jewish community – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 04:58:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.jewsformorality.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-09T151402.937-150x150.png jewish community – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ 32 32 Building Jewish Pride in South Africa and Beyond: An Interview with Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | Eve Glover | 14 Adar II 5782 – March 17, 2022 http://www.jewsformorality.org/building-jewish-pride-in-south-africa-and-beyond-an-interview-with-chief-rabbi-warren-goldstein-the-jewish-press-jewishpress-com-eve-glover-14-adar-ii-5782-march-17-2022/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 04:58:34 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/building-jewish-pride-in-south-africa-and-beyond-an-interview-with-chief-rabbi-warren-goldstein-the-jewish-press-jewishpress-com-eve-glover-14-adar-ii-5782-march-17-2022/ Photo credit: Courtesy Rabbi Warren Goldstein Like many other South African Jews, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein’s great-grandparents emigrated from Lithuania. Born in 1971, Rabbi Goldstein grew up in Pretoria and became South Africa’s youngest appointed chief rabbi when he began serving in January 2005. Rabbi Goldstein attended Jewish day school and then Yeshiva Gedolah in […]]]>

Photo credit: Courtesy

Rabbi Warren Goldstein

Like many other South African Jews, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein’s great-grandparents emigrated from Lithuania. Born in 1971, Rabbi Goldstein grew up in Pretoria and became South Africa’s youngest appointed chief rabbi when he began serving in January 2005.

Rabbi Goldstein attended Jewish day school and then Yeshiva Gedolah in Johannesburg, where he was ordained a rabbi. His father is a retired High Court judge, and while the young Goldstein served as a synagogue rabbi, he followed in his father’s footsteps by earning a postgraduate law degree and a doctorate. in human rights and constitutional law from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He is also qualified day by the Eretz Hemda Institute in Jerusalem.

A well-published writer, Rabbi Goldstein is the author of several books, including Defend the human spirit and a Hebrew book on halakha competition law. He co-wrote Discussion on the African soul with Dumani Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, and The legacy with Rabbi Berel Wein, which consists of examining the philosophy of the great Lithuanian rabbis.

The Jewish press spoke to Chief Rabbi Goldstein about his remarkable achievements in outreach and interfaith communication, and his perspective on the state of the Jewish community in South Africa and around the world.

The Jewish press: Could you tell us about some of the human rights initiatives you have implemented?

Rabbi Goldstein: CAP (Community Active Protection) aims to protect people from the trauma of violent crime. It was created about 15 years ago [in South Africa] and has reduced violent crime in its areas of operation by between 80 and 90%. We are in the process of implementing a major expansion program to bring CAP to millions of people in Johannesburg. Another human rights initiative that I founded, drawing on Torah values, is the national “Charter of Responsibilities”. Adopted by South Africa’s Department of Education and taught in schools across the country, the Bill of Responsibilities functions as a corollary to our Constitution’s famous Bill of Rights and reflects the fundamental Jewish belief that every right is comes with responsibility. The initiative has shown a new generation of young South Africans the importance of compassion and respect for the dignity and well-being of others.

As a religious leader, how have you encouraged young people to discover the values ​​of Torah?

I initiated the Beit Midrash program that brought in-depth, text-based learning of Judaism to our Jewish day schools. Then there is Generation Sinai, a platform for parents and children to connect and learn the ideas of Torah with each other. There’s also Sinai Indaba, an annual Torah-learning convention that brings together leading international Jewish thinkers and speakers and thousands of South African Jews of all persuasions. And of course, the Shabbat Project, which brings together Jews of all backgrounds around the world and allows them to keep a full Shabbat together.

I know that the Shabbat project takes place once a year, after Sukkot. Could you tell us more about what made it successful? When did it start?

It was introduced in 2013 in South Africa. Initially, it was not planned to make it a global project. My wife and I created a YouTube video explaining the project, and suddenly emails were pouring in from all corners of the globe from people wanting to participate. Almost overnight, it seems, a movement sprung up from the ground. We all crave connection right now – within our families, with friends, with communities, with ourselves, with Gd. It’s so amazing that Shabbat, which was created at the beginning of time, turns out to be the perfect formula for everything we need in modern life. It was designed by Gd, who created us, and therefore knows what we need to thrive. He has given us this incredible Shabbat gift, and The Shabbat Project’s vision is to share this gift with as many Jews as possible. It is now widespread in more than 1,500 cities and 100 countries around the world. We have 5,000 volunteers around the world helping to deliver the project on the ground.

Given that Project Shabbat could only be practiced at home in 2020 due to Covid lockdowns, did you see a surge of interest in it last year when restrictions started to ease?

Absoutely. In 2021, we saw record participation levels. There was a renewed thirst for human reconnection, which, along with the magic of Shabbat itself, really fueled the Shabbat project.

Have you had any new realizations about this project after seeing how many people around the world have embraced it?

