Roundup from page 10
The JCPA was at the forefront of an
interfaith coalition lobbying for passage.
Other groups that had sought the bill's
passage included the Reform move-
ment's Religious Action Center and the
National Council for Jewish Women. All
three groups in their statements prais-
ing passage expressed regret that some
of the $4.5 billion in funding was drawn
from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program, or food stamp benefits.
"By imposing what amounts to a $60
per month cut in SNAP benefits for a
family of four, Congress hurts the very
families that this legislation is designed
to help:' the Religious Action Center said.
"Cutting SNAP benefits during the third
consecutive year of rising poverty rates
negates the positive impact of a strong
Child Nutrition Reauthorization. We call
on Congress to act immediately to restore
SNAP benefits to the level of funding that
recipients were told they could rely upon
Year In Cuban jail
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Alan Gross, a
contractor that the U.S. State Department
says was assisting Cuban Jews, marked a
year in a Cuban jail.
Cuban authorities detained Gross on
Dec. 3, 2009 on his way out of the country,
saying he was a spy.
Gross' family and State Department
officials say he was in the country
on a U.S. Agency for International
Development contract to help the coun-
try's Jewish community of about 1,500
communicate with other Jewish commu-
nities through the Internet.
The main Jewish groups in Cuba have
denied any contact with, or knowledge of,
Gross or the program.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton has rallied U.S. Jewish groups to
press Cuba for Gross' release.
Gross, who has gout, has lot 90 pounds
in prison, his lawyer says, and has yet to
"Alan's incarceration for a year without
clarity of the legal process he will face or
its timing is a travesty," Peter Kahn said
in a statement. "It violates every interna-
tional standard of justice and due process.
We continue to urge the Cuban authori-
ties to release Alan immediately based on
humanitarian grounds as well as the fact
that he has already served one year in a
Gross' wife, Judy, in October wrote
Cuban President Raul Castro expressing
regret, saying she recognized "the Cuban
government may not like the type of work
that Alan was doing in Cuba: but that he
did not intend harm.
She urged Castro to release Gross,
informing the Cuban leader that the jailed
man's 26-year-old daughter was diag-
nosed recently with breast cancer.
Castro, meanwhile, lit Chanukah can-
dles at Havana's main synagogue.
"We feel extremely happy and proud
to be participating in this festival with
you; and I hope to be back to know more
about the Hebrew community in Cuba
and about the fabulous stories of the
Hebrew people," Castro reportedly said.
Adela Doran, chairwoman of the Cuban
Hebrew Community, presented Castro
with a copy of the Chumash, the five
books of the Torah.
-- Yitzhak Perlman
conducted the U.S. Navy
Band at the lighting
of the menorah on the
people packed the seats
on the Ellipse in front
of the White House in near-freezing tem-
peratures on Dec. 1 for the event run by
American Friends of Lubavitch, a tradi-
tion of three decades.
Perlman, a pre-eminent violin virtuosi,
performed two traditional Chanukah mel-
odies with a pianist and then conducted
the Navy band in "Oseh Shalom" and "God
Jack Lew, the Orthodox Jewish director
of the Office of Management and Budget,
lit the candle.
Also attending were Washington
Mayor-elect Vincent Gray; Jane Hon Lute,
the deputy Homeland Security secretary;
and Norman Eisen, until recently the top
White House ethics counsel, as well as a
number of Congress members.
Care For Survivors
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. House
of Representatives unanimously approved
a resolution urging care for elderly
The nonbinding resolution passed 407-0
on Dec. 1 "urges the [Obama administra-
tion] and the Department of Health and
Human Services, in conjunction with
the Administration on Aging (AoA), to
provide Holocaust survivors with needed
social services through existing programs;
and encourages the Administration on
Aging to expeditiously develop and imple-
ment programs that ensure Holocaust
survivors are able to age in place in their
communities and avoid institutionaliza-
tion during their remaining years."
