November 15, 2004

by Reb Yudel
GA '04

What's the word from the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities?

First coverage is from Ha'aretz. Nathan Guttman's opener presents a post-election drama which certainly wasn't typical of the GA's I attended in the '80s and '90s:

On stage for the debate were two speakers representing polar opposites in contemporary American Jewry: Dennis Prager, a popular radio talk-show host who is considered a reliable representative of American conservatism, and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, who represents the once-dominant way of thinking in the Jewish community - strict liberalism.

Haaretz also run an inteview by Amiram Barkat with John Ruskay, the vice president and CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York:
Ruskay said that despite his organization being "deeply involved" in funding and helping Israel in many social issues, the burden of the responsibility laid on Israel's government.

"My own personal view is that the question of the poor in Israel is fundamentally an issue of Israeli government priority," he said.

He criticized the Israeli government's use of its resources, which are primarily spent "on roads, on security, the [West Bank separation] fence and the settlements," rather than helping its poor.

"We are talking about relatively small money. This is a matter of Israeli priority."

Ruskay said that the Jews of North America could come together to help Israel realize its vision by becoming involved in other fields such as environmental issues, democracy and Israeli Arabs, Ruskay said.

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