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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 21, 20i4 At G.A., JeWish n derations see future in more collaboration By Uriel Heilman OXON HILL, Md. (JTA)-- There was the vice president of the United States, two Supreme Court justices and an Academy Award-winning actress with a compelling Jewish story. There were Jewish professionals, lay leaders, clergy and recent college graduates. The West Point cadets' Jewish choir performed. The Israeli prime minister appeared via satel- lite from Jerusalem. Part pep rally, part train- ing and part family reunion, this week's annual General Assembly of the Jewish Fed- erations of North America drew some 3,000 people to a conference center out- side Washington to cheer federations' philanthropic work, listen to presentations ranging from European anti- Semitism to crowdfunding, and to schmooze. As usual, much of the talk at the General Assembly was how to bolster North Amer- ica's 153 Jewish federations. "We can go beyond ex- changing ideas to actually exchanging services," Jew- ish Federations CEO Jerry Silverman said in a speech at the closing plenary. "JFNA expanded the resources of our consulting and community development department, but what if we also leverage and share the resident expertise in this room and across our federations?" The federations face an uphill battle at a time when studies show younger Ameri- can Jews are less affiliated sociologist Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion. Meanwhile, last year's Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Jews found that 43 per- cent of non-Orthodox Jews ages 30-49 donate to Jewish causes--in contrast to their counterparts ages 50-69, some 60 percent of whom give Jewishly. At the conference, the answer to these trends was twofold. One, organiz- ers showcased dozens of federation programs that are piloting new models for programming and out- reach. Billed by organizers as "fedovations"--a mashup of the words "federation" and "innovation"--they included case studies in reaching younger donors, providing services to the elderly, planning profitable events, and finding ways to engage and excite unaffili- ated community members. Jewish Federations plans to share these success stories in a federation-wide online database to be deployed in the coming weeks. The second answer was for federation leaders--and some of the plenary speakers from outside federation, including the actress Marlee Matlin--to drive home the message of ,' the importance of collective action in the Jewish world. "We do have the intellec- tual and financial potential to effectuate substantive change, but only if we work together," Jewish Federations board chairman Michael Sie- gal said in a plenary address  .pevious:,genation ,-Honday.,-"Federations must with Jewish institutional lead this charge and convene life and less likely to give to Jewish causes--let alone clearinghouses like Jewish federations. Though federation annual campaigns are up by about 7 percent compared with this time last year, the number of federation donors has declined by about one-third since 2000, according to the the necessary organizations and thought leaders because, simply, we have the reach that others do not." Barry Shrage, the president of Boston's federation, called Combined Jewish Philanthro- pies, said that while many federations are doing terrific things, the challenge for the federation network as awhole Ron Sachs Academy Award-winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin speaking about her Jewish heritage, career and experience overcoming disabilities during an address to the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly at National Harbor, Md., Nov. 10, 2014. is to identify priorities and then chart a course to address them collectively. "At the end of the day, do we have an agenda or do we not have an agenda?" Shrage told JTA. "Where are we going?" He also dismissed con- cern about shrinking donor bases, saying the number of high-end donors is growing -- they contribute the bulk of federation dollars -- and that federations should not measure their successes by the checkbook. "The most important thing is not to count how much money we're raising," Shrage said. "It's to count how many good things we're doing." Vice President Joe Biden affirmed the Obama admin- istration's"ironclad"commit- ment to Israel's security and talked*about his experience taking each of his kids to the site of the Dachau concentra- tion camp when they were 15 to teach them about the "incredible resilience and indomitable nature of the human spirit." Biden also called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "really great (fiend" in contrast to the recent characterization of Netanyahu as "a chickenshit" by an anonymous Obama administration official in an interview with journalist Jef- frey Goldberg, who also spoke at the G.A. Seeking out Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, in the audience, Biden said, "Ron, you'd better damn well report to Bibi that we're still buddies. You