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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘york’

Questions Surround New Kosher Food Booth At New York State Fair

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

SYRACUSE, NY – The Great New York State Fair opened for its 175th year last week and for the first time it features a kosher food booth.

Catering by The Oaks, a Syracuse-based food service run by the Sodexo company, is the vendor serving an all-dairy menu including deep-fried potato knishes ($4), deep-fried apple or cheese blintzes coated with cinnamon and brown sugar or drizzled with strawberry topping and powdered sugar ($4), deep-fried matzah balls ($4), as well as bagel and lox sandwiches ($6).

For those favoring a healthier option, the knishes and blintzes can be ordered as a baked selection, and gluten-free citrus salmon lettuce wraps ($10) and chopped Israeli salad ($2) will be part of the menu as well.

The concessionaire said the pricing is in line with non-kosher fair food.

“What we did was take the cost of the product, the fees and expenses that we pay for being at the fair, and what is in line for what the market is,” said Jarrod Charsky, general manager of Sodexo and The Oaks in Syracuse. “I can tell you our price point is probably lower than our competitors at the New York State Fair. We want to make it where everyone can try the food…. we want to make it exciting, we want to make it where everyone will want to try this. We want to go on the theme of deep-fried fun food for people who are willing to try new things.

“When I designed this menu I wanted to add to the fun and add to the fair theme. Deep-fried is always a great thing at the fair. Everyone always loves deep-fried stuff, kind of like a nice little carnival menu.”

According to people involved with setting up the kosher kiosk, which is shomer Shabbos, the contract apparently was selected by the acting state fair director and the director of the concessions and exhibits office at the fair. But is the size of the contract large enough that it should have been offered for competitive bidding?

Rabbi Aaron Metzger, director of kosher law enforcement for the state, said he could not comment without agency officials providing approval. Agency officials declined to make Rabbi Metzger available to comment for this story.

“I was contacted by a representative from the governor’s office about three or four months ago to see if we could make it happen and I spoke to the caterer that does the catering at Menorah Park, which is Sodexo,” Rabbi Evan Shore, spiritual leader at Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse and mashgiach for the kosher kiosk, told The Jewish Press.

“I asked them if they were interested. We then met with the acting state fair director and after some back and forth they went back to Menorah Park, a senior citizens home, and they contracted out to Sodexo as their caterer.”

Charsky agrees with Rabbi Shore’s recollection. Rabbi Metzger, he said, “approached our rabbi [Evan Shore] and then our rabbi came to us [Sodexo] and he said I think this will be a wonderful thing because we’re the only kosher caterer in Central New York. Rabbi Metzger put us together with [state fair officials].”

One obstacle the concessionaire has to contend with is that the kiosk’s food is chalav stam rather than chalav Yisrael, which means a number of Orthodox fairgoers have to bring their own food.

“The Oaks serves chalav stam at its Menorah Park facility,” said Rabbi Shore. “That is why the fair [is] chalav stam.”

The kosher food booth is not located in the International Food Pavilion but rather in the Horticulture Building on the fair’s 375-acre grounds. This is just feet away from where Chabad-Lubavitch of Central New York has a bustling education booth where Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport and his son put tefillin on fairgoers and hand out pamphlets about Judaism.

Asked by The Jewish Press about the chalav stam situation, Rabbi Rapoport chose not to directly respond.

“I’m not commenting,” he said. “I’m not involved with it and I have no comment to make on it.”

In an effort to determine whether the venue comes under competitive bidding stipulations, we pressed for a Request for Proposal (RFP) and were instructed by state fair officials to file a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request in order to receive the information. (The state fair is run by the Department of Agriculture and Markets.)

We received the following response:

“The Department of Agriculture and Markets acknowledges receipt of your recent Freedom of Information request for the RFP for a kosher vendor, all responses to the RFP and the submitted application, the application by The Oaks@Menorah Park and the acceptance letter by the state fair,” wrote Rick Arnold, the records access officer for Agriculture and Markets. “I am also looking for the financial arrangement between the state fair and The Oaks.

“The Department is in the process of searching for and obtaining these records. Once the records are reviewed, a determination as to the extent to which these records may be released will be made as soon as possible, at which time you will receive copies of the requested records after payment for copying costs, if any, is received. If one or more records will be withheld or withheld in part, a statement explaining the reason(s) for denial of the release will be provided.”

The agency has until September 12 to respond to the FOIL request. The fair runs until September 5, so an answer is likely to be forthcoming after the fair closes.

