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Heather Robinson
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A conversation with Alex Grobman

Evangelical publishing house aims to foster Israel support

Local | WorldPublished: 08 July 2011

Balfour Books, a division of ICON Publishing, was established in 2003 “to educate Christians about what is going on in the Middle East,” and specifically about Israel, according to its publisher, Jim Fletcher. The Evangelical Christian company recently published Alex Grobman’s book, “The Palestinian Right to Israel.” (British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a famous letter in 1917 expressing sympathy with “Jewish Zionist aspirations.”)

Fletcher, who is based near Oklahoma City, says that running the outfit is a labor of both business and love.


Local camps balance safety and fun

Local camps focus on safety

Cover Story Published: 01 July 2011
Camp directors stress low camper-to-counselor ratios, vigilance near pools

Local day-camp directors interviewed this week stressed that at their camps, safety is the top priority. Most are accredited by the American Camp Association, whose safety standards, according to all camp directors interviewed, exceed state requirements. The state accepts ACA certification in lieu of state inspection.

“The state is confident enough in us that if a camp is ACA accredited it doesn’t need a full state inspection,” said Adam Weinstein, executive director of the ACA, New York and New Jersey.

All the camps featured meet or exceed state standards. And all camp directors interviewed stressed that their camps employ CPR-certified lifeguards and medical personnel.


From nut allergies to gluten, Jewish camps and schools struggle with dietary limitations

Local camps strive to serve allergic kids

Cover Story Published: 17 June 2011
Schools also promote healthier choices for all students

The New Jersey Y Camps may be the leader among Jewish camps and schools in accommodating children with celiac disease at its Milford, Pa. camp. But local Jewish camps and schools are also striving to better serve youngsters who have food allergies and sensitivities.

Every day school and Jewish camp administrator in North Jersey this reporter spoke with professed to be nut-sensitive (if not nut-free). Some have organized separate, gluten-free menus for youngsters with celiac disease.

And in response to parental concerns, many local Jewish institutions have redesigned menus to promote healthier eating habits.


Write On For Israel program prepares teens to stand up for Israel on campus

Local student recognized for pro-Israel advocacy

LocalPublished: 17 June 2011

Over the past year, as anti-Israel events on campus surged in what one professor characterized as an anti-Israel “drumbeat,” pro-Israel students at Rutgers University refused to sit quietly and be drowned out.

Among those striving to make pro-Israel voices heard was Rutgers student Sam Weiner.

Weiner, who will be a senior next year, says he was helped in learning how to respond to anti-Israel students by his work with Write On For Israel, a program in which he trains high school students in countering efforts to demonize and de-legitimize Israel.


Ramapo College to offer new minor in human rights and genocide studies

Program to promote student internships with New York City-based organizations

LocalPublished: 10 June 2011

Starting this fall, Ramapo College of New Jersey will offer its students a minor in human rights and genocide studies. It will be the first program of its kind in New Jersey’s state college system, according to Michael A. Riff, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide studies at the Mahwah college. “I think we are the first college in the New Jersey state system that has been able to launch a minor like this,” he said. “At least when we started looking at the possibility about a year and a half ago, we were alone.”

The minor is being offered under the auspices of the college’s School of American and International Studies. Rebecca Root, assistant professor of political science and international studies, is to serve as convener of the program.


N.J. lawmakers laud decision to boycott ‘Durban III’

Local | WorldPublished: 10 June 2011

The Obama administration announced last week that the United States would not participate in the Durban III World Conference Against Racism, scheduled to take place in New York City in September, during the U.N. General Assembly opening session. New Jersey members of Congress commended the president’s decision, noting the irony that a conference purportedly against racism has in the past degenerated into an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic event.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement: “I applaud the State Department’s decision to forgo participation in the Durban III World Conference Against Racism this year. People of democratic principle understand the misnomer, that Durban III will be yet another ugly opportunity to single out Israel and become a megaphone for anti-Semitism and anti-American vitriol.”

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Ari Fleischer comes to New Jersey

Former White House press secretary dishes on Bush, Obama, Israel

LocalPublished: 03 June 2011

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary, is coming to speak June 12 as part of an effort by the Republican Jewish Coalition to ramp up its outreach in New Jersey in advance of the 2012 election (see sidebar). The event, “A Conversation with Ari Fleischer and Steve Malzberg,” will take place at Cong. Sons of Israel in Manalapan. Fleischer will discuss his journey from Democrat to Republican from a Jewish perspective, and share impressions of “what September 11 was like, from within the White House,” according to RJC spokesman Greg Menken. In advance of his talk, Fleischer spoke by phone with The Jewish Standard about current affairs as well as his years working in the White House.

Jewish Standard: I understand you’ll be speaking this month in New Jersey about your journey from Democrat to Republican, from a Jewish perspective. Can you tell me a little bit, in advance, about that aspect of your talk?

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Ari Fleischer comes to New Jersey

Republican Jewish Coalition to launch northern New Jersey chapter

LocalPublished: 03 June 2011

The June 12 event featuring former White House Pres Secretary Ari Fleischer and radio talk show host Steve Malzberg (WOR, 710 AM) is part of a broader effort on the part of the Republican Jewish Coalition to ramp up outreach in New Jersey approaching 2012, according to Greg Menken, New York executive director and spokesman for the RJC.

The RJC is planning to launch a northern New Jersey chapter “in coming months,” Menken told The Jewish Standard.

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Joan Rivers talks to the Standard about life and work and how to meet men

ComedyPublished: 27 May 2011

Ahead of her June 12 performance to benefit Gilda’s Club Northern New Jersey, the local chapter of a charity founded in memory of the comedian Gilda Radner to help those struggling with cancer, cancer survivors, and their families, Rivers spoke with The Jewish Standard about her love for Israel, her daughter and her grandson, and the reasons she uses her talent to do good.

Jewish Standard: Lots of us admire your relationship with your daughter Melissa. Even when you have your differences, your strong connection and your love for each other shines through. What is it about your daughter that gives you the most nachas?

Joan Rivers: I guess being able to see that my daughter is living a good life, that she has brains and is a terrific mom and is able to cope with adversity — all of that, for a parent, is important.

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Won ‘Jeopardy!’ (What did the rabbi do on Monday?)

Local | WorldPublished: 20 May 2011

Jews have a reputation for answering a question with a question. That might help explain Rabbi Joyce Newmark’s big news — she is a “Jeopardy!” champion.

In the episode of the television game show that aired on Monday, Newmark had no problem defeating two other contestants and finishing with $29,200.

In Tuesday night’s episode, she came in second, losing to challenger Lisa Bloomberg of Minneapolis, Minn.

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