‘Minister’ puts the (English) accent on politics, American style


Jonathan Lynn wants to know what an egg cream is. Sitting in Jerry’s Deli in Westwood on an absurdly hot day in early May, he’s less interested in talking about his show “Yes, Prime Minister” at this moment than he is about finding out what ingredients go into the classic New York drink. There’s something slightly comical about a 70-year-old Jew, albeit a Brit, who’s never encountered an egg cream, but then again, perhaps they never made it across the pond, something that can no longer be said about “Yes, Prime Minister,” which will make its American stage debut on June 4 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.

While American audiences are probably most familiar with Lynn’s film directorial efforts, such as “Clue,” “The Whole Nine Yards” and the comedy classic “My Cousin Vinny,” British audiences know him well for his “Yes Minister” series, which was a massive hit on television and radio in the UK and in most of the English-speaking world, for that matter. “Yes Minister,” which followed the careers of politician Jim Hacker and civil servants Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Woolley, and satirized the workings of government, won multiple BAFTA awards and various other honors. Now, more than 30 years after Lynn and Antony Jay created the series, it’s finally been adapted for the stage.

“People have been asking us to do a play based on the series … for many, many years, and we’d always said no,” Lynn said. “We’d said what we’d had to say.” They also lost both the stars of the show, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington, to illness. But, according to Lynn, as the 30th anniversary approached, “We thought, ‘Well, maybe it would be fun to examine whether things have changed or whether things are really fundamentally the same, but maybe cosmetically different.’ ”

Lynn and Jay got to work, and soon they’d hammered out a show that has played in London and as far away as Australia. It’s even been optioned for a production in Tel Aviv.  

Asked how a play about British politics can have such broad appeal, Lynn was quick to correct: “It’s about government, which is very different. Politics is what goes on in elections, what goes on in the House of Commons,” he said. “It’s not about politics in a partisan sense. It’s not possible from watching the shows or watching this play to tell which party Jim Hacker belongs to.”

Government, it seems, is a universal problem. Even the United States and England have a lot in common, according to Lynn. “The main difference is that we have an unwritten constitution, and we don’t have separation of powers built into our constitutional theory.” And indeed, in Britain, the prime minister is, by his or her very nature, a member of the party in control of the congress. “You were dumb enough to write the separation of powers into your constitution, and we see, as we look around Washington today, just what that has led to.”

Lynn doesn’t foresee Americans having a problem understanding the show, though. “We ran this in London. … A lot of Americans come and see the play, and we’ve never had anyone come and tell us they didn’t understand it.”

Lynn wasn’t particularly surprised to find that little in the nature of government seems to have changed in the 30 years between the premiere of the TV show and the play. “The biggest change in the way that government is run is that there are more ‘special advisers.’… There’s more outside influence.”

Politicians are also more in the line of fire. “The Freedom of Information Act has been passed, which is desperately dangerous to anyone who’s in power,” Lynn said. “If no one knows what you’re doing, no one knows what you’re doing wrong.”

For the Geffen production, which Lynn is also directing, he’s assembled a notable cast that includes Dakin Matthews, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays and Michael McKean, with whom Lynn has reunited after many years. “They’re a really wonderful cast. I feel very fortunate. I’ve known Michael McKean on and off for a very long time. He was in my first film, ‘Clue.’ I knew he does a wonderful British accent, because I saw ‘Spinal Tap,’ ” Lynn said with a laugh.

Asked how he felt about unintentionally starting the board-game-as-movie movement that’s also brought the world such classics as “Battleship,” Lynn was amused but also a little sad. “I didn’t imagine it, and I feel very guilty.” 

Looking back at his long career, Lynn doesn’t have many regrets, though. “ ‘Vinny’ had a lot going for it. Although it was never sold this way, it was a satirical comedy about capital punishment. I’m very against capital punishment. It basically said these two kids would have been fried if they hadn’t had this argumentative, son-of-a-bitch lawyer,” Lynn said. “It was about class, which is something else that nobody ever talked about here. Vinny and Lisa are blue collar, and everyone else in the film was old money.”

But not all of his favorites became big hits. “One of my favorite films I’ve made here was ‘The Distinguished Gentleman,’ with Eddie Murphy, because that has proven prophetic, really. It’s about the power of the lobbyists and how they destroy democracy.” 

