Continuity Elusive at Top of Nation's No. 6 Community Ira Schwartz, departed abruptly in early May, marking the fourth time the federation has lost its top professional leader since the early 1990s. That's unusual among big-city federations, where successful executives often last decades....
Philadelphia's federation announced Schwartz's departure late on May 3, a Friday afternoon. A statement and story published in the federation-owned Jewish Exponent disclosed no details about why Schwartz was leaving, saying only that the separation was effective immediately.
Penny Kardon, Director of Career Strategies for the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service (JEVS) in Philadelphia, explains the Helping Hands program as "a program for underemployed or unemployed Jewish individuals up to the age of 65. They are given intense vocational assessment, ongoing career counseling, and opportunities for us to pay for training programs. There's a free computer program, workshops, lots and lots of support with job placement, (and) it's a one-year program, it's of no cost to the participants, and it's completely funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia."
Professor Alan Dershowitz came to the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, February 2, 2012, to accomplish two goals: one, to continue in his role as American's most outspoken, knowledgeable "celebrity" to "Make the Case for Israel" (the title of his 2003 book); and to tell Penn pro-Israel students, the Penn administration and the larger Philadelphia pro-Israel community, that they are model Israel advocates. He accomplished both.
Last semester a few students conspired to create an organization on Penn's campus with the goal of hosting a conference there to promote the boycotting of, divesting from and sanctioning of Israel ("BDS"). Rather than create panic, however, their efforts forged an otherwise virtual impossibility: a community acting in almost complete unison to showcase Israel and educate those willing to be educated so they too would join the ranks of supporters, rather than vilifiers.
"Save Our Stiffel" is the name of a newly-formed group dedicated to keeping the Jacob & Esther Stiffel Senior center, 604 Porter Street in South Philadelphia, from closing due to lack of funds.
Programs held at the Stiffel Center include classes in Yiddish; art, poetry and music classes; cultural and travel experiences; health and exercise programs; traditional holiday programs; daily hot kosher lunches; fitness and wellness classes; medial and legal advice; chaplaincy services; and a thrift shop.
Laurel Katz, actor and radio host, is part of the effort; "No one had organized," she recalls, "a committee to raise the funds that are needed, because we found out fairly recently that that Stiffel is operating on a $200 thousand annual deficit, and they need $200 thousand by June 30th, and a promise for future funding, because they want to close it." The Stiffel Center is a branch of the Klein JCC.
Enter the Israel 63 Talent Competition and Compete for Cash Prizes
Musically gifted individuals and groups of all ages are invited to compete for $500 cash prizes and the opportunity to perform on stage at Penn's Landing before thousands of participants in the Israel 63 Independence Day celebration on Sunday, May 22, noon to 5 p.m. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is sponsoring this Israel: A Song In Our Hearts contest and is soliciting entries now through April 1, 2011. Go to www.jewishphilly.org/israel6 for contest rules and submission information.
"The competition will be interactive and exciting," said Federation President Leonard Barrack," explaining that all entries will be posted on Federation's website and the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite between April 15 and May 5. The three entries receiving the highest numbers of votes in each category will be deemed finalists and will be notified by email on May 10. All finalists must be available to perform live at the May 22 Israel 63 celebration between 12:15 and 4:45 p.m. before a panel of judges who will determine the winners of the following four categories:
The Matchmaker, directed by Avi Nesher
Saturday, February 26 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, February 27 at 3:00 PM, International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
(2010, 112 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles)
Eight Prize Winning Films Over Six Weeks
The Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia celebrates its 15th Anniversary Season with eight prize-winning films by Israeli filmmakers over a six-week period beginning February 26th with screenings in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. The Festival celebrates Israeli cinema with the aim of enriching the American vision of Israeli culture and society through film. (See our coverage of the Israeli Film Festival in 2006 and 2009.)
Advanced ticket sales are available online. There are a limited number of free tickets for high school and college students at each screening. Reservations for student tickets can be made online and must picked up one hour prior to each screening.
According to Nurit Yaron, the Film Festival's chair,
Each season the Israeli Film Festival presents a slate of feature films and documentaries that are carefully selected to represent a diverse reflection of Israel. It is our goal to celebrate the creativity of Israeli filmmaking and vibrancy of Israeli culture. Our program includes award-winning feature films and documentaries that have received wide recognition both in Israel and abroad.
The Festival opens on Saturday, February 26th with The Matchmaker directed by Avi Nesher. Winner of the 2010 Israeli Film Academy for Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, The Matchmaker is an enchanting coming-of-age tale about the redemptive power of love and the manifold incarnations of friendship. Yankele Bride, a Holocaust survivor who makes his living as a matchmaker, hires 16-year old Arik to scout potential clients throughout the bustling port city of Haifa. The quirky characters Arik meets on the job - Clara, a beautiful, fragile woman whom Bride loves from afar; Sylvia, a survivor of Josef Mengele's Nazi experiments who yearns for a husband; and Meir, a librarian - open his eyes to a world of wonder, pain and longing. Avi Nesher made his feature film debut with The Troup and has since made Turn Left at the End of the World (the biggest grossing movie in Israeli history) followed by The Secrets. The Matchmaker will have two screenings, both at the Philadelphia International House, on Saturday, February 26th at 8:00 PM and again on Sunday, February 27th at 3:00 PM.
Information and trailers about the other seven film after the jump.
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