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JFNA Media Report -- April 7, 2014

Federations/Philanthropy:

A survey of nonprofits reveals that 56% were unable to meet demand in 2013 — the highest reported in the survey’s history. Bill Gates pushes wealthy Chinese to make more donations. ROI discusses how to maximize the benefits of alumni networks.

Federations are highlighted in Volusia/Flagler FL, Chicago and South Palm Beach County.

Global:

• Nonprofit Quarterly -- Nonprofit Finance Fund Survey Points to Tough Road Ahead 
• NDTV -- Bill Gates wants China to encourage wealthy Chinese to be more giving 
• eJewishPhilanthropy -- Successful Alumni Networks: From the Round Table to the Reunion 

Local:

• Florida Heritage Jewish News -- $1M hunger challenge offer 
• JUF News -- Ill. House Rep. David Harris fights for Iraqi Jewish archive 
• Daily Business Review -- $190 Million of Bonds to be Issued for Boca Raton Retirement Center 

Israel Advocacy:

China is looking for more ways to invest in Israel. A JPost column offers ten ways to push back against anti-Israel campaigns in Europe.

• Deutsche Welle -- China seeks strategic foothold in Israel
• JPost (opinion) -- A blueprint to combat the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in Europe

For more Israel advocacy news, see the Israel Action Network website.

Global Jewish News:

Tunisia announces plans to restore Africa's oldest synagogue, a dozen years after it was damaged in a terrorist attack. The JTA examines the vocal support French Jews are getting from their Prime Minister. In Hungary, big electoral gains by a far-right party are alarming European Jewish groups.

• North Africa Post -- Tunisia to Restore Africa’s Oldest Synagogue in Ghriba 
• JTA -- French Jews say Prime Minister Manuel Valls has their back 
• Independent (UK) -- Concerns as neo-Nazi Jobbik party wins 20% of Hungary vote

Israel/Mideast:

Israel's Post Office and a handful of other government agencies are toppled by hackers. An Israeli source said Syria has again used chemical weapons in its civil war. A Lebanese paper reports that Syrian President Assad expects to tamp down the rebel forces by year's end.

Domestically, Israel comes to a resettlement agreement with a Bedouin tribe. A YNet article highlights a surge in hungry Israelis seeking food aid from nonprofits.

Regional News:

• YNet -- Israel under cyber attack, but only few sites brought down 
• JPost -- Israeli security source confirms Assad regime recently used chemical weapon   

• Lebanon Star -- Assad "says fighting largely over by end of year": Russian 

Domestic News:

• JPost -- Agriculture Ministry claims first breakthrough to resettle Bedouin

• YNet -- Israel's needy line up for Passover food packages 

For more Israel news, see the weekly JFNA Israel news page.
For more security news, see JFNA’s Secure Community Network (SCN) website.
Posted by: admin (April 07, 2014 at 5:02 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

JFNA Media Report - April 4, 2014

Federations/Philanthropy:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy covers a study examining whether people who receive bonuses are likely to be generous with their windfall. A growing organization for Israelis living in the US opens another branch, this time in Las Vegas. In the Times of Israel, a blog post promotes the impact of TribeFest. (View our TribeFest highlight video.)

Federations are highlighted in New Hampshire, Washington and Dallas.

Global:


• Chronicle of Philanthropy -- Study Finds Bigger Bonuses Don’t Result in More Giving
• JTA -- Israeli-American Council opens Las Vegas office  
• Times of Israel blog -- A tent for 1,200 Jews at TribeFest

Local:

• New Hampshire Union Leader -- Jewish Federation looking to sell Manchester headquarters
• Washington Times -- Local groups, congregations prepare for Good Deeds Day
• Forward -- Kosher Chili Cook-Off Builds Jewish Unity Deep in Heart of Texas

Israel Advocacy:

Angered by an anti-Israel vote, pro-Israel students walk out of a student union meeting. A UK government minister promotes UK/Israel joint academic projects. An anti-BDS group deploys humor and pies to make its case.

