Accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership.
posted by jewishwhistleblower @ 11:43 AM
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=10324Special-Needs Camp Torn By Conflict Former HASC director alleged to have misused funds plans to sue board for severance. Gary Rosenblatt - Editor And Publisher New York Jewish WeekDecember 31, 2004About a year ago, amid allegations of financial improprieties on his part, Bernard Moshe Kahn of Brooklyn quietly resigned as the top executive of HASC, the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, which operates a highly praised Catskills summer camp and other services. Sources close to the institution say that a special audit of the charity’s records found that over the past few years Kahn used well over $1 million in funds from the government-supported charitable organization for personal and other improper expenses, including lavish spending, like a sheva brachot wedding party for his daughter, maintaining a previously unknown HASC bank account, and keeping no-show employees on the payroll. As a result, sources say, he was forced to step down after more than three decades of involvement with the Parkville, N.Y., institution his family founded and he directed. “Even when he was given the benefit of the doubt” over every questionable transaction, when interviewed by the “forensic accountant” and executive board members, it was determined that Kahn had expended “at least $1.4 million,” one insider said, adding that “that was only going back less than 10 years.” Now sources are angered that not only has Kahn not made restitution to the charity, as was discussed, he is planning to take its board of directors to a din Torah, rabbinical hearing, presumably seeking severance compensation. The move by Kahn signifies the latest round in a controversy that has become increasingly known in, and deeply upsetting to, segments of the Orthodox community. Some of its leaders are torn between making the issue public to punish those they hold responsible for improper behavior and keeping it quiet to ensure the continuation of an annual summer camp program that provides services for more than 300 physically and mentally handicapped children and adults. The fact that Kahn may have halachic grounds for compensation, according to some rabbinic sources who contend his actions were illegal and unethical, is yet another troubling aspect of this complex and unusual case. Kahn did not return phone calls seeking comment. In a previous conversation, Franklyn Snitow, HASC’s attorney, denied the allegations against Kahn and said the former director resigned over “a difference in management style.” Snitow confirmed this week that Kahn plans to take the board of directors to a din Torah and said he had no further comment on what led to the resignation. What emerges from extensive interviews with rabbis, communal leaders, current and former top staffers, and those closely involved with the workings of the board of directors — virtually all of whom insisted on anonymity — is an agonizing conflict for those who are close to the camp and deeply supportive of its work. They believe the program is being held hostage, in effect, by members of the Kahn family who are said to feel a sense of entitlement to its operation and its finances. Samuel Kahn, Bernard’s brother, has now replaced him as director, and though those close to the case believe he himself was not involved in the misuse of funds, some say he may have been aware of what transpired. In addition, he already has a full-time job heading the adult homes and other services operated by HASC Center. (On Tuesday it was learned that the Kahn brothers’ father, Rabbi Mordechai Kahn, founder of HASC, died, and funeral services were being held that day in Brooklyn.) Earlier this month, most of the top staff of the camp, frustrated and angered over Samuel Kahn’s insistence on heading the camp program and refusal to re-hire their highly respected peer, Rabbi David Plotkin, as director, resigned after taking their case to the board, which voted against them and in support of Kahn. Even some of those who agreed to come back to camp say they are only doing so for the good of the clientele, and are also deeply upset with how the situation has deteriorated. The choice was agonizing, the formerly close-knit camp team members say. Each felt he or she was doing what was best for the camp program, but there is acknowledgement now that a growing bitterness is the result of the rift over whether or not to return to camp. “Enough is enough,” said one member who decided to leave. “We tried to get the board to understand the situation but they refused, so it was time to go.” “We’ll be working for an immoral agency,” one employee who chose to come back said, but “we felt that the alternative” — no summer program for hundreds of desperately needy children and adults — “was worse.” Like everyone else interviewed, the employee expressed a sense of inevitability about the story becoming public, but had mixed feelings about whether that would have a positive result. Paramount for most people was the continuation of the programming offered by Camp HASC, sometimes described as one of the jewels of the Orthodox community. Samuel Kahn declined to speak to The Jewish