MediaWatch: Around Our World

Stories making news in our Jewish world; datelines Boston, Los Angeles, London, New York and Jerusalem:

from the Jewish Advocate:

Economy and intermarriage worry Zionist organizations

Leaders debate assimilation’s effect on funding for Israel

Rising inflation and an unstable stock market have affected nonprofit organizations across the country, including pro-Israel groups. But the floundering U.S. economy is not the only threat to maintaining the American Jewish community’s support for the Jewish State. Intermarriage and assimilation may also play a significant role, according to leaders in the American Zionist community.

from the L.A. Jewish Journal:

Economic turmoil puts pressure on Jewish community

These are tough times for all Americans. The drama working its way through the economy — surging gas and food prices, crises in the housing and financial markets, climbing unemployment rates and a dismal overall outlook — has been written into the American Jewish story, too…

The scariest reality for many organizations is how unclear the future remains. So far, many charities report that fundraising is on pace with last year, but at the same time, officials admit the situation could go south in a hurry if the economy doesn’t improve. The demand for resources continues to climb each month for many, but social service organizations’ financial health won’t be fully known until donors write their final checks for 2008.

from the London Jewish Chronicle:

JCC abandons plans for its new building

Plans for the first American-style Jewish community centre in the heart of London have been shelved, a decision blamed by its backers on the worsening economic climate.

The board of the Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC) has announced it is putting on hold a scheme to develop an 80,000-square-foot former car showroom in Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, bought just over a year-and-a-half ago.

from the New Jersey Jewish Standard:

Not just for our children

When Birthright Israel announced its “Let my parents go” project earlier this year, it captured the public imagination. Having program alumni nominate their parents for a free trip to Israel and lobby for their selection seemed like good fun…

But now that the contest-winning parents are actually in Israel, duplicating their children’s itineraries, the very real benefits of the program have come into sharper relief.

from the Wall Street Journal:

Giving Trees

In charity as in politics, name recognition goes a long way. This is good for the Jewish National Fund, which is known to generations of American Jews for planting trees in Israel. Unfortunately, the fund’s average donor is now about 65 years old: The name may be fading.

from the Jerusalem Post:

The return of Jewish Peoplehood

The term “peoplehood” may seem outdated to many. Many younger Western Jews would deem this term archaic, irrelevant to their concept of Judaism. We are constantly bombarded with messages – conscious and subconscious – that being Jewish is just like being Christian, Muslim or of any other religion.

To follow a religion, one must adhere. But one who is part of a people can belong. “To belong” sits uncomfortably with the many Western Jews who hold a pantheon of identities in which being Jewish is merely an addendum to more important national, ethical and social ties.

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