“The Distinguished Gentleman,” which was co-written by Jewish Journal columnist Marty Kaplan, didn’t perform well at the box office but did get a presidential stamp of approval. “When Bill Clinton went to see it as soon as it opened — he’d just been elected president — he came out and said, ‘That’s just what it’s like in Washington.’ And I immediately phoned the studio and said, ‘We must get that clip into the ads,’ and they said, ‘No, no, we can’t do that — that would be disrespectful to the president,’ ” Lynn said, still not buying the answer. “The true reason is that Disney has lots of lobbyists in Washington, and they didn’t want to upset Congress.” 

And despite politics reaching into film as much as government, Lynn sees little change in comedy in his more than 50 years in the business. “It’s impossible to sum up what comedy is in a few words. But it’s some form of telling the truth in a way that doesn’t require the audience’s empathy. That requires the audience’s objectivity.

“I think there’s more rude language than there used to be,” Lynn said. “But no, I don’t think comedy’s changed. The essentials remain the same. It’s about owning up, and it’s about recognition.”

And recognition is what Lynn thinks matters most in how a show transitions from one culture to another, and why he thinks “Yes, Prime Minister” will do well. 

“The audience doesn’t recognize the behavior in the same way. Some comedies travel better than others,” he said. “Neil Simon has never really had a hit in England. … There aren’t enough Jews in England.”

“Yes, Prime Minister” plays June 4 through  July 14 in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. geffenplayhouse.com

The Chametz search takes a new turn


Professor Plum in the library with a lead pipe? That might be the solution to a game of “Clue,” but in the new board game “Chametz: The Search Is On!” the more likely culprit is Professor Slivovitz,  who is sullying the house with bits of a dreaded cupcake.

Professor Slivovitz (a Passover brandy made from plums) is one of six characters, along with Mrs. Weiss and Col. Moti, who thoughtlessly wander this Passover-cleansed Jewish home with foods such as graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies or hard pretzels. Players ages 7 and older use a process of elimination to figure out who left what food in which room.

Jay Falk of Playa del Rey came up with the game while playing “Clue” with his own children and wondering why there weren’t Jewish-themed games that could engage kids as well as adults. A script coordinator for the CBS comedy “Mad Love” and video producer, Falk dabbles in graphics, so he designed the game and consulted with his local Chabad rabbis to produce the Jewish content. He formed Hazakah Inc., to produce “Chametz,” which was three years in the making.

Falk made sure to make the game Shabbat-friendly — rather than keeping track of the culprits on a notepad, as in “Clue,” players slip markers into slots on cards. The Jewish character and content are slightly unexpected — Rabbi Greenberg (“Clue” has Rev. Green) is clean-shaven, while Professor Slivovitz sports a long, gray beard and, according to the Web site, teaches endocrinology.

Hazakah also produced “Yiddishe Kop,” thinking puzzles with a Jewish bent for ages 10 to adult. “Chametz” is available on Amazon and at most Judaica stores.

For more information, visit

Rabbi-Novelist Mines Ancient Treasure


Of all the prophets, Jeremiah has always been the personal favorite of Rabbi Zoë Klein. So in a series of two fictional works, the prolific pulpit rabbi and fiction writer did him a favor: She gave him a lover.

“He’s a brooder; he’s the most autobiographical of the prophets, and there’s something so desperately lonely and sad about him that I wanted to reach back in time and comfort him somehow,” said Klein, 38, senior rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. “I wanted to provide someone who is just mad about him and loves him as a man, not as a prophet.”

Faith and the healing property of love are themes Klein explores in her recently released novel, “Drawing in the Dust,” which follows fictional archaeologist Page Brookstone as she unearths a startling ancient treasure that challenges traditional theological beliefs in Israel and beyond.

Brookstone, a Catholic American excavating at Mount Megiddo, has spent her life hiding underground from personal demons and is haunted by the early death of her father. But when she begins a dig beneath an Arab couple’s home and discovers Jeremiah’s grave — his remains clasped in the arms of a mysterious woman — Brookstone begins to confront her fears and embrace love’s ability to transcend time.

The mysterious woman turns out to be Anatiya, a fictional contemporary of Jeremiah that Klein created for her first book, “The Scroll of Anatiya,” published earlier this year. Anatiya, who is mute, falls in love with the prophet after hearing him preach and spends her life longing for a man too consumed by holy work to return her devotion. One of the artifacts Brookstone finds near Jeremiah’s tomb in “Drawing in the Dust” is Anatiya’s scroll, whose 52 chapters, written in the poetic style of an ancient text, mirror the events narrated in the Book of Jeremiah.

Klein said she wrote “Drawing in the Dust,” in part, to shed light on the scroll that she had so painstakingly fleshed out.

