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Safety, revisited

Community meets after Kletzky tragedy

The murder last week of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was “a tragedy beyond words,” Teaneck’s Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin told The Jewish Standard. And that is why, “as the citizens of Teaneck were reflecting on how to keep our children safe, we took this opportunity” to call a town-wide meeting, in conjunction with Chai Lifeline and the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, Monday night.

Hameeduddin and former Mayor Elie Katz were among the speakers at the gathering, held at Young Israel of Teaneck and attended by more than 250 people.

Rabbi David Fox, a forensic and clinical psychologist and a member of Chai Lifeline’s Project Chai, spoke about helping both adults and children to cope with the tragedy and about parents’ playing a greater role in a child’s life and turning safety into a routine, not just a speech.

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Missing-person posters for 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky were plastered throughout Borough Park, Brooklyn, in the time between his disappearance and the arrest of his suspected murderer on July 13. Local Jewish institutions are examining their safety procedures. Tim Faracy/Creative Commons

Police Chief Robert A. Wilson illustrated the importance of calling the police immediately when a child’s safety is threatened by citing a case some years ago in which a man tried to lure a child into his car on Shabbat. The parents waited until the next day to call the police.

When people don’t report crimes they see, for whatever reason, Wilson told the Standard, it “seriously inhibits our ability to do our job.”

He added, “All the rabbis I’ve spoken to say … you have to take action and take care of your child, despite it being Shabbat…. You’re not bothering us reporting suspicious acts you may see. That’s why we’re here…. We all need to take an active role in protecting our kids.”

Experts, including Debbie Fox, a licensed social worker who has written about child safety, answered the question of what to teach a child to do if lost: First, find a uniformed officer. If not, look for a mother with children, and then a cashier or salesperson in a store.

Sheila Steinbach, director of clinical services at Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson, said her treatment team is on call and able to conduct individual, family, and group counseling. “We offer workshops on child safety, how to protect your children in public, bullying, cyberbullying, and more.” She said that she will reach out to local school administrators once schools are back in session: “This is definitely going to be an issue in the fall.” The treatment team is also available to work with parents on “how to speak to kids about the tragedy. You really have to do it in a mindful way,” she said.

A sampling of area summer programs showed that safety procedures are in place.

At the Neil Klatskin Day Camp of the JCC on the Palisades, in Tenafly, says camp director Stacey Budkofsky, “All staff members wear camp T-shirts. If an adult is on camp premises who doesn’t belong, that person really stands out.” She added that her staff is vigilant about identifying strangers and will “always approach them and escort them to where they need to go.”

Their vigilance extends to dismissal procedure, she pointed out, noting that the camp operates a strict carpool system. “Each parent gets a card, with a specific number corresponding to a camper, that he or she needs to display when picking up a child,” says Budkofsky. If there is a special situation, such as a camper who needs to leave early, the camper must bring a signed note, and the adult picking up the child must come into the office and present identification, she says.

At Gan Aviv, a nursery school in Bergenfield, visitors must call the office on an intercom to enter the building. Parents are issued key cards, allowing them to come inside to pick up their children, and a computer system matches name to card number, verifying the identity every time a parent walks in. “We have a very strict security system here,” says Karen Adler, owner and director of the school. Visitors need to carry picture identification at all times. “We have had times,” Adler says, “where people have had to go back to get their IDs and come back.”

“We don’t let the children go with anyone,” says Debbie Lesnoy, director of Shomrei Torah Nursery School in Fair Lawn, unless that person is a parent. Staff members check the identification of all visitors to the school, and when a grandfather recently called to arrange to pick up a student, Lesnoy took not only his name, but his address, car make, and license plate number. She verified her information when the car arrived. “I think everyone in the community needs to re-look at our comfort level,” she said.

 
 

Young Arab and Jewish Israelis connect through photography

Works to be exhibited at Puffin Cultural Forum

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An image from “Through Others’ Eyes” art exhibit

“Through Others’ Eyes,” an art exhibit to be held at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck from Aug. 3 to 18, is the culmination of a year’s worth of efforts toward understanding between young Israeli Jews and Arabs.

