JBuzz Musings October 23, 2013: American Jewish views of Israel, its government becoming more liberal, critical




American Jewish views of Israel, its government becoming more liberal, critical

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Two surveys recently released in early October 2013 looked at the views of American Jews on Israel; one poll looked at the average Jewish Americans position, and the other looks at the position American rabbis take towards Israel. The first…


JBuzz Musings October 23, 2013: High Intermarriage numbers reveals troubling future for Judaism in the US




High Intermarriage numbers reveals troubling future for Judaism in the US

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Earlier this month, on Oct. 1, 2013 the Pew Research Center released their new poll entitled “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” showing a growing a trend of American Jews identifying only culturally as Jews, but not religiously. What…READ MORE

White House Initiative “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign Partners with Jewish Community

Today Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Jon Carson, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and I met with Jewish leaders from across the country to highlight the important role of faith-based leaders in providing guidance and assistance to their organizations and institutions regarding ways to protect against terrorism and other threats.

Janet Napolitano at Meeting with Jewish LeadersSecretary Janet Napolitano and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson meet with Jewish leaders on the “When You See Something, Say Something” campaign’s first faith-based partnership in the Rooselvelt Room of the White House, June 10, 2011. (DHS Photo by Barry Bahler)

Secretary Napolitano announced the expansion of the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign into a partnership with the Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA) and theSecure Community Network (SCN). “Expanding the ‘If You See Something, Say Something™’ campaign to national Jewish groups, the first faith-based partnership for the campaign, is an important step in the Department’s ongoing effort to engage the American public in our nation’s security efforts,” said Secretary Napolitano.

The campaign will feature print and social media materials distributed to the thousands of centers and organizations that the associations reach. SCN, an organization that was established to institutionalize security awareness and preparedness into the consciousness of the American Jewish community, provides the Jewish community with important, timely, and credible communications, consultations, and training sessions. JFNA, an organization that represents 157 Jewish Federations and over 300 Network communities, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, praised the partnership as one that “will empower us to counter this threat as we become more actively involved in our own protection.”

Jonathan Sarna: Jewish agencies forced to downsize

Madoff, economy have big impact

Source: Boston Globe, 5-22-09

Jewish organizations in Boston and beyond are going through a significant downsizing as a result of a combination of the down economy and the Madoff scandal. Combined Jewish Philanthropies, an umbrella organization that helps finance several hundred local Jewish groups, gave preliminary approval yesterday to a 15 percent cut in the amount it will distribute next year. The organization had already cut its budget by 15 percent, laid off about 10 percent of its workforce, and imposed a 7 percent pay cut on senior managers and a one-week furlough for everyone making over $45,000.

The Reform Jewish movement plans to close its regional office in Needham next week. The Bureau of Jewish Education, in Newton, is debating whether to close after Combined Jewish Philanthropies cut 80 percent of its funding. Multiple organizations, from the Anti-Defamation League to Hebrew College to Facing History and Ourselves, have laid off small numbers of workers, and many others have trimmed salaries, benefits, or programs.

“The American Jewish community has probably lost 30 percent of its wealth, and we have no idea how to cut the costs of the Jewish community by 30 percent,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

Sarna said that across the nation, there are unusual signs of the impact: In addition to widespread cutbacks, a few Jewish organizations are merging with non-Jewish organizations, and some Jewish community centers are closing.

“It’s a very tough time, and we’re at the stage now where everybody is defending their turf,” he said.

Opinions differ about whether the Jewish community, which has over the last decades established and funded an extraordinarily diverse network of schools, synagogues, and community organizations, is going through a major shakeout or a temporary belt-tightening….