||WRITER ALICE WALKER
COLORS ISRAEL UNFAIRLY
By Richard Friedman,
From the NY Daily News:
"Alice Walker, whose The Color Purple won the Pulitzer Prize for its exploration of the legacy of Southern racism, has told Israeli publishers she does not want her book translated into Hebrew because
Israel is 'guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people.'
Walker made comparisons between Israel today and the South Africa of yesteryear, as well as American segregation."
How sad it is that
someone so gifted could be so misinformed. Israel in no way promotes apartheid -- which is the system of strict racial segregation that was once practiced in South Africa.
Walker's linkage with racial discrimination in the South is far-fetched as well; people who've lived in the South and who know Israel can attest to this.
Israel, in fact, is the only country in history to go into Africa to bring black Africans out, not to enslave them but to provide them with religious freedom and better economic opportunities. A multitude of programs exist in Israel to help these black Africans -- Jews from Ethiopia -- become successful members of
Israeli society and there have been many success stories.
Some of these projects have been funded by The Birmingham Jewish Federation. One of these is SELAH, which is featured in the story below and helps new immigrants to Israel. The photo here is of BJF staff member Amanda Weil (left) and BJF board member Brittany Saag in Israel last February meeting with two young Ethiopians helped by SELAH.
Walker's claim that Israel persecutes Palestinians also is off base. Ever since Israel's rebirth as a modern
nation in 1948, the country has tried to reach an accommodation with the Palestinian Arabs based on compromise and mutual respect.
appalling lack of knowledge and her prejudice against the Jewish state are further reflected in this excerpt from the story:
"Asked last year by Foreign Policy if Hamas was a terrorist group, she answered, 'I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world. And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.'"Walker's comments and behavior toward the Middle East's most humane country and only authentic democracy
are reminders of the importance of the work we do at The Birmingham Jewish Federation educating people about Israel.
||'WE ALWAYS FEEL YOUR CARING INVOLVEMENT'
The Birmingham Jewish Federation received a great email recently from
Ruth Bar-On, Executive Director of
SELAH, an agency The BJF funds through our
Israel-World Jewry Bureau.
SELAH, which means "rock" in Hebrew, helps immigrants to Israel who've been affected by terror and other forms of tragedy.
"Our deep thanks for this grant go to all of you, and to all your colleagues and volunteers who have worked so hard and so long to bring good to your neighborhood, your country, Israel, and well beyond," Ruth wrote to The BJF.
"Here, at SELAH, we always feel your caring personal involvement, and as I have told you many times, your untiring efforts and connection mean a great deal to us."
"We continue to reach out, filled with a sense of challenge and hope. With your help, we have touched the lives of many families this year, including scores of orphaned children," she continued.
"As our compassionate and practical volunteers and social workers connect to them and determine their needs, we see some families rebuilding themselves after the worst imaginable tragedy. This happens over time, with emergency outreach at the time of the crisis, and then later, as trauma-stricken people connect to others who have undergone similar tragedies."
"This summer in addition to our regular group programming for special populations, we are also organizing a support group for Ethiopian and Russian teenagers whose families have been in our care, but could so benefit from the additional, personalized support," Ruth added.
"The Birmingham Jewish Federation, with great generosity, has strengthened all of these activities, for the immigrants throughout Israel who literally have nowhere to turn in time of great need."
"Thank you again for this wonderful gift, which supports and encourages us in all that we do. And kol ha'kavod
("job well done"),
for your wonderful work, of bringing concerned awareness to so many people, and involving them in your many constellations of support and help."
The BJF is proud to support SELAH's mission. For more information on
the Israel-World Jewry Bureau's
contact BJF Director of Overseas Programs
email@example.com or 205-879-0416.
Above picture shows a SELAH volunteer with a bereaved child at one of SELAH's recent retreats.
||AMANDA GOLDSTEIN MARKS
INVITES YOU TO A CELEBRATION
The following is from Amanda Goldstein Marks,
who grew up in Birmingham and now lives in Atlanta,
regarding her involvement in Limmud in the Atlanta community. Limmud is an organization dedicated to enriching Jewish communities all over the world
educational enrichment experiences
and will be holding a retreat called LimmudFest
Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
By Amanda Goldstein Marks
"Though we are small in number, we are loud in voice."
This is how I describe the Birmingham Jewish community to others. And I say "we" because though I have not resided there since senior year of high school, I will always be connected to the Birmingham Jewish community.
My parents, Milton and Arlene Goldstein, instilled a sense of Jewish pride and the importance of community in my siblings and me. Through
participating in activities and
experiences at Birmingham's Jewish Day School, Camp JCC, Temple Beth-El youth groups and Magic City BBG, I learned that being Jewish means being active within the community.
Now my husband Aaron and I are raising our three children -- Murray, Ruby and Oscar -- with a sense of Jewish pride and community early on. One organization that is important to us as a family is Limmud Atlanta+Southeast.
Limmud, a celebration and festival of Jewish thought, arts, culture, life, learning and teaching, started in England more than 30 years ago. Today, Limmud is sprouting up all over the world from the UK to Russia, New York to L.A and now in our Southeast region through Limmud Atlanta+Southeast.
Over Labor Day weekend, LimmudFest will take place at Camp Ramah Darom in North Georgia. It will be a gathering of hundreds of Jews from all walks of life, backgrounds, lifestyles and ages. LimmudFest is full of workshops, discussions, arts, music, performances, text-study sessions, camp for kids and much more -- all planned by a community of volunteers.
Attending LimmudFest every year is now a family tradition that my parents are a part of as well -- a tradition that I'd like to share with my Birmingham Jewish community.
For more information on LimmudFest, contact Amanda at
||'I HAVE A LITTLE SPARE CHANGE'
Contributions to our Birmingham Jewish Federation
Operation Grassroots initiative continue to come in from a wide range of folks including one of the personal fitness trainers at our Levite Jewish Community Center.
"Your request came at a good time for me, as I have a little spare change," she wrote us in an email. "I do enjoy keeping up with what you folks downstairs (at The BJF) are up to. I am always interested in what's going on around me."
We thank this friend of our Jewish community for her generous donation.
Operation Grassroots is an unprecedented BJF
fundraising effort to raise 1000 new gifts or increases of at least $100 to receive a $100,000 challenge gift.
If you haven't yet participated in Operation Grassroots, please consider doing so
by going to the link below or contacting Tiffany Hyche at The BJF at 205-803-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For $100 -- less than $2 a week -- you can
become part of
something historic and express your support for the great work The BJF does everyday in so many ways.
This email has been sent by
Birmingham Jewish Federation.
The Federation is a non-profit organization dedicated
to strengthening Israel and Jewish life,
building a better
Birmingham and helping people
in need. If you prefer not to receive future emails,
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