I just returned from a remarkable 10-day trip to Israel with two other JVS employees. The primary purpose of the trip was to work with JVS’ partners in Haifa, including Shiluvim, an amazing Ethiopian Jewish organization whose goal is the empowerment of the Ethiopian Israeli community and its full integration into all aspects of Haifa society. Ethiopian Jews have been immigrating to Israel since the 1970’s, and have faced many challenges in integrating into Israeli society, including lack of Hebrew language facility, lack of job skills, no familiarity with Israeli culture and its modern technological ways, and racial discrimination.

Add a comment

January 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of MassINC’s New Skills for a New Economy report.The report’s main finding that 1.1 million workers in Massachusetts—a third of the state’s workforce —lacked skills essential to the “new economy” was broadcast far and wide. In one fell swoop, an issue that previously generated very little attention was pushed to the top of the public agenda. Ten years later, however, many of the problems identified in the 2001 report remain.

Add a comment

On Christmas day, 60,000 Massachusetts residents will lose their unemployment insurance benefits. In the weeks following, 1,200 additional Massachusetts residents will lose their benefits every week. Family holiday gatherings in these thousands of households will be at best, subdued, at worst painfully tragic.

Add a comment

I know I’m about to be a curmudgeon, which I hate to be, but I can’t help it. Last night I finished reading a wonderful book about the refugee experience, “What is the What” by Dave Eggers. The book is a powerful and detailed look into the lives of the “lost boys” of Sudan. It tracks one boy’s loss of family and home, his brutal journey across several African nations, and then to the U.S. to gain some decency in his life. It details torture, starvation, brutality, hypocrisy, apathy, and then, perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates the remarkable resiliency, hope and courage that people can and sometimes do achieve.

Add a comment

This campaign slogan reminds me of a finger wagging parent, but maybe that’s just what we need. I don’t usually share my political preferences publicly, but non-profits are allowed to campaign on referenda, and the three ballot questions that you will be considering next Tuesday will have a huge impact on JVS’s clients. The following information is borrowed from the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Add a comment