Twenty Israeli high school students were selected to engage in a program about understanding cultural differences through art. The program is run by Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, an Israeli organization whose mission is to “work for a shared Israel,” says Yaniv Sagee, current Israel Representative for Givat Haviva in New York. Photography was the art-form chosen, because taking photos of unfamiliar homes and towns lets the participants “get a sense of looking through others’ eyes,” says Sagee. “The idea of the program is everyone, Arab or Jewish, is on equal ground. No one is superior. They all don’t know photography.”

In the yearlong program, the 20 students take a quick course in photography, then meet once a week at one another’s homes. Jewish participants go into Arab neighborhoods and take photos of life there, and Arab participants go into Jewish neighborhoods.

“It truly is a wonderful way of getting youngsters together,” says Gladys Miller-Rosenstein, executive director of the Puffin Foundation, which runs the cultural forum. “Givat Haviva uses photos to show that there are a lot of similarities, and the home is the basis of their similarities. Even though they have different customs, family stays the same.”

During the summer, after the photography portion has run its course, the participants come to the United States for several weeks. They live and bunk together at Camp Shomria in Liberty, N.Y., which is “an opportunity to have an open dialogue about Arab and Jewish coexistence in Israel,” says Sagee. Then the program brings the participants to New York City for R&R and a meeting with Presbyterians their age. They have been stopping in Teaneck during this portion of their trip for nearly a decade, to be present on the opening night of the exhibit at Puffin, and “it has always been unbelievable for us,” Miller-Rosenstein says. The Puffin Foundation partially funds the New York portion of the trip.

“Naturally, people begin to trust one another after a while,” says Perry Rosenstein, president of Puffin Foundation. “Givat Haviva mainly stresses understanding through education,” he says. Sagee says it was natural for Givat Haviva and Puffin to join together, adding, “Givat Haviva has similar values with Puffin — they are very much about social education, tikkun olam,” repairing the world.

The participants are always proud to see their photographs framed and hung in an exhibit, says Merri Milwe, artistic director of the Puffin Cultural Forum. “I selected photographs that moved me in some way, that represents Givat Haviva in some way..... This exhibit shows kinship between peoples…. These photos don’t lie,” she says. Rachel Banai, a Teaneck-based phographer, and her husband, Moshe, are helping to hang the photos.

Both Milwe and Miller-Rosenstein are quick to point out that area residents have much to gain from seeing the exhibit and speaking with 16 of the program participants, who will be present at the gallery’s opening on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m.

They will discuss the process of the year, what they have learned along the way, and “show what they did and what they think,” says Sagee.

This is the final event of their stay, and “this is their chance to speak out. All questions are really open and welcomed,” says Perry Rosenstein. After that, the participants will return to camp and then to Israel, where they will begin their senior year of high school.

“[Here] we have groups within the larger whole, and people stick to their own group,” says Miller-Rosenstein. She continues, “This is an opportunity to move out of that, see the world through a larger scope…. [The exhibit] will hopefully show the people that young Israelis can learn through education to live with one another. It’s an opportunity... to see what could be.”

She adds, “This is a program that plants seeds. Seeds build bridges. Bridges build relationships, and relationships build our future — a future of peace, one hopes.”

 
 

Bat Torah girls high school won’t reopen in September

Students “were treated as individuals,” Stephen Flatow said of the school that bears the name of his daughter Alisa. “Teachers never hesitated to look face to face with a student,” added Flatow, a member of the board. “It was also the hands-on approach … that made it so special.”

That school — Bat Torah - The Alisa M. Flatow Yeshiva High School, an Orthodox girls’ school that was set to move from Paramus to Teaneck this summer, is closing instead. Miriam Bak, the school’s principal, attributed the closing to a sudden and unexpected drop in numbers in the 11th grade.

She said that classes had ranged from 10 to 15 students over the past few years, with an incoming class that was “closer to 20,” but a few 11th-graders dropped out “very recently,” and that “tips the scale. The numbers are too small and we’re too vulnerable — when your numbers are small, you’re very vulnerable.”

She suggested that students switch schools for social and not educational reasons.

Bat Torah was founded in 1978 in Suffern, N.Y. According to a mission statement on its website, http://www.battorah.org, “Our primary and ultimate goal is to produce a mature, self-confident young woman who combines strict adherence to Torah and mitzvot with the ability to relate to society at large.”