• CJN -- Pro-Israel students walk out of Ryerson BDS vote
• Times of Higher Education -- ‘No academic boycott’, Willetts reassures Israelis

• JNS -- British BDS countered by grassroots movements and a touch of humor

For more Israel advocacy news, see the Israel Action Network website.

Global Jewish News:

The possibility of Jonathan Pollard being freed is sparking interesting discussions. A French soccer star blames the French Prime Minister's Jewish wife for his firing after he made an anti-Semitic symbol during a game.

• NY Times -- Talk of Freeing a Spy for Israel Stirs Old Unease for U.S. Jews 
• JTA -- Soccer star Anelka: Jewish wife controls French PM 

Israel/Mideast:

Peace talks proposed by US SecState Kerry remain unlikely. Egypt has begun to reopen its Gaza border crossings. A Chinese national is indicted in the US for helping with Iranian nuclear enrichment efforts.

Domestically, the Israeli military is trying new tactics to ward off drone aircraft at its borders. The Israeli PM's office discusses reported Israeli moves to send African migrants to Rwanda and Uganda.

Regional News:

• AP -- Negotiator: Palestinians don't want clash with US, but won't back Kerry rules if Israel won't
• JPost -- US envoy Indyk to meet with Palestinians as Washington evaluates role in talks

• YNet -- Gaza-Egypt crossing reopened after long closure
• Bloomberg -- Chinese Man, Iran Firms Charged in Nuclear Export Case

Domestic News:

• IHS Jane's Defence Weekly -- Israeli Air Force adapts tactics to deal with increased UAV threat

• JPost -- PMO on report of migrant relocation to Rwanda, Uganda: All acts in line with int'l law

For more Israel news, see the weekly JFNA Israel news page.
For more security news, see JFNA’s Secure Community Network (SCN) website.
Posted by: admin (April 07, 2014 at 10:47 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

JFNA Media Report -- March 31, 2014

Federations/Philanthropy:

The Forward continues its ongoing exploration of Jewish charities, including a quote from JFNA's William Daroff. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Director of Government Relations reflects on her participation in Jewish Disability Advocacy Day last month. A TribeFest participant relates her experiences in the Canadian Jewish News.

Federations are highlighted in Boston, Chicago, Toledo, Sarasota-Manatee and Northwest Indiana.

Global:


• The Forward -- Jewish Charities Grow Huge on Cash From Government -- Donors Give to Israel
• Cleveland Jewish News -- Federation's Kaplan impressed by D.C. disability advocacy day
• Canadian Jewish News (op-ed) -- TribeFest 2014 brought the chevrah together

Local:

• Times of Israel (op-ed) -- We stand behind the Harvard Israel Trek
• JUF News -- Sex trafficking in Chicago: 'Modern-day slavery'
• Toledo Blade -- Jewish holiday rich in symbolism
• Herald-Tribune -- 'Music Makes Community' will bring together more than 100 singers for celebration of Jewish composers
• Northwest Indiana Times -- Lauren Chapin visits region to help support Israel

Israel Advocacy:

The executive director of The David Project emphasizes the need to expand the pro-Israel community's support network in the years to come.

• Jerusalem Post (op-ed) -- Extending a hand to friends old -- and new

For more Israel advocacy news, see the Israel Action Network website.

Global Jewish News:

Israeli President Shimon Peres visits Austria, where he paid homage at a Holocaust memorial service. Holocaust survivors living in Canada are finding themselves the latest target of a financial scam. The Jewish Agency reveals that aliyah to Israel from France grew threefold in January and February of this year compared to 2013.

• Arutz Sheva -- In Austria, Peres Pays Respect to Holocaust Victims
• JTA -- Holocaust survivors in Canada target of scam

• Times of Israel -- As anti-Semitic attacks rise, thousands attend aliyah fair in Paris

Israel/Mideast:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel in an effort to keep peace talks alive. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is also in Israel, with a focus on military relations. Rumors have reemerged indicating that a possible release of Jonathan Pollard is being considered by U.S. officials.

