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This Week in KJA
Stephen Rosen, President

 KJA is proud to announce that Mary Beth Leibowitz was named to the Board of Trustees of Jewish Federations of North America.  Judge Leibowitz is a former president of the Knoxville Jewish Federation and has been active at the national level for many years.  She was on the National Young Leadership Cabinet and most recently has served as chair of the resolutions committee.  We applaud her achievement and know that she will represent us well.

 

This Week's "Below the Calendar" is a copy and steal from the New York Times.  It deals with the bluster created by an Israeli government advertising campaign to encourage Israelis in America to return home.  KJA likes to think that opportunities flow from conflict, so here are a few rainbows from this storm:  Jewish Federations of North America can complain to Bibi Netanyahu and get results; the Israeli government gets a wake-up call on the importance, strength and pride clearly evident in Jewish Americans; Israelis living in the Diaspora are coveted by two communities who want them to live meaningful and engaged Jewish lives no matter where they call home.

 

A big thank you goes to Brandy and Bruce Pearl who hosted their second Chanukkah party for KJA's Hillel program.  More than 50 Jewish UT students attended the event in the Pearls' home.

Some of you may remember Ernie Grunfeld practicing at the AJCC in the mid 70s.  Here is a story about a couple of NBA stars and where they are finding practice time.

In another JCC story, sometimes volunteers go out of their way to provide support.  The premier JCC of Manhattan is the 92nd Street Y.  Here is a story about one of their board members, John Paulson, who is guaranteeing the part of their investment portfolio that he manages. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/at-the-92nd-st-y-a-cushion-against-wall-st-worries/?hp

 

CALENDAR  

Thurs Dec 8 8:45 am ZUMBA

Thurs Dec 8 7:30 pm Israeli Folk Dancing

Sun Dec 11  1pm The Falls on Cedar Bluff Road
Hadassah HMO Luncheon

 

Sun Dec 11 4pm Pellissippi State
Knoxville Jewish Day School's production of Peter Pan

 

Wed Dec 14  noon Rothchild's
Lunch and Then Some  (Friendshippers)

 

Tue Dec 20
1st Night of Chanukah

 

Wed Dec 21  11:30 am Elmcroft, Jewish Family Services Chanukah Party

 

Mon Dec 26  AJCC Caller Auditorium  5pm-7pm
Menorah Madness - community-wide Chanukah celebration

NYT Updated | 12:37 p.m. In response to anger from leading figures in the American Jewish community, on Friday Israel's government halted an ad campaign that aimed to persuade Israelis living in the United States to return home by suggesting that living among Americans is a sad and lonely experience.
 
About an hour after this blog post on the campaign was originally published, Jeffrey Goldberg reported that "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his country's ministry of immigrant absorption to immediately shut down its ridiculous Diaspora-bashing ad campaign, which was meant to guilt Israeli expatriates in America into going home."

Mr. Goldberg, who had been sharply critical of the campaign, wrote that the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, had read him a statement that said: "Prime Minister Netanyahu, once made aware of the campaign, ordered the videos immediately removed from YouTube, and he ordered that the billboards be removed as well."

As Ben Smith explained in a blog post for Politico earlier this week, the controversy began when Israel's ministry of immigrant absorption paid to broadcast a series of television commercials on Hebrew-language satellite channels in the United States as part of a campaign with the tag line: "It's Time to Return to Israel."

The ads focus on potential problems Israelis might encounter if they look for love or try to raise children in America.

One of the commercials depicts a misunderstanding between a young Israeli woman and her American partner who is unable to read Hebrew. Another (which was removed from an Israeli government YouTube channel shortly after this post was originally published) shows the shock and discomfort of an Israeli family whose daughter blurts out that she is celebrating Christmas, not Hanukkah during a video chat with her grandparents in Israel. A third features a young boy whose Israeli father doesn't respond to being called "Daddy" but instantly reacts when his son calls him by the Hebrew word "Abba."

This video report from Steven Weiss of The Jewish Channel (which includes footage from all three commercials) explains that the campaign also includes billboards with the message "Before Abba Turns Into Daddy, it's time to come back to Israel," which have been spotted in American cities, including Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Palo Alto.

As Mr. Weiss noted, the campaign is different from similar efforts to sell Israel as a great place to live that seek to persuade American Jews to emigrate to Israel or "make aliyah."

While the campaign's focus on running down life in the United States provoked some mirth from American bloggers, Jeffrey Goldberg reported late on Thursday that the leaders of Jewish Federations of North America have denounced what they called the "outrageous and insulting message" that "American Jews do not understand Israel."

On Friday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports: "Jewish activists and aides to both Jewish and non-Jewish members of Congress have been complaining to the Israeli consulates in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco" about the ad campaign.

A senior official in Israel's foreign ministry told the newspaper that the campaign was a complete surprise to Israeli diplomats in the United States. "We only found out about it from the complaints that reached the consulates," the official said.

Abraham H. Foxman, the national director for the Anti-Defamation League, called the commercials, "heavy-handed, and even demeaning." He added: "While we appreciate the rationale behind the Israeli government's appeal to its citizens living in the U.S. to return to Israel, we are concerned that some may be offended by what the video implies about American Jewry."

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The Knoxville Jewish Alliance cares for those in need, rescues those in harm's way, and renews and strengthens the Jewish people in Knoxville, in Israel and around the world.