CASH INCENTIVE: Nearly four decades after the first meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, scholars are taking stock of their rapidly growing field. But, The New York Jewish Week reports, some think the growth of Jewish studies is due in part to the desire of colleges and universities to curry favor with Jewish donors. “Universities realized they could get something from Jews if they dangled something Jewish in front of them,” Frederick Greenspahn, director of Jewish studies at Florida Atlantic University, tells the Jewish Week. “They don’t necessarily want us there, but they’ll take us if it comes with a check.”
FROM ST. LOUIS WITH TOOTHPASTE: El Al security wanted to know why Rachel Miller’s suitcase was full of toothpaste. They were glad to learn that she was supplying the IDF. The St. Louis Jewish Light profiles the local woman who helps Israel’s men and women in uniform stay hygienic.
LET YOUR STUDENTS GO: New Jersey Jews are angry at Drew University for not allowing its students to study abroad in Israel. The New Jersey Jewish News has the story.
SCOOP JACKSON, RIP: For the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent’s Jonathan Tobin, Senator Joseph Lieberman’s endorsement of John McCain represents the nail in the coffin of a particular kind of Democrat.
Also in the Exponent: An editorial argues that while Evangelical Christians differ with Jews on many issues, we nevertheless owe them our appreciation. “[I]n a world where the Jewish people and Israel have few friends, can we really afford to snub those who — without much of a welcome or even a thank you from the organized Jewish world — are prepared to help do what is supposed to be our job: caring for Jews around the world and in Israel who are in need?” the editorial says.
RESPONDING TO ABUSE: A team of mental health professionals mobilized following reports of rabbinic sexual abuse in the Baltimore area is meeting with local Orthodox rabbis. The Baltimore Jewish Times — which has carried the torch on this issue — has the story.
MR. TZEDAKAH: Thirty three years ago, Danny Siegel got some friends to give him $955 in tzedakah money before a trip to Israel. His charitable efforts eventually blossomed into the Ziv Tzedakah Fund. Now, $12 million in giving later, the fund is closing shop. The Washington Jewish week speaks with its founder.
THE ATLANTA 27: The Atlanta Jewish Times wants to know why there weren’t some Atlantans on this year’s Forward 50. And, ever the constructive critics, they have a few suggestions of people we might have included.
DAY OF THE DEAD: Non-Jews clean up Cleveland’s second-oldest Jewish cemetery. The Cleveland Jewish News is on the story.
‘LOTHARIO RABBI’: A Manchester Reform synagogue has canceled a launch party it was planning to host for a novel by the daughter of its late longtime rabbi. The reason: The book portrays the author’s father as a womanizer. But the author, Sandra Levy, tells London’s Jewish Chronicle that her father, the late Rabbi Percy Selvin Goldberg, wouldn’t have agreed with his synagogue’s decision. “My late father, whom we all miss dearly, would have been the first to condemn such small-mindedness,” she said. “Some of what I have written was, in any case, in the public domain and I thought it would be seen as humorous. Of course, life has its sadnesses, but I am telling about events that happened 50 years ago. I know my father would have had fun reading it.”
Also in the J.C.: Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who has angered many Jews by refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, canceled a planned appearance at British Jewry’s Limmud conference. But former Jewish Agency head turned critic of the idea of a Jewish state Avraham Burg was there to keep things interesting.