It seemed to be a typical Tuesday morning for Mordechai “Larry” Etengoff, a 42-year-old Brooklyn locksmith supply salesman. His wife of 16 years, Sandy, watched him leave their squat, gray, single-family stucco house in the multiethnic Kensington section to drop off their youngest of five children at the babysitter.
He stopped at the local Independence Savings Bank near their Avenue C home to make a deposit. He returned home to move his blue Ford Taurus for alternate side-of-the-street parking.
The Ford Foundation, one of the country’s largest private foundations, has set a course of late to influence the religious debate in America, and this week its largesse reached to the world’s largest gay and lesbian synagogue.
“I have been funding a number of projects to bring new voices into theological discussions and debate,” said Ford program director Constance Buchanan, explaining the $250,000 grant to Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Greenwich Village, believed to be the first time Ford has funded an individual synagogue.
At the Jewish Funds for Justice, a nonprofit devoted to social change and leadership training, Friday staff meetings were recently given the ax.
Instead, staffers on Fridays now work, alone or one-on-one, on goal setting and what the head of the organization calls “visioning.”
Like most of the New Orleans residents who came here a year ago to escape the ravages of Katrina, James Hardy and his wife Dr. Nancy Forrest Hardy thought they’d be here only a few days. When they packed their Ford Explorer outside the couple’s apartment in the French Quarter, they “literally took a couple changes of clothes, a couple bottles of water, some canned food,” James says.
Unlike most of the evacuees, they stayed here.
Jewish groups are taking a wait-and-see attitude about Monday's announcement that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to set up a fund for American companies wishing to provide humanitarian assistance to Holocaust-era slave and forced laborers, including tens of thousands living in the U.S.
Under a $5.14 billion settlement reached Tuesday with Germany, Nazi slave laborers are expected to receive a one-time payment of about $10,000 in as early as six months, according to an attorney for many of the Jewish victims.
The settlement was reached after yearlong talks between the German government and German industry, and Jewish groups and victims' lawyers.