“Our immediate goal,” the statement continued, “is to provide each of our students with the basic knowledge and the thirst for learning which will inspire her to continue both her Jewish studies and her secular studies far beyond high school.”

In 2008, the school moved from Suffern, N.Y., to the former Frisch School building in Paramus, renting the space from Frisch (which had moved to new quarters) and subletting some of it to Ben Porat Yosef, an elementary school. The roles were reversed when Ben Porat Yosef took over as principal tenant.

Bat Torah had planned to move to the Jewish Center of Teaneck this summer and prepare 11 classrooms there for the beginning of the school year.

But instead, said Bak, “we have until the end of the month, which is this week, to clear out of the Frisch building. I have invited a few yeshivot to ‘inherit’ whatever items they can use.” The remaining items will be sold.

The JCT was one of the first places Bat Torah had in mind when moving to Bergen County. In a newsletter published on the Bat Torah website, dated May 27, 2011, Bak wrote, “As you may know, we were hoping to move to the [JCT] three years ago, and it wasn’t available. Now, we are very excited to tell you that we will be moving there over the summer.”

In subsequent newsletters, Bak expressed concern about moving costs. On June 15, she wrote, “We’re getting estimates from the movers and the price quotes are frighteningly high.”

Bat Torah had already placed a deposit for the JCT space. “They have been wonderful to us, and we were so excited to be located in their space this fall,” said Bak. “It is very sad,” she added.

The Jewish Center of Teaneck will be left without a tenant.

JCT’s Rabbi Lawrence Zierler would not comment on the closing or its impact on his synagogue, saying, “it’s too early, too new to discuss.” He had only praise for the school, however. “It’s a wonderful school with great teachers, great administrators, and even better students.”

Stephen Flatow also was not prepared to discuss the closing. “We are now formulating a response” to it, he said. “This is a very emotional time…. It’s going to take time to recover from this.”

Three of Flatow’s daughters, Gail, Francine, and Ilana, attended the school.

Flatow held open the possibility that the school would reorganize and eventually reopen, but “definitely not this year…. We will miss it dearly.”

‘She had a warmth about her’

Alisa Flatow, a 20-year-old Frisch School graduate and Brandeis University student, was killed, along with seven Israeli soldiers, in a suicide bombing in the Gaza Strip on April 9, 1995. She was on a public bus in transit to the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom.

Flatow had volunteered to teach children there while taking a semester off from her junior year. She also studied at the Nishmat seminary in Israel.

“She had a warmth about her, a real inner beauty that surrounded her,” said Rabbi Saul Zucker, Flatow’s former teacher and associate principal during her time at the Frisch School, in an interview immediately after her death.

U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey called her “an exceptional young American dedicated to Judaism, her people, and to Israel. She will be deeply missed.” More than 2,000 people attended her funeral in West Orange.

Bat Torah Academy, then in Suffern, N.Y., changed its name to Bat Torah – Alisa M. Flatow Yeshiva High School, in her memory.

After the death of Alisa her parents, Rosalyn and Stephen, established the Alisa M. Flatow Memorial Scholarship Fund, to award grants to students for post-high school study in Israel. Scholarships are provided to those with academic promise in religious subjects and financial need. The scholarship fund is administered by the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest NJ.

Josh Isackson

 
 

Movie to marshal support for college Israel advocacy

Rutgers students to lead discussion

“We are in need at Rutgers,” said Raffi Mark, a student and Israel advocate on the New Brunswick campus.

“Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus,” a documentary detailing students’ struggles against anti-Semitism, will be screened at the Jewish Community Center of Paramus on Tuesday, Aug. 9. The 39-minute film was produced by Raphael Shore and directed by Wayne Kopping.

The congregation obtained the film with the help of Hasbara Fellowships, an organization that “trains students across the United States in Israel Advocacy,” according to Atara Jacobs, community and public relations coordinator for the organization.

A discussion moderated by Mark, of Wayne, and another Rutgers student, Sam Weiner of Paramus, will be held after the screening.

“When you send kids to college they should know what’s going on, and they should be able to talk about it in an intelligent way,” said Gershon Rosenzweig, chair of the Israel Awareness committee of JCC of Paramus and its past president.

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Raffi Mark, left, Saskia Marina Photography and Sam Weiner Courtesy Weiner Family

According to the film’s website, campusintifada.com, the documentary “offers a glimpse into the experiences of Jewish college students who are actively involved in the daily struggle of supporting the State of Israel and fighting against biased misinformation both in and out of the classroom.”