What I have learned from the Shabbat Project over the years is that I do not accept any definition of a Jew as secular. There’s this deep connection to who we are and where we come from, and Shabbat goes right to the heart of that identity. This year there was a whole bunch of Instagram influencers in Israel who you would call secular by any definition, but when you hear them talking about Shabbat and what it means to them, you should completely revise that definition.

The project has touched so many lives – from Jews in the former Soviet Union cut off from Judaism for decades, to fashion moguls in Paris, to award-winning actors and musicians, to Jews in remote places where there is no no Jewish communities. This is the power of Shabbat.

What is the religious climate in South Africa?

The National Council of Religious Leaders (NRLC) is a very important body in the country because it is the space for the development of inter-religious relations. I sit on the central committee, which oversees its work. My colleagues from other faith communities represent the Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities. South Africa is a very religious country. For example, at any presidential inauguration or opening of parliament, prayers are said by a cross section of religious leaders. The country is predominantly Christian. Many large churches here are pro-Israel.

Could you talk about the state of anti-Semitism in South Africa in general and on university campuses?

There is a strong anti-Israeli BDS movement in South Africa. It is causing the same kind of harm in South Africa as it is on campuses in the United States and around the world. But the rate of actual anti-Semitic incidents is among the lowest in the world. The South African Jewish community is very Zionist and we are on the front lines of defending Israel against these attacks. The ANC (African National Congress), the country’s ruling party, has a reputation for being very anti-Israeli. But the South African population, in my experience, is not. My impression is that the vast majority of South Africans, in fact, do not support BDS. On the contrary, many, many are fiercely pro-Israel.

Coming from South Africa, where apartheid was such an important part of your country’s history, what do you think of Israel’s accusation of being an apartheid state?

Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, I know what apartheid is. Because of this, I have written and campaigned extensively around this issue, arguing forcefully that Israel is not an apartheid state. To me, this accusation is deeply offensive, both as a South African and as a Jew. As a South African it is an insult to the victims of true apartheid, and as a Jew it is a defamation of the Jewish state. It’s a complete lie. I wrote an open letter to President Ramaphosa, challenging him, laying out the facts, telling him that he was completely wrong in implying that Israel was an apartheid state.

What is the current state of relations between the South African government and the Israeli government?

There are diplomatic relations, and a new Israeli ambassador has just arrived in South Africa, but it’s definitely a strained relationship. The South African government is really out of step with its own people, the majority of whom, as I said, see Israel in an extremely positive light. I gave a speech to President Ramaphosa at the Gardens Synagogue in Cape Town three years ago, in which I challenged him on his government’s Israeli policies.

Would you say the manufacturing rates of South African Jews aliyah are they high or low right now?

They are high – probably among the highest in the world. In 2021, there were more than 500 new olim. We are a very Zionist community, I can say that with pride.

Could you share some thoughts on the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Jonathan Sacks, who died in 2020 at the age of 72, and the impact he had on you?

I considered Rabbi Lord Sacks a dear friend and colleague. He was always very kind with his time, wisdom and advice. When I was appointed chief rabbi, he was one of the very first people to contact me to congratulate me, but also to support me. He was one of the few people in the world I could talk to who understood what it was like to be a great rabbi. Apart from [that] obviously, Rabbi Sacks was such an eloquent and profound spokesman for Torah thought in the world.

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Shechita UK leader joy after MPs back ‘smart amendment’ to Animal Welfare Bill http://www.jewsformorality.org/shechita-uk-leader-joy-after-mps-back-smart-amendment-to-animal-welfare-bill/ Tue, 15 Mar 2022 09:24:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/shechita-uk-leader-joy-after-mps-back-smart-amendment-to-animal-welfare-bill/ MPs have backed an amendment to the government’s Animal Welfare Bill which mandates a committee to review policy decisions to uphold religious traditions such as shechita. In a move that was hailed by Shechita UK, the Commons voted on Monday night in favor of a backbench amendment led by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown which requires the […]]]>

MPs have backed an amendment to the government’s Animal Welfare Bill which mandates a committee to review policy decisions to uphold religious traditions such as shechita.

In a move that was hailed by Shechita UK, the Commons voted on Monday night in favor of a backbench amendment led by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown which requires the new Animal Sentence Committee to consider “factors balancing”, including respect for local traditions.

Communal sources said Jewish News that this decision minimized the risk that the members of the Committee could divert the agenda in the future to go against the food needs of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

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Tory MP Clifton-Brown’s amendment replicates the EU Animal Rights Committee’s mandate under the Lisbon Treaty and was backed by 1922 backbencher Sir Graham Brady, Andrew Percy and Theresa Villiers ahead of Monday’s vote.

After the vote, Shimon Cohen, campaign manager for Shechita UK, said: “We thank the government for backing Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP’s wise amendment which requires the new Animal Sensitivity Committee to adhere to the ” religious rites”, including Shechita.

“It was encouraging to see the consensus of all parties backing us on this and our special thanks go to MP Jonathan Djanogly, MP Theresa Villiers and of course MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown for championing this issue. “

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, added that the bill had “received unprecedented criticism from the Lords and remains fundamentally bad legislation”.

