Eliana Appelbaum, Ariella Appelbaum, Elana Forman, and Yakir Forman have channeled their energies into creating more energy.
The Appelbaum twins, both 16, and their friend Elana, also 16 — all sophomores at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls — as well as Elana’s brother Yakir, 17, a senior at Torah Academy of Bergen County, teamed up to enter the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a national environmental science competition for students. (Both schools are in Teaneck.)
The New Jersey Department of Jewish War Veterans made its annual visit to Capitol Hill earlier this month, where members of the group met with Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) to lobby for a Jewish chaplains’ memorial in Arlington National Cemetery and federal aid for homeless veterans.
Carl Singer of Passaic, past commander of the Jewish War Veterans for this state and a retired army colonel, told this newspaper that Pascrell has been “very responsive” to the group’s concerns.
In the face of an international campaign designating March 30 as a day to boycott Israeli products, national and local Jewish organizations are organizing supporters to fight back with their wallets.
Pro-Israel and Jewish groups in the United States are calling on supporters to buy Israeli goods to counter a global anti-Israel boycott coordinated by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign. The website of the BDS campaign calls for “divestment from corporations that allow and profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
If Shachar Avraham had to give up something, it would not be HaZamir.
The 16-year-old junior at The Frisch School in Paramus has sung in HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir for four years. He says that not only is it a musical and social outlet, but HaZamir — which has 19 chapters in the United States and Israel and is now in its 18th year — is, for him, a spiritual gift.
“Music is a passion of mine and to be honest, Jewish music spiritually uplifts me,” Shachar told The Jewish Standard. “I do a lot of extracurricular activities, and if I had to give up something, it would not be HaZamir.”
An event last week comparing Israel’s treatment of its Arab citizens to South Africa’s treatment of blacks under apartheid marked the latest in a series of anti-Israel programs at Rutgers University that some local Jewish leaders have characterized as an anti-Israel campaign targeting the school.
The Rutgers event took place in concert with “Israel Apartheid Week” events at numerous university campuses. While some Jewish leaders are alarmed at this trend, others are of the opinion that, try as they might, anti-Israel groups are not making headway in their efforts to delegitimize Israel in the U.S. And Rutgers Hillel last week mounted its own campaign to highlight Israel’s diversity.
Laurie Minchenberg of Passaic wanted advice and information about how her eldest son, Tuvia, 11, who has special needs, could become a bar mitzvah. But she wasn’t sure how to broach the subject with her synagogue leadership.
Anne Rand of Teaneck, whose son Zev became a bar mitzvah several years ago despite learning issues, understands.
The two women shared ideas at Sunday’s Yachad Parent Conference and Resource Fair at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge. It brought together 200 people, including experts, parents of children with special needs, and children with special needs and their siblings. Topics included sibling issues, financial planning, and inclusion of youngsters and adults with special needs in the Jewish community.
Scholarship committees of two modern Orthodox day schools in Teaneck wrote to parents earlier this month that if their children attend on scholarship and the family can afford to send them to a summer program — including an Israel program — their scholarships may be in jeopardy.
This move has set off a controversy among professionals in the world of Jewish day schools, Jewish summer camps, and Israel programs.
Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC), a boys yeshiva in Teaneck, and Ma’ayanot, a girls yeshiva a block away, released a joint statement regarding the letters: “Ma’ayanot and TABC are proud to offer a quality yeshiva high school education on a need-blind basis while remaining fiscally responsible towards our parent body and donor community.
Numerous Jewish organizations including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society joined Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in calling for the U.S. House of Representatives to renew a provision that fast-tracks asylum for religious refugees including Jews, Christians, and members of the Baha’i faith. HIAS also issued a statement decrying proposed cuts to an account the organization says provides vital help to refugees.
In a Feb. 8 letter, the senators argued that members of Congress tasked with appropriations should renew the Lautenberg Amendment. Set to expire March 20, the amendment expands the definition of religious refugee and fast-tracks groups in immediate danger. Initiated by Lautenberg in 1990, it was originally designed to expedite the immigration of Soviet Jews and Vietnamese Christians to the United States.
The Opportunity Scholarship Act, a bill that would provide tax credits to companies that help struggling families to send their children to private or parochial schools in New Jersey, passed an Assembly committee vote last Thursday after six hours of intense debate.
The act, which proposes that $360 million in scholarships be awarded over the next five years, has been characterized by supporters as a lifeline to families whose children want “an equal shot at the American dream” and blasted by critics as fiscally imprudent, undermining efforts to improve the public schools, and potentially breaching the constitutional wall between church and state.