got it, right?" Netanyahu, speaking to the assembly on Tuesday by video link, focused on Iran. "Iran is not part of the solution, it's a huge part of the problem," Netanyahu said, referring to reports that the United States may be coordinating with Iran in their shared battle to crush the ISIS jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. "The Islamic state of Iran is not a partner of America, it is an enemy of America and it should be treated as an enemy." Netanyahu said such treat- ment should extend to nuclear talks now underway between the major powers and Iran "by keeping tough sanctions on the regime, by making clear that the international community is determined to dowhatever it takes to prevent /ran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb." Ron Sachs Vice PresidentJoe Biden speaking atthe Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly at National Harbor, Md., Nov. 10, 2014. He said a deal that would allow Iran a limited uranium enrichment capacity would be a "disaster of historic propor- tions." In another plenary, NPR correspondent Nina Toten- berg got U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to discuss the Jewish values that drive his work (tzedakah) and Justice Elena Kagan, who grew up Jewish on the Upper West Side, to reveal that she has become a duck hunter since joining the nation's highest court. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britain's former chief rabbi, gave a rousing plenary ad- dress about the importance of Jews' commitment to each other despite their dif- ferences. "I don't need you to agree with each other; I need you to care about one another," he said. A late-night session featur- ing Goldberg and the editors of two Israeli papers, Aluf Benn of Haaretz and Steve Linde of The Jerusalem Post, was packed. Goldberg related that his conversations with Netanyahu and officials in his government left him with the impression that the Israelis plan towait until the next U.S. president takes office before trying to rebuild ties with the White House. The conference's themewas "the world is our backyard," and it included a sprawling indoor space designed like a backyard replete with patio furniture, artificial turf panels and giant dandelions. The corners featured small stages where presenters -- the list included author Peter Bein- art; Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region; and Matt No- sanchuk and Noam Neusner, the current White House Jewish liaison and a predeces- sor in the post -- held court during mealtimes. But many of the sessions were not listed in the conference booklet and had poor turnout. Deborah Covington, vice president for planning and allocations at the Chicago Jewish federation, Jewish United Fund, said she Came to the G.A. to network with peers and hear about federa- tion work outside of what she regularly encounters. On that count, she said, the G.A. was a Success. "The breakout sessions felt relevant to me," Coving- ton said. "I thought it was a particularly good conference this year." Symbol of Jerusah;m00,; progress, light rail becomes terror target Yonatan Sindel/FlashgO A concrete security barrier at a light rail station in Jerusalem, Nov. 6, 2014. Four people have been killed at light rail stations in two separate attacks in recent weeks. By Ben Sales out onto a thoroughfare loud rail was intended as a symbol JERUSALEM (JTA)--It's 3 p.m. on a Thursday and the Jerusalem light rail is packed with secular and religious, Jew and Arab, as it heads east from the city's Central Bus Station. From there it passes some of the city's most crowded venues, stopping at the Mah- ane Yehuda open market and coursing down Jaffa Street until it hits the city center, where the train cars empty with foot traffic. By the time it reaches the station in the Arab neighbor- hood of Shuafat, the train is nearly empty and the scene is desolate. The waiting area is missing a roof and the ticket machines are boarded up -- the result of riots that broke out there in July following the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The first service of its kind in Israel, the Jerusalem light of a forward-looking metropo- lis, a sleek, efficient and clean mode of transportation that united the city's disparate halves and connected Jerusa- lem's far-flung neighborhoods to the city center. But after two Palestin- ian drivers rammed their vehicles into crowds waiting at light rail stations in recent weeks, the train has become enveloped in the mounting tensions in Israel's capital city. The attacks killed four people, including a 3-month-old girl, and injured 22. "There's a bad atmosphere in Jerusalem," said Ozel Va- tik, spokesman for Citypass, the company that runs the light rail. "The light rail is a microcosm of Jerusalem. It runs in the central spaces of Jerusalem. So what happens in Jerusalem happens in the light rail, for better or worse." When service began in 2011, the light rail aimed at easing congestion on Jeru- salem's ancient roads. Run- ning down the central Jaffa Street, a windy thoroughfare once choked with