Catholic Charities honored the UJA-Federation of New York for its longtime service to the Catholic group's agencies.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan presented the Good Neighbor Award on Wednesday night to John Ruskay, the federation's executive vice president and CEO, in recognition of the federation's long-term friendship and partnership with Catholic Charities. The federation was among two dozen award recipients noted for meritorious service to Catholic Charities agencies on behalf of New Yorkers in need and was the only recipient of this year’s Good Neighbor Award.
Despite a sluggish economy, a record total of $44 million was pledged at the inaugural event of UJA-Federation of New York’s 2012 Annual Campaign this week. The figure was $500,000 more than last year’s and $1 million more than the total pledged two years ago.
“In a time of great economic uncertainty, such loyalty and generosity is astonishing and inspiring,” said Jerry Levin, UJA-Federation president, in a release.
In the spring of 1979, at the height of the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, my wife Robin and I were among many volunteers who traveled to the Soviet Union for the express purpose of aiding and abetting the efforts of Zionist refuseniks.
From noon this past Sunday to noon Tuesday forty-eight hours later, I was privileged to participate in a program called “The Conversation,” held in the lovely Pearlstone Conference Center just outside of Baltimore. Sponsored by The Jewish Week and made possible through the generous support of UJA-Federation, the program brought together some fifty Jews active in one way or other in the Jewish community of New York for what seemed like an odd purpose- to talk to one another.
When John Ruskay, the executive vice president and CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, receives an honorary doctorate at the Jewish Theological Seminary this week it will be a homecoming of sorts for him. Ruskay, 64, was a rabbinical student at JTS for a year after graduating from college in 1968, and served for eight years as vice chancellor (the first non-rabbi to do so) from l985-l993.
In a rare moment of quiet for the busy executive, he reflected on his seminary days, his personal Jewish journey and career in communal life.
Is it kosher for Jews in the diaspora to speak out against Israeli policy? As a Jewish-American opposed to the occupation of the West Bank, this question has special relevance for me.
Until recently Jewish-American politics was dominated by organizations that have been supportive of the settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Feeling uncomfortable with these right-wing groups, I limited my activism regarding Israel to working through groups like UJA-Federation of New York and the New Israel Fund, which aid disadvantaged Israelis.
Community-wide effort for needy features whole grains, recipe cards.
While thousands of Jewish kids unwrap candy bars, hamantaschen and juice boxes this Purim, more than 1,500 needy families will receive a bag filled with goodies like whole-grain cereal, granola bars and canned tuna.
Over the past few weeks, synagogues and communities — encouraged by the UJA-Federation of New York — have collected healthy foods and packaged them up to be distributed on Purim by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, or by local soup kitchens.