The JCCP’s Israel Awareness committee, founded in November, sponsors film screenings, visits of Israeli students to the shul, and discussions, among other cultural events.

Tuesday’s film focuses on the reactions of U.S. college students after Israel’s military movements against Gaza in 2008 and 2009, according to campusintifada.com. It explores Muslim organizations that have ties to American universities. It also highlights pro-Israel student activists and their campus campaigns.

Both Rutgers students plan to draw from their experiences as Israel advocates on campus when they lead the discussion.

Twenty-one-year-old Weiner, a senior, is “heavily involved with the Israel advocacy movement at Rutgers,” he said, and will be vice president of Rutgers Hillel this year. He also participated in Write on for Israel, an advocacy journalism program.

“The war to delegitimize Israel has found a home at Rutgers, and we don’t want this to last for long,” said Weiner. “We’ve had an incredibly successful year at Rutgers dealing with what went on there,” he said.

He refers to such programs as the touring Never Again for Anyone event, sponsored by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and American Muslims for Palestine. The Jan. 29 event at Rutgers, according to Weiner, “linked the actions of the Nazis in Europe to actions taken by Israel in 1948.”

The event featured two Holocaust survivors and two Palestinians. Israel supporters on campus reached out to the greater Jewish community in the area and 300 people turned out to protest it.

The event “crossed over the line into anti-Semitism,” said Mark, 20 years old and a junior at Rutgers. Mark was on the Rutgers Hillel student planning committee for Israel and this year will be the Israel chair of the Rutgers Hillel student board.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the event was “the latest effort by anti-Israel activists to exploit the sacred memory of the Holocaust for the purpose of painting its victim, the Jewish people, as the ‘new’ oppressor in the form of Israel.”

“The line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is being blurred,” says Hasbara Fellowship’s Jacobs.

The Hasbara program was founded in 2001 conjunction with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its mission, according to its website, hasbarafellowships.org, is “simple: educate, train, and motivate university students to be passionate, dedicated, and effective pro-Israel advocates on their campuses.”

The program also brings students to Israel. According to its website, Hasbara Fellowships has hosted more than 1,800 students from more than 250 college campuses.

Mark went on a Hasbara Fellowships program this summer, spending about two weeks in Israel. He said, “It’s the perfect blend of education, advocacy training, and experiencing Israel. With all three, you can come back to campus and not just give prepared responses about Israel but be able to say, I was there, I saw it.”

Though already heavily involved in Israel advocacy, the trip “gave me a stronger connection to Israel,” Mark said.

The screening is only the beginning of an awareness campaign by Hasbara Fellowships in the area, according to Jacobs. Seminars about Israel advocacy are being planned for the fall.

The film has been shown across the country and around the world, and screened by multiple Israel advocacy organizations. Mark has seen clips of it and said, “It’s a very powerful movie, and … is a call to action, especially locally in New Jersey.”

Rosenzweig hopes that the screening will make people aware of the situation on college campuses. “It’s about how we should make our citizens feel comfortable,” he said.

Weiner wants “to get across awareness of how hard [student advocates for Israel] are working to combat anti-Semitism on campus, and how [the community’s] support really helps…. One evening discussion is wonderful, but hopefully it will serve as a catalyst for people.”

“Gershon Rosenzweig was amazing in helping me screen the film at the JCCP,” said Jacobs. “This is going to be an eye-opening event for the community,” she said, adding, “we are very excited…. This is for them to get in the know about what’s going on in colleges around the United States.”

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Film to be shown Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at the JCC of Paramus. (See calendar listing.)
 
 

10 years after Sbarro bombing

Victim’s husband turns horror into way to promote kindness around the world

_JStandardLocal
Published: 05 August 2011
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Shoshana Greenbaum was killed in the Sbarro suicide bombing 10 years ago. Courtesy New Jersey Jewish News

Ten years ago this Tuesday — on Aug. 9, 2001 — a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the Sbarro pizzeria and restaurant in Jerusalem. Among the 15 dead and almost 75 wounded was a 31-year-old Passaic woman, Shoshana Greenbaum.

