With African drumming and a chorus of shofars, more than 2,000 people in purple T-shirts reading “I walk to tip the scales” gathered in Pan Pacific Park on April 14 to call attention to global injustice.
It is late into the evening, and I just remembered – tonight is the first night of Chanukah, even in the seemingly God-forsaken town of Farchana on the eastern rim of Chad.
The president of the new country of South Sudan arrived in Israel for a short working visit during which the possibility of repatriating Sudanese infiltrators to the country set to be discussed.
Jacob Tragarz didn’t take the easy route when it came to his mitzvah project — he went big. The 12-year-old student decided to raise awareness about the suffering and violence in Darfur by organizing an assembly for nearly 700 of his peers at Marshall Fundamental High School, a public school in Pasadena.
As a high school freshman, Katie Hoselton decided to join an extracurricular club called “End Worldwide Genocide.” She didn’t know much about the issue at first but read up on conflicts in Eastern Europe and Africa and became a passionate activist for the cause.
Hours after an international court issued a warrant for his arrest, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir kicked humanitarian aid groups out of his country. Nevertheless, Jewish activists who backed the indictment are standing behind their decision.
The Jewish Journal created this list as a response to all those lists extolling fame, money, power and hotness. We honor these special ten because they are just people -- menschen, to use the proper Yiddish plural -- who understand the power and possibility of just one person.
Meet Gabriel Halimi, Kim Krowne, Manijeh Youabian, Andrew Wolfberg, Susan Corwin, Ari Moss, Richard Braun, Bracha Yael, Jack Matloff and Neil Sheff
But the truth is that committing to ending the genocide in Darfur has never been more urgent. Darfur activists are facing an unbelievable opportunity to affect real, lasting change in the region. And if we don't seize this opportunity now, it could be a very long time before such a window opens again.
The collection of images Grover brought back offers a tentative answer: Her portraits depict a people traumatized by war, yet able -- through the aid of relief agencies and the sustaining human spirit -- to maintain a measure of hope.
I've spoken about Darfur for five years straight now, and sometimes I get tired of talking about the genocide that has claimed 450,000 lives, just as I'm sure people get tired of listening to me talk about it. Yet for me, as for many other Jews, there is simply no choice in the matter. This is because as Jews, we know what it is like to have the world forget and to have the world fail to act.
" . . . It is the grassroots work that will, more likely than not, serve as the impetus for and foundation of whatever action our government takes in response to genocides like the one in Darfur . . ."
Last Saturday, on the Jewish Sabbath, I was attending prayer services at one of the big synagogues in Los Angeles, Beth Jacob Congregation, when something unusual happened that made me think of writing you this letter.
A day before the scheduled opening ceremonies in Beijing, Jewish World Watch (JWW) hosted at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles
Why do I have the feeling that if hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of Chinese imports and of American business investments in China were not at stake, quiet diplomacy wouldn't be the slogan du jour?
However, I also live with the images of the many people I have met in Darfur and Chad who have seen their communities and lives torn apart. They are not anticipating medals; they simply want to know that the world cares and that we have the resolve to act.
Among the candidates for the $100,000 Teen Choice prize is Adam Sterling, a UCLA graduate raised in Oak Park who is now director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force
Jewish groups have taken lead roles in drawing attention to China's policies and specifically sought to spotlight the country's record in advance of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. Yet it appears as if China will suffer no significant international sanction when the games open Aug. 8
More than 1,400 people marched up Vanowen Street and across Victory Boulevard in West Hills last Sunday to raise funds and awareness about the genocide in Darfur. The second annual three-mile Walk for Darfur raised more than $35,000 for Jewish World Watch's work in refugee support, political advocacy and education.
In Washington and abroad, longstanding Jewish organizations added their voices of protest against the genocide in Darfur.
But guess what: It's not enough.
Winner of the Camera d'Or prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, "Jellyfish" is another example of the remarkable cinematic explosion of Israeli films garnering
The simplest innovations sometimes lead to the greatest rewards, as Rachel Andres learned this week when she was named the 2008 recipient of the $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize. The annual prize is awarded to a person or team under 50 years of age, whose Jewish values spark humanitarian efforts that contribute to the betterment of the world. In Andres' case, her work gives succor to some of the most helpless and brutalized people in the world, the 10,000 refugee families, mostly fatherless, who have escaped the massacres in Darfur.
As an American citizen, I would like to see President Bush demonstrate some of the courage and resolve exemplified by the celebrity activists, using his power to try to persuade China to change its behavior. If China does not cooperate, the president should reconsider his plans to attend the Olympics.
Imagine walking into a room full of 1,000 Jewish teenagers from all over North America who are singing in unity and celebration of their Jewish heritage.