Week, referring calls to Snitow, the HASC attorney. The Camp HASC board has 11 members, several of whom are said to have proclaimed that their allegiance to the Kahns supersedes all other priorities. Most of the board was selected many years ago by Bernard Kahn, who allegedly told associates that the best way to operate in such a situation was to set up a rubber-stamp board of friends and others who would not interfere with his plans. Several board members are said to feel indebted to Bernard Kahn because they have handicapped children who were clients in the program. One of the three men on the executive board, Barry Hertz, is an in-law of Samuel Kahn. Israel Werner, chairman of the board, told The Jewish Week that despite his title, he is “just a figure-head” and “not in control of the board.” He is said to be one of the few board members critical of the Kahn brothers’ management style. People close to the case suggest the financial allegations regarding Bernard Kahn must have been serious if he indeed was forced out of his top position by a board so devoted to him, and they say it makes his current effort to take the board to a din Torah all the more difficult for them to understand. Some insiders expressed dismay over why the board members, apparently aware of their fiduciary responsibility to a charitable organization, did not go to the authorities after Bernard Kahn’s financial dealings were made known to them. One board member resigned at the time. According to insiders, some of the others wanted to prevent a public embarrassment, some wanted to ignore the problems, and others thought they could rectify the situation from within. The few dissidents on the board may be waiting for the din Torah to bring out the information they have against Bernard Kahn. But they are worried that a halachic concept of entitlement for a family that founds an institution — even when it later becomes not-for-profit — may work in Kahn’s favor, citing cases involving several notable yeshivas where the founding rabbis were able to have their sons succeed them despite board complaints. What is agreed on by all is that the HASC summer program itself, which includes nearly 200 college-age counselors who give one-on-one, fulltime attention to the campers, is admirable. “The clientele would be the innocent victims if anything happened” to prevent the summer program from continuing, one staffer said. At this point, as camp officials scramble to fill key staff positions for next summer and prepare for the camp’s annual fund-raising concert, set for Jan. 9, there are charges that some board members are trying to silence critics from speaking out. Several top staffers who plan to return to the camp insist that the new staff being hired to replace those who resigned is first-rate, that the program itself may actually be improved, and that some of those who resigned did so for personal rather than ethical reasons of principle. “It’s hard to tell people’s motives when they are calling parents or potential counselors now and telling them not to come to camp,” one top staffer said. “Some of the people left for ethical reasons but some are trying to sabotage the program now, and that’s wrong, too. The program itself will be excellent, I’m sure.”
It's time for some audits.Council Lobbyists Spent $24.8M Last Year By DINA TEMPLE - RASTON Staff Reporter of the Sun May 20, 2004The New York SunLobbyists spent some $24.8 million last year to influence City Council members and other officials - nearly twice what lobbyists spent in 1998. Nearly half of all the money spent came from the pockets of the city's top 10 lobbying firms, according to the survey from the City Clerk's office. The biggest spender was Bolton St. Johns, a TriBeCa consulting firm with ties to the city's biggest municipal union, District Council 37. It represents such diverse interests as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, and the Wine Institute. Bolton St. Johns spent $1.86 million on its lobbying efforts in 2003, according to the report. Greenberg Traurig, which has a client list of real estate and management companies alongside the Schoolhouse Foundation, came in a close second, spending $1.8 million last year, the report said. Most people associate lobbying with pending legislation and spending priorities. Drug giant Pfizer, for example, would want to weigh in as the city mulls buying prescription drugs from Canada to bring down costs.Their lobbyist is Bolton St. John. Coca-Cola Enterprises, represented by Figliola, Carl and Associates, has more than a passing interest in the city's move toward expanding Snapple Beverages's exclusive distribution rights in city buildings. The clerk's report offers a peek at what various companies and associations are spending. The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, for example, spent $17,000 last year to sway lawmakers. DC-37, which reached a contract agreement with the city just last month, spent $120,000 in lobbying fees. The Greater New York Hospital Association spent $90,000 on lobbying last year, the report said. The Cigar Association of America, which was against Mayor Bloomberg's citywide smoking ban in restaurants and bars, seems to have given up on lobbying. It didn't spend anything at all on lobbying fees last year.
