Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day

Holocaust Survivors Come of Age with Belated Bat Mitzvah Celebration

Holocaust survivors celebrate Bat Mitzvah
at Tel Aviv University on June 21, 2011.
Photo by: Joel Newberger

Hillel Israel holds mass ceremony for women who never had the chance to mark the Jewish rite of passage, as part of the organization's own 13th anniversary celebrations.

-- Joel Newberger, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

With Consolidation, Canadian Jewish Agencies Shift to New Model

It’s an age-old question in the organized Jewish world: With so many similar-sounding organizations doing so much similar-sounding work, is there any way to streamline things and eliminate unnecessary duplication by consolidating like-minded agencies?

While American Jewish organizations have rarely gone that route, in Canada some of the country’s main Jewish groups are undergoing a major overhaul that will transform the governing agencies of Canadian Jewry.

In early June, after 18 months of talks, the boards of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, or CIJA, and United Israel Appeal Federations Canada approved a major restructuring of community agencies.

Since its birth in 2004, CIJA had overseen and coordinated the advocacy work of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, Quebec-Israel Committee, National Jewish Campus Life and the University Outreach Committee.

Starting July 1, those organizations will be folded into a new Canadian umbrella agency for Jewish and Israel advocacy. The agency has yet to get its formal name.  --  Ron Csillag, JTA

To read more, click here.

Op-Ed: Implementing a Historic Mandate for Deaf Jews

The Conservative movement, through its Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, has taken a historic step in acknowledging that deaf and hard-of-hearing people are entitled to stand with the Jewish community as equals. Not only did the law committee vote to recognize the users of sign language as equals, it also issued a mandate, or teshuvah, that synagogues and organizations must strive to be accessible to all….

In order to implement the mandate set forth by the Conservative movement's law committee, the larger Jewish community must work alongside the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to create appropriate communication policies and access.

Only with such collaboration can we end the adverse ripple effect and create an accessible Red Tent that is a welcoming home to all. --  Alexis Kashar and Naomi Brunnlehrman, JTA

To read more, click here.

Editor's note: WLCJ passed a resolution in 1990 promoting the right of the disabled to participate more fully in the social, economic and educational life of our society and to have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of technological progress. Further this resolution urged Synagogues in cooperation with our Sisterhood/Affiliates to:
  1. Encourage Synagogue accessibility.
  2. Encourage aids for the hearing and visually impaired in the Synagogue.
  3. Encourage individual members to provide services to the disabled including, but not limited to, essential transportation, reading to the visually impaired, visiting hospitals and nursing homes, brailing, recording talking books, offering friendship, etc.
  4. Support legislation for compliance with a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, public transportation, public services and telecommunications.

Israeli Scholars Say Biblical Burial Box Genuine

A worker of the Israel Antiquities Authority shows
a 2,000-year-old ossuary in the IAA offices
at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
Israeli scholars have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box that appears to bear the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The find offers support for the existence of the biblical Caiaphas, who appears in the New Testament as a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

The ossuary - a stone chest used to store bones - is decorated with the stylized shapes of flowers and bears an inscription with the name "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri." -- Associated Press

To read more, click here.

Jewish Lawmakers Meet in Jerusalem

More than 50 Jewish lawmakers from 22 countries discussed the political challenges of supporting Israel during a visit to Jerusalem.

The lawmakers were in Israel this week for a Consultation of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, organized by the World Jewish Congress.

The lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday in Israel's Knesset, moderated by ICJP Chairman Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY), during which they discussed the anti-Israel feelings being felt in national capitals around the world.

“The coming months will be ones of unprecedented challenge for all those looking to defend the interests of the Jewish State,” Dan Diker, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, said. “Ensuring that these lawmakers can maximize their influence to support Israel and world Jewry’s basic rights will therefore be critical in overcoming the many obstacles that we know lie ahead.”

The lawmakers met with their Israeli counterparts in the Knesset and with other public officials and visited the protest tent of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. -- JTA

European Groups Slam Dutch Shechitah ban

European Jewish groups slammed a decision by the lower house of the Dutch parliament to ban the ritual slaughter of animals.

The Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt called the ban an outrage that would prevent Jews from living a Jewish life in The Netherlands.

“We have passed the stage of arguing the nuances of intention of anti-Semitism. The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in The Netherlands. This has not happened for 70 years,” Goldschmidt said.

Under the bill passed Tuesday, animals are required to be stunned before slaughter. Both Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter must be performed while the animal is fully conscious.

