[yshavurah] Not Unaffiliated; They're Un-Fulfilliated.
- From: "Cheryl Levine" <clevineys@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: "Havurah Listserv" <yshavurah@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 07:12:40 -0400
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Here's an interesting article about Ruth Messinger, who will recieve the = Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award for Service to the Jewish = Community at the Union for Reform Judaism's Biennial Convention in = Houston, November 16-20. She (and the writer of this article) has an = interesting message. -c P.S. Is anyone interested in putting together another Tzedakkah project = with me? I'd like to get started on our next one. Please RSVP to = clevineys@xxxxxxxxxxx ----- Original Message -----=20 From: Union for Reform Judaism=20 To: TMT@xxxxxxxxxxx=20 Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 2:39 PM Subject: Friday: 10 Minutes of Torah - Jewish World =20 April 29, 2005 Week 75, Day 5 20Nisan 5765 =20 Seder Tables by Rob Eshman, Editor-in-Chief=20 =20 The following editorial is from the April 22 edition = of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and is reprinted with = permission. Two weeks ago, I walked in early for a dinner meeting = at Sprazzo, a small Italian restaurant on Westwood Boulevard. The owner = was busy pushing several small tables together, re-draping white = tablecloths and rearranging place settings so that, by the time the = other guests arrived, we all sat down to one long banquet table, = stretching from one side of the room to the other. The guest of honor sat in the center.=20 Someone who has known Ruth Messinger for a long time = told me that she is a passionate crusader, but starchy and humorless. I = was envisioning a lengthy dinner with a lean, hungry version of Bella = Abzug.=20 Messinger was a social worker who entered politics in = the '70s, when she became disgusted with New York City's school system. = She served as borough president of Manhattan, and, as the flag-carrier = of the city's liberal West Side, ran against Republican Mayor Rudy = Giuliani in his 1997 bid for re-election. He creamed her.=20 Messinger wasn't left enough for some -- she barely = beat Al Sharpton in the primary -- and too left, or left-seeming, for = others. The unions deserted her, she got just 27 percent of the Jewish = vote, and in the heavily Democratic city she lost by 17 points. Messinger looked around for a place to make a = difference, and found it in a small organization called American Jewish = World Service (AJWS).=20 AJWS collects and distributes money to combat hunger = and disease and for disaster-relief efforts and long-term development = aid. It sends Jewish professionals to three continents to lend expertise = to development NGOs, and runs a popular Alternative Break program in = partnership with Hillel. The program sends college students to work on = grass-roots development projects abroad while learning about the = connections between social justice, service and Judaism.=20 AJWS is an upstart among Jewish organizations, yet = under Messinger's inspired leadership it has been attracting press, = money and volunteers.=20 A lot of AJWS's money and energy is coming from = younger Jews. Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar congregation, a former AJWS = intern, was among those at the dinner, and Progressive Jewish Alliance = (PJA) Director Daniel Sokatch organized it. After our dinner, Messinger = spoke to young Jewish professionals brought together by the PJA. The message of AJWS resonates among this putatively = elusive, disinterested species. College-age Jews flock to join its = Alternative Break program, Gen X Jews make their first donations to its = coffers. When Messinger took over, the annual budget was $2.5 million. = Now it's $11 million. That jump proves what should be clear to anyone = familiar with the litany of polls and surveys decrying the sad state of = Jewish life: The majority of Jews are not unaffiliated; they're = un-fulfilliated. Standard synagogue services don't speak to their = souls, standard Jewish organizations don't spark their imaginations and = standard Jewish concerns over anti-Semitism and Israel don't engage = their intellects. The last National Jewish Population Survey showed an = affiliation rate of around 30 percent. Don't believe it. That's the = fulfilliation rate. I just haven't met many young Jews who don't want to = be moved by their heritage or inspired by their faith. What they say is = that religious services bore the stuffing out of them; synagogues can be = cold; organized Jewish life expensive and elitist, and Jewish political = expression ossified. But along comes a Messinger -- and thankfully she has = her counterparts in the synagogue and organizational world -- who offers = the unfulfilled something important, with a twist: It's shot through = with Jewish values, study and connection. "It's important for the = American Jewish college student to see how little it takes to make a = difference in people's lives," she said. "The young people see this as a = really Jewish thing to do." At Sprazzo, it turned out that Messinger's good dinner = company, too. She drank a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio, laughed at = all the right moments, and spoke of AJWS's mission with passion, without = starchiness.=20 The problems of the developing world, she said, are = "silent tsunamis." The deaths of thousands from hunger, violence and = preventable diseases rarely make the headlines, but demand our response = just the same. "Some 300,000 people will die in Sudan in the next three = months. This is Rwanda in slow motion," she said, speaking of the crisis = in Darfur. AJWS has helped put Darfur on the international = agenda. When aid money and volunteers flow into troubled regions from = AJWS, she pointed out, these Jews become the positive "stereotype of = what all Jews are."=20 AJWS speaks to the imperative of individual and = collective responsibility that is at the heart of the Passover = narrative, and it became easy for me to imagine the banquet table at = Sprazzo as a kind of pre-seder table. There was talk of repression, of = plagues and finally of the hope for deliverance, which, we are taught = every spring, is in our very own hands.=20 "If you take seriously the idea that you were once = slaves," Messinger said, "then you help."=20 Happy Passover.=20 Rob Eshman is Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Journal of = Greater Los Angeles.=20 Do you know a teen who regularly checks e-mail and is = interested in exploring Jewish issues? Then iTorah is for that teen. A = weeekly e-mail on topics of Jewish interest written by the leaders of = NFTY and Kesher. Visit the iTorah website to sign up. =20 The Union for Reform Judaism: Serving Reform = Congregations in North America proudly announces our 17th annual summer = Kallah, adult study and spirituality retreat, to take place July 20 - 24 = at Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, NH. The theme for the kallah is = Ayekah? Where are you? For more information and to register, go to the = Kallah Website or contact Kallah Registrar at 212.650.4087 or = educate@xxxxxxxx A limited number of partial scholarships are available = on a first come - first served basis.basis.=20 =20 10 Minutes of Torah is produced by the Union for = Reform Judaism -=20 Department of Marketing & Communication and Department = of Lifelong Jewish Learning.=20 Visit our Web site for more information.=20 =20 =20 To unsubscribe email TMT-unsubscribe-request@xxxxxxxxxxx -- Binary/unsupported file stripped by Ecartis -- -- Type: image/jpeg -- File: world.jpg
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