But he added that the amendment meant that “religious, regional and cultural customs” should be respected.

The right of the Jewish community to enjoy kosher food in this country, and of Muslims to eat halal, has been allowed for decades by government exemption and requirements set by the Food Standards Agency.

But there were fears that some MPs would use arguments around slaughter methods and pain to try to end such religious practices.

Shechita UK, along with representatives of the Muslim community, have lobbied to ensure MPs have all the facts about kosher and halal slaughter.

With the government backing Monday’s amendment, it passed without the need for a vote among MPs.

While the amendment does not end the prospect of MPs continuing to campaign against shechita in the future, it does reduce the immediate threat.

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How the faith-based abortion narrative omits pro-choice Jewish values http://www.jewsformorality.org/how-the-faith-based-abortion-narrative-omits-pro-choice-jewish-values/ Fri, 04 Mar 2022 10:27:07 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/how-the-faith-based-abortion-narrative-omits-pro-choice-jewish-values/ Various nonpartisan and distinguished sources like PEW research acknowledge more than 4000 established religions in the world — most of whom approve of abortions, especially when the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother. A recent Gallup poll reports that 80% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases; it is higher, […]]]>

Various nonpartisan and distinguished sources like PEW research acknowledge more than 4000 established religions in the world — most of whom approve of abortions, especially when the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother.

A recent Gallup poll reports that 80% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases; it is higher, 87% when a woman’s life is in danger and 84% in cases of rape or incest.

While only seven of the major religions categorically prohibit abortion in all circumstances, a majority of their followers would allow exceptions.

Kentucky Abortion Law:After hours of heated debate, Kentucky House approves more abortion restrictions

Judaism is one of the major religions in which the vast majority agrees that decisions regarding abortion should be left to the woman making the decision. In fact, Judaism not only permits the termination of pregnancy, but requires it even when the pregnant person’s life is in danger. “Danger” can be defined in many ways, including physical and mental health. A pregnant person’s mental state can be as critical as their physical health.

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Self-driving car revolution could leave some Jews behind http://www.jewsformorality.org/self-driving-car-revolution-could-leave-some-jews-behind/ Tue, 01 Mar 2022 01:00:01 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/self-driving-car-revolution-could-leave-some-jews-behind/ Evangelists of the autonomous future of cars often say that their arrival is inevitable, that people would be much happier minding other business than wasting time driving a car. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promoting the promise of Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” technology for years, saying a future fully self-driving version would be “a […]]]>

Evangelists of the autonomous future of cars often say that their arrival is inevitable, that people would be much happier minding other business than wasting time driving a car.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promoting the promise of Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” technology for years, saying a future fully self-driving version would be “a natural extension of active safety”. Today, by opting for this package, buyers benefit from technology well below the capabilities of driverless cars.

But not everyone will always be able to participate in this autonomous future.

Ever since the Hebrew Bible was assembled in the centuries before the Common Era (or BC), Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative and other sects of the Jewish people around the world have observed Shabbat or Shabbos, the seventh day of rest according to religious law.

During this day of rest, observers learn to refrain from performing 39 forms of work, or the 39 Melachot.

Observers are encouraged to read and discuss Torah, attend services in their synagogue, and spend quality time with friends and family.

One oft-cited form of work that Shabbat keepers are prevented from is “making fire”. In our modern world, that translates to turning on the lights, heating up a stove, and pressing a button to operate an appliance or anything mechanically operated.

Conversations within the Jewish community about technological advancements and their connection to Shabbat are nothing new.

Discussions about whether Shabbat keepers can ride in cars or take trains have been going on since the early days of these passenger vehicles.

In his 1972 book To Be A Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary LifeOrthodox Rabbi Hayim Donin described the sect’s thinking on conduct:

“…the driving ban is an extension of the biblical prohibition against lighting fires and burning,” he writes. “The creation of sparks and the combustion of gas and oil as a direct result of the driver’s actions are just some of the more serious objections.”

An Iraqi Kurdish Jew, wearing a mask due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and a Tallit prayer shawl, and other family members recite a prayer together during their Shabbat meal during a service at a house in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Autonomous Region, on June 19, 2020.
SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images

Cars have become more mechanically complicated since then. With the advent of infotainment systems and driving aids, more machines are involved in the act of driving than ever before.

There may be fault lines on this subject in different sects of Judaism. When Newsweek contacted the Union of Reform Judaism, a spokesperson said the Reform and Conservative movements already drive cars on Shabbat and that driverless cars “will not impact our politics.”

The Conservative movement issued a ruling in 1950 that allowed a car to be driven on Shabbat if that person lived far from their synagogue, provided they made no other stops along the way.

It’s similar to cell phone use among the Amish community, a collection of traditionalist Christian watchers who largely shun modern technology. Many use them in limited capacities, such as contacting distant relatives and doing business.