Other potential vendors that have expressed interest in bidding for the concession include Teaneck, New Jersey-based Five Star Caterers; Jonathan Katz, owner of Queens-based Kosher Sports, which operates the kosher food concession at Citi Field; and Strikly Kosher, Inc., which manages kosher vending operations at several sports venues including Yankee Stadium.

Marc Gronich

Endorsements For The September 13 New York State Primary Elections

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

New York State Assembly

Pam Harris in the 46th AD, which encompasses portions of Sea Gate, Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, and Bath Beach in Brooklyn.

Alice Cancel in the 65th AD, which encompasses portions of the Lower East Side, Wall Street district, and Battery Park City in Manhattan.

Walter T. Mosley in the 57th AD, which encompasses portions of Crown Heights, Prospect Park, and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. Mr. Mosley is also running for the district leader position in the same district.


New York State District Leader/State Committee Person

Darlene Mealy for New York State district leader in the 55th Assembly District, which encompasses portions of Crown Heights, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill in Brooklyn. She is also the City Councilmember for the 41st council district.


Civil Court Judge

Rachel (Ruchy) E. Freier for civil court in the 5th Municipal District in Brooklyn, which encompasses Boro Park, Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Bensonhurst, Kensington, Sunset Park, and Flatbush.

Connie M. Melendez for Kings County Civil Court, countywide, encompassing all of Brooklyn.

Editorial Board

Israel’s Wix Teams Up with New York Yankees in Sponsorship Deal

Monday, August 29th, 2016

By Anav Silverman/TPS

An Israeli cloud-based web development platform announced last week a sports sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. Wix, headquartered in Tel Aviv, will be the official website design partner for the New York Yankees during their 2016 baseball season.

Founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan, Wix provides a free website building platform with a wide range of tools and features, which are utilized by over 90 million users in 190 countries. Wix has offices in Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Francisco, Berlin, Beer Sheva, and the Ukraine.

The New York Yankees is not the Israeli company’s first sports sponsorship deal. Half a year ago, following a sponsorship deal with the City Football Group (CFG), Wix became the official website design and hosting partner of CFG’s Manchester City Football Club in the UK. In light of their team sponsorship with Manchester City and two successful Super Bowl advertisements, Wix set its sights on the New York Yankees.

“We wanted to see how we could expand our activities in the United States and looked at different NFL and MLB teams,” Wix CMO, Omer Shai told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

“We saw that the New York Yankees had a very engaged fan base and we wanted to work with that,” said Shai, who noted that through web and social media platforms, Wix finds innovative ways for sports clubs and teams to engage with fans.

“We are very excited to begin our relationship with Wix as the “Official Website Design Partner,” said Michael J. Tusiani, New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales & Sponsorships. “Wix is offering our fans, worldwide, an innovative way to exhibit passion for the team through its unique website design and mobile platforms.”

“We also look forward to working with Wix to strengthen its already established global brand,” said Tusiani.

As part of the sponsorship deal with the New York Yankees, Wix is campaigning to locate the number one New York Yankees fan, asking die hard fans to post a video showing their Yankee pride with the hashtag #BiggestYankeesFan to Wix’s Facebook page by September 5. Among the many videos posted so far, one Yankees fan demonstrated her team spirit by baking blueberry, lemon, and coffee cream pies in homage to different Yankee players, while another fan covered his entire kitchen with classic Yankee pinstripes.

The winner of the Wix video contest will be introduced to fellow fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, September 13 when the Yankees host the Los Angeles Dodgers, and will have the opportunity to build a personal fan page with the help of Wix under the domain, thebiggestyankeesfan.com.

Shai told TPS that he believes Wix is the first Israeli company to work with a Major League Baseball team. “It’s amazing to see what can be done with the passion of sports,” he said.

“Sports unite not only fans but entire cities and a global community,” pointed out Shai. “The strength of the bond lies in the team’s ability to deliver results, and fans in turn respond with love and loyalty. We applaud and admire the passionate, creative and voracious fandom and can’t wait to celebrate at the greatest address in sports.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Endorsements For The September 13 New York State Primary Elections

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

It is imperative for Brooklyn readers to not only vote in the upcoming primary elections but to get family, friends, and neighbors to vote as well.

Most of the candidates The Jewish Press endorses below are being challenged by candidates politically beholden to Councilman Charles Barron, who is notorious for making grossly anti-Semitic comments and who has been condemned for them by no fewer than 12 independent communal groups.

We cannot stand by and allow his influence to grow. The candidates we have endorsed are capable, bright, personable, and enthusiastic, and have shown they work well with the Jewish community and all the many other ethnic and religious communities that comprise or will comprise their districts.