“I wrote ‘The Scroll of Anatiya’ and then I kind of naively waited for it to be discovered,” she said with a laugh. “In a way, I invented the character of Page to discover the scroll that I had written, that I had wanted so much to be discovered. But then the story of Page also developed into its own very personal and meaningful journey.”

The characters in Klein’s novels each speak to basic aspects of Klein’s own life. She admires Anatiya’s singular mission to love another through every thought and action. She relates to Brookstone’s status as a documenter of others’ lives; just as the archaeologist digs through the remnants of ancient civilizations, celebrating their triumphs yet never taking part, Klein is also removed from the sacred rituals and milestones of her congregants in her role as officiator.

Even Jeremiah’s isolated position as a messenger of God’s word is something with which Klein can sometimes identify as the head of one of L.A.’s largest Reform synagogues.

“You’re a person who is delivering a message, bringing comfort, creating sacred moments, and there are times when I crave to be appreciated as a person instead of a provider,” she said.

That’s not to say Klein doesn’t consider it “an honor” to lead the heavily tikkun olam-focused congregation at Temple Isaiah — and to be one of just a few female senior rabbis in Southern California. “When people talk about tikkun olam, we often focus on the brokenness of the world, and I think I try to focus on the process of making whole,” she said. “I want to bring wholeness to people in a way that they are challenged and given the tools to fix what is broken out there. There are so few people who ever have the opportunity to apply their vision to others like I do.”

Klein, who was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998, culled that vision from a colorful past that included four years at an Episcopalian high school while growing up in Connecticut. She pursued the rabbinate after graduating from Brandeis University, craving immersion in her Jewish faith, and today shares the profession with her husband, Rabbi Jonathan Klein, who is executive director of CLUE Los Angeles (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice).

A husband, two novels, three young children and a congregation of 1,100 families — the equation is formidable enough to make one’s head spin. But Klein said she’s able to balance her many responsibilities harmoniously.

“A lot of people ask me how hard it must be: ‘You must be so busy — how do you do it?’” she said. “I believe that my writing is, in many ways, my soul work, and my rabbinate is like my field work for the writing.”

Klein is currently in the process of editing a book for young adults called “Whish,” and is also working on another idea for a novel. In between, she sometimes offers writing workshops to rabbinical students and congregants.

The author, who does not shy away from racy material in her work, said one tool she brings to every class is a paper shredder. She often has students warm up by instructing them to describe, in language poetic or crass, the most passionate experience of their lives — and then immediately feed it to the shredder.

“I think a lot of people, when they write, are so afraid of the page that they shy away from really expressing their heart. Good writing comes when you’re not editing as you write,” she said. “There are times when I write something and I think, ‘What would happen if my grandmother reads it, or how would my congregation look at me?’ But once you start doing that, you’re not being true to your story anymore.”

Some of those scenes in “Drawing in the Dust” deal with Brookstone’s controversial attraction to an ultra-Orthodox colleague, Mortichai. But Klein sees the relationship as illustrative of a larger theme — the potential for unity among Israel’s richly multi-cultural milieu.

“To me, the most beautiful concept in Judaism is oneness,” she said. “And love is, ultimately, the glue.”

Rabbi Zoë Klein

Yeladim


In Parshat Vayera, God does a math trick with names: He takes the letter yud (h)out of sarai’s name. Then he divides it equally. Look at the chart below to discover how much the letter yud is worth in gematria. Now, what two letters does God come up with and where does he put them? (clue: Avram and Sarai’s names are transformed.)

Avram…..hra
Sarah…..ovrct

Avraham…vra
Sarai…..orct
Here comes Halloween.
Do we, as Jews, celebrate this holiday or not ?
Well, it’s based on a pagan holiday. But even some Jewish holidays are based on pagan agricultural festivals.

Some Jews don’t celebrate it, but others believe Halloween has become an American Holiday and we can just have fun!

Mail your cartoons, drawings, puzzles, etc. to The Jewish Journal, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1510, Los Angeles, CA 90010. E-mail your written answers to our contests, or your jokes, riddles, poems, etc., to kids@jewishjournal.com. Make sure you write your name and address in your e-mail. See you next time!

Get a CLUE to Help the Poor


"It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem." The problem Devorah Shubowitz is talking about: poverty.

Over the summer, Shubowitz worked with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) to study the Jewish working poor in Los Angeles.