"The Netherlands has thrown away centuries of liberalism, human rights, welcome and tolerance for Jews,” Goldschmidt said. “We will not rest until this discriminatory, intolerant and hateful bill is thrown out."

The upper house still must approve the measure, which is being protested by Holland’s Jewish and Muslim communities as an attack on their religious freedom. Some 40,000 Jews and about 1 million Muslims live in the country. -- JTA

To read more, click here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Family Named Gold Tries to Add Cool to a Soup That's the Color Purple

Borscht Fans Think It Can't Be Beat, but Too Few Agree; Maybe Call It a "Beet Smoothie"?

The Gold brand has added several varieties to its borscht lineup.
Gold Pure Food Products Co.
-- Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal
To read more and view accompanying video, click here.

Montreal, a Love Story

International Yiddish Theater Festival
The second International Yiddish Theater Festival, an elaborate ten-day fete whose program ranges from carnavalesque performances to academic symposia, just wrapped up last week in Montreal.  What is especially surprising about this young and very youthful celebration of what most Jews today consider the vernacular of the elderly and the Hasidim, is that Montreal is a city with a Jewish population of less than 80,000 (of whom almost 30,000 are non-Ashkenazim).  Toronto, Canada's largest city, now has a Jewish population well more than twice that of Montreal's.

The immediate explanation for the venue is that Montreal remains the only city in the world with a Yiddish theatrical company that actually owns its permanent stage.  -- Allan Nadler, Jewish Ideas Daily

To read more, click here.

Silence Lifted: The Untold Stories of Rape during the Holocaust

By the end of World War II, the Nazi regime had wiped out about two-thirds of European Jewry. During pogroms like the one pictured in the summer of 1941 in German-occupied Lvov, Ukrainian Nazi collaborators ransacked the city while abusing and murdering Jews. -- By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

WARNING: Some of the accompanying images are disturbing and may not be suitable for all audiences.

To read more and to view accompanying slide show, click here

Netanyahu Invites Questions on YouTube

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a call for people around the world to send him video questions through YouTube.

According to a release from the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu is "particularly interested" in speaking with people from the Arab world, and from those in countries undergoing the so-called "Arab Spring."

Netanyahu is happy to discuss peace talks, democracy in the Arab world "and even the Gaza flotilla," the statement said. He will post his responses to the video clips on his YouTube channel within the next few weeks.

The office said Netanyahu has received "dozens" of questions from Arab web users, and "most respondents expressed support for peace with Israel and are interested in understanding its positions regarding the 'Arab Spring' and the future of negotiations with the Palestinians." -- Madeleine Morgenstern, JTA

"Social Justice" Group of United Church Calls for Boycott of Companies

Rev. Bruce Gregerson
Notwithstanding claims of victory by Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) in bringing United Church of Canada (UCC) closer to the Israeli perspective – both in August 2009, following the church’s 40th General Council in Kelowna, and this past spring – and despite warnings issued by B’nai Brith Canada, UCC spokesperson Rev. Bruce Gregerson acknowledged that nothing has changed since two summers ago, when he stated:

“The United Church has not begun or approved a boycott at the national level. However, it has stated its encouragement and recommendation to its member bodies, that they are free to study, discern, and pray, and to undertake their own initiatives, which may include economic boycotts as a means to ending the occupation [of Palestine].” -- Atara Beck, Canadian Jewish Tribune

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interfaith Service at Washington National Cathedral Promotes Religious Tolerance

 Rabbi Amy Schwartzman shares a laugh with the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III during the service.
More than 70 houses of worship across the country also hosted events promoting interfaith respect and understanding.
As worshipers entered Washington National Cathedral for Sunday morning’s service, some crossed themselves and some took photographs, some wore ties while others wore shorts and a few even wore yarmulkes.

In the center aisle, in place of the baptismal fountain, candle-lit stands bore three books: a Bible, a Torah and a Koran. When a visitor asked a nearby usher what to do, the usher replied: “This is a totally different service than what we usually do. There’s no wrong answer.”

Instead of Communion, the service featured readings from each of the three Abrahamic faiths, part of a project to promote religious tolerance through similar interfaith services at about 70 churches nationwide. The effort aimed to counteract negative stereotypes and hostile rhetoric targeting American Muslims in the past year, notably the controversy about plans for an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York and the burning of a Koran by the Rev. Terry Jones in March in Florida. -- Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post

To read more, click here.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Could Save Teva from $350 Million in Damages

A landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court - a 5-4 vote squeaker late last week - promises broad legal protection for generic drug companies. -- -- Yoram Gabison, Haaretz

Teva’s logistics center in Shoham, Israel.
Photo by: Yuval Tebol
To read more, click here.

