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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Federation’

UJA-Federation NY Campaign Nets 6 Percent Rise to $145.3 million

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The UJA-Federation of New York raised $145.3 million in its annual campaign that ended June 30,  exceeding last year’s total by $8.6 million.

Adding bequests and endowments, $6.7 million raised for superstorm Sandy relief, and capital and special gifts, the federation brought in a total of $206.5 million.

“This has been an extraordinary year of both challenge and opportunity, with Hurricane Sandy hitting us at home and the attacks on Israel,” said John Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of UJA-Federation. “These campaign results reflect the recognition of the essential role of UJA-Federation in caring for New Yorkers in need, supporting the people of Israel, and strengthening Jewish communities around the world.”

UJA helps funds 100 beneficiary agencies, as well as dozens of other grantees and grass-roots organizations in New York and Israel, as well as more than 70 countries.

Butter Lovers, Rejoice – Hebrew U Study Shows High-Fat Could Lower Weight

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Lovers of butter, rejoice – eating a high-fat diet on a schedule may keep you svelter than eating a low-fat diet at random intervals, according to a researcher at Hebrew University.

Professor Oren Froy of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment department posits that regularly scheduling meals regulates metabolism and reduces weight gain.

The results were published in the academic journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Mice fed a high-fat diet on a fixed schedule for 18 weeks gained less weight than counterparts fed either a low-fat diet on a fixed schedule, a low-fat diet on no schedule, and a high-fat diet on no schedule.

Additionally, the high-fat eaters seemed to metabolize what they ate better, rather than storing the fat in their bodies.

According to Froy, the findings reveal the importance of timing food consumption as a way of preventing obesity.

US Jewish Federations to Drop ‘Zionism’ from their Global Plans

Friday, July 27th, 2012

See an update at the end of this report.

In what has been described as “a closeted and cowardly move,” the Jewish Federations of North America last week rejected the inclusion of the term “Zionism” in a major system-wide planning document.

The JFNA’s Global Planning Table is the mechanism by which JFNA and Federation leadership come together to determine the allocation of dollars for new Federation initiatives outside of the United States.  The Report issued by this collaborative is considered a building block of the allocations decision making process, and it was the call to include Zionism in the recent report that was rejected.  The Global Planning Table page of the JFNA website does not include either the term Zionism or Israel.

Richard Wexler, former chair of the Chicago Federation and national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal in the late ’90’s, revealed yesterday, July 26, that JFNA’s leaders have rejected the inclusion of the term “Zionism” in their Global Planning Table Work Group Report  because the term “is too controversial.”

In 2008 Wexler stepped down from his position as chairman of the United Israel Appeal, a subsidiary of what later became the JFNA.  He also was one of the architects of the merger of United Jewish Communities, the umbrella group for the local Federations.  Even while in a leadership position, however,  Wexler was critical of the management culture, writing in his blog “UJ Thee and Me” that “criticism is not merely ignored, it is not tolerated.”

Some fear the JFNA move will be seen as a watered-down acceptance of the notion that Zionism is to blame for the problems in the Middle East, or at the very least an effort to hold at arms length the idea that Jews are entitled to a national homeland.

“I am beyond disappointed and upset,” Wexler told The Jewish Press, about the decision to hide from the idea of Zionism.  He said, “that is at the heart of all we do.”

Members of the GPT work group who were present at the meeting and frustrated by the outcome told Wexler about the decision.

One of those most closely involved in this decision making effort was Joanne Moore, senior vice president for JFNA’s Global Planning Department.  Moore oversees the Global Planning Table, JFNA’s research department and the General Assembly.

Prior to joining JFNA, Moore, a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, spent more than a dozen years working on USAID-funded public health projects in Africa, Haiti and Asia.  She also was a consultant to the Institute of Reproductive Health.   In addition, Moore had been a lay leader in various capacities for JFNA.  Moore did not respond to a request for comment.

The rejection of Zionism by JFNA leaders was described by Wexler in his blogpost and in comments to The Jewish Press, as a continuing trend by Federations to distance themselves from Israel.

Several years ago, Federations changed the name of their non-domestic efforts, which had been called their Israel and Overseas Department, to the Global Operations Department.  In response to pushback from local leaders, the name was changed once again to Global Operations: Israel and Overseas.

