What event could possibly draw secular and religious Jews, obsessive hummus devotees and Jewish mother in-law experts? An opportunity to learn how to expertly opine on Jewish topics online. The Nefesh B’Nefesh Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention was slated for September 13. The event, which will focus on “Uniting the Jewish Community Through Social Media,” will bring together some 300 opinionated j-bloggers in Jerusalem and nearly 1,000 in cyberspace, who will join in via Internet telecast. They will network, listen to speakers and, of course, argue about whose opinion is right.
The dovish Washington-based Israel lobby J Street is about to take over the Jewish community’s largest likeminded grassroots organization.
The indictment against former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has riveted Israelis with its allegations that the ex-prime minister took envelopes of cash from supporters for his personal use. But another aspect of the August 30 indictment, one directly relevant to American Jews, has been all but lost amid the fallout: The Israeli leader, prosecutors charge, bilked 17 prominent North American Jewish charities and pro-Israel advocacy groups for his own benefit.
When Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s new president, appeared before the country’s premier Jewish umbrella group in late August, the audience before him was concerned about the tack his government might be taking not just toward Israel, but also toward South African Jews who support it.
Many of the young people who pass through the Jewish Enrichment Center in Lower Manhattan view it with great affection. It is often the first time they have come in contact with a Judaism that is engaging and accessible. The rabbis responsible for the center’s educational and religious programs are charismatic and approachable people who, participants say, have had a large impact on their lives.