Every so often, I read a book that is extraordinary, a book that is so good, so well written, so moving, so memorable that you just want to holler out: Read this! Such a book is "The Invisible Wall" by Harry Bernstein.
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.
During the opening session for the Professional Leaders Project (PLP), a conference for young Jewish leaders, a man delivered inspirations via PowerPoint, asking us to consider the one "moment" that inspired us to connect to Jewish projects and commit to the Jewish professional world.
The results of a new study, "Beyond Distancing: Young Adult American Jews and Their Alienation from Israel," on young American Jews' attitudes toward Israel, were released recently, and the news is disheartening. These Jews, who represent American Judaism's prospects in the next generation, are growing increasingly alienated from Israel, the study finds. They are less concerned with its welfare than previous generations and, unbelievably, less comfortable with the very idea of a Jewish state.
For generations, the North American Jewish federation system has stood as the central address of Jewish philanthropy -- demonstrating from generation to generation the power of our collective to build our community.The 155 federations of United Jewish Communities and 400 smaller networked communities boast an annual fundraising campaign nearing $900 million and endowment assets of more than $13 billion.UJC's lay and professional leadership recently set out to look at our philanthropic landscape. In June, the UJC launched a strategic plan that tackles the major challenges and opportunities facing Jewish federations and our entire community.
Kiril Alexandrovich's Cafe Hillel, which was expected to open last week, is the first effort in Odessa at co-branding undertaken by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. The partnership aims to transform Jewish youth organizing in the former Soviet Union, leaving behind the club model and heading out into the cities, where young Jews work and play.
The Jewish Community Center (JCC) is on the lookout for teen athletes who want to compete in the 2003 JCC Maccabi Games, a week-long international Jewish youth summer games competition, to be held Aug. 8 through Aug. 15.
This year, 70 local athletes will be able to participate in games to be held in Houston and St. Louis, said Matt Lebovits, a Maccabi coordinator. This year's sports include boys basketball and soccer (for those 14 and under), boys and girls soccer (for those 16 and under), girls volleyball (16 and under), baseball, tennis, dance and swimming.
Rabbi Gabriel Elias vividly remembers his frustration as a teenager not being able to participate in intramural sports because games fell on Shabbat.