bus traffic, the trains encounter few stop- lights and run at an average speed of 15 miles per hour. The electric trains make less noise and consume less energy than buses and have reduced air pollution on Jaffa Street by up to 70 percent, Vatik said. The one line traverses the full breadth of the city, from Mount Herzl in the west to Pisgat Zeev in the east, along the way passing the Central Bus Station, City Hall, the Old City and several Arab neighborhoods beyond the so-called "seam line" between the Jewish and Arab halves of Jerusalem. Citypass hopes to expand the existing route to reach Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem in the west and Hebrew University in the east as well as the city's southern neighborhoods. The train's eastern sec- tion has eased access to the city center for residents of poorer neighborhoods like Shuafat. But some worry the physical linkbetween east and west will make the city harder to split under a future Israeli- Palestinian peace treaty. "On one hand it creates an illusion of a united city, and the recent events in the city prove that it is not," said Yudith Oppenheimer, ex- ecutive director of Ir Amim, a nongovernmental organiza- tion that advocates for Arab Jerusalemites. "On the other hand, because they never dealt with transit in the Palestinian neighborhoods, it's a transit tool that serves the Palestin- ians in the city." As unresthas increased of late in Jerusalem, the light rail's crowds, central route and easy access from the street have made it attrac- tive to terrorists. Police have responded with concrete barricades at some stations and increased patrols. The Jerusalem municipality has also launched balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct surveillance over the train's route. "It's a relatively easy tar- get in terms of a vehicle's ability to drive into people," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "It has a large number of passengers. We're talking about a central area with a lot of movement." As they have always done after terror incidents, Jerusa- lemites were quick to carry on with their routines following the recent attacks, packing the trains at rush hour and focusing mostly on jostling into the crowded cars. But the attacks have also reminded riders of the potential for danger. Hadas Meshi, a 17-year- old Jerusalemite originally from England, said security forces are trying to reassure residents following attacks. "But it's not really safer," Meshi said. "The next day, you see it on people's faces. Something is always going on somewhere." PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 21, 20i4 At G.A., JeWish n derations see future in more collaboration By Uriel Heilman OXON HILL, Md. (JTA)-- There was the vice president of the United States, two Supreme Court justices and an Academy Award-winning actress with a compelling Jewish story. There were Jewish professionals, lay leaders, clergy and recent college graduates. The West Point cadets' Jewish choir performed. The Israeli prime minister appeared via satel- lite from Jerusalem. Part pep rally, part train- ing and part family reunion, this week's annual General Assembly of the Jewish Fed- erations of North America drew some 3,000 people to a conference center out- side Washington to cheer federations' philanthropic work, listen to presentations ranging from European anti- Semitism to crowdfunding, and to schmooze. As usual, much of the talk at the General Assembly was how to bolster North Amer- ica's 153 Jewish federations. "We can go beyond ex- changing ideas to actually exchanging services," Jew- ish Federations CEO Jerry Silverman said in a speech at the closing plenary. "JFNA expanded the resources of our consulting and community development department, but what if we also leverage and share the resident expertise in this room and across our federations?" The federations face an uphill battle at a time when studies show younger Ameri- can Jews are less affiliated sociologist Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion. Meanwhile, last year's Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Jews found that 43 per- cent of non-Orthodox Jews ages 30-49 donate to Jewish causes--in contrast to their counterparts ages 50-69, some 60 percent of whom give Jewishly. At the conference, the answer to these trends was twofold. One, organiz- ers showcased dozens of federation programs that are piloting new models for programming and out- reach. Billed by organizers as "fedovations"--a mashup of the words "federation" and "innovation"--they included case studies in reaching younger donors, providing services to the elderly, planning profitable events, and finding ways to engage and excite unaffili- ated community members. Jewish Federations plans to share these success stories in a federation-wide online database to be deployed in the coming weeks. The second answer was for federation leaders--and some of the plenary speakers from outside federation, including the actress Marlee Matlin--to drive home the message of ,' the importance of collective action in