In the 1990s, the Halacha Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel, a conservative organization, decreed that it was forbidden to conduct Shabbat on the basis that Israelis already did not work on the day of rest.

But for Orthodox Jews, as strict adherents of the Torah, it’s a different story.

In a recent interview, Rabbi Menachem Genak, CEO of the Kosher Division of the Orthodox Union, said Newsweek that it would be against the law or the spirit of Shabbat to ride in an autonomous vehicle. Even if the car was on a pre-determined route and all a passenger would have to do was walk towards it and get into it.

“Anyway you start it – and you have to stop it – it would still be problematic,” he said.

Miami-area rabbi Marc Phillippe agrees, drawing a distinction between a “Shabbat elevator,” a specialized elevator that’s always on and makes stops on certain floors, and a car someone should light up.

“If you had a car that was moving all the time from Friday night to Saturday night – then you just got out of it – that would be a different story,” Phillippe said.

The two rabbis report that conversations have already taken place about self-driving cars within the Jewish community, there has not yet been an official rabbinical position on the matter.

But Genak says that would violate “the Shabbat vibe,” something that sets the day apart from any other day of the week.

“It’s a sideline,” he explained. “In a contemporary context, it’s: living a day without your iPhone or your computer. It’s gotten worse and we’re all addicted to it. It’s not such an easy thing to do. But you focus on the Shabbat and the Shabbat theme. Stay at rest, acknowledge the Creator, things like that.”

waymo lyft autonomous car strike
A Waymo autonomous test car, equipped with LIDAR and other sensor units.
Smith/Gado/Getty Images Collection

It is also forbidden to ask someone else to drive you, since you are effectively creating work. Only in life-threatening emergencies are you allowed to drive or be driven on Shabbat.

Non-Jews have been hired to do things a Jew couldn’t do in a synagogue, but Phillippe says it’s different outside of that space.

“Historically you have a lot of people in synagogues who are not Jewish doing everything that needs to be done, but driving is a very tricky thing,” he said, adding that most Shabbat keepers live within walking distance of their local synagogue.

While some rabbinical scholars don’t consider this a biblical violation, others would argue that driving a car is a rabbinical violation of Halakha, a collection of Jewish legal works.

Adherence to Halakha varies among sects. Orthodox observers regard it as a divine law. Conservatives believe it is a developing partnership between God and man. Reform members do not view Halakha as binding on Jews today, but rather that it is up to the individual observer to interpret these laws.

Genak says that while there is no overall decision yet on self-driving, he says it would fall under what Orthodox members already believe about driving on Shabbat.

“Getting in the car and having him do everything for you might just be a rabbinic (violation), but it would still be a Shabbat violation,” Genak explained.

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The Lighter Side: Q&A with St. Louis Press Club President Joan Berkman http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-lighter-side-qa-with-st-louis-press-club-president-joan-berkman/ Sun, 27 Feb 2022 14:51:41 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-lighter-side-qa-with-st-louis-press-club-president-joan-berkman/ The Jewish Light recently spoke with Joan Berkman, president of the St. Louis Press Club and president of Face Watchers Public Relations, as part of The Lighter Side series – short interviews with interesting people from the Jewish community of St. Louis. Berkman, who grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Clayton High School […]]]>

The Jewish Light recently spoke with Joan Berkman, president of the St. Louis Press Club and president of Face Watchers Public Relations, as part of The Lighter Side series – short interviews with interesting people from the Jewish community of St. Louis. Berkman, who grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Clayton High School — “I was the captain of the cheerleaders,” she laughed — has spent her career working in public relations and as a lobbyist in Washington, DC and Jefferson City.

Briefly describe your role as president of the press club.

I work alongside our board of incredibly talented journalists to help protect the future quality of local media. Our mission is to raise awareness and fund student journalism scholarships and freelance journalists to bring marginalized stories to light in our region.

When you retired from AT&T, former UMSL Chancellor Blanche Touhill gave you some tips for retiring in style. You have a fairly busy schedule. Is this the retirement lifestyle for you?

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I treasured Blanche’s mentorship. She knew how much I loved working and immediately after I left AT&T she asked me if I would come work for her in college. But I really needed to breathe. Three months later, I realized that retirement wasn’t for me and started my PR, marketing and special events business, which continues to energize me and engage me in the community.

How did your career in corporate communications prepare you for your new venture writing a column on business ethics for “Town and Style?”

I received invaluable training at all levels of my management career. Part of this work was as a lobbyist, which provided me with many opportunities to work with a diversity of personalities, which added even more depth and insight to my work as a columnist.

Your mother, Eleanor, was a community volunteer. Has his work influenced your own volunteering?

Everything I learned about volunteer work, I learned from my mother. She had so much heart, energy, talent and drive – I still hope to be like her one day.

When you were hired by Southwestern Bell in the early 1970s, the company called your parents to get permission to hire you because the idea of ​​a female director was a new concept. Is there still work to be done to accept women in the C-suite?

