Several weeks ago, just shy of her 98th birthday, my beloved grandmother passed away. While I naturally feel sadness and grief, I also feel a profound sense of gratitude, faith, and resolution. My grandmother — Nana, as we called her — lived a rich and productive life. She made a lasting imprint on all who knew her, and for the better part of her existence she was healthy and actively engaged in community life. Her final five years were characterized by the losses and ailments people typically face as they age, yet she still found ways to connect with others and make valuable contributions to her community.
In my childhood bedroom, in Glasgow, there was a poster on the wall bearing an image of the Kremlin and the words “Let My People Go.” Like many other Jews growing up in the 1980s, I felt the profound impact of the Soviet Jewry movement. So I was a bit surprised by my own ambivalence when I recently decided to go on a UJA-Federation rabbinic mission to the former Soviet Union (FSU) to see what Jewish life is like there today.
For the last two decades, at least, there has been a widespread perception in some circles that Jewish federations were on their way to becoming dinosaurs, the victims of declining attachment to Jewish organizational institutions in general and centralized giving in particular, and accelerated by the serious decline in the economy. That may all be true in some communities, but not in New York, where UJA-Federation continues to set the standard not only for dollars raised but for exemplifying the kind of reach and depth that only a communal charity of its size and savvy can command.
Many services could come under the sequester knife.
Local Jewish social service agencies are talking about increasing their employee workloads and making other changes to absorb expected government funding cuts as a result of Congress’ inability to agree on a new budget.
Survey shows ‘startling’ increases in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, and among Orthodox, Russian-speaking Jews.
Jewish Week Correspondent
The clients she sees “are all over the map” in terms of how hard they’ve been hit by the recession, said Peggy Jaeger, Nassau County director of Connect2Care, UJA-Federation of New York’s program to help members of the Jewish community who are unemployed or underemployed.
In 1945, my grandfather was listed as “Mr. A. — a specimen Orthodox Jew” in Milton Steinberg’s book “A Partisan Guide to the Jewish Problem.” The interview with him is summarized in these words: “The misgiving that haunts him most persistently is over his children. … His great fear is that they will depart from the way he walks, either repudiating his postulates or rebelling against the hardship he gladly endures, or simply refusing to be different from almost everyone else. Against such eventualities he is putting up a game fight.
Endowment-building initiative for seven area schools, plus fundraising campaign.
So common are endowments in the private school world that the National Association of Independent Schools, an accrediting organization, uses these funds, whose principle cannot be touched but which generate annual investment income, as a key benchmark for measuring a school’s stability and viability.
Manhattan DA says thieves in $2 million ring betrayed employers, preyed on clients.
Assistant Managing Editor
UJA-Federation is studying recommendations from a security consultant’s review of its donor transaction processing system after an employee’s arrest last week in a $2 million fraud-ring bust. But the agency is confident existing security measures are stringent and the recommendations may not have prevented the fraud by a trusted employee who was authorized to access financial data but allegedly betrayed that trust.
The speeches atUJA-Federation of New York’s annual Wall Street Dinner this week included references to the economic fear and uncertainly among the city’s financial professionals, many of whom are expecting large reductions in their end-of-year bonuses. Even the event’s emcee, actress Susie Essman, couldn’t help but touch on Occupy Wall Street, greeting the nearly 1,200 professionals, business leaders and philanthropists who came to the dinner as the “1 percent — or, should I say, the 0.1 percent.”