The resolution, sponsored by Rep.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., comes
as Jewish groups fear that funding cuts
planned for the new Congress in the wake
of Republicans winning the House will
affect programs for the elderly.
The Dating Game
NEW YORK (JTA) -- A new Jewish online
dating site allows parents to search for
their children's bashert.
The site, which was launched on Nov.
30, allows parents to browse for potential
matches for their sons and daughters,
including contacting other parents for
more information and setting up casual
"Moms have been setting up their chil-
dren for centuries:' said Danielle Weisberg,
co-founder of TheJMom.com .
The site was the brainchild of Weisberg
and her brother, Brad, who conceived of
the site after their mother asked Brad to
see his online dating profile and spent
hours searching the matchmaking site to
find the right woman for him.
Diversity In Israel
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. State
Department has given $770,000 in grants
to Merchavim, an Israeli NGO promoting
diversity and shared citizenship in Israel.
Most of the grant, some $750,000, will
go to expand the collaboration between
Merchavim and the American nonprofit
Sesame Workshop, producer of Sesame
Street, to continue to produce Israel's ver-
sion of the show, Rechov Sumsum, which
features Israeli Jews and Arabs. The grant
will help develop content in Hebrew and
Arabic for use by 1,200 kindergarten
teachers from various ethnic and religious
Another $20,000 will go to help
Merchavim develop a training manual for
its Kulanana initiative, a consortium of
NGO, government, business and philan-
thropic partners trying to build an inclu-
sive Israeli society by targeting the 16- to
Make A Stand:
Sisterhood and Social
Action Committee will
make a strong state-
ment in support of
greater religious free-
dom in Israel by tak-
ing photographs of local Jewish women,
bat mitzvah age and older, holding or
reading from the Torah on Sunday, Dec.
12 in the sanctuary.
The resulting photos will be made
in to a collage that will be on display
at the temple and all the photos will
be sent with a letter to Prime Minister
29-year-old demographic across the coun-
try's five deepest divides: Jews and Arabs;
immigrant and veteran Israelis; rich and
poor; and internal divides both within the
Jewish and Arab communities.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An opponent of
Joe Straus, the Jewish speaker of the Texas
Legislature, defended an e-mail mes-
sage in which he said he wanted "a true
Christian conservative running it."
The e-mail from John Cook continues a
controversy among Texas Republicans over
whether to support Straus, a Republican.
The Texas Observer obtained electronic
mail last week in an exchange between a
Straus backer and Cook, a Straus oppo-
nent on the state party's Republican
Executive Committee, in which Cook
says, "We elected a house with Christian,
conservative values. We now want a true
Christian conservative running it."
In an interview with the Observer pub-
lished Dec. 3, Cook defended his language.
"I want to make sure that a person I'm
supporting is going to have my values,"
he said. "It's not anything about Jews and
whether I think their religion is right or
Muslims and whether I think their reli-
gion is right."
Cook also said, "I got into politics to put
Christian conservatives into office. They're
the people that do the best jobs overall."
Rivals seeking to unseat Straus had
denounced grassroots e-mail targeting
Straus for being Jewish when they sur-
faced in mid-November.
GOP leaders in the state who oppose
Straus insisted at the time that they
sought to replace him only because he is a
relative moderate, and that in the wake of
the nationwide conservative sweep in Nov.
2 elections, a more right-wing candidate
was more appropriate. They denounced
insinuations about his Jewishness.
Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli
government to demonstrate how corn-
monplace it is for Jewish women just
about anywhere else in the world to
pray with tallitot and Torah scrolls, if
they so choose.
The photo session will be from 9:30
a.m.-noon at the temple, 14450 W. 10
Mile Rd, Oak Park.
Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel
Religious Action Center of the Reform
movement will be Emanu-El's spring
scholar-in-residence. Hoffman has been
arrested for choosing to pray at the
Kotel and for just carrying, not reading,
a Torah scroll.
For more information, call Rae
Mandel, (248) 650-9497.
Roundup on page 14
December 9 2010
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