Newsletter Issue # 64 – January 23, 2013

What does a veteran and a yeshiva student from New York City all have in common? They were all participants in last year’s Bike 4 Friendship cross-country bike trip. The grueling 3,500-mile bike ride is held annually to help raise much-needed funds and create awareness about the important global activities of Friendship Circle International an organization that connects children with special needs with teenage volunteers who provide them with friendship, companionship and opportunities to socialize and be a part of the community.

The arena Bruce C. Ratner built in Brooklyn has hosted concerts of hip-hop, Latin salsa and reggae, not to mention performances by Dylan, Streisand and the Rolling Stones But when the genre chosen was Jewish music, Ratner decided to take charge himself. A real estate developer who cut his musical teeth on cantorial singing at a synagogue in his hometown, Cleveland, is the de facto impresario of a concert at the Barclays Center that will feature the violinist Itzhak Perlman and Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.

Israel marked an aliyah milestone last Thursday with the arrival of the 2,000th member of the Bnei Menashe community. Eighteen-year-old Mirna Singsit arrived in Israel along with 53 other members of the community. The Bnei Menashe live in the Manipur state in northeastern India claim descent from the Biblical tribe of Menashe, one of the ten lost tribes exiled.

Jewish immigration to Israel registered a two-percent drop last year, a trend that is bucked by new arrivals from Europe and the former Soviet Union. Jewish immigration to Israel stood at 18,691 in 2012 compared to 19,289 in 2011, and according to an annual analysis by the Jewish Agency for Israel of figures for aliyah. Jewish immigration from North America shrunk for the second straight year in 2012, from 3,512 in 2011 to 3,389 last year a four percent decrease.

This piece of spam is totally awesome. I can imagine this being the type of thing that frum television channels would put on late at late when there was no programming. Instead of Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley, you’d have someone named Baba who’s related to the Baba Sali, looking all kabalistic in their turbans talking about their magical powers.

Last semester, one of four boys were in a course at The Weber School dedicated to Jewish women in modern America wherein a group of people who have had great impact on our lives. This group has received little of the public recognition it deserves and is vastly underrepresented in traditional history classes. Like most other American high school students, the bulk of the academic career is studying Christian men from Europe.

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