In the coming weeks we will be meeting with other candidates running for elected office and more endorsements will follow.


New York State Senate

Roxanne Persaud for New York State Senate in the 19th Senate District which includes sections of Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Flatlands and Mill basin.
New York State Assembly

Tremaine Wright for New York State Assembly 56th Assembly District which includes sections of Crown Heights and Williamsburg.

Steve Cymbrowitz for New York State Assembly 45th Assembly District which includes sections of Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach.

Jamie Williams for New York State Assembly 59th Assembly District which includes sections of Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, and Canarsie.

State Committeeman/Woman/District Leader

Olanike Alabie for State Committeewoman/District Leader 57th Assembly District, which includes sections of Crown Heights, Prospect Park, and Clinton Hill.

Dilia Scach for State Committeewoman/District Leader 46th Assembly District, which includes sections of Sea Gate, Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, and Bath Beach.

Charles Ragusa for State Committeeman/District Leader 47th Assembly District, which includes sections of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Mapleton.

Sue Ann Partnow for State Committeewoman/District Leader 59th Assembly District, which includes sections of Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, and Canarsie.

Editorial Board

Graduation Gift: York Jewish Student Awarded £1,000 for Suffering from Anti-Semitism

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zachary Confino, 21, a Jewish third year Law student and president of the Union of Jewish Students at York University in the UK, received an apology and payment of £1,000 from the University of York Students’ Union after two years of battling anti-Semitism from students while studying at the university, The Telegraph reported.

Although the nature of the anti-Semitic abuse is not specified in the apology, the report says that “It is understood that Mr Confino, who narrowly missed out on a first class degree and had suffered with stress, had been racially abused and bullied.”

A spokesperson for the University of York said in a statement, “The University of York acted as mediator to resolve a long-running complaint brought by a student against the University of York Students’ Union. This involved an apology by the Students’ Union to the student and a token payment of £1,000.”

Joint statements had been signed with both the Jewish Society and the Islamic Society on campus.

Confino’s experience caught the attention of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who called on government to intervene to stop the rise of “poisonous hate” on campuses. In a letter to Confino, Lord Williams said he had written to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, because of the “muted” official response so far to rising anti-Semitic behavior. Williams described anti-Semitic incidents in a growing number of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and York.

Williams added: “Anyone concerned (as I am) about Islamophobia here and elsewhere needs to be scrupulously alert to the risk of scapegoating and demonizing other religious communities, especially Jews; and anyone with even the least bit of historical sense ought to hear the echoes of past bigotry and violence towards Jewish people in Europe.”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury also said he was “dispirited” by the failure of Christian chaplains at York to support Mr Confino. “You’d expect a more simply empathetic engagement,” he wrote.

Zachary reported that one York student posting on Facebook compared Israelis to Nazis, but when he raised this with the Students Union, he was told that there was nothing the Union could do. Zachary says he has received hateful anonymous messages online, as have other Jewish students. One message said, “Hitler was onto something.” He has been called a “Stupid Israeli [expletive]” and a “Jewish [expletive].”

Zachary told The Tab that the attacks on him escalated about five months ago, after he had launched a campaign against a play put on by the Palestinian Solidarity Society. According to Zachary, his communications with the Students Union bordered on the absurd: “We entered into a debate on what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism with people who clearly don’t understand what Jewish hate is,” he said. “It’s adding insult to injury. I’m experiencing anti-Semitism and then getting told it isn’t anti-Semitism.”


New York Is Right To ‘Counter-Boycott’ Anti-Israel Boycotters

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Pundits and commentators Sunday proclaimed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order “unconstitutional” and “McCarthyite.” Such verdicts are wrong, and somewhat ironic given the McCarthyite aspects of the BDS movement itself.

The executive order Cuomo signed Sunday declaring a New York State counter-boycott against businesses that single out Israel for commercial, artistic, academic, and cultural boycott, divestment and sanctions sends a strong message that New York stands opposed to the broader campaign to delegitimize, demonize, and discriminate against the nation state of the Jewish people, and to efforts that undermine any reasonable prospect of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel is far from perfect—and I and other supporters of Israel have been critical of its flaws—but it has internal mechanisms for addressing its imperfections. There is no legitimate reason for singling it out for the kind of external discrimination represented by BDS.

