- September 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
Category Archive: Tikkun Olam
Subcategories: No categories
There is a fantastic oped in the NY Times from Alana Newhouse, the editor in chief of Tablet Magazine (which I really enjoy). There is a bill before the Israeli Knesset that may radically change Israel. That bill would give the ultra-orthodox power to say who is Jewish and who isn’t. This would destroy the connection between most Diaspora Jews (Jews living outside of Israel) and Israel. I wrote about the problem of Who is a Jew before when I visited Israel and the religious problem in Israel. I’ve also written about the Supreme Court case in Britain of determining who is Jewish. This is an issue that is very close to my heart and very important to me.
Here is the Oped: NY Times Oped
Here are my past related blog posts:
As I have written before I’m on the board of Moishe House foundation. The New York Times just profiled them in a wonderful write-up. Here is a snippet:
REBECCA KARP, Brian Cohen, Danielle Hardoon and Alissa Worly, all of whom are in their 20s, share a spacious red-brick house in Philadelphia. It rents for $3,200 a month.
Brian Cohen, Rebecca Karp and Alissa Worly, from left, three of the four roommates of Moishe House Philadelphia, share kitchen duties during a dinner at their home for other young Jewish adults. But they pay only a fourth of that. Every month, an organization in California sends a check for the lion’s share of the rent — $2,400 — directly to their landlord.
Their benefactor is Moishe House, a nonprofit group founded in 2006 to help Jewish 20-somethings create communities. Its model is simple: Moishe House subsidizes the rent of groups of three to six residents, in exchange for their promise to organize events for other Jews in their 20s. Just four years old, it now has outposts in 29 cities, including Beijing, Cape Town and Warsaw.
Picture “Real World” — the MTV series — with challah.
Moishe House is run out of a rented office in Oakland, Calif. Its founder and executive director, David Cygielman, who is 28, said that its budget, provided through donations, is now about $1.35 million, or “about that of a medium-sized synagogue, and for that we do about 225 programs a month.”
Here is the link to the article: Moishe House NY Times article
In an age of greed and ridiculous bonuses, it is wonderful to see at least one Wall Street firm step up and surprise people with their generosity, which is what Jefferies & Company did on Friday. The brokerage donated $1 million and then donated all trading commissions from Friday, plus employees chipped in their salaries. They ended up raising $7.5 million. Here is the press release:
NEW YORK and LONDON, January 19, 2010 — Jefferies announced today a total donation of $7.5 million to organizations providing immediate help to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The firm’s clients generated $5.5 million through global trading commissions on January 15th, Jefferies donated $1 million, and voluntary elections from the firm’s 2,628 employee-partners and Board of Directors totaled another $1 million. All funds will be wired directly today for immediate relief work.
Contributions will be designated only for relief efforts associated with the recent earthquake in Haiti. The American Red Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF) and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will each receive $1 million. Partners in Health, Americares, Shelterbox, HEART 9/11 and SOS Children’s Village will each receive $500,000.
“On Wednesday, twenty H.E.A.R.T. veteran disaster response experts will be escorted by the FBI to Haiti. We will leverage our hard earned wisdom and the financial support of Jefferies to provide leadership to multiply response effectiveness, and with the skills and empathy born from the WTC mission, we will respectfully recover the Haitian victims and empower the survivors to build again,” said Bill Keegan, President of H.E.A.R.T. 9/11.
“This extraordinary contribution from Jefferies, as well as their many philanthropic clients, to UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts in Haiti is truly remarkable and will literally save lives; the enthusiasm shown to make a difference by Jefferies’ leadership and employees is encouraging,’ commented Edward Lloyd, Chief Financial Officer of the United States Fund for UNICEF. “One hundred percent of the funds will go toward our effort to provide items such as water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts, tents, portable toilets, blankets and other basic necessities, insuring that Haiti’s children are getting all that they need now and in the weeks to come, we are truly appreciative.”
“This gift will go directly to provide emergency medical care for patients in Haiti. Thanks to the generosity of Jefferies and their clients, PIH is sending medical personnel, supplies, food and water that are so desperately needed. We are very grateful,” said Paul Zintl, Chief Operations Officer, Partners In Health.
“Our 2,628 employee-partners and our amazing clients made this happen. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” added Richard B. Handler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jefferies.
Jefferies, a major global securities and investment banking firm, has served companies and their investors for more than 45 years. Jefferies & Company, Inc. is the principal US operating subsidiary of Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE: JEF: www.jefferies.com), and Jefferies International Limited is the principal UK operating subsidiary. Jefferies International Limited, a UK-incorporated company, is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority.
There is a great story in the New York Times about a Montana policeman asking a rabbi for help with his Hebrew speaking police dog. Here is the link:
Below is the link to a wonderful story about two friends of mine, Abe and Leon Presser. I’m honored to know them and to have learned by following their example.
