William Korey spent more than 30 years of his life deeply involved with the struggle to allow free emigration for Soviet Jews. But when I interviewed him in his Queens apartment a few years ago, he did not hide the fact that he never liked to work on individual cases. “There would be no end to it,” he told me.
Taglit-Birthright Israel, the highly regarded Jewish communal initiative that has sent more than 200,000 young Jews on free trips to Israel, has carefully tended its image as pluralistic and inclusive. But the religious slant and political orientation of the largest, most well-funded organizer of follow-up programs for Birthright alumni is raising concerns, even among top Birthright officials.
Attempts to finalize a deal on a settlement freeze are entering the final stretch, although significant differences still exist between American and Israeli negotiators.
An unusual sign appeared in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in early August. On it is a large Star of David constructed out of 50 or so rubber chickens. In the middle of the star, Yiddish text offers a free bike loan to any of the Yiddish-speaking Satmar Hasidim who live in the area.
Matthew Soffer, a 29-year-old rabbinical student from Philadelphia, was the rookie manager of a weak fantasy league baseball team until he turned to his faith and traded for a player of Jewish heritage.