Writing was on the wall:New York Flunks Pork-Barrel Politics, Study Says Staff Reporters of the Sun April 9, 2003The New York SunWASHINGTON - New York's congressional delegation is doing a poor job of bringing home the bacon to its constituents, according to the annual "pig book," a study of federal pork-barrel spending. The study, compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, showed New York was 46th of the 50 states in federal pork-barrel spending, weighted for population. The Empire State received about $17 a person in federal spending that met the advocacy group's definition of pork, well below the national average of $34 a person, according to the report, to be released today. The nation's top pork consumer, Alaska, received about $610 a person. One of Alaska's senators is Ted Stevens, chairman of the appropriations committee, which plays a key role in dispensing the pork. Even as a relative laggard, New York state pulled in $331 million in federal funding for 2003 that the advocacy group identified as "pork," including $200,000 for research on rural obesity and $405,000 for construction of facilities for the Staten Island Soccer League. The soccer league's president didn't return a call for comment. "This is money that doesn't necessarily have to be spent," said the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, Thomas Schatz. He said some of the projects may have merit, but he said that most of them have bypassed parts of the federal budget process, like open competition or congressional hearings. "We object to the procedure by which these projects are added," he said. "They are not going through process." Among the other New York projects that the group labeled as "pork" were: * $4 million in "safety equipment" for the New York City Police Department and $1 million to equip a new police laboratory for the city. The New York Sun reported in November that the New York Police Foundation was about to hire a Democrat as a Washington lobbyist at $80,000 for a six-month period. The NYPD had no comment on the grants. * $500,000 for school library books for fourth and fifth-graders on Staten Island. In a press release announcing the funding, Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican from Staten Island, said, "one of the most important lessons we can teach our young people is the value of reading. Every time our children pick up a book instead of turning on the television or playing a video game, they are exercising their minds and nurturing a habit that will stay with them their whole lives." * $650,000 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the National Park Service to help with a $12 million project to renovate the museum's facade. A spokesman for the museum, Harold Holzer, called the grant "anything but pork-barrel money." He said the federal program was "designed to preserve historic buildings and elements of historical buildings, so it seems to us that it's hardly wasteful and extremely appropriate for the museum to participate in it." The museum got the grant with the assistance of a Washington lobbying firm called WHO Government Solutions, Mr. Holzer said. He said the work on the facade is necessary in part for safety reasons. * $200,250 to the Museum of Modern Art for expansion and renovation of its education and research center. The museum's director of communications, Kim Mitchell, said, "The MoMA building project, of which the Education and Research Center is an integral part, is currently contributing many important jobs to the city during this difficult economic period. In the long term, the center will provide a valuable educational resource for the museum's many audiences, from school children to scholars, locally, nationally, and around the world." * $135,000 to the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn for facilities construction. The museum's director of operations, Shalom Baumgarden, said the museum is "something long needed and long waited for," and that the idea for it has met with a positive response from local politicians and the public. * A$90,000 grant to the McBurney YMCA on W. 14th Street for facility construction. An executive of the Y didn't return a call seeking comment. * A $67,500 grant to the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in Brooklyn for renovation of a facility. A HASC executive didn't return a call seeking comment.
Hmmmm...Politition approves money to HASC, money goes to pockets of person behind HASC, money back to politician....HOW TO RAISE MONEY, JIM WALSH STYLE by Mark Libbon Washington Bureau September 23, 2002The Post-Standard Syracuse, NY Jim Walsh has come a long way from his first race for Syracuse Common Council in 1977, when he lured supporters to a fund-raiser with deviled eggs and kegs of beer at an American Legion hall and raised a grand total of $1,200. Today, after 25 years in politics and seven terms in Congress, someone else is making the hors d'oeuvres. "I have one fund-raiser now and I raise $50,000, easy," Walsh said recently in his Syracuse office. The stream of political money that washes over incumbents makes it easy to discourage foes, finance an effective campaign, support local organizations and give leftover money to the national party. Here's a guide to financing a campaign Walsh's way: Happy new year Begin the election year with an intimidating amount of cash on hand, say $375,000. "I don't want them to have a chance," Walsh said of potential challengers. "Make it as difficult as possible - that's part of it." Incumbency best policy It is possible to unseat a House incumbent, but only six out of 400 challengers managed to win in the 2000 elections. