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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Federation’

Israel Promises to Keep Consulate in Philadelphia

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The Foreign Ministry has notified Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter that its consulate offices in Philadelphia will remain open following reports that they were to be closed.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sent to the mayor a copy of the letter via Mid-Atlantic Regional Consul General Yaron Sideman, who was attending a board meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia at the time.

“Today’s announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is tremendously exciting for the City of Philadelphia, our Jewish community, and the Consulate General. I want to thank Minister Liberman for his decision,” Nutter said in a press release.

“It would have hurt – just the civic pride, if nothing else – but really the service provided by the Consul General’s Office is also critically important” he added.

Local leaders and Congressmen conducted a campaign to keep the Consulate open, including as direct appeal by Mayor Nutter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres while on a trade mission in Israel last month.

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.

400 Floridians Flock to Israel on Journey to Jerusalem

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Four hundred South Floridians have joined together on a “Mega Mission” to Israel, organized by the Miami Jewish Federation.

The 10-day trip embarked on Sunday.  Highlights will include a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and visits to historic and religious sites, concerts, and other events.

The Miami Jewish Federation contributed $600,000 to the travelers, in order to help those who could not afford to make the journey.

The massive Floridian trip, called Journey to Jerusalem, will be covered with live reports from regional 7News reporter Rosh Lowe, who has joined the group on their trip.

Methodist Church Unanimously Rejects Divestment Resolution

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) voted unanimously against divestment from three companies which do business in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights, according to a report by the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard came under attack by several bodies within the United Methodist Church, which recommended the religious organization sell all their shares in the companies.

GBPHB commended the companies for their human rights policies and codes of conduct.  The Caterpillar Company was acknowledged for providing equipment which “improves the lives of the Palestinian people,” according to the Israel Action Network report.  It was also noted that Caterpillar does not sell construction equipment to Israel, but rather to the US Foreign Military Sales Program.  Hewlett-Packard was complimented on its record of environmental friendliness, and Motorola Solutions was praised for its work in conflict areas such as Eastern Congo.

The Methodist vote took an opposite approach from that of the Presbyterian Church, which voted in 2004 to divest from Israeli companies.  In June of that year, the Presbyterian Church General Assembly issued one resolution stating that “the occupation… has proven to be at the root of evil acts”, and another calling on the US government to prevent Israel from building a separation barrier.  The assembly also adopted policies rejecting Christian Zionism.  In 2006, the Presbyterian Church backtracked, stating that it would only invest in companies involved in peaceful work in Israel and Arab occupied territories.

The World Council of Churches and United Church of Christ have also adopted divestment policies.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America rejected a pro-divestment resolution in 2005.

Jews, Evangelicals In Unusual Meeting Of Minds

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009


WASHINGTON – They talked about Israel and about proselytizing – but perhaps the most important thing about the recent meeting between nearly 40 Jewish and evangelical Christian leaders was that they were talking at all.


Organizers believe the two-day meeting last month in Washington was the first time, at least in recent memory, that rabbis, pastors and other on-the-ground leaders of the two faith groups had sat down to have a conversation about their respective faiths and concerns about various issues.


“There were relatively few people who knew who to call when there was tension between the communities,” said David Neff, editor of Christianity Today.


Neff came up with the idea for the conference with a close friend and fellow Chicagoan – Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, Judaic scholar at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.


The event, held June 15-16, attracted leaders representing large swaths of the more than 50 million evangelical Christian adults in the United States – and, in the process, underscored the changing face of the movement.


Many American Jews tend to associate evangelicals with heavily pro-Republican political preachers such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and outspoken backers of Israel such as John Hagee. Neff noted, however, that while evangelical Christians do tend to lean conservative politically, most evangelical churches shy away from participation in electoral politics.


Neff also said that while evangelical Christians tend to be supporters of the Jewish state, only about 10 percent adhere to Hagee’s eschatology of premillennial dispensationalism in which Israel plays a central role in the second coming of Jesus. Hagee says that his support of Israel is based in Genesis and not connected to any eschatology.


Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which co-convened the conference, added that many evangelical leaders and their followers not only are concerned with traditional conservative political causes like fighting abortion, but also placing a greater focus on combating poverty and protecting the environment.


Similarly, while previous efforts by Jewish organizations focused almost exclusively on boosting and harnessing evangelical support for Israel, JCPA – an umbrella organization bringing together the major synagogue movements, several nonsectarian national Jewish organizations and more than 100 local Jewish communities – boasts an agenda that encompasses Middle East issues as well as many domestic concerns.


Among the top agenda items at the June conference were Israel and proselytizing. 


“We want to be able to understand how many of the Jewish people hear certain issues,” said Joel Hunter, senior pastor at the 12,000-person Northland, A Church Distributed in Orlando, Fla., and a co-convenor of the conference. “We don’t want to unintentionally offend or miscommunicate” because of a lack of knowledge of an issue.


For instance, Hunter noted how U.S. Jewish leaders emphasized that Israel should not be depicted as only a product of the Holocaust, but also a millennial-old connection to the Jewish people.


Hunter, who gave the benediction after Barack Obama’s Democratic convention speech last summer, said that such information is important for building relationships with Jewish friends, but also in the context of Christians beginning to have more dialogues with Muslim leaders.


“We want to keep in mind how a Jewish person would interpret and perceive what is happening in that conversation” with Muslims, he said.


The conference participants also spent time discussing Jewish concerns about proselytizing or evangelicals sharing their faith with others.


“I don’t think that we are worried about conversion,” Gutow said, “but I think that when one religious group says we have the only avenue, it makes us feel condescended towards.”


Hunter said such Jewish concerns are something that evangelicals needed to hear because “part of our spiritual maturity comes with the appreciation of other people’s faith experiences.”


No Jewish leader said evangelicals shouldn’t share their faith, but offered thoughts on “what is a helpful way” to do it, and what comes across as “artificial and pushy and offensive,” Hunter said.


Gutow said he thought the evangelicals in the room “really understood” that while sharing their faith was an essential component of their spiritual lives, it could be problematic for Jews. He was one of several participants who noted how open and intense both the formal and informal discussions were throughout the conference.


In addition to exchanging thoughts on issues, others said they learned that the two faith traditions have some important similarities.


Neff and Poupko said it wasn’t clear why clergy leaders of the two faiths hadn’t sat down for such discussions previously – there were some efforts involving mostly academics in the 1980s – but speculated that part of the reason was that the two groups don’t cross paths frequently in everyday life.


Poupko noted that Jews and evangelicals simply live in different places, with Jews traditionally concentrated more in urban settings and evangelicals frequently located outside of cities and in areas of the country where Jews are not as populous.


That won’t be an obstacle anymore. Hunter said that if he has any question about how a certain issue involving Israel should be approached, he won’t hesitate to call one of the rabbis he met and ask, “How does this sound to you?”


Similarly, Gutow said he had met Hunter a few times in the past, but now “picking up the phone and calling him is a no-brainer.”


“My Rolodex is tremendously expanded,” said Neff, “not just in the sense of having more names and phone numbers,” but “with people I know.”


In addition to all those informal contacts, organizers said they hope to schedule another formal meeting next year.

(JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jews-evangelicals-in-unusual-meeting-of-minds/2009/07/08/

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