From using “Jewish guilt” to interrogate criminals to reporting to the New York Police Department from the scene of suicide bombings in Israel, Mordechai Dzikansky’s career has been unique.
“You have to be unconventional and you have to take risks if you want to get where you want to go in life,” Dzikanksy, 48, said in an interview on Monday. “If people are robotic they won’t accomplish what is right.”
Dzikansky, a former NYPD detective who divides his time between the United States and Ra’anana, Israel, has graying hair but the easy, open smile of a friendly college boy. His Brooklyn-accented voice becomes impassioned as he talks about a subject close to his heart: protecting the innocent.
Historically, the Jewish community has been a partner with organized labor, but the connection has weakened in recent years. Martin Schwartz, executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee, wants to reinvigorate it. To that end, the nonprofit JLC recently became a partner agency in Working Families United for New Jersey, a statewide grassroots coalition of labor, religious, community, civil rights, students’, women’s, and retirees’ groups.
This move is part of the JLC’s broader effort to rekindle traditional ties between Jewish groups and organized labor at a time when, according to the agency, labor unions are being unfairly blamed for the nation’s ills.
Michaela, 16, and Tali, 15, wrote song, made video to tell Shalit’s story
In the rush of day-today life, it is easy to forget Sgt. Gilad Shalit, reflects Michaela Elias, 16, of Teaneck.
“It’s very easy to dismiss his situation because it doesn’t have relevance in [one’s] daily life,” said Michaela. “To feel like, ‘We’ve lost that desire.’ It’s been four and a half years.’”
But for the past two years, Michaela and her sister, Tali Elias, 15, have worked to encourage people to remember Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas in June 2006, two months before his 20th birthday. Since then, Shalit has, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, been denied visits from the Red Cross. Hamas has also denied him any communication with his family.
Before a sanctuary filled with seventh-graders at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) placed his hands on either side of his face and pretended to be a horse.
“Most people walk through life with blinders on,” the congressman exclaimed while pantomiming a horse’s trudging. “They live in their own little community. They don’t think about anything else.”
Rothman faced forward and lowered his hands. “Now other people,” he said, “who take their blinders off, they see things. Maybe they see people being bullied. So they call the principal, call the kid’s parents, get a bunch of friends to distract the bully, they do something!”
Twenty-eight years ago, there were only a few Sephardic families in Englewood. Albert Allen, a member of Cong. Ahavath Torah who had emigrated from Egypt, was concerned that the community’s children would grow up losing sight of unique Sephardic traditions.
Along with several other members of the synagogue, Allen organized a Sephardic minyan of about 10 families that met on the High Holy Days and, eventually, for other services.
Over the years, as the Sephardic community grew, the minyan did, too. Today it includes 75 families out of the 700 in the synagogue.
A congressional letter by Reps. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Steve Austria (R-Ohio) went out to President Obama last week urging him to press the Palestinian Authority to end “all … incitement” against Israelis and to return to the negotiating table for peace talks. A similar letter, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was signed by 27 senators, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).Rothman also met last week with the directors of missile defense programs for both the United States and Israel.
Forty-six members of Congress signed on to the Rothman/Austria letter, a draft of which was circulated (and reported on in this newspaper) two weeks ago. The letter cited a report recently released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, called “Culture of Peace and Incitement Index,” that describes anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian schools and on Palestinian Authority television.
Students from Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck won first place in last month’s Yeshiva Science Olympiad, part of a national science competition designed to test students’ abilities in science, technology, and engineering. This is the second year in a row that TABC came in first in its division.
Because it measures not just classroom aptitude but applied knowledge, the day-long competition includes tasks like building model electronic cars and towers as well as traditional paper and pencil tests.
Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Steve Austria (R-Ohio) are calling on President Obama to press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace negotiations and to end anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, J Street, the controversial pro-peace-process advocacy group, is blasting the congressmen’s effort as too single-issue focused and unfairly hard on Abbas.
Last week J Street released a statement objecting to a letter co-authored by the congressmen and soon to go out to President Obama. J Street contends that the letter, for which the congressmen are collecting signatures, focuses inordinately on incitement at the expense of other issues. In a telephone interview on Tuesday, J Street staffer Amy Spitalnick told The Jewish Standard that the organization disagrees with what the staffer characterized as the letter’s implicit blame of Abbas “in the context of this horrific Itamar massacre.”