016 - 12:58

Anat Berko is a member of the Knesset from the Likud Party who holds a doctorate in criminology and is a recognized terrorism expert. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had selected her for a Knesset seat in last year’s election, has appointed Berko to head the Knesset’s Subcommittee of Intelligence and Secret Services, which is within the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. She is the first woman to lead the subcommittee, which is the most classified in the government.

Anat Berko: First woman to lead Knesset Subcommittee of Intelligence and Secret Services.

New Program Stresses Global Jewish Life

05/17/2016 - 17:38
Staff Writer

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s leadership training program, Entwine, and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion have announced a new Fellowship for Global Leaders, open to the school’s rabbinical, cantorial and education students. The program, established by philanthropist Jane Weitzman, a JDC board member, and her husband, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, will train 15 men and women over the next five years, through a specially developed curriculum and visits to the 70 countries where the JDC operates.
The Jewish Week interviewed Ms. Weitzman by email; this is an edited transcript.

Jane Weitzman: “Global Jewish life … continues to fall below our communal radar.”

For Survivors, Humor As A Form Of Resistance

05/03/2016 - 11:01
Staff Writer

Chaya Ostrower, a senior lecturer in psychology at Israel’s Beit Berl Academic College, is the author of the recent book, “It Kept Us Alive: Humor in the Holocaust” (Yad Vashem), which grew out of her Ph.D. thesis at Tel Aviv University. For the book and the previous Hebrew edition, she spent five years interviewing Holocaust survivors who had found value in using humor as a form of spiritual resistance in ghettos, labor camps and death camps. On the eve of this week’s commemoration of Yom HaShoah, The Jewish Week interviewed Ostrower by email. This is an edited transcript.

Chaya Ostrower: “The interviewees are more now willing to talk, since they know this is their last chance.”

From Israel, Aiding Syrian Refugees

04/19/2016 - 16:32

Navonel Glick is the chief operating officer of IsraAid, an Israeli-based aid agency that provides disaster-response to major humanitarian crises worldwide and assists in international development. It is now assisting refugees fleeing war-ravaged Syria.

Glick, who has dual Israeli-Canadian citizenship, served for three years as the group’s program director, leading the group’s Israeli Arab and Jewish aid workers on disaster-response missions to such places as the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, Sierra Leone after the Ebola outbreak, and Northern Iraq after the emergence of Islamic State. We caught up with him by phone last week.

Navonel Glick, center with glasses, has coordinated IsraAid disaster-response projects around the world. Courtesy of IsraAid

Keeping The Kids Connected At The Seder

04/12/2016 - 13:28
Staf Writer

Rabbi Paul Kipnes, spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, Calif., and his wife, Michelle November, a high school admissions officer and former national college director of the Union for Reform Judaism, are authors of a new book, “Jewish Spiritual Parenting: Wisdom, Activities, Rituals and Prayers for Raising Children with Spiritual Balance and Emotional Wholeness” (Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Michelle November.
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