Of course, not only the acceptance of women but also with regard to the diversity within the C-Suite. However, I think there has been progress and at least from my experience at AT&T, I had the privilege of working for the first African American men and women and two other women presidents in my career , which I think speaks well of the company.

What kinds of activities have you been involved in to try to keep your sanity during the pandemic?

If there is a silver lining to this interlude, it has provided me with a rare opportunity to spend more time on a deeper level with my family, friends, and colleagues to laugh and learn so much more. Like everyone else, I’ve hiked and hiked nearly every possible trail in the neighborhood and dark chocolate has been a constant companion.


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Jewish Groups Condemn Invasion of Ukraine, Pledge to Support Jewish Communities in the Crossfire | JNS http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-groups-condemn-invasion-of-ukraine-pledge-to-support-jewish-communities-in-the-crossfire-jns/ Fri, 25 Feb 2022 01:38:31 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-groups-condemn-invasion-of-ukraine-pledge-to-support-jewish-communities-in-the-crossfire-jns/ Jewish organizations from all walks of life condemn Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday. The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on the Biden administration to accelerate the implementation of “punitive sanctions” against Russia and its leaders and for Congress to pass legislation to expand the power of sanctions. “Vladimir Putin aims to destroy the […]]]>

Jewish organizations from all walks of life condemn Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on the Biden administration to accelerate the implementation of “punitive sanctions” against Russia and its leaders and for Congress to pass legislation to expand the power of sanctions.

“Vladimir Putin aims to destroy the nascent democracy in Ukraine, threaten the former Soviet republics of Eastern Europe and weaken the NATO alliance,” RJC said in a press release Thursday. “The free world must now resist this violent expansion, and the United States must lead the effort from a position of strength and in solidarity with our allies.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) called Russia’s actions “unconscionable aggression” and said it supported further sanctions.

“Jewish Democrats strongly support a new round of punitive sanctions implemented by the Biden administration against Russia, including cutting Russia off from the US financial system. Vladimir Putin must face harsh and painful consequences for his belligerent and violent actions,” the group said.

Addressing the nation on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has chosen this war” and outlined a package of measures that “will impose a significant cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time”.

Hadassah President Rhoda Smolow and CEO Naomi Adler agreed with US President Joe Biden’s characterization of the invasion as “unprovoked and unwarranted Russian military aggression.”

The Zionist women’s organization has expressed concern for the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Jews and other Ukrainians facing the deadliest military action in Europe since World War II.

“We stand with them in solidarity and pray for their safety,” Smolow and Adler said in a press release. “Too many civilians have already been killed. Many are fleeing for their safety in neighboring countries, and some have found refuge further afield in Israel. We applaud the Government of Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency for Israel and other non-governmental organizations who are risking their lives to provide support to Jews still in Ukraine and who are working to bring new Ukrainian olim in Israel. As Jews, we believe that he who saves a life saves the whole world, and we are grateful for the bravery of those working to do so on the ground today. »

The National Coalition in Support of Eurasian Jewry (NCSEJ) wrote in a press release that the invasion violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The organization also disputed statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia was going to “denazify” the Ukrainian government.

“Putin’s justification for invading is totally baseless and his assertion that Ukraine is a fascist or Nazi state has no foundation,” the NCSEJ said. “The Ukrainian Jewish community is fully integrated and enjoys all rights and privileges like any other Ukrainian citizen.

“The NCSEJ is deeply concerned about the onslaught of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” the NCSEJ statement continued. “All appropriate measures must be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of Ukrainians.”

In a joint press release, B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin hailed the show of global unity and solidarity in the Western world’s condemnation of the Russian actions and expressed concern about the prospect of a humanitarian crisis. crisis.

B’nai B’rith Europe is involved in an effort to assist Jewish communities in Ukraine and raises funds to enable the purchase of medicines and provide financial assistance to the community. B’nai B’rith in Italy has launched its own relief campaign and the statement says the B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Fund is open for donations.

Post-Jewish groups condemn invasion of Ukraine, pledge to support Jewish communities in crossfire, appeared first on JNS.org.

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Support for people with disabilities throughout the year http://www.jewsformorality.org/support-for-people-with-disabilities-throughout-the-year/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 18:46:23 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/support-for-people-with-disabilities-throughout-the-year/ FEDERATION 411 By ohtadmin | to February 23, 2022 JENNIFER DUBROW WEISSCEO of the Jewish Federation February marks Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, otherwise known as JDAIM. This is a global effort by Jewish organizations to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. But for the Jewish Federation […]]]>

FEDERATION 411


February marks Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, otherwise known as JDAIM. This is a global effort by Jewish organizations to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. But for the Jewish Federation and our community in South Jersey, providing support to this often vulnerable population is one of our five areas of impact and one of our daily commitments to help those in need.

