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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘amount’

ZOA Loses Tax Exemption Status, Will Apply for Reinstatement

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The Zionist Organization of America has lost its 501(c)3 tax exemption status, due to failure to file tax returns for the last three years.

In an interview with JTA, ZOA president Morton Klein confirmed the loss, and stated that his organization has hired a tax attorney to help them bring their files up to date and apply for reinstatement of their status.

According to Klein, the error in filing was due to the failure of a ZOA-funded school in Ashkelon to provide correct information in time, as well as a misunderstanding on the part of the ZOA as to the amount of time it had left to file for an extension.

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Self Evident?
What Uncleanness Is There In A Nasal Discharge?’
(Niddah 55b- 56a)

The mishnah on 54b lists spittle (saliva) as one of the bodily secretions of a zav that convey tumah. This law appears in Vayikra 15:8: “Ve’chi yarok hazav batahor ve’chibes begadav ve’rachatz ba’mayyim ve’tamei ad ha’arev – And if the zav spit upon someone, that person shall immerse his garments and immerse himself in the water, and he remains unclean until the evening.”

A baraisa (on 55b) states that the term “if the zav spit” includes other secretions as well, such as mei ha’af (a nasal discharge). The Gemara then cites a dispute between Rav and Shmuel as to the meaning of mei ha’af: Shmuel says that it refers to all types of discharges – whether from the nose or the mouth since nasal secretions are no different than saliva.

Traces

Rav, on the other hand, asserts that a nasal secretion is not like saliva and therefore does not convey tumah. He says that the term mei ha’af in the baraisarefers to phlegm expelled through the mouth. The reason this phlegm conveys tumah is simply because it is impossible to discharge phlegm through the mouth without traces of saliva in it.

Two Questions

The commentators ask two compelling questions. First, the Aruch LaNer (ad loc.) asks why, according to Rav, must the baraisa derive the uncleanness of a nasal secretion from the pasuk “Ve’chi yarok.” Since the phlegm contains traces of saliva, it is self-evident that phlegm is unclean. Darshening the pasuk seems to be superfluous.

Second, the Be’er Avraham (Hilchos Metam’ei U’Moshav 1:14) asks why the small amount of saliva mixed in with the phlegm should be of any significance. Since the saliva comprises only a small percentage of the total mixture, it should be nullified in the majority (batal b’rov).

Simple Logic

The Marcheshes (siman 37:1-10) explains that these questions present no difficulty. Indeed, each one provides the answer for the other. He explains that if not for the pasukVe’chi yarok,” a zav’s phlegm would not be tamei despite the fact that it contains traces of saliva. Why? Because that small amount would, indeed, be batal b’rov as Be’er Avraham argues.

When Rav says that it is impossible to discharge phlegm through the mouth without traces of saliva, what he means to say is since orally-expelled phlegm invariably contains saliva, it is logical to treat such a discharge more stringently than a nasally-expelled discharge which contains no saliva. Rav assumes that “Ve’chi yarok,” which comes to include phlegm, does not include all discharges but only orally-expelled phlegm since it contains some saliva. Thus if not for the exposition from this pasuk, the miniscule amount of saliva would indeed be nullified.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published, semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information, contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Fighting The Tuition Crisis With Financially-Driven Parent Volunteer Programs

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

A recent CNN Money article focused on how more students than ever are requesting need-based financial aid from the private schools they attend. “Private schools are getting flooded with financial aid applications, and a growing number of the parents seeking help are earning $150,000 or more a year,” the article stated. It also pointed out that “overall, the average cost of tuition at private schools across all grades is nearly $22,000 a year, up 4% from a year ago and 26% higher than it was in the 2006-07 academic year, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.”

To make matters worse for private day schools, the recession of the past few years has adversely affected the fundraising numbers in many of these schools, especially in the geographical areas hardest hit. And if that wasn’t bad enough, once again the Obama administration, for a fifth time has proposed lowering the income tax deduction for charitable giving. By decreasing the value of itemized tax deductions for higher-income taxpayers, the president’s proposal would weaken the incentive for the wealthy to give to private day schools and other non-profit organizations.

In light of these developments, schools must consider new and innovative ways to increase income and reduce costs in order to maintain financial stability and fiscal health. One approach that should be considered is to institute a parent volunteer program. There are many schools throughout the country that have established parent volunteer programs. However, the central purpose of many of these programs is to benefit the educational quality of the school. That’s the objective behind Three for Me, a national parent volunteer organization running in thousands of schools across the U.S.

While enhancing educational quality through parent volunteer efforts is certainly worthwhile, schools should consider making financial goals the primary objective of such a program. By using the time and efforts of the parent body, schools can effectively convert hundreds of parent-hours into thousands of dollars in revenue and savings – in essence, monetizing the massive amount of man-hours of the parent body.

