April 3, 2008
Briefs: Loyola hosts Jewish Studies conference, Jews at UC Irvine say they are safe
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-- Celia Soudry, Contributing Writer
Jews at UC Irvine Say They Are Safe
Jewish student leaders at UC Irvine disputed that the campus is rife with anti-Jewish violence in a news release issued Wednesday.
Five Jewish student leaders acknowledged that while "verbal anti-Semitism" continues to exist, Jews are nevertheless "physically safe and secure" at UC Irvine. They also defended the administration from allegations that it has not done enough to counter anti-Semitism on campus.
The statement was signed by the leaders of the local Hillel chapter, the campus pro-Israel group and the heads of the local Jewish fraternity and sorority. Chancellor Michael Drake has been criticized by the Zionist Organization of America both for failing to condemn specific acts of anti-Israel rhetoric on his campus as well as his appearance at this week's Hillel summit in Washington. The student leaders defended Drake's appearance, saying it exemplified the university's commitment to civil discourse.
"We are honored, as the greater Jewish community should also be, by Drake's unrelenting commitment, as he repeatedly condemns hate speech in all forms and emphasizes that it has no place on any University campus," the statement said.
-- Jewish Telegraphic Agency
High School Student Raises Funds, Awareness for Jewish World Watch
"Thirty dollars. It's so tangible. It saves a life."
When Shelby Layne, 17, first heard about Jewish World Watch's solar cooker project two years ago, she was incredulous. She couldn't believe that $30 -- less than the cost of a new blouse -- could supply a Darfurian family with two cookers, alleviating life-threatening trips outside the refugee camp to collect firewood. She was also outraged that a family faced death or, at the least, rape in order to eat.
Feeling guilty about her own fortunate circumstances, the Pacific Palisades resident began devising ways to raise money to buy more solar cookers. She spent the summer of 2006 making jewelry, a skill she was learning, and that fall, supplementing her inventory with donations from friends, family and several retailers, she hosted a sidewalk jewelry sale, raising an unexpected $8,500. A second sale, in December 2006, netted an additional $5,500.
Shelby has continued to raise awareness and money to help Darfur's refugees, thus far collecting more than $27,000 total for the solar cooker project.
She has become an active member of Jewish World Watch, participating on the speakers' bureau and serving as the only student representative on the organization's board of directors. She also heads the Darfur Awareness and Activism Certification Training at Harvard-Westlake School, where she is currently an eleventh grader. Additionally, she was a keynote speaker at last summer's National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.
Shelby's latest fund-raising project is a screening of "The Devil Came on Horseback," a documentary by former U.S. Marine Captain and photojournalist Brian Steidle that exposes the Darfur genocide firsthand. After reading about Steidle last fall, Shelby personally contacted him and organized the screening.
Shelby credits her work with Jewish World Watch with giving her life meaning and purpose.
"It pains me when people don't get to choose [their circumstances]. No person ever deserves to live like that," she said.
The screening of "The Devil Came on Horseback" takes place on Saturday, April 12, at 5 p.m. at Universal Studios. Tickets cost $30 minimum per person or $15 for a student, and seating is limited to the first 100 people. To purchase tickets or make a donation, contact Jewish World Watch at (818) 501-1836.
-- Jane Ulman, Contributing Editor
Children and Adults Spice Up SummerActivities With Yachad
The Orthodox Union's Yachad National Jewish Council for the Disabled is offering summer programs for developmentally disabled children and adults to participate in travel, sports, arts and drama. Yachad's varying offerings include a two-week Yachad Getaway to New York for ages 18 and over. Campers will stay in a private estate and can choose from daily activities such as swimming, dancing, baking and creative arts projects.
Programs offered also feature job-oriented focuses, providing work programs for ages 22 to 30. Attendees can learn how to become coaches or counselors and are placed in positions suiting their specific abilities.
In a shadow program, B'Moshava, children ages 10 to 15 with learning disabilities such as Asperger's syndrome can bunk together in a supportive environment with a well-trained staff to engage in socialization and inclusion.
The Yad B'Yad Israel Experience offers 18- to 35-year-olds an opportunity to travel to Jerusalem, an Israeli army base, the Kinneret and the Dead Sea. Activities range from camel riding, hiking up Masada and special Shabbat services. Other programs, such as Yad B'Yad East-West Coast/Hawaii Adventure, involve travel to cities throughout the country, ending in Hawaii.
For more information on these programs, and to register, call Nechama Braun, administrator of Yachad Summer Programs, (212) 613-8369 or e-mail email@example.com.
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