Through CLUE, more than 400 religious leaders throughout Los Angeles County have already helped hundreds of workers unionize for better wages, and helped refugees threatened with deportation to become citizens. Now the efforts of CLUE, and the Jewish interns who worked with the organization this summer, are focused on extending those successes, bringing awareness of the working poor to congregations throughout Los Angeles.

Shubowitz came to CLUE from New York, where she teaches at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, a center for women’s advanced study of classical Jewish texts. Mark Goodman and Jennifer Flam, rabbinical students at the University of Judaism, also worked with CLUE over the summer. In addition to studying the problem of the Jewish working poor in Los Angeles, their summer internship included helping organize Santa Monica residents of all faiths to support a living wage initiative for hotel workers, and reviving the "Sanctuary" movement of the 1980s.

With inspiration from the prophets (Goodman likes to quote from Jeremiah because, "All he ever talked about was ‘We must have done something wrong and you haven’t been good to other people,’") the Jewish interns at CLUE worked all summer with clergy and lay leaders of all faiths in support of social action. "It was a summer internship," Flam said, "but it’s a life’s work."

The big project for CLUE these days is on the November ballot in Santa Monica. Measure JJ, the Living Wage initiative, would increase wages for as many as 2,000 hotel workers in Santa Monica’s coastal tourist zone. In the wake of a Labor Day project called "Labor in the Pulpit," in which CLUE-affiliated clergy delivered sermons on the issue, the group plans to hold a get-out-the vote kickoff event on Sept. 22, featuring a performance by folk group Peter, Paul and Mary at Santa Monica City Hall. "CLUE is a bridge between both sides," Flam said, "We’re not bound to the unions, and there are ethical business owners who work with us."

For workers who have been lost their jobs for their unionizing or living wage efforts, CLUE is reviving the Sanctuary program, first used in the 1980s when thousands of workers were threatened with deportation, often back to repressive regimes. CLUE encourages clergy and congregations to publicly support the fired workers. "Even though people are not losing their lives this time, they are losing their livelihoods," Flam said of the program.

One of the biggest problems the CLUE interns faced in trying to bring Jewish congregations into the fight for economic justice was in presenting the working poor as a "Jewish" problem. Working with the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, CLUE’s executive director, and local rabbis including Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Sholom and Steven Carr Reuben of Kehillat Israel, CLUE’s interns supplemented their organizing efforts with a study of poverty among Jews in Los Angeles. They found that, "Poverty among working people also plagues the Jewish community here," Goodman said. And the solution requires more than money.

"The Jewish response to poverty has been more about giving than creating societal change," Shubowitz said. "The problem won’t be alleviated by giving people food."

To support that societal change, Shubowitz, Goodman and Flam undertook a study of Jewish working poor in Los Angeles. Starting with figures provided by a Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles study, they interviewed Jewish workers, counselors at Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles and local rabbis. They found Jewish workers, primarily immigrants from the Former Soviet Union or Israel, who worked solely for tips, or below the minimum wage, without any type of health insurance, even after years at the same jobs — the same conditions that non-Jewish low-wage workers face. "Our purpose has been to demonstrate the connection between Jewish poverty and poverty at large," Shubowitz said, "We have the same problems — immigration, lack of organization to fight this problem. It’s important the Jewish community get connected with other communities doing this work."

"At least 13 percent of Jews in the Los Angeles area make below $10,000 a year," said Flam, citing the Federation study, "When we spoke with Jewish leaders, they knew nothing about them." Part of the reason Jews and Jewish leaders have not been aware of the problem of Jewish poverty has been that poor Jews are often not affiliated with the larger Jewish community. "It costs a lot of money to be affiliated," Flam noted.

Goodman noticed another reason for the lack of awareness, "The problem of our not recognizing [Jewish poverty] stems from generalizations — really, internalized anti-Semitism. We believe that all Jews are wealthy." The study, which Shubowitz expects to be finished by the end of October, will be publicized by CLUE; the Board of Rabbis of Southern California has also expressed interest in distributing it.

The three CLUE interns said that when they spoke to congregations, "Jews didn’t know what was going on. Frequently people are shocked," Flam said, "Usually once people understand what’s going on, we get a strong response."

With awareness raised, and their summer internships over, the CLUE alumni continue to work to turn concern into action. "Is it deliverance or DiGiorno?" Goodman asked, "Do we wait for God or do we make justice at home?"

Shifting Gears


"It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem." The problem Devorah Shubowitz is talking about: poverty.

Over the summer, Shubowitz worked with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) to study the Jewish working poor in Los Angeles.