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found that the challengers in those six races spent an average of $1.97 million. As of Friday, the Democratic challenger in Walsh's district, Stephanie Aldersley of Rochester, had yet to report raising her first $5,000. "I beat two very popular incumbents in my career, so I don't have any sympathy for people who are running against incumbents," Walsh said. "It's hard work." The main events Walsh holds two fund-raisers a year at Danny Coleman's Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. He hires a company to send out invitations, collect the money and issue a report. Other times, lobbyists call and offer to put together a fund-raising dinner to benefit his campaign. "I don't spend hours dialing for dollars," he said. "And quite frankly, as a chairman you don't even need to make phone calls. People just come." Try to spare the locals Walsh said he prefers not to put the arm on local supporters unless he's in a tight race. "I can't justify going to them if I don't have a tough race and say "I need you to give me $1,000,"' he said. "I'd rather be able to do it in Washington. It's easier and it's less of a burden on Central New York." Walsh's last serious challenge came in 1996, when he spent $698,000 against Marty Mack's $333,000. Pack in PAC money More than half of Walsh's campaign contributions come from political action committees, the special-interest groups with an agenda to push on Capitol Hill. Each PAC may contribute up to $10,000 to a House candidate in a two-year cycle. PAC money tends to go to incumbents of both parties, reflecting seniority and committee assignments more than philosophy. "They give to incumbents, they give to appropriators, they give to high-ranking members of the important committees," said Rogan Kersh, a political science professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Since 1999, PACs have accounted for $660,000 of the total $1.1 million raised by Walsh's campaign committee. Agribusiness PACs were the leading industrial sector giving to Walsh, a member of the House appropriations subcommittee on agriculture. The union label Ninety percent of political contributions by unions go to Democrats, but Walsh in recent years has collected substantial sums from building and trade unions. In the past two election cycles, unions gave Walsh $77,000, placing them right behind agribusiness. "I tend to be a bricks-and-mortar guy," Walsh said. "I'm looking to build." Out-of-state checks Before he became chairman of a major House appropriations subcommittee, about 10 percent of Walsh's individual contributions of $200 or more came from outside New York state. Since 1999, out- of-state checks have made up nearly 40 percent. Most of that comes from Washington-based lawyers and lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Other checks reflect specific interests. On May 18, 1999, the Walsh campaign recorded a bundle of contributions totaling $10,000 from 21 utility contractors. Walsh's House subcommittee oversees the fund that provides money to build wastewater treatment facilities. On June 30, 1999, the campaign got $8,000 from seven people associated with the downstate Hebrew Academy for Special Children, which has received more than $1 million in grants from Walsh's subcommittee. Cultivate a local club Walsh's most loyal local supporters are members of his Congressional Club, a group that makes annual contributions of various amounts to the campaign committee. Club members are invited to events such as receptions or luncheons featuring visiting dignitaries. Christine Whitman of the Environmental Protection Agency, House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts and Housing Secretary Mel Martinez have all met with the Congressional Club. Walsh's campaign continues to solicit smaller donations of less than $200, but is not required to itemize those contributions in its reports. Share the wealth As chairman of an influential House subcommittee, Walsh is expected to raise money to send some to the national Republican cause and to specific candidates around the country. "They suggest certain levels we should be prepared to raise to help retain the majority, to retain your chairmanship," Walsh said of the National Republican Congressional Committee. In the two months before the 2000 election, Walsh gave $150,000 to the NRCC. So far this year, he has sent $1,000 checks to support 14 different Republican incumbents. Closer to home, this year he gave $7,000 to the re-election campaign of Gov. George Pataki, $2,360 to Assemblyman William Sanford, $400 to state Sen. John DeFrancisco and $100 to Sheriff Kevin Walsh. Support causes Walsh spreads money among political and community groups at home and elsewhere. This year, for example, Walsh sent $500 to the Wayne County Republican Committee, $250 to Vera House, $300 to the TomatoFest in Auburn, $25 to the Korean War Veterans Association, $100 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, $100 to the InterReligious Council and $500 to the Dunbar Association. Spending money The campaign fund this year paid $3,465.68 for catering at Walsh's annual mid-March fund-raiser in Washington. It paid a Virginia firm $4,181.68 for fund-raising services. The campaign paid $1,908 for airfares to Colorado; $943.78 for lodging in Vail when Walsh attended a fund-raiser by several trade groups; $959.71 for lodging at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City when he got an award from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. The campaign also donated $1,000 to the NECO Foundation. The fund also pays for such things as rent for the campaign office, phone and Internet service, salaries for campaign workers, accounting and more. Links to financial reports Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in this November's elections must file campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission. To check a candidate online, go to www.fec.gov/For more information and analysis, go to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics at www.opensecrets.org/Caption: GRAPHIC: Walsh's congressional races. Color. The Post-Standard. Note: For text see microfilm.
