Taking the High Ground

Written by Dassi Solomson on . Posted in Community News

Students Supporting Israel (SSI) hosted the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Danny Danon, at Columbia University Monday night, February 13th. Originally open to the public, the event was ultimately restricted to Columbia/Barnard students and alumni only, due to security concerns. There were over 300 students in attendance, in addition to a lengthy waiting list. Only a few weeks prior to Israeli Apartheid-BDS week on Columbia’s campus, Danon’s visit, perhaps, foreshadowed the debate to come, escalating tensions in advance of the sure to be politically charged week.

Stop This ‘Pay for Slay’ Insanity

Written by Sarah N. Stern on . Posted in Community News

Taylor Force was an American hero who had his entire life in front of him. This tall, dark, handsome graduate student from Vanderbilt University had completed two tours of duty with the United States army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ironically, Taylor come back from both of these war zones completely unscathed, only to be stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist, while he was walking close to the beach in Tel Aviv.

Taylor is not the first American to have been killed by Palestinian terrorists. He is the 69th, (plus two unborn babies), since the signing of the Oslo Accords, and he is the 144th since the 1967 War.

Taylor is no more or no less deserving of justice than any of the others, whose cases are equally compelling.

Navigating ‘Find-Your-Camp’ Season

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

It may be cold outside now, but it’s already “find-your-camp”season, as parents look to find outstanding summer experiences that will help their children thrive.

When my children were younger, there were few good options for children with disabilities/special needs to be welcomed, included and appropriately accommodated in Jewish summer camps. Thanks to the outstanding leadership of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and many wonderful nonprofit Jewish camps around the country, there are now many outstanding choices.

FAQ From Prospective Camp Chaverim Parents

Written by Rabbi Ezra Baldinger and Rabbi Yaakov Boruch Beren on . Posted in Community News

What makes Camp Chaverim special? Why would I send my son to your camp as opposed to any other camp?

One of the unique qualities of Camp Chaverim is our staff. Our counselors are older Bais Medrash boys second year or above), and are carefully selected top talent who exhibit exceptional middos, a whole lot of energy, and a real understanding of how to work with campers.

Another remarkable aspect of Camp Chaverim is the emphasis on מדותביןאדםלחבירו, middos between man and his friend. Our motto is “Middos Bein Adam L’chavero doesn’t just happen in camp, we make it happen!” We are constantly working to convey to our campers how important it is to be considerate, thoughtful, and caring towards others, making it the hallmark of the camp.

Kids’ Voices Count

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

JPDS-NC Election Project Wins Kohelet Prize for Excellence in Jewish Education

The JPDS-NC Election Project was a school-wide undertaking that included every class from Pre-K through sixth Grade and culminated in a Voter’s Guide that was shared with the broader community. Recently, the project and a crossgrade, multi-disciplinary faculty team comprising Hanina Goldstein, Mindy Hirsch, Kelly McAllester, Vinny Prell, Melissa Rickabaugh, and Devora Yeganeh were awarded the Kohelet Prize for excellence in Jewish education.

Collaborative Tu B’Shevat Celebrations Strengthen Jewish life in Northern Virginia

Written by Jennifer Scher on . Posted in Community News

Several months ago Susan Dilles, a long-time community member and a co-chair of the Northern Virginia regional board for The Jewish National Fund, approached the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and Gesher Jewish Day School about collaborating on Tu B’Shvat programming that would reach adults and families. Susan loves Israel, the environment, JNF (Jewish National Fund), Jewish life in Northern Virginia, and Tu B’Shvat. Her vision was to bring these things all together, and on February 11 and 12, that is exactly what happened.

With efforts led jointly by two community Israeli shluchim (emissaries), Na’ama Gold (JCCNV, Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia) and Gefen Chazen (Gesher JDS, Jewish Day School/Olam Tikvah), the Saturday night program brought together over 50 adults for “An Evening to Delight the Senses” featuring kosher wines and an upscale Tu B’Shvat seder at the JCCNV. On Sunday afternoon, the “Family Tu B’Shevat Experience” welcomed over 110 community members of all ages to the Gesher JDS campus, exceeding registration expectations.