the Jewish world. "We do have the intellec- tual and financial potential to effectuate substantive change, but only if we work together," Jewish Federations board chairman Michael Sie- gal said in a plenary address  .pevious:,genation ,-Honday.,-"Federations must with Jewish institutional lead this charge and convene life and less likely to give to Jewish causes--let alone clearinghouses like Jewish federations. Though federation annual campaigns are up by about 7 percent compared with this time last year, the number of federation donors has declined by about one-third since 2000, according to the the necessary organizations and thought leaders because, simply, we have the reach that others do not." Barry Shrage, the president of Boston's federation, called Combined Jewish Philanthro- pies, said that while many federations are doing terrific things, the challenge for the federation network as awhole Ron Sachs Academy Award-winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin speaking about her Jewish heritage, career and experience overcoming disabilities during an address to the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly at National Harbor, Md., Nov. 10, 2014. is to identify priorities and then chart a course to address them collectively. "At the end of the day, do we have an agenda or do we not have an agenda?" Shrage told JTA. "Where are we going?" He also dismissed con- cern about shrinking donor bases, saying the number of high-end donors is growing -- they contribute the bulk of federation dollars -- and that federations should not measure their successes by the checkbook. "The most important thing is not to count how much money we're raising," Shrage said. "It's to count how many good things we're doing." Vice President Joe Biden affirmed the Obama admin- istration's"ironclad"commit- ment to Israel's security and talked*about his experience taking each of his kids to the site of the Dachau concentra- tion camp when they were 15 to teach them about the "incredible resilience and indomitable nature of the human spirit." Biden also called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "really great (fiend" in contrast to the recent characterization of Netanyahu as "a chickenshit" by an anonymous Obama administration official in an interview with journalist Jef- frey Goldberg, who also spoke at the G.A. Seeking out Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, in the audience, Biden said, "Ron, you'd better damn well report to Bibi that we're still buddies. You got it, right?" Netanyahu, speaking to the assembly on Tuesday by video link, focused on Iran. "Iran is not part of the solution, it's a huge part of the problem," Netanyahu said, referring to reports that the United States may be coordinating with Iran in their shared battle to crush the ISIS jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. "The Islamic state of Iran is not a partner of America, it is an enemy of America and it should be treated as an enemy." Netanyahu said such treat- ment should extend to nuclear talks now underway between the major powers and Iran "by keeping tough sanctions on the regime, by making clear that the international community is determined to dowhatever it takes to prevent /ran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb." Ron Sachs Vice PresidentJoe Biden speaking atthe Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly at National Harbor, Md., Nov. 10, 2014. He said a deal that would allow Iran a limited uranium enrichment capacity would be a "disaster of historic propor- tions." In another plenary, NPR correspondent Nina Toten- berg got U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to discuss the Jewish values that drive his work (tzedakah) and Justice Elena Kagan, who grew up Jewish on the Upper West Side, to reveal that she has become a duck hunter since joining the nation's highest court. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britain's former chief rabbi, gave a rousing plenary ad- dress about the importance of Jews' commitment to each other despite their dif- ferences. "I don't need you to agree with each other; I need you to care about one another," he said. A late-night session featur- ing Goldberg and the editors of two Israeli papers, Aluf Benn of Haaretz and Steve Linde of The Jerusalem Post, was packed. Goldberg related that his conversations with Netanyahu and officials in his government left him with the impression that the Israelis plan towait until the next U.S. president takes office before trying to rebuild ties with the White House. The conference's themewas "the world is our backyard," and it included a sprawling indoor space designed like a backyard replete with patio furniture, artificial turf panels and giant dandelions. The corners featured small stages where presenters -- the list included author Peter Bein- art; Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region; and Matt No- sanchuk and Noam Neusner, the current White House Jewish liaison and a predeces- sor in the post -- held court during mealtimes. But many of the sessions