Keshet Announces Honorees for Landres Courage for Dignity Award

Two steadfast advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights - each of whom traveled different paths to become vocal and effective activists for dignity and inclusion - have been named the recipients of Keshet’s Landres Courage for Dignity Award. Rabbi Tsipora Gabai, Director of Judaic Studies at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito, CA and Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), will be honored with the Landres Courage for Dignity Award at Keshet’s December gala, Glimmer, in San Francisco. Keshet is the nation’s largest organization working for LGBT equality and inclusion in Jewish life. Former Keshet Board member Shawn Landres created the award to recognize individuals who display public courage as allies to support the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, … [Read more...]

Antisemitism on North American College Campuses: Perceptions and Realities

Participants of the Anti-Defamation League’s Manhigim Institute  painting at pro Israel wall at UCSD during it’s annual  “Israel Solidarity Week” UCSD during it’s annual  “Israel Solidarity Week”/”Justice in Palestine Week." Photo courtesy ADL.

In the wake of the Israel-Hamas war in summer 2014, US and Canadian college campuses were the settings for many anti-Israel activities, including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. This according to a new report, "Antisemitism on the college campus: Perceptions and Realities," from the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. The report  has two aims: first, to understand the extent of hostility toward Israel and antisemitism on North American campuses and second, to assess the relationship between these trends and Jewish students’ support for and connection to Israel. The study, conducted in spring 2015, draws on a survey of US and Canadian college students and young adults who applied to Taglit-Birthright Israel. Key findings: More than one-quarter of undergraduate … [Read more...]

200+ Immigrants from France Arrive in Israel

Photo: Jeremy Fournée for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

More than 200 French Jews, half of whom are children, arrived in Israel this morning aboard a special Aliyah flight organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. Despite the plane's arrival in the wee hours of the morning, the immigrants were warmly received at a festive welcome event at Ben-Gurion International Airport. According to data compiled by theAgency and the Ministry, some 4,260 immigrants from France have arrived in Israel so far this year, an 11% increase compared to the 3,830 who came during the equivalent period in 2014. … [Read more...]

Special Report: In Many Communities, Sense of Crisis Surrounds Connection to Israel

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“A sense of crisis has emerged in many Jewish communities regarding their relationships with Israel, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to discuss Israel because of the bitter political disputes these discussions spark.” Shmuel Rosner, one of the study's authors A special report of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), based on a comprehensive dialogue process with Jewish communities throughout the world, found that Diaspora Jews widely agree that Israel operates ethically in wartime, and is careful to uphold its values even in the most difficult battlefield circumstances. The report also notes that world Jewry, similar to Israeli Jewry, is overwhelmingly certain (over 90%) that Israel receives an exaggerated amount of unfair criticism from the international community. … [Read more...]

70 American Teachers Arrive to Work with Underprivileged Israeli Kids

The 2015 TALMA teachers gather after landing in Israel.

Seventy young teachers from across North America are working with 2,500 underprivileged Israeli elementary school students to boost the students’ English skills. Meanwhile, the visiting teachers are getting a rare look behind the headlines of Israeli life. It’s all part of a novel immersive educational experience called TALMA, which provides under-privileged Israeli children in the periphery and in some urban areas with a three-week supplemental summer English program. TALMA aims to improve the students’ English-language skills, reduce those with learning gaps and significantly enhance those with outstanding English skills. TALMA also aims to boost the students’ confidence with English and increase their chances of entering university. TALMA is a national program operated in partnership with … [Read more...]

UJA-Federation NY Raises $207 million

UJA-Federation of New York raised a total of $207.8 million this year, an increase of $21.8 million over last year. The annual campaign, which concluded on June 30th, raised $150.8 million, an increase of $3.9 million over 2014. $33.9 million came through planned giving and endowments and $23.1 million was raised for capital projects and special initiatives. The special-initiative effort includes primarily funds raised for the Israel Emergency Campaign and funds for UJA-Federation’s Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors (CIHS) raised through the Defiant Requiem benefit concert. CIHS funds critical services such as case management, mental-health care, socialization opportunities, and end-of-life care to help survivors live with independence, comfort, and dignity. UJA-Federation’s annual … [Read more...]

AVI CHAI Releases Latest Spenddown Report

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The AVI CHAI Foundation has released the latest report by Professor Joel Fleishman documenting the Foundation’s spend down. An excerpt: "With little more than five years remaining in its intended life, The AVI CHAI Foundation devoted much of its attention and energy in 2014 to improving the likelihood that its grantees and their most significant projects and programs will survive the Foundation’s sunset. Although some latitude remained for starting new initiatives in North America and Israel, the budgets for the two geographic programs had largely been set for the remaining years, so that new efforts would have to fit within those limits... Any new efforts must also take root relatively quickly, given that they, too, will soon face the challenge of carrying on without AVI CHAI support. The … [Read more...]

First-of-a-kind Symposium on Tefilah in Jewish Day Schools

A first-of-a-kind symposium is underway focusing on tefilah in Jewish day schools. "Aleinu Leshabe’ach," organized by the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators, has brought together 17 tefilah facilitators, across all grades, from Orthodox, Conservative and Community day schools, to spend six days exploring the challenges and new possibilities for tefilah education. Participants will bring to the symposium best practices from the field, including classical texts, storytelling, music, film, use of the outdoors, meditation and student engagement. Guest presenters, who include expert thinkers and practitioners of prayer and spirituality in education, will address areas of stages of faith development, teaching prayer, cultivating spirituality and making organizational change in schools. The … [Read more...]