I’m on the board of directors of a wonderful organization called Moishe House. This is the only organization I am on the board of and I feel very strongly about it. There is a real crisis in the Jewish world, in which young people are turning away from synagogues and organized religion and the way their parents have practiced religion because it provides no meaning for them. And many of them no longer have a connection to the Jewish world.
Moishe House Foundation subsidizes some or most of the rent for young Jews in their 20s so that they can open up their homes to provide Jewish programming and events to their larger community. The residents decide their own programming, such as Shabbat dinners or Jewish movie night and how many events they want to hold. By allowing young Jews to create their own experience and to operate not out of a synagogue but their own homes is creating an amazing dynamic. There are Moishe Houses all of the world from San Francisco to Buenos Aires to London.
The Jerusalem Post just featured Moishe House Londonon the front page of the paper. Here is a snippet:
BY PRIDING themselves on their pluralistic approach to both Jews and the Jewish faith, Moishe House London has earned itself a reputation of being “Chabad House without Chabad.” “We have a space where all different types of people can mix together. We don’t bring the baggage that other organizations bring. I think there’s an atmosphere of respect for where people are coming from,” says Brett Leboff, 30, who runs a music management and production company. “We’ve all had different experiences in terms of Judaism and this is a melting pot where it all comes together, which makes it very interesting from a creative point of view.”
Despite not being financially self-sufficient, the community benefits from creative independence. “They [funders] realized that they will get better results by allowing it to run independently, but the organized Jewish community hasn’t always made that connection,” Finlay explains. “Autonomy is the key, it’s not dictated by rabbis or funders. It’s happening in America where funders are more innovative, but the UK is a bit behind.”
Here is the link to the article: Jerusalem Post Article on Moishe House
And finally here is another link from an episode from PBS in which Moishe House was featured.
President Barack Obama recently went to China. The New York Times wrote an article on how he skirted Chinese sensibilities especially on human rights issues. Here is a snippet:
Whether by White House design or Chinese insistence, President Obama has steered clear of public meetings with Chinese liberals, free press advocates and even average Chinese during his first visit to China, showing a deference to the Chinese leadership’s aversions to such interactions that is unusual for a visiting American president.
And the link: Skirting Human Rights Article
Now this was very interesting because his opponent in last year’s election for President, Senator John McCain recently wrote a wonderful oped piece for the Financial Times that I was going to post, but forgot to. McCain wrote about human rights on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The contrast between the two approaches on human rights could not be greater.
Most important is this: governments that embody human rights must champion them in their foreign policies – in all places, for all peoples and at all times. This is not just the right thing to do; it marks a higher form of realism. The character of regimes cannot be divorced from their behaviour. Governments that abuse and lie to their own people will likely do the same to us, or worse. Conversely, states that respect the rights of their citizens are more apt to play a peaceful role in the world. For reasons of basic self-interest, then, we must lead the long, patient effort to shape a world in which human rights are more secure for more people.
I highly recommend that everyone read the rest of his oped and the importance promoting human rights: John McCain on Human Rights
Th New York Times Magazine has a wonderful article on chef Jamie Oliver and his mission to have people cook their own food and be healthier. I highly recommend you read the article and came away incredibly impressed with Jamie Oliver, what a great guy. If we as a country really want to tackle health care costs, we need to tackle the diet and eating habits of our country. Here is a snippet:
Oliver became famous at 23 for his television series “The Naked Chef,” which was broadcast from 1999 to 2001, first in Britain, then here, on the Food Network. The title referred not to his lack of clothing but to his belief in stripping pretense and mystery from the kitchen — the idea that anyone can cook and everyone should. He was loose and playful, measuring olive oil not in spoonfuls but in “glugs,” making a mess and having a ball. In the years since, that laddish charmer has morphed, somewhat unexpectedly, into a crusading community organizer. “Jamie’s School Dinners,” his award-winning four-part series, exposed the shameful state of school lunches in Britain and made for riveting television — he and the school cooks working feverishly to prepare dishes like tagine of lamb that the students either refused to try or dumped in the trash after one bite. When he eventually succeeded in getting them to abandon their processed poultry and fries and eat his food, the teachers reported a decrease in manic behavior and an increase in concentration. The school nurses noted a reduction in the number of asthma attacks. Those findings, along with “Feed Me Better,” his online campaign and petition drive, were the impetus for the British government to invest more than a billion dollars to overhaul school lunches.
Here is the article link: Jamie Oliver profile in New York Times
There have been many obituaries written in the last week for the great scientist, Norman Borlaug, who according to some estimates saved the lives of 1 billion people. By developing new strains of crops that were resistant to disease and teaching poor third world farmers modern agriculture techniques, Mr. Borlaug was a big part of the massive increase in food supply in the world, especially the poorest regions. What is also more interesting is that it is highly unlikely that Asia would have had its economic miracle without such massive increases in the availability of food and improvement of nutrition.
Here are two obituaries that I really liked. I recommend that you read both, just so you can get an impact for how great of a man Mr. Borlaug was.
Obituary from the City Journal: City Journal
Obituary from the Wall Street Journal: WSJ Obit