May 13 2010

Jewish Astronaut Bringing Presidential Proclamation on Jewish American Heritage Month into Space

A Jewish astronaut has been chosen to bring the presidential proclamation creating Jewish American Heritage Month into space.

The timing is perfect,” Garrett Reisman told reporters during a NASA conference call, as the commemoration is marked each May.

Reisman, 42, is a mission specialist launching on May 16 aboard the Atlantis space shuttle, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue reading

Share

May 13 2010

Fiddler on the Roof Interview: Part Two – Deborah Grausman

A revival of Fiddler on the Roof, the story of a Jewish family set to music against a backdrop of early 20th Century Russian pogroms, has been playing at the National Theater in Washington for the past two weeks and has been touring the country for the past year. Monday night the cast raised money to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, performing Broadway hit songs at Town Danceboutique on 8th Street NW. Reporter Kandie Stroud asked cast member Deborah Grausman what they she has learned about the character and strength of the Jewish people by playing her part in Fiddler on the Roof.

Share

May 12 2010

Kagan Seen as Brilliant, Affable and a Mystery

In the article below, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency discusses the story of Ms. Elena Kagan, a “steady, strategic and tactical” Jewish achiever and obvious notable addition for our section of ‘High Achievers and Other Interesting People ‘. “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement” author Steven L. Pease was also interviewed about Ms. Kagan, noting that “…a third Jewish justice was not remarkable. Ms. Kagan would be seen as getting the job on her merits.

In the Jewish community Saperstein, the head of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center , apparently is not alone.

Community reaction to Obama’s selection of Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general, is enthusiastic until officials consider what it is, exactly, she stands for.

Continue reading

Share

May 11 2010

Celebrating May as Jewish American Heritage Month

The following was written by our own Steven L. Pease, as published originally in the Huffington Post:

We are a nation of immigrants. Little has been more fortuitous than the rich melange of tribes and cultures that arrived from foreign shores to populate and share our land.

Among them were three major waves of Jewish immigrants whose contributions are now being celebrated during May’s Jewish American Heritage Month.

The first wave — 23 Jews — arrived in 1654 from today’s Brazil. They were escaping the onslaught of the Inquisition which imperiled their lives. After being allowed to immigrate, they demanded and received the right to participate as equals in defending their adopted colony.

The second, in the early to mid 1800s, were mostly from today’s Germany. They too were escaping persecution as efforts to change the politics of that part of the world brought strife.

The third, and by far the largest group — roughly two million Jews — arrived impoverished from the Pale of Russia. Though Jews have cherished education for most of 2,000 years, the harsh circumstances of the Pale left most of these Jews illiterate. Yet within a generation, 20 percent of the student body at Harvard was Jewish, as was 40 percent at Columbia, and 80 percent at Hunter College.

Continue reading

Share

May 11 2010

Obama to Hold Jewish Heritage Reception

From Washington, President Obama will host prominent U.S. Jews at the White House to mark Jewish American Heritage Month.

The reception serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history,” a White House official said.

Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans, from Olympians and professional athletes to business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts.

The May 27 reception, hosted by Obama and his wife, Michelle, is the first of its kind since President Bush declared the first Jewish Heritage Month in 2007.

The Jewish American story is an essential chapter of the American narrative. It is one of refuge from persecution; of commitment to service, faith, democracy, and peace; and of tireless work to achieve success. As leaders in every facet of American life — from athletics, entertainment, and the arts to academia, business, government, and our Armed Forces – Jewish Americans have shaped our Nation and helped steer the course of our history. We are a stronger and more hopeful country because so many Jews from around the world have made America their home.

The recognition was the result of legislation initiated by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). We encourage you to check out our exclusive interview with Rep. Wasserman-Shultz here at JewishAchievementBlog.com

Share

May 9 2010

Leading With Two Minds

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, ours, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, and several recent columns by David Brooks speak to the notion that culture matters. All three authors also support the notion that cultures can change – sometimes very quickly.

