Sometimes, when you visit a place that is full of so much pain, the stories — and days — begin to bleed into one another.
Jewish leaders delivered a letter to the White House urging action to allow food to reach hundreds of thousands of people facing starvation in Sudan's border regions.
Jewish clergy and educators lobbied Congress to maintain food aid to foreign countries.
American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to developing countries, recently signed a lease for office space in Los Angeles, and on May 6, a ceremony marked the organization’s move into the office. At the ceremony, Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of the new Los Angeles office, and Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR recited a blessing.
In Washington and abroad, longstanding Jewish organizations added their voices of protest against the genocide in Darfur.
But guess what: It's not enough.
While the Jews of Kenya seem unscathed by the country's political crisis, Jewish nongovernmental agencies that work there and elsewhere in Africa are bracing for the long-term effects of the sudden outbreak of violence.
Interethnic violence erupted Dec. 27 after the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, declared himself the winner of the country's presidential election amid evidence of widespread fraud. Opposition leader Raila Odinga maintains he won the election.
Noteworthy sessions and events at the General Assembly
We volunteered with the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a nonprofit organization devoted to ending poverty by furthering sustainable development and promoting international human rights.
We stood on Sukkot amid the Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad along the Sudanese border: two prominent Reform rabbis, Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas and Rabbi Rick Jacobs of Westchester Reform Temple in New York; John Fishel, president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, who is deeply knowledgeable about Africa, and Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which organized the trip and does such effective development work worldwide.
Jews aren't among those being killed, raped and displaced in the Darfur region of Sudan, but the situation there is nonetheless a Jewish disaster.
The slogan, "never again," the redeeming lesson of the Holocaust, is turning into a farce in the African nation, as world leaders continue to find a dazzling array of excuses for inaction, including the obvious one: "It's a complicated situation," as cases of genocide always are.
Two weeks ago, I walked in early for a dinner meeting at Sprazzo, a small Italian restaurant on Westwood Boulevard.
There was a time when Dora Apsan Sorell could have really used the $3,043 she received from the German government last summer. The check was meant to compensate Sorell for her slave labor during the Holocaust.
But the 83-year-old Auschwitz survivor and retired doctor who lives in Berkeley gave the money away as soon as it arrived. She donated it to the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which is among a handful of Jewish organizations trying to aid desperate refugees from the Darfur region of western Sudan.