The Story Behind Trump’s Statement on PA Textbooks

Written by David Bedein on . Posted in Community News

Lately, when informed observers of U.S. Middle East policy discuss developments between Israel and the U.S., they often limit themselves to the difficulties of the eight Obama years. They forget the differences between the Israeli and American governments, specifically over policies towards the Palestinian Authority (and its predecessor, the Palestinian Liberation Organization), over the course of five successive presidencies.

Having run a news agency in the heart of Jerusalem for the past 30 years, my perspective on U.S.-Israel policy disagreements goes back 28, not eight, years.

The critical moment when a crisis of confidence became pronounced was when President Ronald Reagan recognized the PLO in December, 1988. This recognition ignored U.S. policy guidelines that made recognition of the PLO contingent on PLO acceptance of UN resolution 242, denouncement of violence, and recognition of Israel.

The new Reagan policy towards the PLO stood in sharp contrast to repeated declarations of Reagan’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who passionately denounced the PLO as an unrelenting terrorist organization that could never be trusted to make peace. With my own eyes, I watched Schultz lead AIPAC participants at the AIPAC conference in May 1987 in a chant of “Hell no, PLO.”

Within two days of Arafat mouthing symbolic words that denounced terrorism, the PLO issued continuing statements that this did not mean that the PLO would have to stop killing Jews to achieve its goals of Palestinian-Arab independence.

In December 1989, I asked Dr. Alan Keyes, a close Reagan adviser who served as Under Secretary of State for Interorganization Affairs and had an impeccable pro-Israel record, why the Reagan Administration turned on Israel in favor of the PLO.

Dr. Keyes gave a clear response: The Saudis were fearful that the PLO would organize an intifada-style resurrection in Saudi Arabia, with the PLO burning their oil fields and destabilizing the Arab and world economy.

In the interceding years, the US helped create the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose school system has indoctrinated more than one generation of Palestinian Arab children with the “values” of liberating all of Palestine by force of arms.

At Almost 40 Years Old, Camp Shoresh Has Deep Roots and is Still Growing

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

More than a summer experience, Shoresh connects Jews of all backgrounds with programs throughout the year.

Nestled in the rural community of Adamstown, Maryland, with the beautiful backdrop of the Catoctin Mountains, Camp Shoresh did not always call its current a 107-acre property home. In its first summer 38 years ago in Frederick, Maryland, it hosted only 19 children and was housed in the old Beth Sholom synagogue on 2nd Street. The shul was over 100 years old— not the ideal setting for a three-week summer camp. From its inception, however, Shoresh has always maintained its vision of providing a quality Jewish camping experience through its exceptional programming and amazing staff. From day one, it hired fantastic counselors who had the whole package: people who had the ability to teach Torah, play sports, create art and have fun, as well as serve as positive role models.

Washington Hebrew Congregation Hosts Community Forum to Address Security Concerns

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON — Be vigilant and speak up. That was the message from several speakers, including acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham, Thursday evening, March 9, at a public forum held at Washington Hebrew Congregation and convened to address anti-Semitism and bigotry in light of a rash of anti-Semitic incidents, including nearly 150 bomb threats that have been called into Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions.

Father and Son Collaborate on Children’s Book

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

When Sam Charnoff was a young father of three boys in the early 1990s, he would walk them 30 minutes to shul every Shabbat. To engage them and keep them in or next to the stroller, he would make up adventure stories about a character named Prince Long Leggs. Twenty years later, he and his youngest son, Amichai (Ami) Charnoff, a visual artist, decided to collaborate and make the story into a children’s book.

“We are very fortunate Ami was able to capture the story and characters and preserve them,” Sam said. “We no longer have to rely solely on memory to recall this part of our lives.”

Sam reminisced about the process of working with his son on this story. “The most fun I had was watching him give the characters faces and bodies, and visually bring these characters to life,” he said. Sam had a different mental picture of the characters, so it was surprising to see his son’s completely different version emerge.

NCSY and JSU Come Together With the Community at Cheryl Stern Dinner

Written by Lauren Gluck on . Posted in Community News

“One day I was walking through the halls with my friends Marielle and Samara and some wild kid comes running through the halls screaming at us ‘JSU! JSU! Come to JSU!’ I remembered that JSU stands for Jewish Student Union and I think to myself: ‘Hey, why not give it a shot?’ It’s been over a year now and I haven’t looked back since.”

Jordyn Wagman, a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, is one of the many teens that feel connected to their Judaism in a very real way because of National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) and JSU.