The Department of Homeland Security last week announced the allocation of $19 million for 2011 to non-profit institutions deemed vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The allocations were made as part of its Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).
With $14.9 million, or about 80 percent of the NSGP allocations, going to Jewish institutions, Jewish groups across the country received security dollars disproportionate to their numbers in the general population.
That is not necessarily the “good” news, however. The DHS makes its allocations based strictly on risk-assessment, according to Robert Goldberg, senior director, legislative affairs, for The Jewish Federations of North America, which helps Jewish organizations apply for the grants.
Sign here. That is what Jewish organizations across the country are asking people to do in e-mails and up-close-and-personal appeals in advance of next month’s opening of the United Nations General Assembly. In this area, many rabbis have joined the effort, although not everyone is doing so.
Earlier this month, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, in cooperation with the Israel Action Network (IAN), a nationwide Israel-advocacy initiative, drafted a petition calling on the U.N. to reject an expected Palestinian Authority initiative for a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood.
In the wake of the economic downturn three years ago, many people in our area turned to local Jewish social service agencies for help, according to those agencies’ directors. Last week, as stock markets seesawed wildly, those same directors said their agencies were preparing for the possibility that another wave of requests for help is on the horizon as uncertainty grips the U.S. economy.
“We are bracing for a possible second wave, although the market went up yesterday,” said Leah Kaufman, executive director of Jewish Family Service of North Jersey in Wayne. “We still don’t know how many people will lose their jobs.”
Yitzhak Zahavy is competing this Sunday in a grueling sports event because he can. He can, he says, because three of his comrades gave their lives to save his. He is competing to honor them.
Zahavy, who was born in Rhode Island, moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces. In October 2002, he and three friends confronted a suicide bomber as they were waiting for a bus near a gas station outside the west bank town of Ariel. Matan Zagron, Tamir Masad, and Amihud Hasid lost their lives in an attempt to prevent the bomber from detonating his device. In giving their lives, Zahavy says, they saved his.
Teachers and parents are scrambling to make alternate arrangements in the wake of the announcement July 15 by the New Jersey Department of Education that Shalom Academy, a Hebrew-language charter school, will not open in September. The DOE announced that the K-5 school was being given a “planning year” and would not open before September 2012.
In June, the school failed to pass the state’s “preparedness review” because, said Justin Barra, a spokesman for the state education department, “Shalom Academy didn’t have a certificate of occupancy to move into their building, which is one of the key pieces of our readiness review.”
“No good deed goes unpunished,” or so the saying goes. But an alliance of New Jersey nonprofits has enlisted a bipartisan group of legislators to prevent that maxim from applying to volunteer drivers in the Garden State.
The move was prompted by a survey conducted by the non-profits, including the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations (NJSAJF). It showed that some charities shy away from recruiting volunteer drivers because of concerns that auto insurance companies will raise volunteer drivers’ rates, or that the volunteers would be subject to greater liability payments in case of accidents.
Robert Goldberg of North Haledon, a former Muscovite, is among the 60 scholars chosen this year to receive a scholarship from HIAS, the international organization that has assisted in resettling Jewish immigrants for 130 years. Goldberg is a biology major and recent graduate of Ramapo College in Mahwah. He hopes someday to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.
HIAS scholars are chosen on the basis of academic excellence, commitment to community service, and coming from a family resettled with the help of HIAS, according to Amy Greenstein, director of young leadership development for the organization.
Prayer services and volunteers for searching organized themselves in Bergen and Passaic counties only hours after Leiby Kletzky went missing Monday evening. Synagogue listserves, such as Teaneck Shuls, sent out calls for volunteers to go to Borough Park to aid in the search, and also urged their communities to recite prayers on the boy’s behalf.
The 9-year-old Chasidic boy from Borough Park did not return home after day camp on Monday. He was found murdered on Wednesday. Police are holding a suspect, Levi Aron.
New Jersey’s State Senate last Wednesday unanimously approved a measure urging the federal government to take stronger action in imposing and enforcing sanctions against Iran.
The resolution urges better enforcement of “current United States sanctions against investment [in Iran] by energy companies” and suggests that the federal government take “additional steps” to put pressure on Iran.
Acknowledging that the resolution, which parallels a bill that passed in the state Assembly last month, is largely symbolic, Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-37) told the Standard that she hopes and expects the federal government will take notice.
Alex Grobman, historian and Englewood resident, spoke last week and over the Fourth of July weekend with The Jewish Standard about his book “The Palestinian Right to Israel.” (The book is published by Balfour Books, a division of the Christian ICON Publishing Group. See related story.)
Grobman, a former director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, serves as executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering connections between Christians and Israelis.