5-year-old wounded at JCC returns home

Benjamin Kadish rode a firetruck home from the hospital on Thursday of last week, wearing a red firefighter's helmet and a badge that said "Junior Firefighter." Kadish was one of five people wounded in the Aug. 10 attack at the center.

The other victims — two young boys, a teenage girl and a receptionist — all left the hospital within days of the attack.

Orthodox condemn N.Y. art exhibit

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Orthodox Union has joined critics of a new art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum that features works that some Christians may consider offensive.

The "Sensation" exhibit, set to open tomorrow, includes a painting of the Virgin Mary splattered with dung.

"Today, the offense is perpetrated against a Christian symbol; tomorrow, it might be a Jewish ritual item," the O.U. said Monday.

The exhibit has become an issue between the two undeclared candidates for New York's senate race. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani first brought the exhibit to public attention when he threatened to cut public funds to the museum if the offensive items are included in the exhibit. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the museum should not lose its funding.

Southern Baptists defend proselytizing

NEW YORK (JTA) — The head of the Southern Baptist Convention this week defended his group's call to followers to pray for the conversion of Jews during the High Holy Days.

Responding to a letter from the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, the Rev. Paige Patterson insisted on "absolute religious liberty" for both Jews and Baptists.

In a second letter to Patterson this week, ADL director Abraham Foxman denounced as "theological arrogance" Patterson's insistence on the right to seek Jewish converts.

Applicants swamp Birthright Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — Just weeks after launching a marketing campaign informing North American Jewish college students of free, 10-day trips to Israel this winter, the Birthright Israel project has more would-be travelers than available spots.

Hillel reports that more than 6,000 people have applied for the 3,000 spots it is offering as one of the organizations participating in Birthright Israel's 2000 campaign.

A Birthright spokeswoman said the other 11 providers are also getting a large response and that the number of calls to Birthright Israel itself has increased tenfold since the campaign began.

Yiddish theater gets a Web site of its own

NEW YORK (JTA) — A foundation headed by Steven Spielberg has donated $500,000 to create a Web site that will document the history of New York's Yiddish theater.

The money from the Righteous Persons Foundation will help set up Second Avenue Online, which will feature oral histories, manuscripts and musical scores. It will also house an interactive exhibit on Second Avenue, the home of Yiddish theater in New York in the early part of this century.

The foundation also recently awarded a $200,000 grant to the Jewish Community Center Association to develop a new preschool curriculum for Jewish children. The curriculum will bring highlights from Pirke Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers, using such media as music, computers and storytelling.