It is important to understand that there is no such thing as a generalized BDS movement. If there were, it would target first the worst human rights offenders and those regimes which permit no dissent or access to justice. But the so-called BDS movement does not target Iran, China, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Cuba or other such offenders (indeed many advocates seek to increase ties with Iran, Cuba, and China despite their horrid record on human rights). The BDS campaign that is the object of Cuomo’s executive order targets only one nation: the democratic nation state of Israel which, despite being subjected to terrorist attacks virtually on a daily basis, has a free press and an independent judiciary. No country faced with comparable threats has had a better record on human rights, compliance with the rule of law, and of efforts to reduce civilian casualties in armed conflicts.

Israel has also offered to end the occupation—as it did in Gaza—on numerous occasions in exchange for peace based on a two-state solution, but those offers have not been accepted by the Palestinian leadership, or by hardliners like Omar Bargouti, one of the leaders of BDS, who declared “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”

One of BDS’s core components—the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (“PACBI”)—encourages participants to disassociate from Israeli cultural, artistic, and scientific institutions—and to blacklist individuals who are deemed too supportive of Israel. I recently learned that I feature on this blacklist when Omar Barghouti refused to debate me in front of the Oxford Union.

The PACBI guidelines endorse boycotting individuals who cross the BDS “picket lines” by cooperating with Israeli academic institutions or blacklisted individuals. They also encourage the boycott of all cultural and academic institutions or artists that promote “Brand Israel,” including for example the singer Matisyahu. Even more egregiously, PACBI calls for the boycott of institutions that promote “normalization projects” which do not sufficiently emphasize the injustice of the occupation, even if those projects aim for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and reconciliation. The BDS movement also implicitly opposes a two state solution by explicitly endorsing the so-called Palestinian right of return, which would in effect unwind nearly 40 years of negotiations, and destroy Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

In short, BDS is an anti-Israel and anti-peace tactic with which New York State should refuse to be complicit, and which thoroughly merits targeting by counter-boycott measures such as those passed in over a dozen states across the country, also including California and Florida.

If properly interpreted and enforced, Cuomo’s executive action would not undermine freedom of speech. The law would only impact those companies that refuse to do business with Israeli or pro-Israeli institutions and individuals. BDS activists would still be free to advocate bigotry—and that’s what singling out the nation state of the Jewish people for boycott is—in the marketplace of ideas. But in much the same way that businesses today are not allowed to refuse to serve someone because of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion, so too would businesses that engage in BDS activities face economic consequences for discriminating on the grounds of nationality or political expression.

In some ways, Governor Cuomo’s anti-BDS executive action mirrors those of several states which refused to do business with North Carolina when that state passed legislation that discriminated against the LGBTQ community. It also emulates the counter boycotts of the 1930s against the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Moreover—and contrary to the shrill claims of the pro-BDS punditry—there is longstanding precedent for anti-boycott regulations. Since the mid 1970s, for example, the U.S. has enforced a number of anti-boycott laws through the Export Administration Act (“EAA”) and the Executive Administration Regulations (“EAR”). Among other provisions, the EAA and EAR penalize individuals and companies that participate in boycotts based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality. They have been repeatedly applied to companies participating in the now-defunct Arab League boycott of Israel, and to boycotts targeting other U.S. allies.

To call such regulations McCarthyite is to insult the victims of real McCarthyism who were punished for their ideas, speeches, and associations, not for their actions in refusing to do business based on national origin. Yes, there will be a list of companies that discriminate against Israel, just as there are lists today of store and building owners who refuse to do business with, for example, African-Americans, LGBTQ, or Muslims. There will have to be proof that a business engaged in a discriminatory boycott by singling out Israeli entities, or individuals based on their national origin, or political convictions, and a process for challenging inclusion on any list.

The only McCarthyist blacklist is that which has been complied by BDS enforcers—a list I am proud to be on—of supporters of Israel and of those who seek to “normalize” relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

To be clear: Governor Cuomo’s executive order should go no further than this. No one, not even the most rabid BDS-activist should face legal recriminations for expressing an opinion that is supportive of BDS, or for encouraging others to participate in BDS activities. Political speech—even bigoted, misguided political speech—is clearly protected by the constitution. I am confident that New York State officials and courts will construe the governor’s order to apply only to discriminatory business activities and not to speech or advocacy.

So applied, Governor Cuomo’s counter boycott will promote political, artistic, and cultural freedoms by imposing economic sanctions on those BDS bigots who are seeking to suppress such freedoms by discriminating against Israeli, and pro-Israeli advocates, artists, cultural figures, and businesses.

Alan M. Dershowitz

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.

Rabbi Akiva Males

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/remembering-a-communitys-selfless-response-to-hurricane-sandy/2013/08/29/

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