Many school administrations are already overworked and understaffed, so in order for such a program to succeed it would need to be low maintenance and easy to manage. Further, in order to generate the necessary volunteer hours to have a financial impact, parent participation would need to be made obligatory (staff excluded). There is a case to be made for making participation voluntary for full paying families while making financial aid grants conditional on participation. It is not unreasonable to ask the beneficiaries of financial aid to give a small amount of their time back to the school each year. However, in many schools, the perceived disparity would be a non-starter.

A little over ten years ago, the school I manage instituted such a program. We made participation obligatory for all families receiving tuition assistance and voluntary for all full-paying families. Staff was exempt. The results of the program are compelling. From a pool of approximately 200 parent volunteers, annual gross revenue raised totals on average $170,000 while annual costs savings total on average $30,000. The program’s methodology has been fine-tuned over the years so that today not only has it become a vital part of our operating budget, it takes a relatively small amount of time to administer.

Either way, undertaking and implementing such a program is a serious commitment. While the program is not difficult to manage once it is up and running, it can be somewhat time consuming to establish. In addition, there is no doubt that many parents will be less than happy with this new obligation. But by having the parents give back a minimum of one or two hours each month, the increase in revenue and cost savings can bring great financial relief to the school especially in these very difficult economic times.

Finally, it should be pointed out that this is only part of an overall solution. Schools need to adapt many of the best practices in corporate management in order to grow and thrive. Foremost is implementing strong and effective internal and financial controls and then training the staff with the knowledge to execute these controls properly. This should be done in conjunction with establishing proper governance and long-term strategic planning with active parent involvement.

The Divine Suha and Arafat’s Iconic Underwear

Monday, July 9th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/07/the-divine-suha-and-arafats-iconic-underwear/ As you may know, Suha Arafat, the widow of the Original Terrorist, went to al-Jazeera with a few pieces of Arafat’s clothing and claimed that she had kept them in a ‘secure room’ since his death in 2004.  After a “nine-month investigation,” al-Jazeera breathlessly reported that

…tests reveal that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. Those personal effects, which were analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

“I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” said Dr. Francois Bochud, the director of the institute.

The findings have led Suha Arafat, his widow, to ask the Palestinian Authority to exhume her late husband’s body from its grave in Ramallah. If tests show that Arafat’s bones contain high levels of polonium, it would be more conclusive proof that he was poisoned, doctors say.

Well. A sensation! The diabolical Zionists poisoned him after all!

The only problem is that Suha apparently majored in French haute couture, not physics. And the staff of al-Jazeera like a good story more than a reasonable one.

The half-life of Polonium-210 is 138 days. This means that after 8 years, only about 4.3 x 10-7 — 0.00000043 — of the original amount of Polonium would be left. So even if Arafat’s iconic underwear had been loaded with the stuff after his death, it would be undetectable, or at least at much lower levels than the Swiss laboratory found.

As Johnny Cochran would have pointed out, there is a problem with the chain of custody of the evidence.

What is more interesting is the half-life of the money that Suha extracted from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which of course is supported by the US and the European Union.

When Arafat died in November 2004, hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in his secret accounts went missing. Suha refused to release Arafat’s body for a week, until the PA agreed to pay her an adequate pension (estimates range from$12,000 to $100,000 monthly).

It’s doubtful that she needed it. Earlier that year, French prosecutors investigated $11.4 million of mysterious payments into her accounts:

The inquiry, disclosed by a satirical French weekly, Le Canard Enchaîné, and confirmed by unidentified judicial officials to The Associated Press, was opened in October after the Bank of France notified the Paris prosecutor’s office that Mrs. Arafat’s accounts at two banks in France had received relatively regular transfers of nearly $1.27 million each from Switzerland between July 2002 and September 2003. The newspaper also reported that about $2.5 million of the money had been diverted to an account of an interior decorating firm, Alberto Pinto.

The PA today is undergoing what it calls its “worst financial crisis” in three years, being unable to pay its employees. Most of these employees are part of its ‘security’ forces, who from time to time murder Israelis. Many of them are in Hamas-controlled Gaza, where they are either doing nothing or working for Hamas. Some are in Israeli prisons, having been convicted of crimes including multiple murder (they get paid anyway). And then there are the pensions paid to the widows of ‘martyrs’, suicide and otherwise.

Maybe Suha will make a donation?

IBM Haifa Developing Real-Time Shopping App

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

IBM in Haifa is developing a a new augmented-reality mobile shopping app to enable retailers to personalize customers’ shopping experiences from their smart phones and tablets.

The new app will allow users to scan store shelves to receive personalized product information, coupons, and recommendations as they shop.

The app will also allow users to customize their profiles according to factors that matter to them most – such as the cost, inclusion of an allergenic or undesired ingredient, or biodegradable packaging, and will provide prices, review, discounts, and even reviews by friends accessed through the user’s social networking memberships.

Haifa’s IBM Research lab aims to give in-store shoppers the same amount of real-time product details online shoppers have.

The app will also provide retailers with information about consumers, enabling them to better stay in touch with their likes and dislikes, and will help them build brand loyalty by providing coupons and membership benefits.