This was the sight at the 2007 United Synagogue Youth (USY) International Convention. From Dec. 23-27, the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim became the center for teens from all over North American attending an amazing weeklong convention packed with social action projects, Jewish studies and most importantly, a focus on tzedakah.
Our Jewish communities now have the resources they never had before. We have a certain influence over everything in which we become involved. Let us now employ the hope that defines us as Jews and ameliorate the world's conditions for ourselves and for whomever else we can before our entrenchment in despair becomes possible again.
Email excerpts from Janice Kamenir-Reznik and Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug of Jewish World Watch as they travel to Chad to assess the success of a program to provide refugees from Darfur with solar cookers.
Saturday, Oct. 13, three leaders of Jewish World Watch flew from Los Angeles to Africa for a two-week trip, with their ultimate destination the Sudanese eastern border refugee camps, Iridimi and Touloum in Chad. Jewish World Watch's Solar Cooker Project, led by Board President Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Executive Director Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug and project leader Rachel Andres, has raised $850,000 to date, to provide self-sufficient and easy-to-use cookers to women in the camps so they don't have to put themselves in grave danger of rape or murder when they leave the camps to collect firewood.The Jewish Journal invited the three travelers to record diaries while on their journey, the first entry of which, written by Kamenir-Reznik, an attorney, longtime activist and Jewish leader, we reprint here. It was written four days before departure.
There's a new mitzvah in the Jewish world, and its name is Africa. It is hard not to notice the increased money and energy Jews and Jewish organizations are putting into the continent.
While the Darfur crisis enters its fifth year, the American Jewish Committee and Warner Independent Pictures have taken a lead in raising awareness of and combating the genocide in the Western Sudan region, where an estimated 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced. For some time now, the AJC has had a national task force dedicated to Darfur, but in the past year and a half, members of the AJC's Los Angeles branch developed a film proposal that ultimately led to "Darfur Now," a documentary from Warner Independent that follows the efforts of six people to resolve the humanitarian disaster. The film will be released in theaters on Nov. 2.
I was in Jerusalem in early July when a news story about Sudanese refuges demonstrating in front of the Knesset caught my eye.
In the summer of 1936, a year after the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, the world turned a blind eye to Nazi Germany's genocidal intentions as Hitler hosted the Olympics in Berlin. With next summer's games set to take place in Beijing, Jewish and Israeli athletes have a responsibility to help ensure that the world does not make the same mistake.
If Israel goes ahead and sends 1,000 southern Sudanese refugees back to live under the Pharaoh, after what they went through in Sudan, then once and for all we Jews ought to get off our high horse about how "the world stood silent" when we needed help.
We're told, these days, that the situation in Darfur is not as simple as we supposed a year or two ago. There, too, ambiguity. But it is not acceptable to be immobilized by ambiguity, not when women are being raped, children starved, people driven from their homes, routinely slaughtered. Much of life is inherently ambiguous. Yet, if not now, when? Else it will never end.
World news briefs.
Excerpts from a speech by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at Yom Hashoah Ve'Hagvurah Community Wide Holocaust Remembrance Day at Pan Pacific Park.
Amnesia of the past foreshadows amnesia of the future. Forget yesterday's tragedy and the threat to tomorrow is denied. Forget the first genocide of the 20th century -- the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 -- and the memory and atrocities of the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur turn invisible, and the world response is muted.
Israeli activists and lawmakers are challenging in court the current policy of incarcerating Sudanese refugees who illegally enter the country under a law dealing with "enemy nationals" that allows them to be detained indefinitely.
A group of refugees from Darfur on a visit to Yad Vashem lingered next to a model of the crematorium at Auschwitz, taking in the ghastly sight of bodies carried on cots and pushed into ovens.
With two miles of bare footprints behind them, Ahmed and Fatima and their three children approached the border with Israel in the middle of a cold winter night. Snow was falling in the Sinai.
The International Court of Justice recently handed down two rulings refusing to characterize the atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Darfur as genocide. While The Hague is reluctant to use the G-word, filmmakers around the world are not.
The "goal is to use the entire event, not just a seder" to raise awareness and funds for Darfur, Jewish World Watch Executive Director Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug said.
"In general people from the West are in a special position to do something very positive for Israel," Berrin said. "We can import some of our positive values and awareness. In this case, we want the average Israeli to know what's going on in Darfur and to care about it."
Noteworthy sessions and events at the General Assembly
Community briefs - Israeli Security Offers Pointers to LAX; Education Programs Get Multimillion Dollar Boost
The inaugural State of Humanity Forum, held Oct. 17 at Valley Beth Shalom.
The question is whispered and must be answered in a forthright manner: Darfur or Israel? Is your loyalty to your people or to humanity? Is your loyalty to Judaism or to mankind? Are you essentially a Jew or a human being?