American Friends of Magen David Adom is a staple of American Jewish charity for Israel. Children give their bar and bat mitzvah money to it, communities take group photos in front of ambulances they donated to Israel through it, and sons and daughters dedicate plaques at Israeli medical centers in memory of their parents. The U.S. funding arm for Magen David Adom — Israel’s version of the Red Cross — symbolizes the most basic kind of heartfelt consensus giving by Jews to help Israel.5
The image of Israelis living outside Zion — the yordim, as they are sometimes derogatorily called — has come a long way since the 1970s, when Yitzhak Rabin referred to them as “fallen weaklings.”
For Jewish Democrats vying to make 2010 the year in which they ascend to the national level, these midterm elections pose a special challenge.
If you’re trying to defend the Jewish deli to a roomful of locavores and food activists, it’s good to have Michael Pollan on your side.7
For decades after its Jews were rounded up and deported in 1944, Etz Hayyim in Hania, the only synagogue on this Aegean island, served as an informal rubbish dump. Little was left but the floor and walls when Nikos Stavroulakis began a long process of reclamation and reconstruction. Stavroulakis, founder of the Jewish Museum of Greece, located in Athens, had decided to return to Crete; once there, he felt the 14th-century synagogue “calling out to him.” Thanks to his tireless fundraising, adept bureaucratic negotiations and superbly restrained aesthetics, Etz Hayyim was rededicated in 1999, an island of Ottoman authenticity in the vast, generic sea of the Greek tourism industry.
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