Through CLUE, more than 400 religious leaders throughout Los Angeles County have already helped hundreds of workers unionize for better wages, and helped refugees threatened with deportation to become citizens. Now the efforts of CLUE, and the Jewish interns who worked with the organization this summer, are focused on extending those successes, bringing awareness of the working poor to congregations throughout Los Angeles.

Shubowitz came to CLUE from New York, where she teaches at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, a center for women’s advanced study of classical Jewish texts. Mark Goodman and Jennifer Flam, rabbinical students at the University of Judaism, also worked with CLUE over the summer. In addition to studying the problem of the Jewish working poor in Los Angeles, their summer internship included helping organize Santa Monica residents of all faiths to support a living wage initiative for hotel workers, and reviving the "Sanctuary" movement of the 1980s.

With inspiration from the prophets (Goodman likes to quote from Jeremiah because, "All he ever talked about was ‘We must have done something wrong and you haven’t been good to other people,’") the Jewish interns at CLUE worked all summer with clergy and lay leaders of all faiths in support of social action. "It was a summer internship," Flam said, "but it’s a life’s work."

The big project for CLUE these days is on the November ballot in Santa Monica. Measure JJ, the Living Wage initiative, would increase wages for as many as 2,000 hotel workers in Santa Monica’s coastal tourist zone. In the wake of a Labor Day project called "Labor in the Pulpit," in which CLUE-affiliated clergy delivered sermons on the issue, the group plans to hold a get-out-the vote kickoff event on Sept. 22, featuring a performance by folk group Peter, Paul and Mary at Santa Monica City Hall. "CLUE is a bridge between both sides," Flam said, "We’re not bound to the unions, and there are ethical business owners who work with us."

For workers who have been lost their jobs for their unionizing or living wage efforts, CLUE is reviving the Sanctuary program, first used in the 1980s when thousands of workers were threatened with deportation, often back to repressive regimes. CLUE encourages clergy and congregations to publicly support the fired workers. "Even though people are not losing their lives this time, they are losing their livelihoods," Flam said of the program.

One of the biggest problems the CLUE interns faced in trying to bring Jewish congregations into the fight for economic justice was in presenting the working poor as a "Jewish" problem. Working with the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, CLUE’s executive director, and local rabbis including Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Sholom and Steven Carr Reuben of Kehillat Israel, CLUE’s interns supplemented their organizing efforts with a study of poverty among Jews in Los Angeles. They found that, "Poverty among working people also plagues the Jewish community here," Goodman said. And the solution requires more than money.

"The Jewish response to poverty has been more about giving than creating societal change," Shubowitz said. "The problem won’t be alleviated by giving people food."

To support that societal change, Shubowitz, Goodman and Flam undertook a study of Jewish working poor in Los Angeles. Starting with figures provided by a Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles study, they interviewed Jewish workers, counselors at Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles and local rabbis. They found Jewish workers, primarily immigrants from the Former Soviet Union or Israel, who worked solely for tips, or below the minimum wage, without any type of health insurance, even after years at the same jobs — the same conditions that non-Jewish low-wage workers face. "Our purpose has been to demonstrate the connection between Jewish poverty and poverty at large," Shubowitz said, "We have the same problems — immigration, lack of organization to fight this problem. It’s important the Jewish community get connected with other communities doing this work."

"At least 13 percent of Jews in the Los Angeles area make below $10,000 a year," said Flam, citing the Federation study, "When we



This year, the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, which has treated more than 500 victims of terrorist attacks, including those from the Passover massacre in Netanya, received $250,000 toward its intensive care trauma unit. Sheba Medical Center received $135,000 toward a portable ultrasound system. And Natal, an Israeli trauma center, received $200,000. All the funds came from L.A. Jews.

Over this past year, during which some of the most insidious and relentless suicide bombings in Israel’s history have occurred, these Israeli institutions, as well as dozens of others, have received — and will continue to receive — millions of dollars in emergency funds, thanks to Los Angeles’ Jewish community.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, through its Jews in Crisis (JIC) campaign, funneled emergency funding to Israel within a short window of time. A roster of emergency agencies and trauma centers, mostly based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, have received millions of dollars earmarked toward everything from hospitals to children’s education and bomb-sniffing dogs.

"Our goal was to raise $10 million for Israel as part of our share of the $300 million campaign nationwide [sponsored by United Jewish Committee of North America, the umbrella agency for all Jewish federations]," Herb Gelfand, chairman of Los Angeles’ successful JIC campaign, told The Journal. "We also wanted to raise $2 million for Argentina. We’ve raised $18 million. We’re over the national goal [by $8 million]."

