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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘board’

B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue Leaders Congratulate Palestine on UN Vote

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Remember the outpouring of Arab support when Israel declared its independence, back in 1948? No, you don’t, neither does anyone else. But we can certainly mark the unabashed joy of a New York City Upper West Side synagogue, after the UN hammered another nail in the simple pine box of the Zionist dream.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the leaders of the “Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, known for its charismatic rabbis, its energetic and highly musical worship, and its liberal stances on social causes,” had sent out an email last Friday to congregants, praising the UN vote that elevated the Palestinians to non-member state status.

“The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” said the email, signed by the B’nai Jeshurun’s three rabbis, cantor, board president and executive director. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this.”

Well, this begs for at least a minor correction: “we” did not gain independence in this way. Yes, the UN took a vote and approved a plan to divide the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea into areas that were populated by a majority of Jews and a majority of Arabs (Arab portion was bigger). But that vote didn’t get us our independence. The blood of 6 thousand Jews, fighting off invading Arab armies as well as local Arab terror gangs – that got us our independence.

Allan Ripp, a member, said he and his wife were appalled, the Times reported.

“We are just sort of in a state of shock,” Ripp said. “It’s not as if we don’t support a two-state solution, but to say with such a warm embrace — it is like a high-five to the P.L.O., and that has left us numb.”

But another congregant, Gil Kulick, told the Times he was “really delighted that they chose to take a strong unequivocal stand.”

The synagogue leaders wrote:

“As Jews deeply committed to the security and democracy of Israel, and in light of the violence this past month in Gaza and Israel, we hope that November 29, 2012 will mark the moment that brought about a needed sense of dignity and purpose to the Palestinian people, led to a cessation of violence and hastened the two state solution.”

“It’s very shocking to many of the congregants that this position was taken publicly and this e-mail was sent around,” Eve Birnbaum, a member of the congregation for about 15 years, told the Times, adding: “I am very dismayed, as a longstanding member of the synagogue, that the rabbis and the board would take a position that is contrary to what many members believe, contrary to the peace process.”

 

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Correction: The letter was signed by the board president, not the entire board as the article originally stated.

Why Bill Cosby is a Great Man

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Comedian Bill Cosby has had a monumental career in show business. From the very first time I heard his “Noah” routine, I never stopped laughing at his humor. What is so great about this man is that he knows the truth when he sees it and is not afraid to tell it like it is. He has in fact been criticized by some leaders of the black community for unfairly (according to them) speaking some of that truth.

But that isn’t the only reason he is great. About a year or two before he had his mega hit TV series in the 80s – the board of directors of Arie Crown Hebrew Day School had asked him to do a show for us as one of our fundraisers. He accepted. His fee was reasonable (and affordable for us) but he tacked on a condition that he could get out of his contract with us if something better came along. We agreed.

Shortly thereafter he received an offer to headline a show in Las Vegas that made it impossible for him to do a show for us in Chicago. He took it. But being the Mentch that he is, he promised us a show for next year at the same price.

Sure enough, one year later he gave us one of the funniest comedy performances I have ever attended. I don’t recall an audience laughing so many times or so hard. Arie Crown principal at the time, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, was doubled over with laughter. I don’t think I have ever seen him laugh so hard – before or since.

What was great about that show is that it did not contain any off color humor. Not even scatological humor. It was G rated and as funny as could be. Cosby is known for that. One might think that his standards are not our standards and that what he considered perfectly clean humor would be off color by our standards. Unfortunately Arie Crown had trusted other comedians’ promises to keep things clean. But to our dismay what was clean to them was off color to an Orthodox Jewish crowd.

Bill Cosby’s jokes were funny and clean by even our standards. The year after that comedy show, he went on to his mega successful series on NBC.

But that too is not all. I had never seen the video clip that is currently running on Aish. This was first broadcast on NBC way back in 1971 in an earlier TV series. It shows he truly understands anti-Semitism. And that he was not afraid to demonstrate what he saw as the cause of it on his own show. Thanks to Aish for finding this rare TV Clip and featuring it on their website.