Our Jewish Federation has been a leader and innovator in the area of ​​special needs for many years now. Where support programs and services were once scarce in our community, our Jewish Federation paved the way for inclusive programs that covered many different levels of need. Today, we offer a wide range of programs and services for people with disabilities of almost all ages. From help navigating support services through our Jewish Abilities Alliance to the ACHaD department of the Katz JCC and Open Hearts/Open Doors to the JFCS SAIL and TOPS programs, and everything in between. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. Our programs and services for people with disabilities are centered on this belief.

To this end, our agency Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) has rolled out its new JFCS Disability Services Department during JDAIM. This name change aligns with current best practices and better reflects the many services that JFCS offers to people with developmental disabilities.

As our programs and services have evolved over the years, a long held dream of many in our community has been to answer the question “what happens next?” when parents of adult children with special needs are no longer able to care for their children. We saw that dream finally come true with the construction of our Weinberg Commons community on Springdale Road in Cherry Hill. Just a mile down the road from our main campus, Weinberg Commons is home to 160 affordable apartments for seniors (55+) and adults with special needs, including eight quadruple-style units comprising four private one-bedroom apartments . attached to a common dining and living area in each quad. These quads are specially designed for our residents with disabilities, providing them with complete autonomy and privacy in their private units as well as wrap-around supports for life skills, socialization and group activities.

The Weinberg Commons Residential Program is now home to 21 residents. Staff are on site and available to provide the supports needed to help each resident achieve their highest level of independence. The first residents moved into their apartments in September 2020. Despite the pandemic, they have continued to thrive, grow and live independently. The quadruple units have the capacity to accommodate 32 disabled adults.

This unique, multi-generational model of affordable housing has already received state and national awards and has generated a lot of interest from other Federation communities across the country looking to develop sustainable affordable housing solutions in their communities. own communities.

The future is bright and we look forward to continuing to support people with disabilities in our community through a wide range of programs and services. JDAIM isn’t just February for our South Jersey Jewish community. You can find events and programs throughout the year on our community calendar at jewishsouthjersey.com/calendar

jweiss@jfedsnj.org

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American Jewish University plans to sell its campus http://www.jewsformorality.org/american-jewish-university-plans-to-sell-its-campus/ Tue, 22 Feb 2022 04:02:48 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/american-jewish-university-plans-to-sell-its-campus/ This story was published on February 17 by striker. Register here to receive the latest Forward stories each morning. When American Jewish University announced earlier this month that it planned to sell its campus, there were, as you can imagine, more questions than answers. How can a great Jewish institution jeopardize one of its greatest […]]]>

This story was published on February 17 by striker. Register here to receive the latest Forward stories each morning.

When American Jewish University announced earlier this month that it planned to sell its campus, there were, as you can imagine, more questions than answers.

How can a great Jewish institution jeopardize one of its greatest assets overnight? Did the families who donated millions of dollars to expand and support the campus know that the sale was underway? Will the nonprofit university’s board sell to the highest bidder regardless of how they plan to use the property? And what will become of a landmark that, although overseen by a single institution, has had such a significant impact on the wider Jewish community?

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This institution, founded as the University of Judaism in 1947, moved to the site in 1977. As it grew to include undergraduate, graduate, rabbinical and for adults, the campus added a 120,000-volume library, dormitories, auditorium, shrine and sculpture. garden.

Its 22 acres are in the expensive Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. Eastdil Secured, the commercial brokerage firm handling the sale, did not release an asking price.

Since AJU took over the 2,200-acre Brandeis-Bardin camp and campus in the Simi Valley in 2007 — making it arguably the largest institutional Jewish landowner outside the State of Israel — it pursued a vision of Jewish education for all ages, but declining enrollment led to Bel Air schools closing or downsizing, and last year the university announced it was seeking a partner to share their space.

Then, last week, he announced that everything was for sale.

“Our mission statement says nothing about being a landowner in Bel Air,” university president Jeffrey Herbst said in an interview with Louis Keene, who is working on an article about the sale. “So I would say what’s most important about the institution is to stay exactly the same.”

Some of the people who donated and raised funds to build AJU said they understood the need to adapt and change. But they hope the assets created over the decades to advance Jewish community and education can stay in the community.

Sondra Smalley, whose parents Isadore and Sunny Familian helped found the university with a major gift and raised millions to acquire the campus, described the sale – which she only learned about through news reports – like “a punch”.

“I wish it would stay Jewish,” said Smalley, who last year donated a $100,000 sculpture for the garden. “I know the name will change, my parents’ name will disappear. I understand that. And it will bear the name of whoever gets it. But I hope it stays within the Jewish community.

Leonard and Annette Shapiro, who in 2010 donated an on-campus shrine in memory of their son David, also want to see the property continue to serve the community.

“The most fantastic solution would be for there to remain a Jewish center on a Jewish mountain,” Annette said, referring to the fact that AJU’s neighbors are the Stephen Wise Temple, the Milken Jewish Community High School and the Cultural Center. Skirball.

One idea is for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to sell its downtown headquarters and move to the Bel Air campus, closer to the large Jewish population of the San Fernando Valley. The Federation could partner with nearby Jewish institutions, as well as AJU, to use its sports fields and other facilities.