Further evidence of this trend, according to Wexler, is a drift from the close connections the JFNA had with its actual overseas partners, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Acknowledging that there might be better, more efficient ways for the Federations to encourage North American Jewry with Israel than through the Joint or JAFI, he was adamant that this latest decision — the excision of the term Zionism from their planning documents — was morally disastrous.

“What we cannot permit is an implicit denial of the centrality of Israel in our lives and a denial [of] the absolute responsibility we as Diaspora Jewish leaders have to engage more Jews here with Israel.”

Although repeated efforts to reach JFNA leaders were unsuccessful, it is possible that the decision may be reversed before the report is finalized.  Richard Wexler, for one, hopes this is what attention to this decision may bring.  Otherwise it is simply a “terrible commentary on what Federations are today.”


After this story was published, JFNA officials issued a statement sent to Federation executives and others, by Kathy Manning, Chair, and Jerry Silverman, President/CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America:

On July 27, 2012, Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote accusing the Jewish Federations of North America of moving away from its support of Israel and Zionism. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ongoing support of Israel is fundamental to Federations and to JFNA. Our system sends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Israel to support the vulnerable, to assist in education programs, to help new immigrants, to assist in job and skills development, and to provide concrete expressions of solidarity during Israel’s darkest hours. We connect American Jews to Israel and Israelis by supporting birthright and other youth and young adult programs, community and national missions to Israel, and innovative partnerships between our communities and Israeli communities. We are proud to be holding our 2013 General Assembly in Israel, where we will have an opportunity to highlight the important work we do with our partners in Israel.”

The decision to remove the term “Zionism” in an important global planning document because that term is “too controversial,” which is the point of the article, is not denied in their statement. Repeated efforts were made to contact Federation and JFNA officials before the story ran.

Pamela Geller Cancelled by Federation in Los Angeles

Monday, June 25th, 2012

An event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles featuring controversial anti-Islamist Pamela Geller was cancelled on Sunday, just hours before it was to take place.

Geller was to present her assessment of the “motive behind Islam’s war on the Jews, the war against Israel and the 1,400-year-old hatred of Jews living in Muslim lands” to a local chapter of the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA).

However, according to an interview given to the Los Angeles Times, Geller said the Jewish Federation “cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech” and cancelled her event.  However, according to the LA Times, an interfaith coalition of Jews, Muslims, and Christians issued a statement expressing its concern over the Federation’s invitation of “one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes” to speak.

After a short and heated interchange with Geller opponents who had come to confront her with questions during the event, Geller and remaining attendees moved to a hall a few miles away, where she gave her presentation.

Geller became a fierce activist against what she calls the “Islamization of America” following the jihadist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2011.  She has been a vocal opponent of plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque as part of a World Trade Center memorial.

While Geller has developed an ardent following, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have classified her organization, Stop Islamization of America, as a hate group.

Biggest Ever Merger Unites Two NJ Jewish Federations

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

A massive merger between to United Jewish Communities federations will create a powerhouse of influence and funding for Jewish programs, projects, and social services in New Jersey.

The United Jewish Communities of MetroWest, based in Whippany, will join forces with the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, in Scotch Plains, combining the efforts of the two groups into the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ serving Essex, Morris, and Union counties, according to a report in the Star-Ledger.

According to the report, the new group will serve the needs of approximately 125,000 people.

The decision came in light of previous collaboration between the two groups, their involvement in sister cities in the Negev, as well as the US economic downturn.

Backlash Against Inclusion of BDS in Israel Day Parade

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

A major backlash against a UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) decision to permit groups encouraging Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to march in the upcoming Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City has led to a campaign to oust the groups from the event.

“A coalition of community Jewish organizations urgently calls on all friends of Israel to make their voices heard,” an e-mail from an organization called JCC Watch reads. “We urge everyone to raise your voices and call the UJA-Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).  Urge them to stop these groups from marching in the Israel Day Parade and hijacking a pro-Israel event for their anti-Israel purposes.”

Those who participate in the campaign will be responding to news that the New Israel Fund (NIF) will be participating in this year’s parade, despite funding projects that many see as aiming to delegitimize and weaken Israel, both socio-politically and economically.

NIF is a funder of various organizations which have urged divestment from Israel, including Mossawa, Adalaha, Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace, Social TV, and Women Against Violence.

The NIF marched in last year’s parade, along with Israel Apartheid Week supporter B’Tselem , Rabbis for Human Rights, and  Partners for Progressive Israel, which has called for a boycott of all products produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria.