Courtesy of Aish.com

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Ha’aretz Editor: “I Hate Israeli Settlers”

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

In an interview published on November 7 by Israel’s Globes online business magazine, Ha’aretz editorial board member Gideon Levy spoke frankly and openly about his “hatred” of Jews making their lives in Judea and Samaria.

“I have no problem being the most hated person in Israel,” Levy told Globes.  His newspaper has dedicated itself to bringing down the settlement enterprise in the biblical heartland, and consistently promotes policies which would decrease the size of Israel’s territory and empower local Arabs.

“I need another Intifada, or to write another book,” Levy told Globes.  He said it is “hard for me” when there is no upheaval in the day’s news, and said he loves action and danger.

Such is his distaste for religious Jewry in the biblical heartland, that he proudly declares his hate for Israel’s “settlers”.

“They don’t just bother me. I have feelings of hatred towards them,” Levi said. “They embarrass me, they humiliate me in the things they say and do, with their very existence.”

Levy has won several international and Israeli journalistic awards for his coverage on behalf of Palestinian rights.  He lives in Ramat Aviv with his Swedish long-time girlfriend, Catrin Ormestad.

UJA-Federation of NY Releasing $10 million in Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

UJA-Federation of New York released $10 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency relief aid to its network agencies and synagogues.

The agency made the funds available on Monday morning; its board of directors had decided unanimously to make the money available in a special session the previous evening.

“The emotional and economic impact, especially on the isolated elderly and the poor, is acute and will remain so for a long time,” the agency said in a statement Monday.

UJA-Federation had set up a Hurricane Sandy relief fund shortly after the storm hit on Oct. 29.

The week before Sandy struck the greater New York area, the federation raised a record $45 million at its annual campaign kickoff event.

The Importance Of Strong Management In Day Schools

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

One of the hottest topics across all spectrums in the Jewish community is the financial sustainability of Jewish day school education in America. Schools have invested a lot of time and resources to train their professionals in the art of fundraising, developing donor relationships, and launching effective capital campaigns. And there has been a concerted effort among Jewish educational organizations to establish programs to assist day schools in improving their governance and developmental practices.

In early 2011, the AVI CHAI Foundation, along with local foundations and federations in various Jewish communities, provided support to Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership (YUSP) to launch a broad-based program to improve growth and performance. The goal of the program was to collect data from a pool of approximately 35 schools and then use that data as a comparative benchmarking tool to identify opportunities for revenue enhancements and expense reductions at a minimum of 10 percent of their respective budgets. Collectively these schools have a budget of $225 million, so a 10 percent improvement translates to $22.5 million.

In addition, Torah Umesorah is scheduled to begin a training program to educate yeshiva day school executives in effective leadership and management skills, including an emphasis on board development and fundraising.

And the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) recently announced the launch of MATCH, for the fourth time since 2004. This program, which went into effect on August 1, is designed to strengthen Jewish day schools by broadening the community of donors. To accomplish this, the program provides first-time donors the opportunity to leverage a donation of $10,000 or more at a matching rate of 50 cents to the dollar, up to $50,000.

These approaches are highly innovative and have the potential to be successful and helpful to many schools. However, programs that focus on fundraising and development can only be effective if there are no cracks in the school’s administrative foundation. A ship can only set sail once there are no leaks in its hull; otherwise it will not get very far.

I know of a school that found itself in dispute with local storekeepers for thousands of dollars in merchandise. There was general confusion concerning what was purchased and what was owed. As is the case with many schools, principals and teachers would purchase goods on credit, often forgetting to submit the bill to the finance office. At other times, the stores would mail the invoice to the finance office, which was unaware a purchase had been made. The invoices would not be paid right away so the store would then fax in the invoice. Over time, no one knew what was ordered, what was actually received, or what was paid. Sometimes the same invoice would be paid twice, even three times.