Airline Execs Fear Israel-Denmark Air Security Spat Will Spread across EU

A police officer with a sniffer dog checks
a passenger's suitcase at a security contro
before boarding their plane,
at the Nice-Cote d'Azur airport, in Nice, France,
May 4, 2011. Photo by: AP
 The aviation-security dispute between Israel and Denmark, which has frozen flights between the two countries, could spread to other European countries, Israeli airline executives are warning.

The dispute erupted after the Danes refused to let Israeli security agents perform independent security checks on Israeli airline flights from Copenhagen to Israel recently. The Israelis were also not allowed to carry weapons. Israeli airline executives are concerned the ban could reach Israeli carriers flying from other European destinations.
-- Zohar Blumenkrantz, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

MFA Makes Amends in Probable Plundering of Artwork Believed Stolen by Nazis

The MFAs investigation of its works with little ownership history
led to a payment for this 17th-century oil portrait.
(Museum of Fine Arts)
The Museum of Fine Arts has agreed to pay restitution to the heir of a Jewish art dealer killed at Auschwitz after determining that a 17th-century Dutch painting in its collection was once owned by him and was probably plundered by the Nazis.

With the deal, which culminates a more than decade-long investigation by the museum, the MFA remains at the leading edge of an emerging museum practice to proactively research works with little ownership history and make amends if they are found to have been acquired under questionable circumstances. Since 2004, the MFA has returned three other works seized during World War II. -- Geoff Edgers, Boston Globe

To read more, click here.

Jewish Bodies Found in Medieval Well in Norwich, England

Graphic showing the skeletons in the well.
There is evidence the children were thrown down the well after the adults
Possible case of "ethnic cleansing."

The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested. -- BBC News

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forty Fifth Anniversary of Six Day War: Remembering Yoram East, a Soldier in the Paratroopers Reserve Brigade that Liberated the Western Wall-“Har Habayit Beyadeinu"

Center of photo: Yoram Hamizrachi [East] with his reserve Paratroopers Unit
I’ve been thinking about  IDF Colonel Yoram Hamizrachi (East) who passed away in October 2010 . I ’ve been thinking of the fact that fourty five years ago this month Yoram  participated in what is one of the most historic battles of Jewish history--the capture of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War.

Yoram must have been the only Jew in our Winnipeg Jewish community to have fought in this most significant battle in East Jerusalem to liberate the Western Wall, something which it is difficult for my generation to fathom  as ever having not been under Israeli control. It was a battle that changed the course of Jewish history, the consequences of which continue to reverberate today. -- Rhonda Spivak, Winnipeg Jewish Review

To read more, click here.

Delta and Saudis Respond to Travel Questions

The Saudi Arabian embassy on Friday (June 24) denied as "completely false" reports that U.S. Jews would not be able to travel to Saudi Arabia under Delta Air Line's planned partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

U.S. Jewish groups had criticized Delta for next year's planned addition of the Saudi airline to the SkyTeam network, a 14-member Amsterdam-based global alliance of air carriers.

Some Jews and conservative activists were concerned that the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic law would prevent Jews from traveling to Saudi Arabia from the U.S., and criticized Delta for the partnership set to launch in 2012. -- Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service via Huffington Report

To read more, click here.

Israeli Envoy Backs off Pius XII Praise

An Israeli official who praised Pope Pius XII for saving Jews during World War II retreated from his comments amid a hail of criticism.

Israel's ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, said his comments were "premature."

"Given the fact that this context is still under the subject of ongoing and future research, passing my personal historical judgment on it was premature," Lewy said in a statement issued Sunday.

Two days earlier, at a ceremony honoring an Italian priest that helped save Jews from the Nazis, Lewy had said that Catholic institutions in Rome helped save Jews when the Nazis came to Rome's ghetto.

"It would be a mistake to say that the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the pope himself opposed actions to save the Jews," he said. "To the contrary, the opposite is true."

Controversy over Pius' role during the Holocaust has long strained Catholic-Jewish relations. Critics accuse Pius of having ignored Jewish suffering during the Holocaust and have called on the Vatican to open its secret archives to clarify the matter. The Vatican and other supporters say Pius worked behind the scenes to save Jews during the Holocaust.