Domestically, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted today of bribery, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. Speaking in Australia, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky discussed the work being done to assist the Jewish populations in Ukraine and Iran. The OECD, a global economic body, held their annual meeting at the Knesset for the first time.

Regional News:

• Bloomberg -- Kerry Back in Mideast as Peace Talks Founder Over Prisoners
• Jerusalem Post -- Dempsey in Jerusalem: This is the time for clarity and honesty

• New York Times -- U.S. and Israel Discuss Releasing American Spy

Domestic News:

• Wall Street Journal -- Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Convicted of Bribery
• Times of Israel -- Sharansky: We are quietly saving Jews from Ukraine, Iran

• Jerusalem Post -- OECD holds parlimentary budget conference in Knesset for first time

For more Israel news, see the weekly JFNA Israel news page.
For more security news, see JFNA’s Secure Community Network (SCN) website.
Posted by: admin (April 01, 2014 at 10:10 AM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Beating back the assault on Israel’s legitimacy

This op-ed by Jerry Silverman (president & CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America) and Rabbi Steve Gutow (president & CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs) was originally published by the JTA news service.

By Jerry Silverman and Steve Gutow

March 11, 2014

Leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement say they are protesting Israel’s policies in the West Bank. They are doing far more than that.
BDS advocates routinely oppose a two-state solution and seek to delegitimize the sovereign, Jewish State of Israel. In some cases, BDS becomes the latest form of anti-Semitism.

The BDS movement aims to isolate and punish Israel, using the same techniques applied to apartheid South Africa. Not hesitating to misrepresent facts and ignore context, these Israel bashers take advantage of ignorance and naïveté within civil society circles, mostly in Western Europe, to advance their anti-Israel agenda.

BDS advocates view the situation in the West Bank through a one-way lens, seeing only a single perspective. They cite, for example, the security checkpoints that make life difficult for Palestinians but conveniently overlook the reasons for those checkpoints. They ignore the fact that hurting Israel’s economy would also hurt Palestinians who earn their livelihoods from Israeli-owned businesses.

BDS backers don’t bother to protest the many countries that have horrific human rights records, instead singling out the world’s only Jewish state, often based on false or misrepresented information.

A tipping point for the Jewish community’s response to BDS came in 2009 when a number of anti-Israel groups called for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival because one of its themes was Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary. The Toronto and Los Angeles Jewish federations joined forces and, with the involvement of major figures in the entertainment industry, fashioned an effective response.

With calls for BDS escalating in the mainline Protestant churches, on college campuses and elsewhere, Jewish community leaders realize that the situation calls for more than an ad hoc approach: Local communities need a strategic approach with national support and coordination.

In 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America, representing more than 150 local federations, allocated significant resources so that the Israel Action Network could serve this purpose. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs — with its 16 national member organizations, including all four of the religious movements, and 125 Jewish community relations councils, which work with non-Jewish coalition partners on a range of international and domestic concerns — was the JFNA’s obvious partner.

One principle that guides this work is that we should understand our audiences. And when we speak with others, we should do so with a respect for the sensitivities of that constituency so that our important messages are authentically heard. Whether on a campus, in a church or speaking with an LGBT group, we should always be clear that we stand as partners, sharing the goal of a future with peace and security — not one of conflict and BDS.

Experience and research demonstrate that what works best with these audiences — mostly made up of political and religious progressives — is not an all-good-vs.-all-bad characterization of Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, a more nuanced narrative is the one that is likely to defeat the one-sided and hostile stance of those seeking to delegitimize Israel.

This means honestly conveying the situation’s complexity, expressing empathy for suffering on both sides (without implying moral equivalency) and offering a constructive pathway to helping the parties move toward peace and reconciliation based on two states for two peoples.

Whether we are dealing with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions adopted by the American Studies Association or an attempt to remove Israeli products from a Brooklyn food co-op, the most effective opponents of these initiatives are the people who travel in those circles.

While we in the organized Jewish community should not remain silent in the face of Israel’s delegitimization, we should strongly support and accentuate the efforts of these third-party validators who share our values and viewpoints. The 247 (and counting) universities and colleges that have denounced academic boycotts generally — and academic boycotts of Israel specifically — are just such validators.