What they're susposed to do with my tax money:250 Disabled Children Leave for a Special Camp July 1, 1997PR Newswire Children Look Forward to a 'Normal' Summer Vacation WHAT: More than 250 developmentally disabled children, counselors, and other specialists will board buses to leave for the Hebrew Academy for Special Children's summer camp program called "CampHASC." This seven-week camp provides children who suffer from disabilities such as orthopedic impairment, multiple handicaps due to birth defects, autism, and language impairment a unique summer vacation. Every year, HASC takes children to a camp in Parksville, New York "so each special child can be just like everybody else -- just a kid with a magical summer vacation," says Bernard M. Kahn,Executive Director of HASC. Camp HASC activities feature a variety of outdoor activities, music and drama, aquatics, and camp fires, in addition to the daily physical, occupational, and speech therapies the children need. Founded in 1963, the Hebrew Academy for Special Children has grown to become a world-renowned educational organization, diagnostic and treatment center meeting the needs of handicapped children and adults from New York and 14 other states across the nation. Every year, HASC serves more than 1,000 children and adults. WHEN: Children load buses on Thursday, July 3, at 9:30 a.m. WHERE: 14th Avenue and 63rd Street, Brooklyn, New York PHOTO/INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: -- More than 250 developmentally disabled children loading buses with their therapeutic equipment, wheelchairs and other camping gear. -- Parents of special children saying goodbye to their sons and daughters leaving for camp. CONTACT: Bernie Kahn of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, 718-851-6100, ext. 100. 13:38 EDT
A scam artist at work:FY VA/HUD/INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BERNARD M. KAHN Congressional Testimony by Federal Document Clearing House May 10, 1996Testimony Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Submitted: May 5, 1996 Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for providing me the opportunity to submit this testimony. I am Bernard M. Kahn, Executive Director of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, or HASC. HASC is a non-sectarian organization that works with more than 900 developmentally disabled children and adults daily regardless of race, color, or creed. Since our founding in 1963, HASC has grown to become a renowned educational organization and diagnostic/treatment center meeting the needs of handicapped children and adults from New York, California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois, Colorado, Mexico, and Canada. These children and adults have come to HASC through referrals and news accounts only, as we do not advertise our services. HASC was founded originally to provide educational and therapeutic services to developmentally disabled, orthopedically impaired, multiply handicapped, autistic, and language impaired children who were not served within the New York City public school system. HASC has since provided thousands of disabled children with special education and related services including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. In addition, HASC provides health services monitoring and parent education services through its consultant neurologists, pediatricians, audiologists, otolaryngologists, opthamologists dentists, orthopedists, and full-time registered nurses. Since its inception, HASC has grown into a multi-service school with programs for special infants, toddlers, at-risk pre-school children, handicapped pre-school children, and special school-age children, and adults. The goal of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children is to provide state-of-the-art special education program to meet the needs of handicapped children and adults. Its purpose is to maximize the potential of each special individual to live in the community to the best of his/her ability. To that end, HASC is committed to the education of all handicapped children in the least restrictive environment in their community. HASC is committed to the education of pre-school disabled and at- risk children with the firm belief that special education, to be maximally effective, must begin early with the recommended habilitative measures. HASC is currently providing comprehensive evaluations, special education services, therapeutic services and consultations to more than 900 children and adult students at nine different locations in New York State. HASC is presently serving handicapped students in special 10- and 12-month schools, summer school, pre-school, adult sheltered workshops, and adult residence facilities. The HASC Special Education Programs are comprised of several components. They include: - An infant and toddler program for handicapped and at-risk babies (ages: 0-2 years); - A pre-school special education program serving youngsters (ages: 3-5 years); - A special education school program for youths (ages: 5-21 years); and - Job training and employment programs for adults involving assembly and packaging operations for private industry. In addition, HASC has been serving the community with a residential facility for adults for more than two decades. These components are further subdivided into full- and part-time programs for the pre-school populations; a 10-month program and a 12- month program for the pre-school and school-age children. For example, some children who exhibit speech and language delay may be mainstreamed within regular programs for pre-school children in community-based nursery schools, and receive speech and language therapy and habilitation at the HASC pre-school program part-time only. Ten months or 12 months of programming for handicapped . children is contingent upon level of functioning, severity of the handicaps, and requirement of the therapeutic regiment. The children at HASC exhibit a whole spectrum of language and community needs. Many come from homes in which English is not spoken; some come from bilingual but limited English proficiency homes. The special educators and therapists at HASC must be knowledgeable about many different linguistic-cultural backgrounds such as French-Creole, Hispanic, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew. A number of children are pre-verbal or non-verbal, and are trained in alternate methods of communication such as total communication and sign-language. Others are trained via communication boards, special computers, and augmentative communication devices. In addition to the specific language needs, many children at HASC exhibit severe emotional needs. Many come from single parent families, others from foster homes, and a sizable number come from group homes. Many of the families are dysfunctional and experience severe stress as a result of unemployment, poor health, marital strife, substance abuse, lack of adequate education, and poor knowledge of satisfactory child-rearing practices. Many of the parents require intensive parent counseling and education in handling and rearing a special child, basic hygiene and health practices, behavior management techniques, positive reinforcement techniques, and advocacy. Many are unaware of services offered to special children and their families, and many are not familiar