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GA Daily The Jewish Federations of North America

  November 9, 2010
 2010 GA NEWSLETTER

THE 2010 JFNA GENERAL ASSEMBLY CLOSES ON HIGH NOTE
AS LIVNI AND BRONFMAN  CALL FOR JEWISH UNITY, ISRAEL TIES

The 2010 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America came to a successful conclusion today in New Orleans, with rousing calls for unity and a bright Jewish future from Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, philanthropist Charles Bronfman, JFNA leaders Jerry Silverman and Kathy Manning and Republican Rep. Steve Scalise.

Other highlights of the plenary were the announcement of the 2010 Jewish Community Hero Award winner and the winners of the Federation movement’s Sapir Awards for Campaign Excellence.

MK Livni called for a new dialogue between Israel and world Jewish communities in order to come together. “Our unity should be not just in what we fight against, but what we fight for,” Livni said. “This is the time to unite, to build together, to define together a common vision—a vision that can give substance, and not just to fight against our common enemies, but to give reason and hope for generations to come in Israel and Jewish communities.”
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 2010 GA SPOTLIGHT

DAY OF SERVICE AT 2010 GA BRINGS
1,500 VOLUNTEERS TO HELP THE CITY OF
NEW ORLEANS REBUILD, REPAIR AND RENEW

Some 1,500 volunteers fanned out across New Orleans at the 2010 General Assembly Nov. 8, around three projects that spread them throughout their host city, and transformed the GA, with the help of Repair the World, into a small army of helpers as it put the Jewish value of tikkun olam into action.

From planting trees in parks, to clearing away debris still left behind from Hurricane Katrina in the Lower Ninth Ward, volunteers rolled up their sleeves and helped rebuild, repair and renew. A historic first for the GA, this unprecedented community outreach brought together GA participants from all ages and backgrounds, working together for the common good of the city they found themselves in. Read more

AT GA, JAY FEINBERG WINS 2010
JEWISH COMMUNITY HERO AWARD

Jay Feinberg was named the 2010 Jewish Community Hero today at the closing of the annual General Assembly this year in New Orleans. The Jewish Community Hero campaign honors those making strides to repair the world, starting in their own communities.  Jay’s organization, Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, which pairs those in need with their potential matches, will receive a $25,000 grant that will allow almost 500 new donors to be tested and counted in its registry. 

The award marks a public triumph in a very personal journey for Jay. In 1991, one year out of college, New Jersey resident Jay Feinberg’s life took a dramatic turn.  He was diagnosed with leukemia and told that his only hope of survival was a bone marrow transplant.  When doctors informed him that none of his relatives were suitable candidates to serve as donors, he turned to the public registry of unrelated volunteers to save his life.  It was at that time that Jay learned the grim reality of his predicament: since tissue type is inherited, like hair and eye color, his best chance of finding a genetic match was with donors of Eastern European Jewish ethnic background.  However, because the Jewish people were woefully under-represented in the donor pool (like many ethnic minorities), the likelihood of finding a donor match was remote.  Jay’s future appeared bleak. Read more

GA PROFILE OF HILLEL LEADER WAYNE FIRESTONE

The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life provides opportunities for Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional centers, campus Foundations and Hillel student organizations. Hillel is working to spur a renaissance of Jewish life. This year it brought 600 students to the GA in New Orleans. To mark the occasion, we spoke to Hillel President Wayne Firestone.

What brings you to the GA?

I first came to the GA as a Hillel student in 1985, and I remember meeting a couple dozen other student activists. Now, I’m here with 600 students. Some are just finding their voices. Others are asking hard questions. All of them are valuable. Today, organizations like Teach for America and companies like Facebook have translated the voices, energy, and insights of young adults into game-changing enterprises. The Jewish world has an opportunity to share in this phenomenon, but only if we take our students seriously. Their ideas should be thoughtfully considered in our sessions and brought to our Board rooms, and their service should be celebrated by our community. Read more

GA PROFILE OF ORT LEADER JEAN DE GUNZBERG

ORT is one of the largest non-governmental education and training organizations in the world, with activities in more than 100 countries and operations in Israel, the CIS and Baltic States, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. It is a non-profit, non-political organization that meets the educational and manpower training needs of contemporary society with more than 3,000,000 graduates worldwide since its inception.

ORT was founded in St Petersburg in Tsarist Russia in 1880 to provide employable skills for Russia’s impoverished Jewish people. Since that time, the skills taught by ORT have evolved in step with technology. At the 2010 GA in New Orleans, President of World ORT, Jean de Gunzburg, told of his unique ties to the organization.

What is your family legacy with ORT?

The uncle of my grandfather, Baron Horace de Gunzburg was a trusted economic advisor to the Tsar, and one of the three founders of ORT in St Petersburg in 1880. Since then, many of my family members have been involved with ORT.  I gradually became more and more involved with ORT in the 1990s. I am proud to say that since being president of the organization, I have been able to attract other family members to contribute some of their time and resources to helping ORT better fulfil its missions around the world. Read more

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