JCC Watch founder and member of the newly established Committee for a Pro-Israel Parade Richard Allen stated that “it is not surprising that the UJA-Federation is pushing these bash Israel groups to march in the June 3, 2012 Israel Parade.”  He accused several senior members of the UJA of being involved in anti-Israel work, including one officer he says worked with Noam Chomsky on an anti-Israel project and another he says gave $1 million in UJA funds to the “George Soros-funded political group”  Jewish Funds for Justice.

Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI) Executive Director Helen Freedman decried the participation of the BDS groups, noting that when her organization wanted to march in the parade with signs promoting Jewish sovereignty over all the land assigned to the Jewish people in biblical texts, her group was denied. “We were turned down because we were too “extremist” and our banners in support of a whole Israel – yisrael shlayma -were not welcome,” Freedman said, according to a letter from her posted on the website of activist Batya Meidad.

Supporters of the campaign to oust BDS groups from the annual New York City parade are being encouraged to call or e-mail Board members of the UJA Federation of New York.

Members of the Committee for a Pro-Israel Parade include Allen of JCCWatch, Rabbi Steven Axelman of Whitestone Hebrew Centre, Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel, Beth Gilinsky of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, Eli E. Hertz of “Myths and Facts”, Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z Street, Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek, and Rabbi Eli Kowalsky.

Not Exactly A Collector’s Item, But…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

As noted here last week, the Monitor is coming up on its tenth anniversary as a weekly column. The very first Monitor ran the week of July 3, 1998, and on the chance that some (a few?) readers might be interested in what the maiden voyage looked like, it appears below.

From the beginning the Monitor decided on a Take No Prisoners approach, skewering the media – and, at times, politicians and other newsmakers – in quite unambiguous terms.

One note before we get to the actual column: The Monitor has no idea how Sue Simmons’s name got into the heading of the second item. The veteran news reader, still a fixture on WNBC here in New York, must have arched an eyebrow or pursed her lips in a manner the Monitor found most offensive shortly before the column went to press.

Fed Tabloid Slings It From The Left

Pop quiz: Which one of the following newspapers, in a front-page headline trumpeting the Israeli government’s decision to incorporate some (Jewish) suburban areas into Jerusalem proper, employed the deceptive – and politically loaded – term “land grab”?

A) The Village Voice
B) The Amsterdam News
C) Al-Ahran
D) The Jewish Week

The answer, sadly, is D, and is just the latest indication that the Federation-subsidized tabloid is in the midst of one of its politically-correct silly seasons, as when it farmed itself out earlier this year as the house organ of the Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy.

In addition to headlining the Jerusalem story with words that would have done Pravda proud, the Fed tabloid has in recent weeks assumed the role of counsel for the defense in the matter of John Roth, hired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to head its Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

Roth, whose past writings seem to equate the Israeli treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi treatment of Jews and the rise of Ronald Reagan with the rise of Adolf Hitler, has been on the receiving end of intense criticism since the nature of some of his views came to light.

However, in striking contrast to the English weekly Forward, which took the lead in reporting the story and publishing strongly-worded editorials on the subject, The Jewish Week not only came out in support of Roth, it went so far as to accuse Roth’s critic of “McCarthyism” – an epithet, like “land grab,” long favored on the Left.

Who says the alternative press is dead.

Who Needs Sue Simmons When There’s Al-Jazeera?

Of all the unexpected changes he’s instituted in the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s most lasting legacy may well be an independent all-news television station that is steadily picking up viewers from all over the region.

The station, al-Jazeera, has been in operation since November 1996 and is easily distinguishable from conventional television channels in the Arab world by its iconoclastic reporting and refusal to toe a particular party line.

With its coverage of imprisoned dissidents and exiled political figures, its free-for-all-debates (which have included bitter denunciations of Islam for holding back progress in Arab countries) and reports on widespread corruption in Arab governments, the station is creating something of a stir.

“Al-Jazeera has shaken Arab society,” the editor-in-chief of the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi told the Associated Press. “It is a political democratic earthquake; people love it and trust it.”

Naturally, al-Jazeera has its share of detractors, as does the Sheik himself, who overthrew his father in 1995 and in short order established commercial ties with Israel and abolished his state’s censorship agency.

A Saudi engineer quoted by the AP predicted that because of al-Jazeera, Arab governments soon will be dealing with a completely different mindset among their citizens: “People now look differently at the world around them. It has made a concept that is not part of our culture – debate – a part of our lives.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/not-exactly-a-collectors-item-but/2008/06/18/

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