March 10, 2008
Briefs: Community shares grief at Standing in Unity rally, Federation board to be streamlined?
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"The alternative is a slow dissipation," he said after his appointment was approved. "I'm not going to let that happen."
The priorities he outlined then, from streamlining the board of directors to focusing The Federation's energy on a few key programs, are latent in the proposed bylaw changes.
"One of the great misconceptions since Stanley and I got involved is that we want to change everything," said Richard Sandler, The Federation's new vice chair, who drafted the plan with Gold. "There is a tremendous amount of good going on at The Federation and we want to retain it. But in 2008, there is a lot that needs to be done anew. And if we are going to do that, we want to make sure we have the right structure."
Sent to board members last week, the proposal has been received optimistically by many.
"It is a very healthy process he is looking to undertake and definitely should be given a shot," said Harriet Hochman, a former Federation chair who led the nominating committee that selected Gold.
Added board member Sharon Janks: "It's about time [The Federation] was run like a proper business and not just a mom and pop."
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer
JCC Shooting Victims Get $2.25 Million
Five children hurt in a Los Angeles-area JCC shooting have been awarded a total of $2.25 million.
The children -- Ben Kadish, Joshua Kadish, Joshua Stepakoff, James Zidell and Nathan Powers -- all under 10 years old at the time, were injured physically and emotionally when parolee Buford O. Furrow Jr., 46, fired more than 70 rounds at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in 1999.
Under a settlement reached last week, the Washington State Department of Corrections will pay the families who had filed a $15 million claim against the agency for not properly supervising Furrow, who had been amassing firearms, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. Furrow, a self-avowed white supremacist, had tried to commit himself to a psychiatric hospital in Washington state in 1998 but threatened staff members with a knife. He was arrested and served 5 1/2 months in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.
The gunman told police the JCC attack was a "wake-up call to America to kill Jews," according to the Times.
Furrow also shot a mail carrier to death at point-blank range immediately following his JCC rampage. He is serving a life sentence in prison.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
So Long to Swig
Future Jewish leaders sharpened their skills at Camp Swig in Saratoga (but didn't necessarily cut their hair). Among those who went on to leadership positions are: Top row, far left: Steve Makoff, Camp Swig Director, 1970s Fourth row, far left: Michael Zeldin -Director of the Hebrew Union College Rhea Hirsch School of Education Third row, far left: Debbie Friedman, Internationally known singer and songwriter Third row, second from left: Rabbi John Rosove, Temple Israel of Hollywood Bottom row, 4th from left: Laurie Nussbaum (maiden name Robinow) , Los Angeles Lay Leader
Alumni from around the country will converge on Camp Swig in Saratoga, April 6, to bid farewell to the towering redwoods and art-covered buildings that served Reform youth from 1953 to 2003.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), which owns the camp, is in the process of selling the site to a Methodist group. Swig has been closed since 2003 because of issues involving the grounds, including scarcity of water and being located right near the San Andreas Fault.
For several years prior to its closing, campers from Swig had been gradually transferred to Camp Newman, a URJ camp a few hours away in Santa Rosa. Now in its 13th year, Newman has about 1,400 kids a summer -- the largest program of URJ's 12 sites, which served 9,000 kids last summer. The newest URJ site, Camp Kalsman in northern Washington state, opened last summer with 250 kids and is expecting 400 this summer.
Next month's Fond Farewell event offers alumni a chance to conjure their own Swig days of everyone dressed in white for Shabbat, campfire singalongs and prayers in the woods.
"I think a lot of parts ignited for me Jewishly at Swig," said alumna Laurie Nussbaum, who is active in Jewish Family Services of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and at Stephen S. Wise Temple.
Swig alumna Michelle November, chair of the Farewell event, points out that many Jewish leaders spent time at Camp Swig as campers or staffers.
Among those who attended Camp Swig are Rabbi John Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood; Rabbi Jim Kaufman of Temple Beth Hillel; Rabbi Robert Gan of Temple Isaiah; Rabbi Don Goor of Temple Judea; Rabbi Barry Lutz of Temple Ahavat Shalom; Rabbi Leah Kroll of Milken Community Middle School; Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin of Stephen S. Wise Temple; Cantor Wally Schachet-Brisken of Leo Baeck Temple; Michael Zeldin, director of the school of education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles; and Reform singing icon Debbie Friedman.
"Camp played such an incredible role in so many people's lives and inspired us for our careers," said November, who has served as a professional at Heschel West Day School and Stephen S. Wise Temple. "It was a really safe place to be Jewish and a kid and a teenager, as you were trying to figure out who you were going to be."
She hopes to bring people back to those moments at the Fond Farewell, through camp tours, arts and crafts, a kumsitz and a slide show with about 1,000 images of years past.
A ceremony will also mark the removal of sacred -- and mundane -- art from the camp, from the Holocaust memorial, to mezuzot to counselor plaques. A team of experts is marking anything that can be moved, and those items will be rededicated in their new location at Camp Newman in a ceremony July 26.
For more information, visit http://www.urj.org/camps/swigfarewell.
-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
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