The Tzeva Adom Song: Helping Children Deal with Terror

[Back during Operation Cast Lead, I had the opportunity to travel with a FLIGHT mission around Israel's South. The following post was originally published on January 23, 2009. The YouTube video was not available at the time.] The UJC's Breakthrough Solidarity Mission continued Tuesday morning with a visit to Sderot. Driving through town, the first thing one notices is the extensive use of concrete reinforcement. Whether it is the small sheltered stations on almost every corner (especially where no underground shelters exist) or the concrete roof built over an outdoor basketball court, one cannot escape being aware of the continuing threat to residents and visitors. Something CNN, who was camped out near the police station, didn't seem to be processing. Our first stop was a kindergarten … [Read more...]

The Sound of Laughter in Sderot

JNF Sderot playground

[With continuous stories of life in Israel's South, we look at a one-of-a-kind indoor recreation center built in Sderot - providing Sderot's youth with a place to have fun, connect with friends, enjoy stimulating classes, and be children, beyond the conflict. This post originally appeared in eJP on March 11, 2009.] Children playing; enjoying themselves; laughing. We take it for granted. But for the past eight years, this scene has been in short supply in Sderot. That changed yesterday - appropriately on Purim. For (according to JNF's CEO Russell Robinson) “the biggest and most important gift that could possibly be given to the children of Sderot and the entire region” a new $5 million indoor recreational facility, was dedicated by JNF-US in a particularly moving ceremony. Like many … [Read more...]

Jewish Life Takes to the Streets at Hungary’s Celebrated Judafest

Judafest 2014

An outdoor street festival with over 9000 visitors. Art projects for children and senior citizens. A musical performance by a choir composed solely of Holocaust survivors. Kitschy jewelery, books, Judaica, organizational tables, kosher food and more. And a "fun run." It could have been almost anywhere. But it wasn't. It was in Budapest - a city where many would not have expected such a public celebration - in a country where some say Jewish life is mostly finished. Yet on a recent humid Sunday, with the sun shining bright, Kazinczy Street in the historic Jewish quarter - dubbed the Street of Culture (a Kultúra utcája) - came alive as thousands joined together to celebrate the richness of Jewish life that exists in Hungary today. The photos say it all. Judafest is the … [Read more...]

The Jewish Agency Appears Marginalized in Aliyah

The Jerusalem Post has obtained a draft copy of the proposed new aliyah initiative. This according to a just published article in the paper. The draft appears to confirm a number of items previously published in the media, organizational denials non-withstanding, including: The establishment of a new corporation to be owned jointly by the four “national institutions, ” Keren Hayesod, KKL-JNF, The Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. The initiative would initially be funded by a grant from KKL-JNF for 100 million shekel. But the bombshell, now clearly spelled out by the JPost article, is: "Under the plan, the Ministry of Aliya and Immigrant Absorption would [have] four seats on an eight person steering committee that would oversee the new corporation. The Director General of the … [Read more...]

Gov’t Establishes Independent Company for European Aliyah

In an unprecedented move, the Government of Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have established an independent company to encourage aliyah from Europe. The company will initially be funded with NIS 100 million. According to YNet, "After 66 years in which the issue of immigration was handled by the Jewish Agency and other bodies, the government decided to take matters into its own hands and establish an independent company to encourage aliyah. The company will not have the same restrictions applied to government-owned corporations, and it will be able to operate freely in European countries. The company will include representatives from various national institutions (KKL-JNF, the Jewish Agency and the [World] Zionist Organization) and will be subject to terms set forth … [Read more...]

Hadassah’s Condescending Message

Here in Israel, not a day goes by without disturbing new reports in the Israeli media concerning the operation of Hadassah Hospital. As an example, just this morning, in the print edition of Haaretz, in a news article titled, "Palestinian medical residents at Hadassah got no pay last month" we learn that where Hadassah employees have now received their full January pay (they had previously received half), "20 medical residents from the Palestinian Authority have not been paid at all and don't know whether they'll get paid now that the hospital was granted a stay of proceedings. "The residents claim "no one had told us anything ... We're afraid the January salary may just be erased." The residents are not considered regular staff members and do not receive base salaries - only being paid for extra … [Read more...]