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October 10, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

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Come see what all the jazz is about


has had a
sustained commitment to building
a 'community: Our Community
Life department, as well as all our
other departments, is focused on
building relationships with our
residents and with members of
our community.


The Jewish Community Council of
Greater Washington downplayed the
significance of the event.
"International Answer has a right to
debate whether or not U.S. actions in
Iraq are legitimate," said Ronald
Halber, the group's executive director.
"The issue of Israel appears tangential
to this march. We know there is a vir-
ulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic
strain among its supporters, but the
anti-Israel cause does not appear to be
the coalescing force behind this rally."

Bills Block Bills

Backers of various slices of the Bush
administration's faith-based initiative
insist they still have a chance to com-
plete much of their work before
Congress recesses, probably before the
Thanksgiving holiday.
But a logjam of other legislation —
including 11 unfinished appropria-
tions bills out of 13 and the contro-
versial $87 billion special appropria-
tion for Iraq reconstruction — has
complicated efforts for backers and
given opponents some breathing


A bill implementing a pilot school
vouchers program for the District of
Columbia, which passed the House
earlier this year, is stalled in the
Senate, where the threat of a
Democratic filibuster has put the
measure "in a little bit of limbo," said
Nathan Diament, Washington direc-
tor for the Orthodox Union, which
supports the vouchers program.
But a number of other Jewish
groups, including ADL, the Jewish
Council for Public Affairs and the
American Jewish Committee, are
lined up on the other side.
The problem for D.C. vouchers:
Senate Republican leaders lack the
votes to break the promised
Democratic filibuster. With time run-
ning out, the GOP leadership is not
pushing hard on the vouchers ques-
But the end-of-session gridlock also
offers an opportunity for voucher
supporters. If lawmakers can't agree
on a series of specific sending bills,
they will be forced to pass a catch-all
omnibus spending bill.
"The Republicans could stick
vouchers into an omnibus — and it's

very unlikely the Democrats would
filibuster the whole thing," said an
official with a Jewish group that
opposes vouchers.
Another measure that once corn-
prised the core of President Bush's
faith-based initiative but now is just a
modest collective of tax incentives to
charitable giving, has been hung up
by a dispute over Social Service Block
Grants to states.
The Democrats want more money
for the social service programs;
Republican leaders are opposed. But
the faith-based initiative is hardly
"Legislatively, things aren't moving
very fast," said Richard Foltin, legisla-
tive director for the American Jewish
Committee, which opposes much of
the Bush faith-based effort. "But they
are moving very fast on doing a lot of
this through executive action. The
president has enormous power, and
he's using it to move much of the
faith-based agenda forward."
A number of federal departments,
including Housing and Urban
Development and Health and Human
Services, are opening up hundreds of
grant programs to religious groups.
Some Jewish groups are positioning
themselves to take advantage of that
"With 650 centers in 44 states,
we're not exactly chopped liver," said
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington
director for American Friends of
Lubavitch. "The (White House)
faith-based office will be glad to see
the extent to which we will be
Chabad will be seeking government
grants to boost its programs serving
special needs families, the elderly and
Jewish prison inmates, and for its
drug and substance abuse programs.
Rabbi Shemtov said the tight-knit,
far-flung Chabad network is "very
well positioned" to take advantage of
the shift in government grant- mak-
But the omens for Jewish groups
that hope to reap some of the rewards
of the expanding faith-based program
aren't all good. In a recent series of
grants through Health and Human
Services, not a single Jewish group got
money, though several applied. ❑

Activities may keep you busy,
but Community Lift will keep you
involved, body, mind and spirit!'"

—Jan Krist

Jan Krist, pictured in our library, is a folk music recording artist as

well as the Community Life Director at THE FOUNTMNS AT FRANKLIN.

Call us today to see how we can jazz up your life

(248) 353-2810



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