From:                              Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford

Sent:                               Thursday, January 14, 2016 2:05 PM

To:                                   'New Bedford Jewish Federation'

Subject:                          The Bulletin -- A Community Update for January 14, 2016

The Bulletin - A Community Update for January 14, 2016

 

 

 

Two Weeks from Today - Don’t Miss Out!

Last year we hosted Nancy Spielberg at the Whaling Museum in what was an extraordinary event. We start 2016 with another outstanding guest, Israeli superstar musician David Broza.

David brings his documentary East Jerusalem-West Jerusalem about recording his album in East Jerusalem at a Palestinian studio (check out the preceding promotional clip) featuring Israeli and Palestinian musicians.

Devoted to resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict and famous for many songs – among them Yihiye Tov (Good Will Prevail) – dating back to the days of the peace talks with Egypt, David has become an ambassador of sorts. He will of course play some songs after the film. This is a can’t-miss event!

Young emissaries from Israel who are visiting many New England communities this year will be our guests that night as well.

New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford

·         Thursday, January 28, 7:00 PM

FOR TICKETS: Reserve your seat(s) now at office@jewishnewbedford.org or 508-997-7471.

(The event is open to the community and is free of charge. Donations to the Federation in support of programming are always appreciated.)

 

 

 

On Facts, Headlines and Funding

 

As readers of this Bulletin know, I regularly suggest articles from The Forward on a variety of topics. I was part of the team that launched the paper in English in the early ‘90s. The David Twersky Prize for Jewish Journalism, which I founded and personally fund, was twice won by Forward journalists, including editor Jane Eisner last year. I make that important distinction because the January 12, 2016, issue of The Forward (a left-leaning publication) provided a stage for an opinion piece written by the very left-leaning J Street U’s Elie Leaderman-Bray and Tali DeGroot which I find objectionable. 

The headline “Why Are Our Federation Dollars Funding Israeli Settlements?” is even more misleading than the piece itself. The article (perhaps deliberately) is providing a lot of information about funding NOT from Federation.  

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, like all Jewish Federations nationwide, allocates what are known as Core Dollars to JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America). Those are annual funds that are not restricted. Through JFNA, Americans send nearly $200 million dollars each year to partner organizations in Israel mainly through the Jewish Agency for Israel. Of those funds practically ZERO is spent behind the Green Line. As Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston’s Barry Shrage put it in that very article, “Since we don’t currently do any of that stuff, it just seems not very meaningful to get involved in that kind of discussion . . .”

Stating at the beginning of the article that “. . . settler groups in East Jerusalem and the West Bank received more than $220 million in tax-deductible donations from U.S. organizations between 2009 and 2013” – so closely following the provocative headline – creates the impression that those were Federation dollars. They were not. Americans fund many organizations with their charitable dollars. We are a charitable nation, both domestically and abroad. In fact so charitable that Americans have already funded organizations in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation and the one ranked #1 on the foreignpolicy.com failed state index. And why do I bring that up, you might ask? Well, it turns out that some Federation donors designate their giving to specific organizations and some Federations do give donors an option to select where designated funds go. Their money, their choice is the rationale.

As we continue our annual campaign, I wanted to make it clear to our readers and donors, regardless of political affiliation, that our funds do NOT fund settlements and the same goes for the other Federations..

As to the point made in the article about whether or not there should be a clear policy about funding beyond the Green Line, I can understand the issue being raised but will use the same logic of my colleague Barry Shrage in demurring. Why do we need a funding policy for something we’re not funding? Do we need a policy to clarify what we do not fund? I’d rather spend the time focusing on what else we can do to assist those in need. 

And finally, if you wish to receive specific information about our allocations feel free to contact me at any time.

 

 

 

David Bowie in Tel Aviv

So much has been said about this artistic legend in the past few days. Twenty years ago, at a very happy time in his career, Bowie gave a great performance in Tel Aviv. Watch him land (and later sing) in Israel.

Shabbat Shalom,

Amir

The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.  I welcome your feedback at amir@jewishnewbedford.org