Sixteen years ago, facing the usual slow week at the first of the secular year, The Jewish Standard created what has turned into an enduring feature: naming the newsmakers of the year just passed (or, in this case, just passing).
This has been a challenging year, punctuated by an earthquake and storms as well as the continuing harsh winds of the recession. But we have also seen the community rising to meet those challenges in creative as well as tried-and-true ways.
We continue in what has become a tradition by stating our standards:
What makes a newsmaker? Philanthropy? Maybe, but also creative use of resources. Tragedy? Yes, but also survival. Personal accomplishments? Yes, but also efforts on behalf of others. Scholarship? Yes, but also originality. Political daring? Yes, but also political dealing.
p>The community marked Yom HaShoah, the commemoration of the Holocaust, at various sites this week.
UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey held its observance, which also marked the 67th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, at the Frisch School in Paramus on Sunday. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was the keynote speaker. (See also page 36.) Foxman, who had been a hidden child, told the audience of some 500 people, “The world knew about the Holocaust, but did nothing about it. Only Bulgaria saved all of its 50,000 Jews, and Albania saved its 20,000 Jews. They did what they could. Today, we stand up and say no to hate, bigotry, and anti-Semitism.”
The Holocaust Resource Center of Greater Clifton-Passaic will hold its annual Yom HaShoah observance on April 11 at the Jewish Community Center, 199 Scoles Ave., in Clifton. The program will include a special tribute to a former New York University dean responsible for saving the lives of Jewish doctors and scientists.
Physicist Albert Einstein, who left Germany in 1933, had been trying, in cooperation with Jewish organizations, to get Jews out of Germany and Austria and into the United States. He asked leaders of scientific and academic institutions to hire Jewish professionals for teaching positions, which would allow them to get visas quickly, thus getting around the waiting periods imposed by the State Department.
Two AMIT graduates shared their experiences with guests — and gave a musical performance — at a recent reception in Englewood. Romi Berlin and Chaim Siton are graduates of the AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva, a school for boys who have not succeeded in the regular Israeli school system. AMIT Bienenfeld offers a nontraditional curriculum, encompassing major courses of study in music, sports, environmental studies, and animal training and therapy.
“Everything I have today grew out of AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva,” said Berlin. He was a member of the first class admitted to AMIT Bienenfeld, where he majored in music.
Jeanette Friedman and Philip Sieradski were honored by the Teaneck school board and the Department of New Jersey War Veterans last Wednesday at a board of education meeting at Teaneck High School. The New Milford couple were thanked for donating more than 250 books and DVDs, as well as artwork by Otto David Sherman, to the Teaneck High School Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center. The president of the School Board, Henry Pruitt, presented each of them with a Teaneck Apple pin.
The Friedman-Sieradski Holocaust and Genocide Studies Library, created in honor of their parents, Peska and Wolvie Friedman and Daniel and Regina Sieradski, all Holocaust survivors, came from their personal collection.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs adopted a resolution at its plenum on Tuesday in support of gays and lesbians serving in the military.
According to the resolution, “Eighty-five percent of the countries in NATO permit openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual soldiers to serve openly in their militaries. The Israeli Defense Forces do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
As the need for aid in Haiti persists, local individuals and groups continue to mobilize.
UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey is still accepting donations for The Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. All monies are sent directly to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. As of Tuesday, the group had raised $123,676. Send donations through the UJA-NNJ Website, www.ujannj.org/Haiti, or by mail.
Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring and the New Yiddish Repertory Theater are the lead sponsors of the three-hour concert, which will feature, among others, Frank London and The Klezmer Brass AllStars, Greg Wall, Soulfarm, Neshama Carlebach and The Green Pastures Baptist Choir, Basya Schaechter and Pharoah’s Daughter, Alicia Svigals, Judith Sloan (the evening’s emcee), Gary Lucas, Maracatu New York, Cantor Dan Singer, and others with styles ranging from klezmer to Jewish hip hop.
Fifteen years ago, facing the usual slow week at the first of the secular year, The Jewish Standard created what has turned into an enduring feature: Naming the newsmakers of the year just past.
Particularly because of the recession (and Bernard Madoff), it was a very rough year. People lost their savings and their jobs. Some even lost their homes. Charities suffered and were hard-pressed to continue their good works. But the year called forth the best in us. We helped each other. We used our seichel and invented new ways of dealing with difficulty. Some of them even bridged age-old divisions.