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July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

New York, Pennsylvania Sukkahs Top ‘Sukkathon’ Competition

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in 'Sukkathon'

Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in ‘Sukkathon’

Three sukkahs, two in the United States and one in Israel, will share the title of “Number One Sukkah” as the winners of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s first Sukkathon competition.

The three winners are the sukkah at Terrace at the Glen, an assisted living facility in Queensbury, New York; the Schachter family sukkah in Pennsylvania; and the sukkah of the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

“We are starting a New Year and these olim (immigrant) children represent the real hope in this country,” said competition judge Betina Schnaid, an artist who made aliyah from Brazil. “I wish for them to be happy in Israel for many years, and that each one give the best of themselves to improve this country and that the ceiling gets higher over the time and that they will have their own families in Israel. The sky is the limit for these beautiful olim!”

 

Remembering a Community’s Selfless Response to Hurricane Sandy

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

With the coming of the New Year I can’t help but think of the past year’s highlights. While many memorable events occurred in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Jewish community in 5773, one in particular stands out for me: our response to Hurricane (later named Superstorm) Sandy.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy pounded America’s East Coast. Numerous communities in New York and New Jersey were devastated by flooding. Although Harrisburg experienced strong winds and heavy rains we were, thankfully, spared the fury of our temperamental Susquehanna River.

Our feelings of relief, however, were cut short when we learned just how badly other communities had fared. We soon heard of Jewish communities whose very infrastructure – schools, synagogues and homes – had been destroyed by the storm. To make matters worse, many of the areas most affected by Sandy were left without power for weeks after the storm.

Very quickly, Jewish relief organizations sprang into action to assist those who had lost everything. News stories abounded about ad-hoc aid centers, soup kitchens, and food and clothing distribution points that had been set up in Jewish day schools and synagogues.

It did not take long before Harrisburg’s diverse Jewish community found itself directly involved in the relief effort.

In a short span of time our shul, Kesher Israel Congregation, raised and distributed thousands of dollars to help fund those relief organizations actively assisting families most affected by Sandy.

The teens of the local Jewish Federation’s Bnei Tzedek group collected an incredible amount of canned goods, batteries and flashlights for Jewish families left without power in the Far Rockaway section of New York.

The Federation here also organized a clothing drive to help families of all backgrounds left without belongings in Sandy’s wake.

Perhaps most impressive, however, was our community’s rapidly assembled relief mission to Staten Island, New York.

In a wonderful statement of unity, a group of volunteers spanning Jewish Harrisburg (and beyond) spent Wednesday, November 14 in Staten Island helping hurricane victims in a hands-on fashion. Starting at 4:30 a.m. our group met at our JCC to load our bus with an abundance of supplies and clothing our community had donated for the hurricane victims.

Our group of relief volunteers represented the diverse nature of Harrisburg’s Jewish community. From an excited bunch of 7th graders in our local Jewish day school to a hard-working volunteer in his eighties, our group also spanned all ages. Once in Staten Island, we worked through the Young Israel, which had become one of the command centers assisting area residents hit by the storm.

In the days following Sandy, families of all religions, backgrounds and circumstances who had been devastated by the storm reached out to the synagogue for assistance. Upon our arrival we handed off our collected goods and the synagogue’s relief coordinator found appropriate jobs for each member of our group. In one way we all put in a hard day’s work assisting families, both Jewish and non-Jewish, whose homes had sustained damage ranging from flooded basements all the way to total loss. As a result of our efforts, Harrisburg’s Jewish community gained national attention.

What prompted our relatively small Jewish community out in Central Pennsylvania to be so generous with funds, resources and time? While a number of factors certainly played a role, I believe there is one that cannot be ignored.

The Jews of Harrisburg can honestly identify and sympathize with flood-stricken families, synagogues, and schools. As Harrisburg is nestled along the banks of the Susquehanna River, we know all too well what it means to suffer the effects of a hurricane. Having been through something of this nature on several occasions (my congregants report that the worst was Hurricane Agnes of 1972), our collective reaction was that of understanding, empathy and a sincere wish to be part of the relief effort.

In the months since Hurricane Sandy I have received many thank-you notes from people who were assisted by our community. I would venture to say, however, that those of us who did our best to help others in their time of need were ourselves, on a different level to be sure, very real beneficiaries of that relief effort.

