Last week, I blogged about the closing of the Ziv Tzedakah Fund. Today I received this letter from their Israel representative, who put into perspective the transition.
As the year comes to a close and we think of endings and beginnings, I think his attitude is an outstanding way to look at change in the Jewish community and in life.
From all of us at MyJewishLearning, we wish your and your family a happy and healthy 2008:
Thank you for taking the time to write about ziv, even if it is under ‘sad’ circumstances. i am arnie draiman, the ziv tzedakah fund representative in israel. i have known and worked with danny for over 30 years.
i believe you had a chance to read danny’s letter (it was linked to your article below). instead of sadness, we are trying to look at it as joy. happiness. the simcha of doing mitzvahs. danny has done and has been responsible for hundreds of thousands (dare i say millions?) of mitzvahs. this is a momentous, happy occasion.
danny is retiring after 35 years or so. he deserves the opportunity to pursue the same and other ventures. and danny’s talmidim are already beginning to stand up and create new tzedakah funds to fill in where ziv has been.
this ‘event’ will actually do more for the world of tzedakah than anyone could’ve imagined. danny has taught tens of thousands of people about tikkun olam. and now, these people (no longer being able to rely on ziv) will rise to the challenge.
and so, we will lose ziv, but we will be gaining dozens of ziv “babies”….and when a baby is born, it is a joyous event.
and finally, meredith, i am still around. all of the great work that ziv and danny have been doing in israel isn’t fading away. it will continue.
For more than 25 years, Danny Siegel, aka the Mitzvah Man, has been distributing money to little-known tzedakah projects primarily in Israel through the Ziv Tzedakah Fund.
He also frequently lectures about the small-time “Mitzvah Heroes” of the world, whose good actions and kindness have made a big impact. In response to why people should do good, he always replies “Why not?”
So it’s with sadness that I found out the the Ziv Tzedakah Fund will be shut down by the end of next year.
As Washington Jewish Week reported, Siegel said “Ziv Tzedakah has just become too large and complicated to sustain in its present form.” (MORE)
Ziv traditionally received many small donations and was also committed to supporting small ventures. Both its donors and recepients will definitely feel its absence.
This past weekend, I spent time with a dear friend from college. He’s always full of interesting, if not bizarre facts. And this tidbit I couldn’t keep to myself.
We got to talking about Jewish music, and he asked me if I knew the story behind the Israeli song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi.” The song won the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual European competition, in 1978.
So what does “a-ba-ni-bi” mean in Hebrew? Wikipedia says it best:
The song is generally translated as “I Love You”, but the chorus is in “Bet language”, a Hebrew language game similar to Pig Latin, in which each syllable is followed by the letter Bet and the relevant vowel. Thus, a more faithful English translation might in fact be “Ibi Lobove Youbou”(MORE)
Furthermore, Arab countries broadcasting the contest had issues with Israel winning. Jordanian TV ended the show with a still shot of daffodils rather than acknowledge the Israeli entry. After the show Jordanian media announced that the winner was Belgium, which had actually come in second place.
From the original broadcast, as sung by Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta:
Still looking for a holiday gift? Got $25 million just laying around?
The Streit’s Matzo factory, prime real estate located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is available, just in time to start producing our favorite flat bread for Passover. Or more likely, to be torn down and used as land for an overpriced, posh condo building.
Link from Gothamist.
We’ve learned through both our user survey and anecdotally that many of our readers are not Jewish. To those readers we wish you a happy holiday, which ever ones you may celebrate.
Beliefnet has been polling its readers for a little while now, trying to decide on the most inspiring person of 2007.
They finally named the winner, Liviu Librescu. Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, was a professor at Virginia Tech. He used his body to barricade the door of his second-story classroom so his students could escape out windows during the shooting spree in April that killed 32.
Since then, Chabad has established a new center named after the professor at Virginia Tech.
For more about this incredible man, see Beliefnet’s video and award page.
Today is the 10th of Tevet, a minor fast day that symbolizes the first of a series of events which led to the destruction of the First Temple.
