NewsBits: The Jewish Web

The following are items appearing on other Web sites of interest to our world of Jewish philanthropy.

A correction:

Could the economic downturn kill Jewish innovation?

We first brought this link from the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle to you on October 8th. Since then we have been informed of an error in the story. Particularly since it deals with innovation and new funding in our community, we thought it important to update the story.

From the article: “There may even be hope for those looking to start nonprofits, as the Joshua Venture — the incubator that helped launch this movement, but then went on hiatus in 2006 — has announced on its Web site that it is now seeking new applicants.”

We received an email from Yoni Gordis, of the Center for Leadership Initiatives (one of the foundations taking part in the re-launch effort), indicating that the Joshua Venture has not yet started to accept fellowship applications and there is no announcement on the website indicating they are.

eJewish Philanthropy will keep you up-to-date when the search process begins.

both from the Jerusalem Post:

Wall Street: Atonement, A-list-style

REPENTANCE has been a central feature of this crisis, not just for bankers whose bets went sour, but for all those who were suddenly forced to contend with the fact that they had been living on borrowed money, whether in the form of home-equity lines based on inflated property values, or sky-high credit-card limits.

And the crisis has had an inescapably Jewish cast – both because so many of the people involved are Jews, and because the vagaries of the High Holidays calendar put it front and center.

‘Good greed’ exists only in our imagination

For months I have been resisting the urge to write about the financial crisis and subsequently the bailout plan. While I am an economist by profession, this column is not about economics and this is not the place for me to give my opinion on what’s wrong with the US financial system and what fix, if any, is needed. This column is about the ethics of economics, and that angle did not present itself prominently.

the following are from The New York Jewish Week:

UJA-Federation Prepared to Tap Reserves

As a global recession looked increasingly likely this week, officials at UJA-Federation of New York said they were prepared to dip into their reserves to help sustain vital services here for those in need. “The reserves will be available during acute crises, whether to rescue Jews globally or to assure that those in our community can live in dignity,” said John Ruskay, the organization’s executive vice president and CEO.

Financial Aid Requests On The Rise

Until last month, the Ramaz School had plans to build a 355-foot mixed-use tower with 18 floors of luxury condominiums atop a newly built Lower School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a project with a lofty budget of $60 million. But at the end of September, as the real estate and stock markets plummeted and the government proposed a $700 billion bailout of the financial system, Ramaz quietly cancelled its building plans, choosing instead to modestly renovate its existing building. “In the current economic situation, even if we were successful in raising the funds for a building … it would not be appropriate for these economic times,” Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, senior rabbi at Ramaz, told The Jewish Week.

Suffering on Jewish Main Street

Away from Wall Street, on the country’s Main Street, the businesses that are juggling tight credit and decreased income are also suffering. Nationwide, consumer spending is down, reflecting a lack of confidence in a short-term recovery.

On one local Jewish Main Street — in this case, a half-mile-long stretch along Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, a Queens neighborhood with a major Orthodox Jewish population — the signs of recession were evident last Friday morning.

updated 13 October:

from Haaretz:

N.Y. synagogues feel holiday pinch as financial crisis wears on congregants

“I did not need to ask for quiet during the long Musaf service on Yom Kippur,” the rabbi of a large Reform synagogue in Manhattan said yesterday. “The worshipers sat withdrawn inside themselves and they looked contemplative and worried.”