But Herbst said the university couldn’t commit to that idea — or any other. He told Keene that one possibility was for AJU to lease part of the campus to a new owner, allowing the mikvah and library to remain in operation, but he could also imagine leaving the campus entirely. “We just don’t know yet how it’s going to pan out,” he said.

University officials have said they want to redistribute their assets from real estate to programming, especially online. Educational institutions around the world are scrambling to meet the growing demand for virtual classrooms. And for AJU, the money to do so is right under your feet.

But AJU has a distinctive stamp on Los Angeles that extends beyond its classes and students. And that is the central question: what does the institution owe to the donors who contributed to its creation and its survival, as well as to the entire community it serves?

Michael Berenbaum, who directs an institute at AJU for Jewish ethics and leadership, said the university’s board “has a fiduciary duty to protect the institution” as well as a “moral responsibility towards the Jewish community.

“The funds were raised for a Jewish educational institution,” Berenbaum noted, “and if he is to be reassigned, he should remain in the Jewish community to serve the Jewish community.PJC

A version of this story first appeared in the weekly “California Letter” of Rob Eshman’s Forward.

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Jewish refugee aid group prepares for possible humanitarian crisis in Ukraine http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-refugee-aid-group-prepares-for-possible-humanitarian-crisis-in-ukraine/ Thu, 17 Feb 2022 21:57:03 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-refugee-aid-group-prepares-for-possible-humanitarian-crisis-in-ukraine/ The Jewish-American refugee agency HIAS and its Ukrainian partner are preparing for a possible humanitarian crisis if Russian troops invade Eastern Europe. A Russian incursion or occupation could result in the mass displacement of millions of civilians, who will need basic services and support after fleeing the fighting for their safety in Ukraine and neighboring […]]]>

The Jewish-American refugee agency HIAS and its Ukrainian partner are preparing for a possible humanitarian crisis if Russian troops invade Eastern Europe.

A Russian incursion or occupation could result in the mass displacement of millions of civilians, who will need basic services and support after fleeing the fighting for their safety in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

HIAS and its Ukrainian sister group, Right to Protection, prepared plans and assistance for a potential war, using more than two decades of experience in the country.

“We are of course extremely concerned that any conflict that escalates will result in the displacement of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people,” said Rachel Levitan, vice president of policy and international relations at HIAS.

According to American estimates, a Russian invasion could kill up to 50,000 civilians and cause an influx of refugees of 1 to 5 million people.

On Thursday, NATO allies dismissed Russian claims that it was withdrawing troops from exercises that had fueled fears of an attack, rekindling fears of an imminent war. Russia is said to have built up some 150,000 military forces around Ukraine’s borders.

Concerns have grown in the West about what exactly Russia is doing with these troops – including about 60% of all Russian ground forces. The Kremlin insists it has no intention of invading, but it has long viewed Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence and NATO’s eastward expansion as an existential threat.

HIAS has worked in Ukraine since 2001, initially focusing on helping the country’s Jews. After most of the Ukrainian Jews who wanted to leave had settled in the United States or Israel, HIAS began working with the small number of asylum seekers from elsewhere who had settled in Ukraine.

Its Ukraine branch, Right to Protection, spun off to become an independent organization in 2013. The two groups still cooperate closely and share resources.

Russian army tanks are loaded onto railway platforms to return to their permanent base after exercises in Russia on February 16, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry News Service via AP)

During the fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2014, HIAS and Right to Protection used their experience working with refugees to help internally displaced Ukrainians, primarily with legal assistance and humanitarian aid. Some 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting with the Russian-backed separatists, which has been simmering for nearly eight years.

The fighting has forcibly displaced more than 2 million Ukrainians and 3 million are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the conflict, according to the United Nations.

Last year, the UN said 734,000 people were considered internally displaced in Ukraine. There are also around 36,000 stateless people and nearly 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine.

Even without an attack, Russia’s sustained pressure on Ukraine has further hampered its faltering economy and left an entire nation under constant pressure.

Right to Protection has 10 offices across the country and employs 160 people, about half of whom are on the eastern border. The services they provide include helping people access government benefits, securing basic services in places that have been affected by conflict, and providing mental health support.

“We are working in partnership with Right to Protection to ensure that they are positioned so that in the event of an escalation of violence leading to displacement, they are able to help respond. There are a number of different scenarios they are planning for,” Levitan said.

Russian forces are stationed on multiple borders of Ukraine, meaning an invasion can come from multiple directions, so the organization is unable to direct resources to a specific area to prepare.

A Ukrainian border guard patrols the border with Russia in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, February 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

“If violence were to come to Kyiv, which has over 3 million people, then you could see people moving west and potentially crossing into Poland or elsewhere,” Levitan said. “It will really depend on if, and then how, any kind of conflict arises to determine what the answer would be.”