For more information, read our article on the why we commemorate this day.
You know when all of the Jewish blogs are talking about the same thing that either a) We all got the same email asking us to promote a program or b) It’s a slow season.
I think this week is a little of both. But some of those programs we’ve been receiving emails about are so exciting and important enough to promote them in as many venues as possible.
As Jewschool wrote about yesterday, there are many fellowships for young Jews. Three of the newest ones are:
Shapiro Family Fellowship
The program is designed to help future leaders of the worldwide Jewish community connect with peers and mentors in the United States and Israel.
In 2008, Shapiro Family Fellowship will be awarded to 15 promising individuals ages 22 to 28 who currently live in the greater New York metropolitan area and who have previously been to Israel. Each one-year fellowship will have as its centerpiece a fully paid, 17-day trip to Israel featuring exclusive meetings with Israeli professionals and experts in the fellowâ€™s chosen careers, as well as other leaders. The Shapiro family will also invite fellows to exclusive programs, workshops, and high-profile lectures in New York during the balance of the fellowship year.
If you are ready to take an active leadership role, or if you know someone who is a promising candidate, click this link for more information
Sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camping and Brandeis University, this full scholarship toward a degree from Brandeisâ€™ Hornstein Program for those who are interested in going into Jewish camping as a professional.
Robert and Elisa Spungen Bildner Fellowship presents the opportunity to provide the Jewish camp community with the kind of well-trained professionals that it needs for its continued success. The Foundation for Jewish camping is dedicated to professionalizing the field of Jewish camping and proud to establish a fellowship that supports a professional degree in the field.
INSIGHT: The Schusterman Fellowship for Jewish Community.
After months of developing a multifaceted fellowship for college graduates to explore the world of non-profit work in the Jewish community, the Center for Leadership Initiatives is pleased to be accepting applications for the first cohort. Through a rigorous application and selection process, we will be seeking recent graduates and those who have been out of school for a few years who are motivated, curious and inspired to explore the world of Jewish non-profit at some of the most interesting and innovative organizations in the community.
We expect the first cohort (beginning September 2008) to look as diverse as the Jewish community itself. All levels of affiliation are welcome â€“ most importantly, we are seeking unique, self-aware, ambitious and bright individuals who are interested in exploring the Jewish non-profit world and learning from the sectorâ€™s leaders and experts.
Online Applications are available here.
-When an interfaith center building is owned in part by a Messianic Jewish organization, should a rabbi agree to officiate at a Bar Mitzvah held there? (Washington Jewish Week)
-Jeffrey K. Salkin argues that strengthening the Jewish people and the Jewish future requires greater synagogue affiliation. But that â€œwill mean re-imagining what Jews should â€œgetâ€? from synagogue membershipâ€¦It will mean paying attention to what Christians â€“ yes, even evangelical, fundamentalist Christians â€“ are doing to re-vitalize their churches. Some synagogues will need to re-invent themselves and do a â€œproduct re-launch.â€?â€? (The Jewish Week)
-When the 19-year-old dying from leukemia asked the 23-year old rabbinical student â€œRabbi, where is the justice in what is happening to me?,â€? the student found the right reply, and it set him on his path.
-After 46 years, a synagogue maintenance man — and advisor to shul schoolkids — retires. (J.)
-A biography has appeared on Joachim Prinz, a â€œRebellious Rabbiâ€? both in the US and in Weimar and Nazi Germany.
Last week, the House passed Resolution 847, recognizing Christmas and the Christian faith. Not a big deal. They pass these type of resolutions all of the time.
However, nine members of the House voted against bill. Rarely do resolutions simply marking a holiday or recognizing a person receive “Nay” votes. As sponsoring Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on Fox and Friends:
The [nine] naysayers didnâ€™t make it to the floor to debate. I would like to know how they could vote Yes on Islam, Yes on the Indian Religions and No on Christianity when the foundation of this nation and our American culture is Christianityâ€¦I think thereâ€™s an assault on Christianity in America.
The nine voting against the resolution were: Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) (FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). Only Ackerman is Jewish.