University Under Siege

Prof. Rivka Carmi visits the camp for children of university employees during operation "Protective Edge" Photograph © Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (via Facebook).

by David Newman The emergency recruitment of over 50,000 reservists has disrupted the lives of many Israelis. Beyond the personal tragedies of the wounded and the dead, three groups in particular have been affected. The self-employed businessmen and shop owners who have nobody to fill their place while they are on reserve duty; the parents, especially mothers, of small children in the south of the country, whose summer camp and kindergarten activities have been stopped; and the tens of thousands of students who were in the middle of their end-of-year examinations as they were called up. … [Read more...]

Planning a Conference? Add a Lactation Room to Your Checklist

lactation room symbol

by Tamar Snyder This week, my baby boy is celebrating his first birthday. And I’m celebrating a milestone of my own - the fact that I no longer need to lug around a heavy breast pump with me wherever I go. I am grateful to my employer for providing me with a private space to pump and the flexibility to do so when I needed to. However, finding similar accommodations while attending conferences or in the airport when traveling for business were far more difficult. One bright spot was at Slingshot Day, the annual gathering of the stakeholders of Jewish innovation, which took place in May. Slingshot designated a guest room on the third floor of the Brooklyn Marriott (where the conference was taking place) as a de facto lactation room. This offered at least three attendees (there may have been … [Read more...]

Light in Times of Darkness

by Lynn Schusterman As I sit on my balcony in Jerusalem, looking out over the “city of peace” just before the start of Shabbat, I am filled with both pain and hope - the pain of witnessing yet another senseless conflict and the hope for a better future I take from the acts of humanity and solidarity of the remarkably resilient people I see all around me. Like everyone here, I have been following the news closely, wishing that Israel was not called upon to defend itself once again and that families were not forced to mourn their children. And yet, even in these trying times, I am determined to focus on helping others find the rays of inspiration and caring that will shine light in the darkness. I find hope in the stories of families, struck by incomprehensible tragedy, buoyed by the … [Read more...]

Why Michael Bloomberg is a Powerful Friend of Israel


by Jill W. Smith The world is filled with politicians. There are few leaders among them. Politicians pander. Leaders take stands, often unpopular and consequently, courageous. Michael Bloomberg is not a politician. He is a leader. At a time when Israel is facing what is deemed by many as an existential threat from not only Hamas, but from the reprobation of too many in the international community, Michael Bloomberg stands with Israel. But for those who know the measure of this man, it comes as no surprise that he does not just stand with Israel in words, but demonstrates his stance with action. Bloomberg had a swift and clear reaction to the FAA decision to halt flights from the U.S. to Israel: Ben Gurion Airport is safe and I will fly there on Israel’s national airline El Al to demonstrate … [Read more...]

Why Was the JCC Global Budapest Conference Different Than Any Other?

JCC Global Budapest 2014

by Smadar Bar-Akiva The simple answer: Because JCCs, perhaps more than any other institution, have members ... Jews who are a natural constituency for the work we do and whose lives are changed by their involvement in our work. Therefore, when we recruited the senior leadership of 27 JCCs from 12 countries - Canada, England, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela - serving more than 300,000 Jews annually and managing a total budget of close to $200,000,000 - we knew that the potential for impact was enormous. A month ago, JCC Global (formerly known as the World Confederation Jewish Community Centers) brought together almost 100 Executives Directors, Presidents, Senior Lay Leaders, Board Members and representatives of JCC regional networks - CDI, … [Read more...]

Israel, War and The Diaspora

How should Jews in the Diaspora (those who themselves are not under threat, as in some cities in Europe) respond to Israel’s needs, and what specific activities should they engage in? by Stephen G. Donshik This time, just like every time there is an armed conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors or the indigenous Palestinian community, there has been a strong response from Jewish communities around the world. In some cases, as in a number of European cities during the last two weeks, the Jewish community is being forced to defend itself. We have witnessed stronger displays of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel behavior than we have seen in years. There is a thin line between anti-Semitism and the anti-Israel sentiments expressed by Moslem citizens and Arab and Palestinian expatriates … [Read more...]

Middle East Wars: Historical Realities and Political Perspectives

by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. Borne out of the events of history we are living today with a series of unresolved conflicts within the Middle East. Indeed, the Gaza battlefront unfolding at this hour has some distinctive and disturbing features. This will mark the first time that the Palestinian-Israel conflict has a second front. Indeed, Hamas’ battle with the Jewish State is being fought on the streets of Paris, Los Angeles and elsewhere across the Western world. There has been a concerted effort on the part of some Islamic factions to extend this war to the neighborhoods and streets of Europe, and even America, as a way to intimidate Jewish communities. Fists, sticks and death threats are the weapons of choice being introduced within the pubic square. While unable to win the battle on the … [Read more...]

A World of Expanding Knowledge and Know-How

by Chip Edelsberg This month’s reflection is different than most. It is more indicative of my personal beliefs and less a description of any specific Jim Joseph Foundation Board-sanctioned grantmaking strategy. My thoughts derive from observations and insights I want to share following two weeks of travel. During this time, I had the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day world of Jewish philanthropy and Jewish communal life. While away from the all-consuming flow of information that typifies the typical work day at the Foundation, it struck me how essential it is for the Jim Joseph Foundation to continue to endeavor to bring multiple perspectives of expertise to bear on all the Foundation’s philanthropy. I begin with the obvious by noting that new areas of academic and interdisciplinary … [Read more...]