“We are taking a tragic situation and using it to make the world better,” her husband Shmuel told The Jewish Standard as he prepared to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.

The couple were married for 15 months, and were expecting their first child when the terrorist struck.

Shoshana Greenbaum was in Israel on a summer program to complete her master’s degree in education. A former teacher at the Hebrew Academy in Long Beach, N.Y., she was set to begin teaching at the Yeshiva of North Jersey that September.

To commemorate her death, Greenbaum is ramping up awareness of the free, daily, Jewish-oriented e-mails his organization, Partners in Kindness, sends to readers. The e-mails tell about acts of kindness by people around the world.

The organization, which he and some friends founded in 2002 “to make the world a better place,” is also donating almost 5,000 copies of his recent book, “A Daily Dose of Kindness, Stories from the Heart,” to public libraries worldwide, said Greenbaum.

A non-sectarian e-mail newsletter, “Kind Words,” is syndicated around the world.

The two newsletters have a combined circulation of 1.5 million to 2 million, are translated into eight languages, and sent to six continents.

Greenbaum believes that “by merely reading something, you can change a person.” He credits the popularity of the e-mails to the positive messages they carry. “These positive stories are things not covered in the news….You can’t find them on the Internet. This is the only source.”

The book is a compilation of some of those e-mails. Putting it together was a “strenuous” task, Greenbaum said. More than 90 volunteers worked to edit and publish the stories of kindness.

“People are habitual, and they generally focus on the negative. It takes something to not do that, a conscious effort. That’s what the emails are about. Someone can read the email and say, ‘Wow, this person can do that, and then they think, I can do that too,’” said Greenbaum.

“The book is composed of positive stories about Israel … for both Jewish readers and those of other faiths,” said Greenbaum. “We want people to see the beautiful things going on in Israel.”

Publishers started retreating from their initial offers to carry the book, he said, after the focus became more clearly stories based in Israel. “They would tell me, ‘Israel just doesn’t sell.’ It wasn’t an anti-Semitic thing — they just were being practical.”

Partners in Kindness chose to self-publish the book, but this became an obstacle when the organization began to distribute the books to libraries.

Said Greenbaum, “Just donating doesn’t get you anywhere. Libraries won’t accept books that are self-published — unless they are requested by the public. We have over 300 libraries that have accepted the book, which is testament to the power of the book.”

Every library in Brooklyn and Queens has the book in its collection, and the book is now carried in parts of New Jersey. The book can be found in libraries all over the country, from Long Island to Arizona, Greenbaum said.

He used a discussion with a library consultant in the United Kingdom to illustrate his push to bring the books to libraries. “She sat down with us for an hour and a quarter, telling us that self-published books are never accepted into libraries, that books are never donated to libraries, and this is what I told her: Our campaign is an unusual way of doing things. We just might stand a chance. After an hour and a quarter, she agreed with us,” said Greenbaum.

“Our greatest hope is that on Tisha B’Av [when the 10th anniversary falls], people will line up at their local library and ask for the book,” he said. “I hope they get 20 people together and go to their library.”

Said Greenbaum, “People ask, ‘What can I do?’ Get the e-mails. Forward them to friends. Ask your local library to accept the book.”

 
 

Film explores the role of Jews in Civil War

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Image from the film “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray.” The National Center for Jewish Film

As America marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a new film highlights the role Jews played in the conflict that pitted North against South. The 86-minute film, “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray,” was produced by the National Center for Jewish Film of Brandeis University. It was screened locally on July 13, at Cong. Beth Tikvah/New Milford Jewish Center.

“Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” was written by Jonathan Gruber, with an assist from Robert Marcus. It was directed by Gruber. It relies on interviews with Civil War historians such as Shalom Lamm and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer and descendants of Jewish soldiers, as well as original letters and records stored in museums, archives, and private homes. Approximately 7,000 Jews fought for the Union; approximately 3,000 fought for the Confederacy.

The screening attracted a wide audience, including many from outside the congregation. Ken Morrow of Dumont said he had always been curious about Jewish soldiers serving in the Civil War. “This is a subject most people are not informed about.”

Bob Mark, rabbi of the New Milford congregation, noted in his opening remarks that most history textbooks ignore the contributions of Jews to the early history of the United States.

