NewsBits: Odds and Ends

from the Jerusalem Post:

Analysis: Why Nefesh B’Nefesh changes everything

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: mass American aliya is unlikely in the near term.

However you count American Jewry – serious counts place the number at anywhere from 4.2 million to as many as 7.4 million – there is no doubt that an average aliya of 3,000 per year is insignificant in national or strategic terms.

The private aliya organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, which last week brought 238 olim to Israel from North America, hopes this aliya will rise above 4,000 for 2009, a figure it says will be driven by the economic recession in the US. But even then, aliya will count for less than 0.1 percent of the smallest estimate of American Jewry.

Nefesh B’Nefesh disputes these conclusions.

from New Jersey Jewish Standard:

Berrie Fellows make BIG grants to foster Jewish future

The northern New Jersey Jewish community received a boost last month when the 43 members of the Berrie Fellows Network distributed $100,000 in grant money to four organizations for programs to further Jewish continuity.

With more than 100 applicants from around the tri-state area and Israel, the fellows had to think hard about how to distribute the funds. They created a set of criteria, focusing specifically on innovation and applicants’ abilities to execute their projects.


Tightening the belt: Synagogues feel the pain of the recession

Since the economy slipped into what is now the longest-lasting recession in decades, Bay Area synagogues have reported declines in income.

“Everyone’s had to do more on less,” [Rabbi Micah] Hyman says. “That forces us to make sure that each program we do serves the fullest needs of the community. Now is not the time to bring in an experimental jazz quartet or have a sacred space symposium. Those kinds of things have to be delayed.”