WUJS Arad, Still Making News

NJ friends of Israeli town lament decision to relocate WUJS.

For 40 years, post-college students from abroad with interests in the arts, Hebrew, and Jewish learning would gather in the desert town of Arad. The World Union of Jewish Students, or WUJS, program regarded the relatively remote town as a sort of “Israel laboratory” that would allow young people to study Israeli society in an intimate, distraction-free setting. Starting this fall, however, WUJS, now run by Hadassah, will move the program to central Israel. And according to supporters of Arad, including New Jersey participants in the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 program, the move is a major loss to the Negev development town.

Central New Jersey Jewish federation executive vice president Stanley Stone, who lobbied to prevent WUJS’ departure and the absorption center’s closing, said losing both was a “psychological blow to the morale of Arad and the entire Negev region.”

Stone said he was willing to raise funds to keep WUJS in Arad, but WUJS (Israel) and Hadassah decided to leave nonetheless.

Read the complete story along with more PR spin from Hadassah to “justify” this move. eJP understands that not only was there a specific commitment from Arad’s Partnership 2000 communities, but up until the very last minute, local Federation leaders had promises from the most senior leaders in Hadassah the program would remain in Arad.

For an organization that excels in so much, their belated PR approach (at least coming from their Jerusalem office) is so very lame.