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Born to leadThe head of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey tells his story — and federation’s
There’s an election taking place — and some of your neighbors are asking for your support.
They’re candidates for the World Zionist Congress. And if you’re Jewish, at least 18 years old, live in the United States, and believe in the centrality of Israel to the Jewish people, you’re eligible to vote for them. (See box.)
But you can’t vote directly for a candidate you know. Elections for the Zionist Congress, like elections in Israel, are on the parliamentary system: You vote for a specific party. Each party presents a list of candidates ranked in order. The more votes the slate gets, the more of its candidates will make it to the World Zionist Congress in December. Most of the parties competing offer a full slate of 155 delegates. And among all those would-be delegates are many from northern New Jersey.
On Tuesday night Israel will mark its memorial day, remembering the thousands of Israelis who fell in battle or to terrorism.
On Wednesday night Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence day, marking Israel’s 67th anniversary, begins.
But two days marking Israel aren’t enough for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, which is sponsoring and promoting a variety of events from this Sunday through next Sunday, under the banner of “I Heart Israel Week.”
“It’s a whole week where the whole entire community is celebrating Israel,” said Danit Sibovits, director of the federation’s Center for Israel Engagement.
The “I Heart Israel” events include activities at synagogues and community centers as well as those organized by and at the federation.
“The federation is the go-to place to celebrate Israel,” Ms. Sibovits said. “Anyone can pick and choose what works for their family.”
What’s going on with the Women of the Wall now?
What’s happening with gender equality and pluralism in Israel, now that the Israeli election is over?
Women of the Wall, made up of women from across the Jewish spectrum, has fought for the right to pray at the Kotel — Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the symbolic center of Jewish life, the magnet that draws observant and non-observant Jews, non-Jews, poets, and often even skeptics, close to it, as if they were pure iron filings.
The group, which was formed in the late 1980s, has been bolstered by legal wins. Its most important recent victory was the April 2013 decision by Judge Moshe Sobel of the Jerusalem District Court, who ruled that the city police were wrong when they arrested five women for the crime of wearing tallitot at the women’s section of the Kotel.
WASHINGTON — Now that the outline for an Iran nuclear agreement has been released — or, more precisely, two outlines, one by Iran, the other by the Obama administration, have been released — major gaps have emerged.
They will have to be resolved before June 30. That’s the deadline for a final deal, which includes the agreement about when sanctions on Iran are lifted.
President Barack Obama and Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, issued conflicting statements on the sanctions issue in the past week, with Obama suggesting sanctions would be relaxed only once Iran begins to implement its obligations and Khamenei demanding that all sanctions be suspended upon signing an agreement. Khamenei also vowed that military sites would not be open to nuclear inspectors. That clashes with the American text, which says that inspectors have the right to visit suspicious sites “anywhere in the country.”
“The cannabis products at this Seder are available to OMMP cardholders only,” the sign at the check-in table read, referring to the state of Oregon’s medical marijuana program. “All others consume at your own risk.”
The fine print explained the facts: Although Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana use last November, the measure wouldn’t take effect until July 1. Portland’s district attorney had vowed not to prosecute in the meantime, but the message was clear: If I wanted to get stoned on pot chocolates, the hosts of the country’s first official Cannabis Seder bore no responsibility.
Heading into the airy warehouse where the third-night seder was held, I ran into Roy Kaufmann, one half of the married couple behind the evening’s festivities. Kaufmann, a seasoned activist, directs the advocacy group Le’Or, which has worked to put marijuana legalization on the Jewish communal agenda since it was founded last year.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton does not appear until 90 seconds into the two-minute video rolling out her campaign.
No one among the bright and diverse array of everyday Americans in that video mentions foreign policy. Or Barack Obama.
Jewish Democrats say the video released last weekend is emblematic of the approach that Clinton is likely to take as she tries to balance her loyalty to Obama with the perceived need to distance herself from the tensions that have characterized his administration’s relationship with Israel.
That tack is embedded in a statement from her, issued March 29 through Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special U.S.-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Hoenlein said, describing a phone conversation he initiated with Clinton.
“This is where Jewish community begins,” says a woman with a broad smile, as children walk down a locker-lined school hallway behind her.
What follows is a video of many brief scenes. Cuts follow fast and furious, as children and adults recite lines that in less than five minutes tell the story of the Jewish day schools of northern New Jersey. The film is the latest product of an ongoing marketing collaboration between the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the area’s 11 Jewish day schools.
“There are two audiences” for the video, said Linda Scherzer, who leads the day school marketing project and wrote the video’s script.
There’s the part of the community that’s very familiar with the day schools — and already sends its children there.
“We want them to know the value we as a federation place on these schools,” Ms. Scherzer said. “We’re saying to our day school parents and our day school community that we understand you to be the cornerstone of the community, where we create the next generation of leaders.”