Shorts: U.S.

Reform launches ‘virtual’ repentance

washington (jta) | The Reform movement launched a “virtual repentance” for this Rosh Hashanah. The Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning invited Jews to virtually replicate tashlich, the tradition of symbolically casting one’s sins away by tossing bread crumbs into water.

A Web site notes the passage in Micah that commands the casting away of sins and then allows a recipient to fill in a blank space with one’s sins. A cartoon figure then casts the “note” into a river. More information is available at

FEMA to reimburse synagogues

washington (jta) | The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse churches, synagogues and mosques that have administered relief to hurricane refugees.

The decision has stirred controversy among groups that advocate church-state separation, and some churches say they will turn down the money because it violates the volunteer spirit. To be eligible, houses of worship must have run emergency shelters, food distribution centers or medical facilities at the request of state or local authorities in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama.

Liberal Jewish groups merging

new york (jta) | Two Jewish groups working on social change philanthropy plan to merge.

The Jewish Fund for Justice and the Shefa Fund are coming together to form Jewish Funds for Justice, the groups said Wednesday, Sept. 28. “For almost two decades, Jewish Fund for Justice and the Shefa Fund have been allies and partners in the fight against social and economic injustice,” said Simon Greer, formerly the CEO of the Jewish Fund for Justice, who will be the CEO and president of the new group.

Hillel looking for president

washington (jta) | Hillel: The foundation for Jewish Campus Life is searching for a new president.

The group’s current president, Avraham Infeld, will step down at the end of his term in August 2006 after four years of shuttling between his home in Israel and Hillel’s Washington headquarters. He will stay on with Hillel as a consultant and will lecture and assist in development.

The group said it has begun its search and is looking for a president with Infeld’s “vision, Jewish passion and inspirational leadership.” Infeld was named interim president in 2003 and was elected international president the following year.