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A two-day conference of good government advocates will be convened in Philadelphia on May 21 and 22, with attendance open to the public. Hosted by Common Cause Pennsylvania, the summit will present speakers from the private, public and nonprofit sectors of the mid-Atlantic region, who will discuss issues critical to our democracy, such as the census, redistricting and voting modernization. [Read more…]
—by Dani Neuman
After several months of communicating on the Internet, on April 22, a delegation from Amal’s Menachem Begin Comprehensive High School in Safed and Amal’s Comprehensive High School in the Druze village of Kisra Samia arrived in Philadelphia to continue the entrepreneurship project they began online with a team of science students from Central High School. [Read more…]
A team of leading experts in the fields of cancer research and genetics will soon launch the pilot phase of a new, independent research initiative in Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York: the BRCA Founder Outreach Study (BFOR), which is designed to increase access to one of the most common tests for hereditary cancer. The study is now open to those interested in participating, with potential enrollees to be contacted by email soon.
At the Passover Seder, we recite the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. For Marc Shatzman and his family, there is also another Passover story to tell — how Shatzman’s maternal grandfather, Bruno Elkan, celebrated Passover as a Jewish American soldier in Europe in 1945:
While I was in Belgium I attended a Seder given by the seven Jewish families left in town. … The stories they told me are hard to believe but I know they are true. How they managed to survive the Hitler regime is hard to comprehend. They were lovely people & I felt quite at home.
These words were written by Elkan to his future wife, Adele Berkowitz, in a letter dated March 30, 1945. In a subsequent letter, he mentions a young girl at the Seder, who told him things that “no human being can understand.”Through his letters to Berkowitz, Elkan created a first-hand account of the life of an American soldier in Europe during World War II. Until recently, his prolific wartime correspondence dwelled in a shoebox in Marc Shatzman’s closet. Although Shatzman never met his grandfather — who survived the war, but died from an allergic reaction at an early age — he feels connected to him, in part because of their physical resemblance. [Read more…]
By Max Buchdahl
When Ryan Berger was about to enter his sophomore year of high school, the current University of Pennsylvania freshman watched coverage of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas with nervous eyes. He was surrounded by people he cared about who had differing opinions on the war — and he wanted answers.
So Berger asked his mother, who is involved with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in New York, what he could do to learn more about the issues. He wanted to know how a high-schooler, with little expertise but a large desire to get involved, could advocate effectively on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. [Read more…]
Every year, the Holocaust Education and Reflection (HEAR) Club at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in suburban Philadelphia creates a special school legacy project, with the goal of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. One year, it was a flower garden dedicated to the children of the Holocaust. Another year, it was butterflies stenciled on the walls of the school stairwells, commemorating the poem The Butterfly, written by a young Holocaust victim, with the iconic line “I never saw another butterfly.”And for 2017-2018, it is the Cattle Car of Dreams. At first, the project’s title seems a bit jarring. How could a vehicle that transported Jews to their deaths, obliterating their hopes for the future, be described as a “cattle car of dreams”? [Read more…]
With the influx of high-tech companies and Israeli military intelligence units, the desert city of Beer-Sheva is becoming the hub of Israel’s rapidly expanding cyber security industry. One of Beer-Sheva’s main draws is its world-class academic institution, Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev, which offers graduate study tracks in cyber security, and has collaborated with the Israeli government on a national cyber security center.
BGU’s cyber security work is being supported here in Philadelphia as well. The Mid-Atlantic Region of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University (AABGU) — a nonprofit organization that supports BGU — raised funds from its annual tribute dinner for the university’s Cyber Security Research Initiative, and its contrtibution was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Israeli government. The Cyber Security Research Initiative supports needed infrastructure and allocates grants for innovative cyber research at BGU, with the goal of creating a national cyber security research center that is globally unsurpassed. [Read more…]