The current pope, Benedict XVI, has angered many Jews by formally moving Pius closer to sainthood.

Lewy's statements upset Holocaust survivors.

"Holocaust survivors are disappointed and disturbed by Ambassador Lewy's historically unsustainable comments," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement. "For any ambassador to make such specious comments is morally wrong. For the Israeli envoy to do so is particularly hurtful to Holocaust survivors who suffered grievously because of Pius' silence." -- JTA

Bill on Humane Slaughter Yields New Front for Muslim Tensions

Muslim and Jewish butchers, like at the Marcus kosher shop in Amsterdam, will have to import meat if a pending bill is passed.
Herman Wouters for The New York Times
The Dutch Parliament will vote Tuesday on a bill that, if enacted, will effectively require even Jewish and Muslim butchers to stun animals — mechanically, electrically or with gas — before they are slaughtered, eliminating an exception in current law.

A tiny animal rights party, which has two seats in Parliament, proposed the bill, arguing that failing to stun the animals before slaughter subjects them to unnecessary pain.

The debate over the bill has divided the Dutch. Because the bill would mainly affect Muslims, of whom there are about 1.2 million in a Dutch population of about 16 million, compared with a Jewish population of 50,000, the debate has become a focus of Dutch animosity toward Muslims.

Surveys have shown that more than 60 percent of people questioned said they supported the bill. Virtually all the parties in Parliament’s lower house are expected to vote for it, after which it will go to the upper house for approval. Only Christian democratic parties have opposed the bill, not on animal rights grounds, but in defense of religious freedom....

 Last week, Jews and Muslims wrung a concession out of lawmakers when the lower house agreed to an amendment. If religious organizations can show that their method of slaughter causes no more pain than industrial slaughtering, they will obtain a license for five years.

Mr. Eisenmann mocks the provision. “Since there is no number for pain and suffering in industrial slaughterhouses, how can you prove you have less?” he said. “It throws overboard freedom of religion.”

Other Jewish experts agree. “This is not about animal rights,” said Joe M. Regenstein, a professor of food science who runs a kosher and halal food program at Cornell University. “It’s an invitation to Jews and Muslims to leave.”

Well-practiced kosher slaughter, he said by telephone, can be as humane as the most advanced nonreligious methods. -- John Tagliabue, NY Times

To read more, click here.

Australian Jewish Leaders Decry Backing for Shechitah Ban

Australian Jewish leaders have reacted angrily to the growing support for a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on kashrut, chastised proponents of a ban on shechitah, which was triggered by a May 30 investigative documentary into animal slaughter.

“When there is an attempt to ban kosher slaughter, it is for either one of two reasons,” Gutnick told The Australian newspaper. “The first reason is out of ignorance, or the second reason is simply anti-Semitism.”

The public outcry -- backed by animal welfare groups, Greens, independent lawmakers and some Labor backbenchers -- prompted the government to suspend the $320 million-a-year live cattle exports to Indonesia earlier this month.

On Sunday, Melbourne’s The Sunday Age newspaper carried a front-page article titled “Outrage grows on ritual killing” as well as an editorial, which concluded that “There are any number of religious and cultural practices, ranging from sharia law to genital mutilation, that are rejected in Australia. Slaughter without stunning should be one of them.”

In response, Danny Lamm, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, issued a detailed rebuttal Monday, dismissing 10 myths about shechitah.

“Jewish law does not permit pre-stunning and requires that the animal must not be injured or mistreated in any way before it is slaughtered,” he wrote.

Last year, New Zealand tried to follow Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in banning shechitah, but the government backed down after the Jewish community launched legal action. -- JTA

Monday, June 27, 2011

Daughters for Life Fund Transcends Tragedy

 Turning personal heartbreak into a positive force, a Gazan doctor starts a fund to further female scholarship in the Mideast, including Israel.

At the inaugural Daughters for Life scholarship presentation
at Ben-Gurion University are,
from left, Safa Abu Hani, Prof. Rivka Carmi, Amalya Ze’evi and Ma’ayan Givoni.
As John Lennon put it, everyone's saying "give peace a chance." But in reality, people in the mixed-up, shook-up, desperately fed-up Middle East know that brokering peace can only be done through human, individual connections.

This is the way a Palestinian doctor and grieving father is giving peace a chance, through a new scholarship fund for Middle East college education, including in Israel. During the Israeli-Gaza war in 2009, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a peace-promoting obstetrician working in Israel, was in his Gaza home when a shell landed on the house killing three of his daughters -- Bessan, Mayar and Aya.

