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Wisconsin Jewish news highlights from 5772
August 31st, 2012
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation launches J-Help, an emergency campaign to assist growing numbers of local Jews unable to pay fundamental bills because of the continuing recession. Area rabbis pledge to mention the effort in their High Holidays sermons.
About 100 people gathered Oct. 18 at the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC to mark the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israeli Arab physician Fahed Hakim of the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, spoke at Congregation Sinai on Oct. 16.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Reimagining Project moved to its next level with the first meeting on Oct. 19 of a Transition Team under the leadership of MJF president-elect Marlene Lauwasser.
The Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced that it received a grant from the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project supported by the Legacy Heritage Fund Ltd., and administered by the Association for Jewish Studies.
With a Wisconsin law allowing concealed carry of firearms taking effect on Nov. 1, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s executive committee voted Nov. 2 to mandate posting signs banning weapons at agencies housed in MJF-owned properties. Synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout the state also instituted such bans on their property. However, Charles Heller, the executive director of the Wisconsin-originated Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, said this policy would increase the danger to Jewish institutions.
The remodeled building housing the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was dedicated on Nov. 13.
Initial findings of the “2011 Jewish Community Study of Greater Milwaukee” show that nearly 80 percent of Jews in the Greater Milwaukee area and Waukesha County told surveyors that being Jewish is “very important” to them.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation announced that it launched a national search for a new chief executive officer.
The Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning announced that it will close its offices. The organization has existed since 1955 and was founded by Rabbi Joseph Baron (1894-1960) of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun.
Matthew Levitt, Ph.D. and director of Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said “there is no question” that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. He spoke Nov. 15 to about 225 people at the Wisconsin State of Israel Bonds dinner.
This 1970 photograph by Arnold Newman of Israeli Prime Minister and former Milwaukeean Golda Meir was displayed in an exhibit at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee Dec. 25-March 30.
Television star, neuroscientist, and observant Jew Mayim Bialik spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Nov. 29.
Rabbis David Cohen of Congregation Sinai (Reform) and Jacob Herber of Congregation Beth Israel (Conservative) collaborated on a project to transform the relationship U.S. Jews have with Israel and have with each other about Israel.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation announced that the “Jewish Community Study of Greater Milwaukee 2011” found that some 30,000 Jews live in the Greater Milwaukee Area, now defined to include all of Waukesha County.
An Israeli family on a “do it yourself” public relations mission for Israel around the world visited Wisconsin Jan. 6-10. Oksana and Chami Zemach of Moshav Kadesh Barnea and their three daughters said they planned to circle the globe in a one-year “The Israeli Family Project” that began Aug. 1, 2011.
Albert B. “Ollie” Adelman died Jan. 13 at age 96. He was a former president of the Milwaukee Jewish Welfare Fund and was instrumental in changing the organization’s name to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. He also was involved with State of Israel Bonds, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Brynwood Country Club, and many other organizations; and was the driving force behind construction of the Helfaer Community Services Building and obtaining for it a tapestry designed by Marc Chagall.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation announced that it had discussed a pre-petition for minor modifications at the Karl Jewish Community Campus with the Whitefish Bay Plan Commission on Jan. 17.
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art hosted the touring version of the exhibit “Houdini: Art and Magic,” Feb. 11-May 13. The exhibit was organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, about Harry Houdini (1874-1926), the renowned Jewish magician and escape artist who lived for some of his early years in Appleton.
Former haredi Orthodox Jew turned secular Jewish novelist Nathan Englander read from his new book of short stories at the Boswell Book Company on Feb. 21.
The number of children enrolled in Milwaukee Jewish educational programs declined by three percent from 2010 to 2011 — from 1,898 to 1,838 — according to the “2011-2012 Milwaukee Jewish School Census” prepared by the Coalition for Jewish Learning, the education program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
A “slight rise” in anti-Semitic incidents in 2011 was recorded in the “2011 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” prepared by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
A national effort to mail to Jewish households a book urging Jews to convert to Christianity has appeared in Milwaukee. Elana Kahn-Oren, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, said on Feb. 22 that she knew of about 25 households that had received the book since January.
Of the some 70 people in the audience at the Whitefish Bay Village Hall on March 19, 28 people spoke about the proposed changes at the Karl Jewish Community Campus — 21 in favor and seven against. The meeting was a public hearing on the subject at a joint meeting of the village Plan Commission and Village Board.
The Jewish Community Foundation, the endowment development program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, awarded a record number of scholarships — 84 — to Milwaukee-area children and teens attending Jewish overnight camps or participating in summer Israel programs.