with education curricula, cultural expectations and general conventions. The therapeutic needs of the children range from speech and language therapy, audiological and hearing services, psychological services, therapy and counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive physical education, music and movement therapy, critical health monitoring, therapeutic and special diets, and medical followup. At HASC, we are passionate about improving the lives of handicapped children and adults from across the United States, and we are proud of the results we achieve. The HASC concept of providing total management of all facets of the handicapped student's life has been met with tremendous success. By addressing daily living skills as well as basic educational needs, HASC has been able to improve its students' and their families' quality of life. By involving the parents in the socialization of their disabled children, the program has been-able to strengthen the family unit where it was once torn apart by the stresses and stigmas involved with having a handicapped child. Although this is an area that has received little attention in other programs, HASC's comprehensive, family-oriented approach has served to bolster the benefits of the overall educational objectives of HASC's program. Because of this unique approach to special education for the handicapped, HASC's students are better able to fully develop their potential. Time and again, HASC has provided services which have led to overwhelming advances in meeting physical, emotional, and social needs. A parent from California writes: "My son was born 11 years ago with Down Syndrome. I still remember that Sunday morning when the doctors told my wife and I. A good friend whose son has been going to HASC for 10 years recommended us to HASC's summer camp program. We could not believe that such a camp for special kids existed... When we checked it out it was better than what we could ever hope for. HASC has been important to our entire family. A special child is a 25-hour a day job for their parents and their siblings. HASC allows all of us to have a brief break. I cannot begin to tell you how important that is." Another parent writes: "Nicole and I were both a mess when I first came to (HASC). I still can't believe the pleasant, loveable, little person she's turned into. You've each put so much of yourselves into her, and she loves you all... It's been a long, rough five years, and I know I have many more rough years ahead, but I'm glad we had HASC in the beginning. (HASC) was her foundation, and I think it was the best she could have had." Another parent writes: "I remembered, just as if it were yesterday when I took James to your school and the warm atmosphere that greeted me. James could only be understood by me or close relatives. Now he is communicating on the telephone. Thank God, through the help of the school he is graduating." A parent from Connecticut writes:. "This year, our dream came true, and Dina was able to attend HASC. (At HASC) the caring and love for these children is genuine. The care has been as fine as the care parents provide. I am truly awed by the fact that HASC is indeed able to care for all these special children. Some of these children are medically fragile and really need individualized special care. Dina is one of these children and I am confident to say that all her needs are met. HASC not only provided physical care but also provided all her necessary therapies. Dina received special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. Just scheduling all these therapies must have been an awesome task." A parent from Ohio writes: "We are writing to express our deep appreciation and unending. gratefulness to you for all the love, care, and devotion you have showered on our son. As parents of a special child, our unconditional love comes naturally, but it is ail the more special when it comes from others who can appreciate him as much as we do." By sending our son to HASC, he is benefiting in so many ways. He is able to be with other special needs kids. This gives him a tremendous sense of self-worth that he misses out on because of being mainstreamed. The curriculum is tailor made (for him)." Outcomes such as these are a result of commitment, dedication, and caring. HASC's body of knowledge has been developed and analyzed continuously over the last 30 years. Experience such as this is important as other organizations across the country struggle to meet the needs of the handicapped in their communities. During the past three decades HASC has acquired the knowledge and expertise to assist other schools and agencies interested in developing educational facilities for special children and adults. The rapid growth in educational and therapeutic programs, and the range and breadth of many of the programs have engendered an atmosphere of excitement, growth, and, above all, a sense of mission and a firm belief in the right and ability of every handicapped child and adult to develop to his or her full potential. HASC recognizes that its past experience and current programs enables it to improve the lives of many more handicapped people across the nation. Further, HASC could assist other nonprofit organizations across the nation develop similar programs by providing these organizations with access to our expertise. However, HASC is greatly inhibited by a lack of physical space and program dollars. Therefore, in response to the needs of America's handicapped population, the Hebrew Academy for Special Children is seeking to build a partnership with the Federal government to support the purchase and renovation of a property so that HASC can expand its mission by reaching more developmentally disabled children. Specifically, HASC will expand one of its nine sites (known as the Gan Ezra school) which since its opening in March 1992, the great demand for services has surpassed physical capacity. Currently, there is a waiting list of more than 100 children to attend this facility. A large portion of HASC's budget currently is "eaten up" by the rental expense of our existing facility. Thus, to relieve the budget strain imposed upon the programs, enable expansion, ensure the proper management of the state-of-the-art programs described in my testimony, and enable our professionals to help other organizations develop similar programs, HASC is seeking assistance in acquiring a facility we have already identified. We at HASC are extremely cognizant of the fiscal constraints under which this Subcommittee, and the entire Congress, are working this year. At the same time, our early intervention programs save the local, state and federal government in special education costs every year. With greater physical capacity, we can help mainstream even more children and adults to become productive, self-sufficient taxpayers, not just tax recipients. Thus, HASC is a sound investment for the federal government. The total funding needed to expand HASC's facilities and programs is approximately $5 million. Mr. Chairman, since HASC is a true public private partnership, we are seeking a federal investment of $2.2 million in FY 197. HASC will meet its additional budget needs by actively raising significant private dollars and through state government sources. Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this testimony.