It is not enough to only expose the true goals of the boycotters and their allies. Israel’s supporters must also go on the offensive and drain the swamps of ignorance that allow the poisonous ideas of the Jewish state’s opponents to incubate. Thus, we are taking the initiative to inoculate vulnerable politically progressive sectors, presenting a more factual perspective on Israel and taking prominent leaders to the region to see the real situation firsthand.

The Israel Action Network, of course, does not work alone in this arena. On a daily basis, numerous organizations stand up for Israel. Through the IAN, JFNA and JCPA are working together to convene around a common strategic planning table not only our affiliates but also a range of other North American, Israeli and European groups in order to share best practices and coordinate our collective resources in confronting this global danger.

There is no imminent threat to the critical and broad North American support for Israel. But American support for Israel is not something to be taken for granted in light of the organized campaign we now face. While should not be panicked, we cannot be complacent either. We pledge to continue to work hard to prevent any erosion of that support.


Rabbi Steve Gutow is president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Jerry Silverman is president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Posted by: admin (March 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink

Expanding The Concept, And Reality, Of `Jewish Community’

This op-ed, by JFNA President/CEO Jerry Silverman, originally appeared in the New York Jewish Week.

By Jerry Silverman

March 24, 2014

Nate couldn’t decide what he wanted to be for Purim – follow his heart and dress as an alien or succumb to peer pressure and wear a superhero costume?  It’s a tough decision for a little boy, but he got some help from his two dads.

“The Purim Superhero” is one of PJ Library’s book selections for this month. For nine years, and in partnerships with various donors and Jewish Federations, PJ Library has been sending free monthly book selections to Jewish children up to age 8. Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), it’s a tremendous program that not only encourages reading, but does so in a Jewish context.  Each month, 130,000 books are sent to families in North America, and the program has expanded to Israel and additional countries as well.  Many Federations have PJ Library gatherings to connect and engage families.

As “The Purim Superhero” demonstrates, children receiving those books learn about more than Jewish holidays and traditions. They learn about Jewish life, and their families find an entry to Jewish communal life. Indeed, a study of 20,000 American Jewish families participating in the project found that 58 percent said the program has influenced their decisions to “build upon or add a Jewish tradition to their home life” and 62 percent said it “increased their families’ positive feelings about being Jewish.”

Through PJ Library, books that focus on families with adopted children, disabled children (and kids with disabled family members), interracial and intermarried families, Jews of color, secular and Orthodox families, and, in this case, LBGT Jews, young children are exposed to the multifaceted world that is today’s Jewish community.

Books such as Elizabeth Kushner’s “The Purim Superhero” reflect life that so many of us already see in our communities, our children’s schools, our synagogues and Jewish camps and sometimes in our own families.  Few among us can say that we don’t know a child with two moms or two dads.

PJ Library predicted, though, that this particular book might raise questions, so it made the selection available only by request as an additional book. Some questioned why didn’t they just automatically send it to all.  I applaud the HGF for being sensitive, realizing we have a community that is diverse and offering a choice.  The response has been overwhelming. In less than two days, PJ Library had exhausted its stock of 2,000 books. They quickly ordered thousands more.

A very few in our community were alienated by the choice of this book, and have dropped their subscriptions altogether, even though they had the option of simply not selecting the book. That’s their choice, of course, but that’s also unfortunate.  Those few families that canceled entire subscriptions are missing out on a wonderful gift for their children – a gift that demonstrates that not all families are the same – and one that is so much bigger than this single great book.

At Jewish Federations, we believe that every Jew deserves a welcome place in our community. We encourage PJ Library to continue sending children books that reflect the Jewish community’s wonderful diversity. We recognize that not every family will choose to read every Jewish book to a child, but each family should be able to make the decision on its own.  But those families who do choose to read all the books will be giving their children a tremendous gift – a gift that allows them to see the richness and diversity of Jewish life.

Jerry Silverman is president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of North America

Posted by: admin (March 26, 2014 at 12:35 PM) | Comments (0) | Permalink