were not listed in the conference booklet and had poor turnout. Deborah Covington, vice president for planning and allocations at the Chicago Jewish federation, Jewish United Fund, said she Came to the G.A. to network with peers and hear about federa- tion work outside of what she regularly encounters. On that count, she said, the G.A. was a Success. "The breakout sessions felt relevant to me," Coving- ton said. "I thought it was a particularly good conference this year." Symbol of Jerusah;m00,; progress, light rail becomes terror target Yonatan Sindel/FlashgO A concrete security barrier at a light rail station in Jerusalem, Nov. 6, 2014. Four people have been killed at light rail stations in two separate attacks in recent weeks. By Ben Sales out onto a thoroughfare loud rail was intended as a symbol JERUSALEM (JTA)--It's 3 p.m. on a Thursday and the Jerusalem light rail is packed with secular and religious, Jew and Arab, as it heads east from the city's Central Bus Station. From there it passes some of the city's most crowded venues, stopping at the Mah- ane Yehuda open market and coursing down Jaffa Street until it hits the city center, where the train cars empty with foot traffic. By the time it reaches the station in the Arab neighbor- hood of Shuafat, the train is nearly empty and the scene is desolate. The waiting area is missing a roof and the ticket machines are boarded up -- the result of riots that broke out there in July following the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The first service of its kind in Israel, the Jerusalem light of a forward-looking metropo- lis, a sleek, efficient and clean mode of transportation that united the city's disparate halves and connected Jerusa- lem's far-flung neighborhoods to the city center. But after two Palestin- ian drivers rammed their vehicles into crowds waiting at light rail stations in recent weeks, the train has become enveloped in the mounting tensions in Israel's capital city. The attacks killed four people, including a 3-month-old girl, and injured 22. "There's a bad atmosphere in Jerusalem," said Ozel Va- tik, spokesman for Citypass, the company that runs the light rail. "The light rail is a microcosm of Jerusalem. It runs in the central spaces of Jerusalem. So what happens in Jerusalem happens in the light rail, for better or worse." When service began in 2011, the light rail aimed at easing congestion on Jeru- salem's ancient roads. Run- ning down the central Jaffa Street, a windy thoroughfare once choked with bus traffic, the trains encounter few stop- lights and run at an average speed of 15 miles per hour. The electric trains make less noise and consume less energy than buses and have reduced air pollution on Jaffa Street by up to 70 percent, Vatik said. The one line traverses the full breadth of the city, from Mount Herzl in the west to Pisgat Zeev in the east, along the way passing the Central Bus Station, City Hall, the Old City and several Arab neighborhoods beyond the so-called "seam line" between the Jewish and Arab halves of Jerusalem. Citypass hopes to expand the existing route to reach Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem in the west and Hebrew University in the east as well as the city's southern neighborhoods. The train's eastern sec- tion has eased access to the city center for residents of poorer neighborhoods like Shuafat. But some worry the physical linkbetween east and west will make the city harder to split under a future Israeli- Palestinian peace treaty. "On one hand it creates an illusion of a united city, and the recent events in the city prove that it is not," said Yudith Oppenheimer, ex- ecutive director of Ir Amim, a nongovernmental organiza- tion that advocates for Arab Jerusalemites. "On the other hand, because they never dealt with transit in the Palestinian neighborhoods, it's a transit tool that serves the Palestin- ians in the city." As unresthas increased of late in Jerusalem, the light rail's crowds, central route and easy access from the street have made it attrac- tive to terrorists. Police have responded with concrete barricades at some stations and increased patrols. The Jerusalem municipality has also launched balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct surveillance over the train's route. "It's a relatively easy tar- get in terms of a vehicle's ability to drive into people," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "It has a large number of passengers. We're talking about a central area with a lot of movement." As they have always done after terror incidents, Jerusa- lemites were quick to carry on with their routines following the recent attacks, packing the trains at rush hour and focusing mostly on jostling into the crowded cars. But the attacks have also reminded riders of the potential for danger. Hadas Meshi, a 17-year- old Jerusalemite originally from England, said security forces are trying to reassure residents following attacks. "But it's not really safer," Meshi said. "The next day, you see it on people's faces. Something is always going on somewhere."