Austria Can Prepare to Close its Fund for Nazi Victims

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

The president of the Austrian parliament announced that the country can prepare to close its General Settle Fund for Victims of Nazi Socialism.

The independent body announced this week that it had completed its review of 20,702 claims applications in its 11 years of existence. Of these, 18,154 applicants were awarded compensation for 103,333 material claims, which were actually worth $1.5 billion.

About 56,000 claims or losses were not recognized because they did not meet the requirements for consideration.

But compared to the amount of Jewish-owned property stolen, confiscated or otherwise appropriated, the accomplishment is merely “a late gesture of reconciliation,” said Sir Franklin Berman, chair of the three-member Claims Committee.

Not more than 20 percent of the actual losses could be compensated with the $210 million available, said Berman, whose co-panelists are Jonathan Greenwald of the United States and Kurt Hofmann of Austria.

Nonetheless, “preparations for the closure of the General Settlement Fund can commence,” according to Barbara Prammer, president of the Austrian parliament.

The Claims Committee noted that outstanding issues include that in about 2,200 cases there is still the possibility of lodging an appeal or a petition for the reopening of proceedings. In addition, the Claims Committee is still seeking the heirs of approximately 1,000 applicants who died before receiving the closing payment from fund.

To locate the heirs, the fund is planning to work with the Austrian Pension Insurance Institution and Austrian embassies as well as to use social networking tools such as Facebook, a Claims Committee spokesperson told JTA.

J.E. Dyer: Implications of the New ‘Tax-Mandate’ in Obamacare

Friday, June 29th, 2012

So, this is how I understand the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare.  Congress wrote an individual mandate – to purchase approved health insurance – into the law.  President Obama spoke with great certainty of the provision being a mandate, and not a tax.  Congress didn’t write the mandate in words that would make it a tax.  The description of the provision doesn’t fit that of a tax.  The provision is that you are required to buy something from a commercial vendor – i.e., not send revenue to the government, which is the exact definition of what a tax does – and that you are required to do so if you fit a certain income or employment profile; if you don’t fit the profile, you aren’t required to make the purchase; but if you do fit the profile and fail to make the purchase, you will be fined.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided that that’s a tax.

This is what a tax now looks like?  This is an open invitation to “tax” via whatever mandate sounds good to you.  What sort of unequal-before-the-law mandate would not fit this definition of a tax?  Congress can do anything it wants, by the logic of this decision, with the judicial precedent set that levying mandates equals using the power to tax.

Let’s mandate that every adult in America with an income over $80,000 a year has to buy a Chevy Volt or pay a fine.  Make it a 5-year recurring requirement, with the vehicle selected according to the preferences of environmentalists and unions.  Use the IRS to gather the necessary data and enforce the requirement.  It’s just a tax – why not?

Why can’t Congress tell us the size of house we are allowed to buy, require us to buy it, and fine us if we don’t?  Congress would just be taxing us by doing this.  Why can’t Congress mandate that we pay for two weeks of vacation at the tourist hotspots approved by Congress, and fine us if we don’t?  Why can’t Congress order us to pay for college and fine us if we don’t?  Buy furniture, buy certain types or brands of food, use a certain minimum amount of electricity or natural gas; get tattoos, buy a minimum amount of clothing each year – or buy only a maximum amount of clothing, and use only a maximum amount of electricity or natural gas – why can’t Congress require any or all of these things via a Tax-Mandate?

This is a very serious question.  If nothing in the US Constitution or legal precedent can be held to stop Congress from levying an unequally applied health-insurance purchase mandate, then what could stop Congress from levying any other unequally applied purchase mandate?  The same things that would stop a lawn-care or makeup purchase mandate should have knocked down the health-insurance purchase mandate.

It is deeply saddening to see the torture of our law and our idea of law in this instance.  Congress did not, in fact, write a tax; Congress wrote and intended to write a mandate.  SCOTUS has done great harm by so dangerously enlarging the effective definition of a “tax” – and by assuming the privilege of telling Congress what Congress actually did when Congress meant to frame a mandate.  The difference between purchase “mandate” and “tax” is a very real one from every perspective of government and law, and SCOTUS has irresponsibly elided them.

I say the court did not have the constitutional power to do that.  For the purposes of enforcement and politics – in terms of their meaning to our lives – the two things are obviously different.  They are validly separate categories, and it is overriding reality and the common sense of the people to decide that the one is to be interpreted as the other – and will therefore be treated as the other in terms of Congress’s constitutional powers.

If this decision was to be made at all – that a mandate is a tax, and Congress is empowered accordingly – Congress should have made it.  This transformational decision about definitions and distinctions in the law wasn’t for the Supreme Court to make.  A better approach for the court would have been to accept that Congress intended to write a mandate, and rule – on the basis expressed in the majority opinion itself – that Congress doesn’t have that power.  The court could have added that if Congress wanted to write a tax, it could do so.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-implications-of-the-new-tax-mandate-in-obamacare/2012/06/29/

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