Rank and File

HELLO HOWZIT, MATES: Telfed, the southern African immigrant assistance organization, is moving forward with its new mandate from the Zionist Federation of Australia to work with Australian immigrants as well. The organization announced this week it will hold a second session on December 9 to train veteran Australians to welcome and assist new immigrants from Down Under. Lina Tarna, head of the volunteerism department, told Haaretz this week that Telfed already has 24 regional committees. but it "seemed more logical that Australians need Australians." Eight volunteers from the Jerusalem region joined a training session for 20 volunteers from the offices of Yigal Sela, the ZFA Israel Office director, last month. The webinar featured Telfed chairman Dave Bloom, deputy director Dorron Kline, and Tarna, a Russian-born social worker. Susan Sharon, the aliyah and absorption adviser, explained how to welcome new olim to the different areas. "Most Australians could find their own way, but bureaucracy here is not centralized," noted Maurice Cousins, a Perth native who returned to Israel in 2006 after first moving here in 1992. Cousins added he agreed to serve as a liaison for Tel Aviv.

COMFORTING THE AFFLICTED: While U.S. hospitals have been legally required to offer access to chaplains or spiritual guides for years, Israel has not officially recognized such roles - until this week. This week an international evaluation committee of the Israel Spiritual Care Network certified 23 Israelis, among them five U.S. immigrants, to counsel the dying or those battling chronic illnesses or other health crises, the UFA-Federation of New York announced. The American-Israelis are Miriam Berkowitz, Sherri Mandell, Debi Pinto, Nomi Roth Albert and Mike Schwartz. New York-born, Boston-raised coalition co-chair Dvora Corn told Haaretz that in Israel, the field was practically non-existent when she and her husband Ben Corn, an oncologist, immigrated 16 years ago. The Federation, which got involved in 2006, sponsored the 800-hour training program, which included "supervised didactic and clinical site-based hours." Corn explained that the coalition developed criteria to meet international standards while addressing "the needs and culture of Israeli society." The coalition recently met with MK Dov Lipman to gain state recognition for the certification process, added Corn, who with her husband Ben founded Life's Door, an end-of-life support NGO.

RABBI SACKS IN JERUSALEM: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has spent much of his career building bridges between the Orthodox Jewish community he headed and the rest of British society. On Tuesday, he will speak on "A Judaism Engaged with the World" at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue as part of its high-profile speakers program. The speech will be his first major address since retiring from the office of Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, said Austen Science of the Israel, British and the Commonwealth Association, which is organizing buses from Netanya and Herzliya for the event in conjunction with the Yad Yaakov educational center for Jewish studies. "They expect it to be a 'lockout,'" Science told Haaretz, adding that the advantage of going with the buses, which will also pick up in Tel Aviv, is that people get reserved seats for Sacks' speech. "It's a rather special event," he added, and should be "a most informative and inspiring address." For more info, call Austen Science at 054-761-2306.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.
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