>For example, most cities must provide schools for mentally and >physically disabled students. And many such schools are run by >nonprofit organizations, such as the Hebrew Academy for Special >Children in New York, which sold $2.3 million in bonds last >month. Junk `Culture' Bonds Offer Tax-Exempt Twist By Constance Mitchell Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal May 13, 1991The Wall Street Journal NEW YORK -- Call them junk "culture" bonds. At a time when government spending on community services is being cut to the bone, many civic and cultural groups -- from museums to child development centers to outreach programs for the poor -- are discovering they can raise money in the tax-exempt bond market. Here in New York, the Puerto Rican Family Institute plans to sell $3.4 million of tax-exempt bonds to investors, using the money to buy office space. In Chicago, Steppenwolf Theater Co. recently sold $4 million of bonds for a new playhouse. In Houston, the Johnson Space Center -- the city's top tourist spot -- used several million dollars in bond proceeds to build a visitor center. The yields on such bonds are high, at a tax-exempt 9.5% to 11%. And so are the risks. These bonds aren't guaranteed by municipalities, though they sometimes are sold with credit-enhancing features. Nevertheless, they are catching on and can be found in the portfolios of several mutual funds that invest in junk municipal bonds. Five years ago, the only nonprofit organizations with wide access to the municipal bond market were hospitals and universities, largely because they operate like businesses that have a steady stream of customers. But increasingly, city and state governments are lending their tax-exempt borrowing authority to small volunteer and charitable or cultural organizations -- many of which can no longer subsist solely on government grants and donations. In New York alone, $180 million of "civic facility" bonds have been issued via the New York Industrial Development Agency since 1986. "Government funds are drying up, forcing not-for-profits to follow the principals of capital financing and leverage to keep their operations going," says Gregory M. LiCalzi, a senior vice president at Fleet/Norstar Securities Inc., a unit of Fleet/Norstar Financial Group. Mr. LiCalzi, who co-manages Fleet's public finance office in New York along with Joseph Bosch, expects this small niche of the public finance market to expand rapidly as budget cutbacks loom. Fleet/Norstar has underwritten 20 bond offerings for nonprofits in the past 2 1/2 years, and has more then one dozen under contract to be completed in 1991. Many of the transactions Fleet has underwritten involve organizations that provide cities or states with services mandated by state or federal governments. For example, most cities must provide schools for mentally and physically disabled students. And many such schools are run by nonprofit organizations, such as the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in New York, which sold $2.3 million in bonds last month. Federal and state grants for such schools are dwindling. Yet they continue to receive state revenue that stems from long-term service contracts. Luckily for these nonprofits, they're being forced into the market at a time when a trend toward "social investing" is spreading. James Erickson, head of tax-exempt investing at Putnam Co., a big mutual fund manager, says individual investors get income as well as pleasure from investing in civic and cultural organizations because they see where their money is going and how it is used. "So much money that is invested goes into a big black hole," says Mr. Erickson. "You have money in the bank that is going to South America, leveraged buy-outs and real-estate speculation. And money invested in the Treasury market? Who knows?" Mr. Erickson has invested $40 million of its $40 billion in fixed-income assets in nonprofit tax-exempt securities, mostly through the firm's municipal junk bond fund. Putnam purchased the entire Steppenwolf Theater issue. Mr. Erickson says the major attraction is the high yield, although he also enjoys the opportunity to invest in organizations that have a strong linkage with their communities. Indeed, some would argue that investing in such securities cuts to the heart of what the tax-exempt municipal market was designed to achieve -- encouraging citizens to invest in projects that benefit their communities. But investors considering the securities of such organizations should apply considerable caution. This is true even though in the past decade, many civic and cultural organizations have worked hard to dispel the image of being poorly managed and understaffed. "There is a real emphasis now on running not-for-profits like businesses," says Christine Kelly, a partner at William Blair & Co., a securities firm in Chicago that, like Fleet/Norstar, views financing for nonprofits as a growth area. Ms. Kelly says most of the organizations that have been able to tap the market had well-established reputations, dedicated directors and histories of successfully raising cash through donations. But no matter how well managed, many nonprofits still operate on limited budgets subject to the vagaries of politics. For this reason, many civic facility bonds are either