The news had people on both sides of the conflict in anguish, because everyone who knew Abuelaish knew that he wasn't only talking about peace. He was already doing something about it, through his work in medicine.

Now living and teaching public health in Toronto, Abuelaish has created a new scholarship in memory of his children, the Daughters for Life Foundation. Launched following the publication of his book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey, the fund is targeted at young women of any background. The foundation also works toward evaluating leadership programs on health and education in the Middle East.-- Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Op Ed: Don’t Boycott America

Yigal Sarna
Boycotting Fourth of July party to protest Pollard incarceration a foolish, crazy idea

I’m so upset over the foolish idea of boycotting the Fourth of July party at the US ambassador’s home that I feel like writing: Great. Don’t go to the ambassador’s house. Throw eggs at his window. Sever any diplomatic ties. Let’s count on our rotten friend, Russia, while declaring a holy war on the American kingdom of injustice.

After all, we possess an impressive arsenal of bombs and missiles. Most of it is American, of course, and it all just lies there quietly. Why don’t we take out our anger at them? We’ll fire everything we’ve got on New York, Washington, Baltimore and San Francisco. We’ll use all our armaments against our queen, defender, and great ally. Let’s go, to the abyss.

There’s nothing new about it. Back in 1959 already there was a movie called The Mouse That Roared, where Peter Sellers declared war on the American archenemy on behalf of the tiny Duchy of Grand Fenwick. It’s an old scenario, and we have an ancient and glorious tradition of fighting wars against giant empires such as Greece and Rome.

These are battles that we celebrate every year as victories over evil, with heroes like Bar Kokhba Judah the Maccabi and Rabbi Akiva; Pyrrhic victories that brought destruction upon us for generations. So why don’t we continue on the same path and listen to all sorts of new Bar Kokhbas and do battle with those who grant us their patronage and protection? -- Yigal Sarna, Ynetnews

To read more, click here.

Passionate about Jew-Hate

Germany's Left Party hard on Israel, remains silent on real human rights abusers

Germany's Left party not fond of Israel Photo: AP
Germany’s Left Party passed a resolution earlier this month barring the party’s parliamentary representatives and employees from participating in the upcoming flotilla to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, which remains under the control of the terrorist organization Hamas. Despite the resolution - which also calls for an end to boycotts of Israeli products and demands for the dissolution of the Jewish state - the Left Party remains in denial about anti-Semitism in its ranks.

According to a German study, “Anti-Semites as a Coalition Partner” released last month, “A power has established itself within the parliamentary spectrum of the Left Party, which tolerates anti-Semitic positions.” --Benjamin Weinthal, YNewsnet

To read more, click here.

Royal Wedding

Blumi Lazar’s nuptials—she’s the daughter of Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia—attracted 1,500 people to one of Moscow’s biggest parks, a scene that was unimaginable just 20 years ago.

The Lazar-Rosenfeld wedding. Photo by Israel Bardugo
Blumi Lazar’s wedding was not an intimate affair. A thick white dek tichel completely covering her face, Blumi stood under a massive raised chuppah of indigo velvet and gold fringe, swaying ever so slightly next to her groom, Isaac Rosenfeld, before some 1,500 invited guests. Among the sea of black hats and sheitels gathered in Moscow last week were Jews of all stripes: Israeli expats, American expats, wealthy Jews, less-wealthy Jews, secular Jews, half-Jews, Jews who had never left Moscow, and Jews, like me, who had left and come back. There were even non-Jews. And they were all there because Blumi Lazar’s father, Berel Lazar, is the chief rabbi of the Russian Federation, and because right up until the minute before Blumi was born, just a week shy of 20 years ago, such a gathering—a cruise-ship-sized celebration of a religious Jewish wedding in a park that was once the czar’s falconry grounds—would have been impossible. -- Julia Ioffe, Tablet

To read more, click here.

NBC Unveils "Who's Still Standing" Promo

NBC's 'Who's Still Standing?' Photo: NBC

US network airs promo of trivia game show based on Israeli Channel 10 format with one big difference: Cash prize of up to $1,000,000

Eran Bar-On, Ynetnews

To read more, click here.

To see promo, click here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

E.M. Broner, Feminist Pioneer and Professor, Dies At 83

Novelist and playwright Esther Broner is perhaps best known
in the Jewish world as the author of The Women's Haggadah.
Esther Broner, an author, college professor and pioneer Jewish feminist, died June 21 in Manhattan of multiple organ failure caused by an infection. She was 83.