People usually first flee to other parts of their country in the event of conflict, then cross borders if they have to. Those who can will fly out of the country, and others will move in with family members in other areas. It all depends on the resources people have, the resources available, and the scale of the violence and the threat, Levitan said.

The elderly, people with disabilities, female-headed households and children are particularly vulnerable in the current crisis, HIAS said. Older people can be cut off from government benefits in Ukraine if they move to a new area, so they often move in with a family who can support them.

In the event of a crisis, Right to Protection would deploy humanitarian assistance including cash, food and non-food items, transport assistance, protection monitoring and legal advice.

Levitan said the threat of war should be a call to action for European leaders, who should consider how they would respond to an influx of refugees from Ukraine and other similar crises.

“This is one of many potential examples of conflict that will continue to drive displacement to Europe. This is a situation that member states will continue to have to deal with,” she said.

HIAS said it stands ready to partner with other international Jewish groups to help Jews in Ukraine if needed.

Ukraine borders European Union member states Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, as well as non-member Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. Ukraine is not a member of the EU.

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train near Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Some of Ukraine’s neighbors have warned of a potential refugee crisis.

Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said a Russian invasion could send hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing to his country.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country was preparing for an influx of refugees.

“We have to prepare for the worst,” he said.

Local Polish authorities near the border, including city mayors and the Interior Ministry, have made plans and prepared to receive refugees. Plans include housing refugees in hostels, dormitories, sports facilities and other places.

Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also discussed the preparation of Ukrainian refugees.

Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said those fleeing a war would receive refugee status.

“From the perspective of the European continent, the current situation is the most dangerous since World War II,” Nad said.

European officials expect Russia and its allies to exploit a refugee crisis for political gain to sow divisions in Europe, US officials told NBC.

Israeli officials have repeatedly implored Israelis in Ukraine to leave the country and discussed the evacuation of non-Israeli Jewish Ukrainians.

Army Radio said Thursday that 110 Ukrainian Jews are expected to arrive in Israel on Sunday as new immigrants, half of whom are under the age of 35.

HIAS, founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, was established in the United States to provide resources and assistance to waves of newly arrived Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Later he worked to resettle Holocaust survivors and Soviet Jewish refugees.

In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, HIAS shortened its name to an acronym and focused on resettling non-Jewish refugees and mobilizing the American Jewish community around the defense of immigrants and immigrants. refugees.

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After outcry, German dictionary changes definition of ‘Jew’ http://www.jewsformorality.org/after-outcry-german-dictionary-changes-definition-of-jew/ Wed, 16 Feb 2022 13:44:49 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/after-outcry-german-dictionary-changes-definition-of-jew/ The main dictionary of standard German has changed its definition of Jew, or “Jude” in German, after a recent update sparked an outcry in the country’s Jewish community Through KRISTEN GRIESHABER Associated Press February 16, 2022, 1:23 p.m. • 3 minute read Share on FacebookShare on TwitterEmail this article BERLIN — The main dictionary of […]]]>

The main dictionary of standard German has changed its definition of Jew, or “Jude” in German, after a recent update sparked an outcry in the country’s Jewish community

BERLIN — The main dictionary of standard German has changed its definition of Jew, or “Jude” in German, after a recent update caused uproar in the country’s Jewish community – a move reflecting lingering sensitivities eight decades after the Holocaust.

The Duden Dictionary had recently added an explanation to its online edition saying that “sometimes the term Jew is perceived as discriminatory due to memory of National Socialist use of language. In these cases, formulations such as Jewish people, Jewish fellow citizens or persons of the Jewish faith are generally chosen”.

This explanation caused an outcry from prominent Jewish groups and individuals who pointed out that identifying or being called Jewish is not discriminatory, contrary to what Duden’s definition implied.

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Joseph Schuster, said last week that for him the word “Jew” is neither a dirty word nor discriminatory.

“Even if ‘Jew’ is used pejoratively in schoolyards or only hesitantly by some people, and Duden’s editors are certainly well-meaning in emphasizing this context, every effort should be made to avoid solidifying the term as discriminatory,” Schuster said.

The Executive Director of the Central Council of Jews, Daniel Botman, wrote on Twitter “Is it correct to say Jew? Yes! Please don’t say “fellow Jews” or “persons of the Jewish faith”. Just JEWS. Thank you!”

Duden’s publisher responded to the criticism and updated its definition again on Monday to reflect protests from the Jewish community.

“Because of their anti-Semitic use in history and in the present, particularly during the Nazi era, the words Jew/Jew have been debated…for decades,” he now says on the dictionary website. “At the same time, the words are widely used as a no-brainer and are not seen as problematic. The Central Council of Jews in Germany, which has the term itself in its name, supports its use.”

During the Third Reich, the German Nazis and their henchmen murdered 6 million European Jews. After the end of World War II, the once thriving German Jewish community of some 600,000 had shrunk to 15,000. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, around 200,000 Jews from Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics immigrated to Germany, bringing new life to the country’s decimated communities.

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