From:                              New Bedford Jewish Federation []

Sent:                               Thursday, February 20, 2014 3:01 PM

To:                                   'Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford'

Subject:                          The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 21, 2014

The Bulletin - A Community Update for February 21, 2014




In the News:  The David Twersky Prize; Tom Friedman Talks Technion


For 10 years, I was fortunate enough to work with one of the finest journalists Jewish journalism has ever known.  At the Forward and later at the New Jersey Jewish News, my colleague and friend David Twersky was as brilliant as they come.  When he lost his battle with cancer three years ago, I founded a journalism prize in his name.  This week on his birthday, the 2014 winner, Johanna Ginsberg, was announced.  Johanna’s winning work is simply superb and the kind of journalism David loved.  The two-week series about the special bond and ongoing relationship between the members of Congregation B’nai Israel in Milburn, NJ, and the poverty-stricken community of McRoberts, KY, is the kind of story that resonates in every community.  The pieces in the series – “Those we work with are my teachers in life”; “I get to do good stuff all day long”; and “You don’t know what impact we may have” – all make for an enjoyable read.

Judge Elana Kahn-Oren, former president of the American Jewish Press Association, praised the series not only for its journalistic skill but also its significance in the Jewish world. "Johanna Ginsberg draws attention to a remarkable story of a congregation taking action and making real its commitment to heal the world.  The depth, nuance, and compassion in her reporting should serve as a model to all those who seek to use journalism to shine a light on the human condition."

In addition to Kahn-Oren, the judging committee included Twersky’s children, Anna and Michael, and Connecticut Jewish Ledger publisher, Ricky Greenfield (who recently visited our community for a meeting with our Federation’s Pacesetters).

“This two-week series is exactly the kind of journalism my father was most excited about and it is no surprise the other judges – not just me – found it worthy of this year’s award,” said Anna Twersky.  “It was a privilege to read so many extraordinary pieces, and an honor to award Johanna Ginsberg this year’s prize in our father’s name.  Johanna worked at the Jewish News with him and it is a special feeling to know that the award was won by someone he brought to the Jewish News,” said Michael Twersky.

The winner receives a medal and a $1,000 honorarium at an award ceremony in the spring.

The New York Times Tom Friedman’s column, appearing on the same day as the Twersky Prize announcement, is of interest as well to the Jewish community here and abroad.  Friedman writes about Professor Hossam Haick, an Israeli Arab professor at the Technion, Israel’s premier science and technology institute.  Haick will teach the first-ever massive open online course, or MOOC, on nanotechnology in Arabic.  A MOOC is a course that is open to thousands of people over the Web, crossing the boundaries between countries.

Some 4,800 registrants – including students from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and the West Bank – have enrolled so far. 

Nineteen percent of the students at the Technion are Arabs, Friedman reminds Israel’s critics.  “Those, like members of the B.D.S. — boycott, divestiture, sanctions — movement who treat Israel as if it is only the sum of how it deals with the West Bank and therefore deserves to be delegitimized as a state, would do well to reflect on some of these complexities.”

Some years ago, David Twersky asked Friedman to speak at the 50th anniversary celebration of our paper, The New Jersey Jewish News.  He accepted with no hesitation (and waived the $30,000 honorarium), saying, “For you guys in the trenches of Jewish journalism, this is the least I can do.”



Check Out Shir Ba’Emek – the Choir Coming to Visit Our Community


Listen to this You Tube clip from a Shir Ba’Emek performance and become a fan of the award-winning singing ensemble from Alfula-Gilboa, Israel, that will perform here on Sunday, May 18.  Save the date in your calendar now! 

This Week at UMass Dartmouth Center for Jewish Culture

On Tuesday, February 25, from 2:00 – 3:30 PM in the Claire T. Carney Library Grand Reading Room, Dr. David Kertzer of Brown University will speak on The Vatican, the Pope and the Path to Italy's 1938 Racial Laws.  The lecture, free and open to the public, will be based on Dr. Kertzer’s book, recently published by Random House.


2013-14 Annual Campaign – More Thanks

Pledges and gifts to the 2014 annual campaign continue to come in.  Thank you for your generous support.

If you have not yet made your contribution, please consider making your pledge or contribution today.  

Shabbat Shalom,


The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

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