Ms. Broner was best known for her role in establishing a women’s perspective on Passover rituals, writing “The Women’s Haggadah” with Naomi Nimrod in 1977 (the text was first published in Ms. Magazine) and running the first women’s seder in 1976 in her Manhattan apartment (similar feminist seders have subsequently grown to be held by a wide variety of sponsoring organizations around the country).

The author of ten books, including “A Weave of Women,” a novel about 15 women in male-dominated Jerusalem four decades ago, and “The Telling,” the story of the development of the women’ seder, she also taught English at Sarah Lawrence College and several other universities.

Several Jewish feminists said she brought a strong Jewish sensibility to a largely secular Jewish feminist movement.

Ms. Broner “brought the comfort of ritual into our lives, with poetry, humor, feathers too, and wands,” Gloria Steinem, a founder of Ms., said at Ms. Broner’s funeral at Plaza Memorial Chapel in Manhattan.

“She was a holy trouble-maker  … a remarkable blend of the spiritual and political, the dreamer and the do-er,” said Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a fellow Jewish feminist. “She railed against injustice because she’d experienced it in the form of sexism in academia, the publishing world, traditional Judaism, and the organized Jewish community.” -- The Jewish Week

To read more, click here.

Is Volunteering Jewish?

JCorps organizes 5,000 young Jews each year
to volunteer in cities around the world.
Study finds that young Jews prefer local, secular causes; just 1 percent focus on Israel.

While the majority of young Jewish adults volunteer, few see community service as an extension of their Jewish values. Most Jews ages 18 to 35 said that they shy away from volunteering with Jewish organizations because they view them as parochial and only serving the needs of the Jewish community.

nd, further evidence of the distancing of young Jews when it comes to Israel, only 1 percent of respondents said that Israel was the primary focus of their volunteer work.

These were the key findings of a groundbreaking study — the first of its kind to study the attitudes and behaviors of young Jewish adults when it comes to volunteering. “Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults” was commissioned by Repair the World, a national organization that aims to make service a defining element of Jewish life, and conducted jointly by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and Gerstein Agne Strategic Communications. -- Tamar Snyder, NY Jewish Week

To read more, click here.

Jewish Gaucho Tradition Fades in Argentina

The once vibrant Jewish gaucho tradition is slowly fading away in Argentina.
Through the years, they’ve seen Jewish schools and synagogues close and said tearful goodbyes to the young who migrated to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.

But in hamlets with names like Sajaroff and Sonnenfeld, a tight-knit community of Jewish elders, some in their late 80s, fights to hold back time. On Argentina’s endless plains, only a few Jewish cowboys still ride. Synagogues once filled with pious congregants now stand forlorn on the edge of soybean fields.

Yet the collective memory of Jewish leaders here — of the stories their grandparents told of arriving in this remote land to build a vibrant Jewish enclave — remains fresh. And the ones who feel the links to the past deep in their bones, as Jaime Jruz, 65, passionately puts it, say they owe a debt to their ancestors to keep the old traditions alive.-- Juan Forero, Washington Post

To read more and view the accompanying slide show, click here.

American Terror Victim Files Suit in N.Y. Court to Sink Gaza Flotilla

An American victim of a Palestinian terror attack today filed an unprecedented lawsuit to seize ships used by Islamic and anti-Israeli organizations to breach Israel's coastal blockade of the Gaza Strip. 

The suit, Bauer v. The Mavi Marmara, was filed in Manhattan federal court. It seeks to confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israel groups, including The Free Gaza Movement ("FGM"). In May 2010, several of these ships, led by the Turkish vessel the Mavi Marmara, attempted to breach the blockade. The resulting violence caused the deaths of nine militants and injury to numerous Israeli Navy SEALs. A second such flotilla is planned in coming weeks.

The plaintiff, American biologist, Dr. Alan Bauer, who along with his son Jonathan was seriously injured in a Palestinian suicide bombing on March 21, 2002 in Jerusalem, alleges that FGM and other American-based anti-Israel organizations have raised funds in the United States to outfit the Gaza Flotilla ships. The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a U.S. ally, violates American law. The plaintiff rests his claim upon a rarely-utilized "informant" statute (18 U.S.C. section 962) that allows a plaintiff (called an "informer") to privately seize ships outfitted in the United States for use against a U.S. ally. -- Suzanne Balaban, PRNewswire-USNewswire

To read more, click here.