A new book “There Was a Fire: Jews, Music, and the American Dream” by Madison jazz pianist, composer, and scholar Ben Sidran was published.
The Whitefish Bay Plan Commission on April 17 voted unanimously to recommend approval of proposed modifications to the development agreement governing operations at the Karl Jewish Community Campus.
The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented on April 19 “The Question of Zionism: A Symposium on the Left and its Relationship to Israel.”
An anonymous donor offered the Milwaukee Jewish Day School “a sizable grant” if the school officials could put together quickly a program to help increase the school’s enrollment. School leaders unveiled a new Tuition Grant Program on April 23.
Veteran Israeli negotiator Moty Cristal cautioned that people should not expect quick results from negotiations. He spoke April 23 at one session of “A Taste of Political Awareness,” a two-part series of the Edie Adelman Political Awareness Series co-sponsored by the Women’s Division and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
As the campaign in the nationally watched Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election heated up, state Jewish activists debated the extent to which the Jewish community had a specific stake in the event.
The Whitefish Bay Village Board on May 7 voted unanimously to approve the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s proposed modifications of operations at the Karl Jewish Community Campus.
Celebrating Janowski -- An estimated 500 people attended the Milwaukee Jewish Community Chorale concert on June 3 that celebrated the centennial of composer/choir director Max Janowski.
David Dabscheck is deputy-managing director of the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He spoke in Milwaukee May 31 on “The Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation announced programmatic changes as the Coalition for Jewish Learning, the MJF education program. The program will change offices, moving from the Karl Jewish Community Campus into the Helfaer Community Service Building, and will reorganize to eliminate some of its responsibilities in order to sharpen its focus on others.
The 2012-2013 Community Allocable Dollars Budget for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation was approved by the MJF board of directors on June 28.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation on July 18 announced the appointment of Hannah Rosenthal as its new chief executive officer, and of Sheryl Primakow as chief operations officer.
Michal Makov-Peled was appointed the Milwaukee Jewish community’s first Israel Campus Fellow to help counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy that is occurring at many college and university campuses.
The Jewish Federation of Madison announced that it is seeking a new executive director after Jill Hagler left to take a position with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Meanwhile, long-time Madison resident Dina Weinbach, JFM program director since 1994, is interim executive director.
The “Cross-USA [bicycle] Ride” sponsored by the Jewish environmental activism organization Hazon rode through Wisconsin July 20-24, stopping in Madison, Oconomowoc, Milwaukee, and Kenosha. The ride began in Seattle on June 7 and ended in Washington, D.C., Aug. 16.
The students, teachers, and officials of the D. C. Everest Area Schools, based in Weston near Wausau, unveiled their latest oral history book, “Witnesses and Survivors: The Story of the Holocaust,” at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center on July 31. The event was hosted by Milwaukee’s Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center; and many local Holocaust survivors interviewed for the book attended.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation released a statement soon after a gunman, believed to be a white supremacist, attacked the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Aug. 5, killing six. Police at the scene shot and killed the gunman. “The Milwaukee Jewish community stands in solidarity with Sikh community and we offer assistance to the community, especially to the families of the victims,” the statement said in part.
Composer-conductor Marvin Hamlisch, 68, died after a brief illness on Aug. 6. Among his many achievements — such as composing prize-winning music for the musical “A Chorus Line” and the films “The Way We Were” and “The Sting” — he was principal pops conductor of many orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre inaugurated its series of three plays “Exploring Jewish Voices” with a production of Herb Gardner’s “A Thousand Clowns” Aug. 9-26.
The Jewish Museum Milwaukee opened an exhibit “Exclusionary Measures: Mount Sinai Hospital and Brynwood Country Club” on Aug. 19. It focuses on how two Milwaukee Jewish institutions were created in response to anti-Jewish discrimination.
Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue, the descendent of Milwaukee’s first and oldest Conservative-from-inception synagogue founded in the 1920s, announced that it would close by Sept. 1.
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation officially presented new CEO/President Hannah Rosenthal to the community and launched its 2013 annual campaign at a Celebration of Community Event held Aug. 30.
Among the early events in the “Year of the Arts” program at the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee were events of Jewish interest: A UWM Golda Meir Library exhibition on “Jewish Artists and the Book” that opened Sept. 14; and a Sept. 15 pre-Rosh HaShanah concert “Breath in a Ram’s Horn: The Jewish Spirit in Classical Music,” in collaboration with the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.