Two rival teams will square off in Pasadena on New Year’sDay. No, not USC vs. Michigan. Get ready for the ultimate grudge match: Jewsfor Judaism vs. Jews for Jesus.
A year after Jews for Jesus’ international witnessing campaign,Behold Your God, hit Southern California, the L.A. chapter is gearing up onceagain for more “literature distribution,” said Director Tuvya Zaretsky. “Weencourage people to think about spiritual issues, new beginnings. So we go outand hand out literature as the parade is beginning and afterward.”
Jews for Jesus’ volunteers are also expected to visit theRose Bowl after the game ends and Victory Park, where the floats are put ondisplay after the parade. Zaretsky said that the group has had a presence in Pasadenaevery New Year’s Day since 1974.
In keeping with the parade’s theme this year, “Music, Music,Music,” Jews for Jesus has named their new pamphlet “Happy New Music!”
In response, Jews for Judaism will have a team of its ownstanding by distributing their own pamphlet, “Truth in Advertising.”
“We’re nonconfrontational, we keep 10-feet distance. We givethem no chance to say they’re being stalked,” said Jews for Judaism’s educationdirector, Rabbi Aaron Parry, who will lead volunteers in counter-leafleting.”We’re just looking to have an equal voice.” — Adam Wills, Associate Editor
Deadline Looms for InsuranceClaims
Insurance claims for Holocaust-era policies must be filed byDec. 31 with the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, orclaimants risk being unable to collect money owed.
Prior to World War II, Jewish families throughout Europepurchased life insurance. However, many of those records were destroyed. Also,families of murdered Holocaust victims were often unable to meet insurersrequirements that they provide a death certificate on behalf of their kin. TheNazis never issued death certificates for those slaughtered in concentrationcamps.
Claim forms and more information can be obtained by callingthe California Department of Insurance’s hotline at 1-800-927-4357, or visitingwww.icheic.org. — Marc Ballon, Senior Writer
Hate Crimes Lessen; Jews StillTargets
Hate crimes in Los Angeles County, as in the state andnation, are down from the peaks reported in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations reported last week.
The downward curve in 2002, compared to 2001, also held forcrimes motivated by religious hatred, which dropped from 129 to 119, or 8percent.
However, as in past years, the great majority of religioushate crimes were aimed at Jewish targets, which were victimized in 66 percentof all cases, followed by Protestants (11 percent), and Muslims (9 percent).
Commenting on the anti-Jewish incidents, the commissionreport noted that “some of these incidents were clearly cases of mistakenidentity, but the actual numbers of Jewish victims is unknown because mostpolice reports do not specify the religion of the victims.”
More than half (54 percent) of all religion-based crimesconsisted of vandalism of homes, businesses and religious institutions, while20 percent involved violence. Included in the latter category was an attackagainst an El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4, 2002, during which an Egyptian immigrant killed two Israeli Americans.
All together, religion-motivated incidents represented only6 percent of the county’s total hate crimes, while nearly 70 percent were basedon racial hostility, targeting mostly African Americans.
Countering the overall drop in hate crimes were attacksagainst gays and lesbians, most of them of a violent nature, which rose 7percent.
An earlier and separate Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reporton anti-Semitic incidents in 2002, which also counted noncriminal acts, foundno appreciable rise in Southern California, compared to the previous year.However, on a national basis, similar comparisons showed an 8 percent jump.
Looking at the county figures, regional ADL director Amanda Susskindsaid that “Any number of hate crimes is too many and we are particularlyconcerned that African Americans continue to be the most frequent targets ofracial hate crime and that sexual orientation-based hate crime is on theincrease.” — Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Federation Gives JCCGLA Dec. 29Deadline on Loan
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, one of thebiggest supporters of the area’s JCCs, has formally requested the JewishCommunity Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) come up with a plan to repaythe more than $1.6 million it owes — or else.
After two years of talks, The Federation has given JCCGLAuntil Dec. 29 to come up with a viable plan to pay off the unsecured loan,Federation President John Fishel said.
Nina Lieberman Giladi, executive vice president of JCCGLA,said her group has put forth three different proposals, each of which TheFederation has rejected. One offer would have given The Federation the BayCities JCC property; another would have deeded the Silverlake Independent JCCto the philanthropy group. — M.B.