Pennsylvania Jihadist Gets 102 Months

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Emerson Winfield Begolly, 24, of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Tuesday in Pittsburgh to 102 months in prison for soliciting others to engage in acts of terrorism within the United States and for using a firearm during and in relation to an assault on FBI agents.

In addition, he was sentenced to serve five years’ supervised release. Begolly pleaded guilty August 9, 2011, to charges filed in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Pennsylvania.

According to information presented by the government in court, Begolly was an active administrator on the Ansar al Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), which is an internationally used Islamic extremist Internet forum. Using the pseudonym of Abu Nancy, Begolly systematically solicited jihadists to use firearms, explosives, and propane tanks against targets such as police stations, post offices, Jewish schools and daycare centers, military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers, and water plants.

In the summer of 2010, Begolly urged jihadists on the AMEF to “write their legacy in blood.” Begolly promised a special place in the afterlife for violent action in the name of Allah. Following the reported shootings in Northern Virginia at the Pentagon and the Marine Corps Museum in October 2010, Begolly posted a comment online that praised the shootings and hoped the shooter had followed his previous postings encouraging similar acts of violence. On December 28, 2010, Begolly further solicited his AMEF audience to violence by posting a manual on how to manufacture a bomb.

Days later, on January 4, 2011, FBI agents were assaulted by Begolly as they attempted to prevent him from reaching a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, which he had concealed on his body. While violently struggling with the agents, Begolly bit the agents on their fingers in an attempt to free himself to reach his firearm. His actions are consistent with a posting in which he urged his audience not to be taken alive by law enforcement, to always carry a loaded firearm, and to aggressively resist any law enforcement encounter including biting fingers if necessary.

The sentence was announced by David J. Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania; Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Gary Perdue, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Division.

“Emerson Begolly used the Internet to solicit like-minded radical jihadists to commit atrocities and murder,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “Through effective use of court-sanctioned investigative tools, mass tragedy was averted.”

“We now find ourselves in an era where one of the greatest innovations of the modern era—the Internet—is being utilized by radical jihadists who seek to use that medium to endanger American lives,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Those like Mr. Begolly who solicit others to engage in acts of terrorism will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of law.”

“This case highlights the need for continued vigilance against homegrown extremism and use of the Internet to incite violence,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors whose work resulted in today’s sentence.”

“Today’s sentence is the result of the effective coordination and enduring resolve of law enforcement to protect our citizens,” said Assistant Director Parlave. “Together with our partners, we will continue to work to combat the threat of violent homegrown extremism and keep our country safe.”

“The case against Mr. Begolly is an important reminder that online-inspired terrorism can occur anywhere, including Western Pennsylvania. Our efforts to detect and disrupt this threat are enduring,” said Special Agent in Charge Perdue. “The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, will continue to proactively employ all necessary resources in order to predict and prevent terrorist attacks from occurring and to ensure the ongoing safety of our communities.”

Empire Kosher Fined for Environmental Violations

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Empire Kosher Poultry was fined $99,000 by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection for repeat violations dating back to 2008.

The infractions at America’s largest kosher poultry producer, which has its plant in Mifflintown, Pa., included chemical spills, discharge of untreated industrial wastewater into the nearby Juniata River, improper storage of solid waste and a lack of reporting to state authorities of some unauthorized discharges.

For example, a state inspection on March 15 revealed an unreported industrial wastewater spill that an Empire employee said was from the chicken de-skinning operation area. Inspectors found a wastewater manhole that overflowed to the ground and into a storm water conveyance system, spilling chicken skin and fat into the areas.

The earliest citation, in May 2008, faulted Empire for having dysfunctional dissolved-air-flotation machines, not maintaining proper records, failing to provide secondary containment around storage containers in the feather pit, and having chemical spills and process waste in the feather pit.

On May 28, Empire agreed to pay fines totaling $99,000. Approximately $15,000 was paid to Pennsylvania’s Solid Waste Abatement Fund and another $84,000 will go to the state’s Clean Water Fund over a period of about five months.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/empire-kosher-fined-for-environmental-violations/2013/06/06/

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