All this could have been avoided had some simple and easy internal controls been in place. Ultimately, that is exactly what the school did. First, it authorized one person to do all the purchasing of goods and services for the school and put a strict ban on all staff from making any purchases on credit. A letter was then sent to local stores informing them of this new policy. Storeowners were warned that if they accepted a purchase on credit from anyone other than the school’s authorized purchaser, they would be sent a tax receipt for the “donation.” Faxes would no longer be accepted either. Payments would only be made from the original invoice.

A requisition form was also introduced for all purchases of goods and services. Approval from the executive director was required before any purchase was made. When goods arrived at the school, they were counted and matched to both the invoice and the approved purchase requisition form. The school’s administrators were surprised to see how many times the quantity of items stated on the invoice was greater than what was actually received. A lot of money was saved by catching these errors. Even the shopkeepers were happy when they started getting paid on time.

To be clear, there are a great number of schools that do operate at a very high level of competency. Their administrations take seriously their fiduciary duty to parents and donors to operate their schools in the most professional and financially efficient manner. They have their finance offices humming along like well-oiled machines and their lay leadership is to be commended. For these schools, the YUSP benchmarking and strategic planning program, as well as other pioneering programs, would not only work but could ensure their viability and sustainability for decades to come.

Israel’s Elbit Wins $17.5 Million Boeing Contract

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Defense electronics manufacturer and integrator Elbit Systems of America, established and based in Haifa, has announced that it has won a $17.5 million contract to redesign and upgrade the Apache Longbow (AH-64D Block III) mission processor for the Boeing Company.

According to a report by Globes online business magazine, the upgrades will enable Apaches to network and conduct on-board computing processes, and will take 5 years to complete.

No Humanitarian Supplies Found On Board ‘Estelle,’ Entire Effort Was a Provocation

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Hours after the Israeli Navy took over, without violent resistance, the ship “Estelle” which sought to reach Gaza to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip – on Saturday night was moored in the port of Ashdod.

Israel is seeking the expulsion Sunday night via an expedited procedure of 27 foreign activists who were on board, while three Israeli activists were delivered to the Ashdod police on suspicion of attempting entry to an area barred by military. The three are expected to be remanded to their cells while police investigation continues..

A military source told Walla that, following an extensive search of the “Estelle,” no humanitarian supplies were found, which were supposedly being delivered to the people of Gaza. “This is a provocation that could have been prevented if they had passed the humanitarian supplies through legal crossings,” said the source.

Navy vessels took over the boat in the morning hours Saturday, while it was just 15 nautical miles from the Gaza coast. Ship activists, including Swedish civilians, past and present European members of parliament, and leftist activists Dror Feiler and Jonathan Shapiro, said that the ship was surrounded by Israeli forces in the morning, and, after a few hours, masked soldiers came were on board.

According to the IDF Spokesperson’s office: “Despite numerous calls to the passengers onboard, they remained unwilling to cooperate with Israeli authorities. After the passengers ignored calls to change course, the decision was made to board the vessel and lead it to the port of Ashdod.”

The statement continued: “The Israeli Navy soldiers operated as planned and took every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers. After the boarding of the vessel by IDF soldiers, who did not use force, the passengers were attended to and offered food and beverages.”

“The real criminal offenses have been made by those who kidnapped people in international waters and not by the activists,” said attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents the flotilla activists. “So it’s hard for me to believe that there are any grounds for an indictment, but on the contrary – there’s a civil case against the IDF. This was an illegal detention and we demand the release of all the activists immediately. Every attempt to stop the activists will be considered an act of intimidation to keep them from continuing their activities.”

She added: “It is puzzling to me that someone who himself is violating international law by taking over the ship outside of Israel’s territorial waters, is demanding to prosecute [my clients].”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the takeover and said that “even the people who were on the ship knew there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and their only goal was to create a provocation and to slander Israel.”

Netanyahu concluded: “If human rights were really important to them, they would be sailing to Syria. We will continue to protect our borders with intensity and determination.”

 

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/no-humanitarian-supplies-found-on-board-estelle-entire-effort-was-a-provocation/2012/10/21/

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