Although more than twice as many Jews fought for the North than the South, the film explores the myth that the North was friendlier to the Jews. Said one expert interviewed in the film, “The lines of division in the South were more racial than religious.”

The film discusses the career of Judah P. Benjamin, one of the first Jews to serve as a U.S. senator. The Louisiana native, known for his “incredible oratorical skills,” was a leader of the secessionist movement that created the Confederate States of America. He served as “Jefferson Davis’ right-hand man,” said one historian featured in the documentary, was appointed secretary of state among his other positions, and his face appeared on the Confederate two-dollar bill.

Also highlighted was Eugenia Levy Phillips, who was imprisoned for spying for the Confederacy.

Other notable Jews highlighted by the film include Alfred Mordecai, a major in the U.S. Army who refused to fight for either side during the war and resigned his position in protest of it; Rabbi Max Lillienthal, a vehement abolitionist; and Lt. Jacob Ballantine, who fired some of the first shots on Union soldiers at Fort Sumter.

The movie also discussed the Concordia Guard, reportedly an all-Jewish company of 96 men that was part of the 82nd Illinois Infantry.

Evidence of Jewish involvement in the war rests not only in the archives and the descendants of soldiers, but also on the field. A cemetery in Richmond holds the remains of dozens of Jewish soldiers who served in the Civil War. Additionally, a 19th-century Jewish activist, Simon Wolf, published a directory in 1895 containing the names of 7,000 Jews who fought on either side during the conflict. After being given a copy of the directory — “The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen” — Mark Twain publicly recanted a statement he made criticizing American Jews for refusing to fight in the Civil War.

The film also explores anti-Semitism in America at the time. One bright spot in the film was a discussion of President Lincoln’s strong support for the Jewish community. Lincoln’s voice in the film was more familiar to most people in the audience as belonging to Manhattan District Attorney Jack McCoy, the “Law & Order” character portrayed by the actor Sam Waterston.

Immediately after the screening, there was a brief discussion led by Rabbi Mark. He said he hoped that viewers had discovered “something you never knew before.”

“Pass this information on to your children,” he told the audience.

“Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” was produced by Indigo Films, with funding from the Shapell Manuscript Foundation .

For more information about the film or to schedule a screening, call the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University, (781) 736-8600, or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 
 

The changing of the guard

 

As economy falters, teens take ‘major’ interest in economics

_JStandardLocal
Published: 19 August 2011
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Sam Elias

The seesawing U.S. economy may be a major headache for everyone from politicians on up to the average person in the street, but for area teens headed for college, it is providing a major focus on the next four years and the rest of their lives.

Roni Finkelstein graduated from Tenafly High School in June and will attend Grinnell College in Iowa. Her first choice for a career is “something in the nonprofit sector,” she said, which is why she is “leaning towards a minor in global development studies.” For a major, however, Roni is considering economics. “It’s a way to get into the ‘profit’ sector, and the major would be related to the minor.”

Finkelstein sees a possible silver lining beneath the economy’s dark clouds. “I hope the economy will help people realize how important it is to contribute support for nonprofits,” she said. She realizes, though, that the economy may mean she will have to put her nonprofit dreams on hold, and seek a career in the for-profit world. “That way I’ll have a job,” she says, “and perhaps go to the nonprofit sector when I’m done.”

Sam Elias recently graduated from Northern Valley Old Tappan. A resident of Norwood, he will attend Wesleyan University this fall. He says he has been somewhat influenced by his parents to pursue business as a career, especially in the past few years, but because he is going to a liberal arts school, he plans to pursue a major in economics instead.

The poor state of the economy is troubling his friends, Elias said, and many of them are worried about finding a job, but “I’m not thinking that far ahead.”

Noah Siegel is thinking that far ahead, but perhaps with less concern than Elias’ friends. Siegel, who graduated this year from Northern Valley Demarest, will attend Yale University in the fall, where he plans to study economics and public policy.

“Over the course of high school, whether through classes or summer seminars, I found myself intrigued by economics and politics,” he said.

“While the state of America’s rather lackluster economy may have deterred me from becoming attracted to other potential careers,” he continued, “it is clear to me that our future leaders need better economic knowledge than ever before.”

As for finding a job, “while such a search will likely be difficult,” Siegel said, he is optimistic about the future. “The economic climate can change greatly.”

 
 
 
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