Philanthropist Charles Bronfman once told me, "Leaders lead. That’s what they do."
Last month, the State Department issued its report on contemporary global anti-Semitism. There's much to admire in it, albeit with a significant reservation.
Profiles of Jewish philanthropists.
American Jewish groups are aggressively attempting to rally support for isolating Iran until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program. They are lobbying Congress, reaching out to friendly nations overseas and seeking allies in the United States.
North American federations could and should be doing much better than they are. They matter. They are important. They embody the ideas of community, common cause and the ability to respond to collective concerns. They are vital institutions, and we want them to succeed. Federations have been the hub of a vast system that involves community centers, family services, bureaus of Jewish education and so many more organizations. But this system is becoming unglued, and changes need to be made.
Jewish foundations are growing by leaps and bounds, giving away billions of dollars and supporting practically every cause and organization that you can imagine. This is good news, unless of course you are in the camp that believes Jews and the foundations they create are misguided if they give to non-Jewish, rather than Jewish, organizations.
If the group of Gen Y-ers -- also known as Millenials or NextGens or iGens -- who gathered for a Jewish leadership conference in Santa Monica last week are any indication, it seems that parents who did everything to build their children's resumes and self esteem may have been on to something. This handpicked group of Jewish leaders in their 20s and early 30s have the self-confidence to think -- to actually believe -- that if the old people would just make some room for them, or maybe get out of the way altogether, they could fix this mess of a world. They are committed to social justice; they are willing to get their hands dirty; they have great ideas, time to volunteer, and they have the arrogance, self-centeredness and technological savvy to bring their ideas to fruition. The question is how to channel all that into the Jewish community.
Missions to Israel are a staple of Jewish organizations, but when Pepe Barreto leads a group tour there in August, it'll represent something new.
Barreto is perhaps the most popular drive-time host on Spanish-language radio in Los Angeles and a major player in a new drive to boost travel to Israel among California Latinos.
Headphones on, face pressed against the microphone in a cramped cubicle, the leader of one of the best-known Jewish organizations in the country is reliving his youth.
Well, sort of.
"This is B'nai B'rith Radio, and I'm your host, Dan Mariaschin."
Mariaschin is far from the 50,000-watt radio station where he used to be a disc jockey in Keene, N.H., from the time he was in high school. But he also is far from his current day job as executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International.
Throughout the workweek, Mariaschin leaves his spacious Washington office for the makeshift radio studio down the hall, and spends several hours recording promotions and other messages for the first Internet radio station devoted to world Jewish music.
There's nothing bashful about Jewish organizations, but in 2004, many suddenly go mute if the subject involves potential conflict with the Bush administration.
Time is running out for survivors of Nazi ghettos to apply for retroactive German pensions, a German advocacy group warned.
When people query me as to who our clients are, if the person is Jewish, I often answer, "Half our clients are Jewish organizations. And the other half are people who treat us really nicely."
A foundation to aid needy Holocaust survivors in California, funded through a $4.2-million check from three Dutch insurance companies, was formally established last week by state officials, Jewish organizations and survivors.
Has unremitting pressure on the Swiss government and its banks byAmerican Jewish organizations and supportive politicians becomecounterproductive, or will only constant prodding move the Swiss todo the right thing?