In just a few months, The Federation’s JIC was able to bring together a windfall of contributions raised from the community, Federation-sponsored events and a plethora of parlor meetings — fundraising receptions held at the private homes of affluent Jewish individuals. But with the year winding down, The Federation is now shifting gears in its fundraising goals.

"It isn’t over," Gelfand said. "We’ll continue to raise [JIC] money, mainly through direct solicitations, but we’re moving into the end of the regular campaign, and we’re careful not to interfere with that, because the regular campaign feeds into The Federation’s core services and our constituents here and in Israel."

Ed Robin, who, along with Stanley Gold, is co-chair of the Israel and Overseas Committee at The Federation and is in charge of the JIC’s allocations process, said that JIC and the annual campaign are related.

"The general campaign funds the main social services — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency," Robin said. "The needs we tried to fund with JIC were specifically toward the crisis."

The JIC’s success owes much to the parlor meetings, which became a galvanizing local phenomenon, particularly after the March 27 Passover massacre. Gelfand estimated that about half of JIC’s total came from parlor meetings.

"Contributors were very eager to do something," Robin said. "The JIC [through parlor meetings] gave them a tangible outlet to express their concern."

Gelfand credited The Federation’s Annette Shapiro and Fredi Rembaum for organizing the meetings. But a key element to JIC’s efficiency, organizers said, was The Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership, unique to Los Angeles’ Federation, which lent the campaign its focus and cohesiveness.

The long-running partnership — a network of collaborations with Israeli scientists, schools and human service agencies, which until February was directed in Los Angeles by Rembaum — was able to identify Israel’s needs and rally JIC’s efforts by April, rather than June, when most federations organized their JIC campaigns.

In addition to parlor meetings, The Federation sponsored missions to Israel to generate awareness of JIC and its efforts, such as the early June entourage during which The Federation presented contributions to various agencies, singles missions and a late summer mission that sent actor-comedian Larry Miller and others to visit campers at the Jaffa Institute for the Advancement of Children.

Los Angeles’ humanitarian efforts, consolidated by The Federation through JIC, have provided substantial financial support for continuation of programs. The efforts represented an important statement of solidarity, according to spokespersons at the beneficiary agencies in Israel.

"The gift has been like receiving a dose of oxygen, because it will enable us to purchase essential equipment that we immediately need," said Talia Zaks, deputy executive director of ZAKA. She said the $87,000 that was received will go toward the volunteer-staffed organization, which provides first aid and collects body parts for proper Jewish burial after every terrorist attack. "This money will help us save as many lives as possible," she said.

The Jaffa Institute, which shelters underprivileged children, has worked with The Federation before. JIC raised $50,000 to help the institute build a security fence to prevent terrorists from penetrating its Beit Shemesh campus.

"My immediate reaction," said Dr. David Portowicz, Jaffa Institute’s chairman, "was that I could sleep better at night knowing that the 300 children in my charge are not exposed to the risk of a terrorist attack."

Akiva Holtzer, spokesman for Bikur Cholim Hospital, a public facility in Jerusalem, said that its $25,000 gift will go toward trauma center equipment.

"We appreciate the fact that Jewish people worldwide think about us and want to help us," Holtzer said. "The fund will help us provide better services."

"This was the largest gift we’ve received from any federation in North America," said Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, Natal director of development, of its $200,000 grant. "We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Los Angeles Jewry, and very encouraged by the effort made by the delegation of L.A Jews who visited us in June."

"The [JIC] campaign is providing direct support to nongovernmental agencies that are working directly with individuals," said Marty Karp, The Federation’s senior vice president for Israel and Overseas, who is based in Israel. "It is not only providing cash support to help individuals return to good health from physical injuries and psychological anguish, but is also helping those that support them."

Gelfand noted that this year’s general campaign, stimulated by JIC, is on the verge of being the strongest since 1990. "If things go where we expect it to go," Gelfand said, "we’ll raise $45 million in the general campaign, in addition to a $19 million Jews In Crisis campaign."

This would be an improvement over recent years, when the slowing of the economy and the dot-com crash affected The Federation’s fundraising, Gelfand added.

But with the success of this year’s emergency relief effort, will there be a need for a JIC campaign next year?

"It depends on what happens in Israel," Gelfand said. "About 50 of us are going to Israel in October, when we’ll get a better idea. Of course, there will always be a need. But let’s hope that the next six months will bring a relative calm.

"The community has responded extremely well and very generously, as it always does," he added.