Gladwell writes of the cabin crews at Korean Airlines that dramatically improved airline safety after David Greenberg was brought in from Delta Airlines to change the cockpit culture. The Golden Age describes how Jewish culture was permanently altered when the Diaspora caused rabbinical Judaism to make literacy mandatory for all Jews.

David Brooks’ May 7, 2010 New York Times column (below) speaks to how quickly the culture of the U.S. Army has changed – in part because of the work of General David Petraeus.

Continue reading

Share

May 7 2010

Comments About ‘The Golden Age’: Charles Ickowicz

The following message comes to us from Charles Ickowicz, author of Word Power: Vocabulary for Success. We sincerely thank Mr. Ickowicz for his kind words and encourage you to read on to see his unique list of Jewish Achievers.

Dear Stephen-

I very much enjoyed reading your very interesting and well researched book about the contribution of the Jewish people to our culture and society. The many stories of the individuals that you profiled were both fascinating and fun reading. Whether it was about Jews in science, politics, sports, business, the military, or the bad guys, I learned quite a lot both about the individuals and their contribution to our society. Gathering so much information and writing about it must have been a tremendous amount of work.

Additionally, it was very touching to read about your warm feelings toward the Jewish people and your reasons for writing your book.

Continue reading

Share

May 7 2010

Jewish American Group Tzedek: Responsibly Investing Through Jewish Values

Tzedekâh meaning justice or righteousness in Hebrew seems commensurate to the very same name of a group which is dedicated to community investing in low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Through education, organizing, and lending, Tzedec creates partnerships between Jewish investors and these communities.

By collecting low and even no-interest loans from Jewish philanthropic investors, the program not only encourages other Jews to give back but to create professional partnerships of trust and mutual benefit with communities in need. Tzedek reinvests those funds in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to serve individuals, businesses, and nonprofits typically neglected by mainstream banks. Tzedek credits it success on Jewish values.

By fulfilling Judaism’s tzedakah teachings, Tzedek is able to emphasize partnership and investment as the highest form of giving. In result, Tzedec’s mission of social justice energizes Jews and attracts unaffiliated Jewish activists and funders alike to Jewish life.

Continue reading

Share

May 5 2010

The Limits of Policy

The following article was brought to us from the New York Times’ acclaimed political and cultural commentator, Jewish-American David Brooks, an insightful read we wish to share.

Roughly a century ago, many Swedes immigrated to America. They’ve done very well here. Only about 6.7 percent of Swedish-Americans live in poverty. Also a century ago, many Swedes decided to remain in Sweden. They’ve done well there, too. When two economists calculated Swedish poverty rates according to the American standard, they found that 6.7 percent of the Swedes in Sweden were living in poverty.

In other words, you had two groups with similar historical backgrounds living in entirely different political systems, and the poverty outcomes were the same.

A similar pattern applies to health care. In 1950, Swedes lived an average of 2.6 years longer than Americans. Over the next half-century, Sweden and the U.S. diverged politically. Sweden built a large welfare state with a national health service, while the U.S. did not. The result? There was basically no change in the life expectancy gap. Swedes now live 2.7 years longer.

Continue reading

Share

May 2 2010

Cast of Fiddler on the Roof Sings Praise of Jewish Courage; Broadway Show Tunes to Raise Money to Fight Aids

A revival of Fiddler on the Roof, the story of a Jewish family set to music against a backdrop of early 20th Century Russian pogroms, has been playing at the National Theater in Washington for the past two weeks and has been touring the country for the past year. Monday night the cast raised money to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, performing Broadway hit songs at Town Danceboutique on 8th Street NW. Reporter Kandie Stroud asked cast members Emily Shoolin, Deborah Grausman, Joel Bernstein and Hannah DelMonte what they have learned about the character and strength of the Jewish people by playing their parts in Fiddler on the Roof.

They all spoke of their enormous respect for Jewish perserverance and thei ability to survive in spite of adversity and persecution. The following is the first in our series of interviews with the cast:

Share