unrated or rated in the junk bond category. That's why yields on the securities are so huge, currently running between 9.5% and 11%. A wealthy investor living in New York would need a yield in the high teens on a taxable bond, such as a corporate bond, to achieve the same after-tax yield as an 11% tax free municipal bond. Analysts tick off several qualities of the best organizations in which to invest: They tend to be operating in the black, in existence for many years, holding large endowments, or receiving funds mandated by the federal or state government programs. Such a mandate suggests that the bond issuer is likely to have a steady long-term stream of income with which to make interest payments. But the investor had better have a long-term view, too. These bonds can be extremely difficult to resell. --- Friday's Market Activity Prices of U.S. government securities ended sharply lower, skidding as dealers cut prices in an effort to unload some of the inventory they accumulated in the $37 billion quarterly refunding. Friday's reaction was more intense than Thursday's. In fact, analysts said that note and bond prices were able to absorb the auction news Thursday afternoon with little trouble, perhaps because participants were hoping the release of the producer price index Friday morning would galvanize demand for fixed-income securities. The PPI figures were indeed comforting, but there was little follow-through buying and Treasury prices began to erode shortly after midday. The Treasury's outstanding 30-year bellwether, the 7 7/8% coupon issue due February 2021, was quoted late Friday at 94 26/32, down 1 1/4 points from late Thursday in New York, to yield about 8.34%. That was the highest yield on a benchmark 30-year bond since March 20, when it closed at a yield of 8.35%. In when-issued trading, the new 30-year bond that was auctioned Thursday was quoted at 97 26/32, also down 1 1/4, to yield about 8.32%. The bond fetched an average yield of 8.21% at the auction. The selling in the Treasury market turned into a rout once key technical levels were hit in the bond futures pit at the Chicago Board of Trade, says Christopher Rupkey, economist at Mitsubishi Bank, New York. Once the June bond futures contract fell below 95 25/32, "a lot of stops were hit," said Mr. Rupkey, referring to levels that traders and investors set as a sort of tripwire to signal them to liquidate positions. Despite the sharp declines in the market, a handful of corporate borrowers tapped the market Friday offering nearly $800 million in new debt. Among the major issuers was Delta Air Lines, which offered $350 million of 30-year debentures priced to yield 9.81%.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PORK: $1.2 BILLION LIST Series: New York's Slush Funds October 19, 2004The Post Standard/Herald-JournalThis is a list of the 1,720 grants sponsored by the governor and legislature since 1997 from borrowed pork-barrel slush funds. They total $1.2 billion. The Senate and Assembly, along with the governor's office, control this money. Both the Senate and Assembly refused to supply a list of projects receiving these slush funds. The Post-Standard, under a Freedom of Information Law request, acquired the project lists from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and the Empire State Development Corp. Those are the two authorities which borrow the money at the request of state leaders. Those lists were combined, and reprinted here. They may include mistakes made in the original authority records, may list a grant recipient's headquarters city rather than the project's location and may include grants that haven't yet been paid. The Post-Standard reviewed those pots of money which are created by state borrowing and which are spent with liberal discretion by state legislators and the governor. The debt is paid off through future income tax revenue. State legislators said in interviews they had never seen a list of other legislators' grants. Sources: Records of the Empire State Development Corp. and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York ...Jewish Community Center of Syracuse Inc., DeWitt 600,000...Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester 250,000...Jewish Community Center, Niskayuna 100,000 ...Village of Kiryas Joel, Monroe 100,000 ...Newburgh Jewish Community Ctr 50,000 ...JCC-Y of Rockland, New City 50,000...Yeshiva University, New York $15,000,000 ...YM-YWHA of the Bronx 100,000...Jewish Children's Museum, Brooklyn 500,000 ...Yeled V'Yalda Early Childhood Center, Brooklyn 500,000...Boro Park YM/YWHA, Brooklyn 295,000...Edith & Carl Marks Jewish Cmnty Hse Bensonhurst 250,000 ...Sephardic Bikur Holim and Ma'Oz La'Ebyon, Brooklyn 250,000...Sephardic Community Youth Center, Brooklyn 250,000 ...Ahi Ezer Housing Devel. Fund Inc., Brooklyn 100,000 ...Hebrew Academy for Special Children, Brooklyn 100,000...Ohel Children's Home & Family, Brooklyn 100,000...Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion, Brooklyn 80,000...Bnos Menachem School, Brooklyn 50,000 ...Council of Jewish Orgs. of Flatbush, Brooklyn 50,000...Hebrew Acad. for Special Children Inc., Brooklyn 50,000...Jewish Comm. Ctr of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn 50,000...Jewish Comm. Council of Greater Coney Island, Brooklyn 50,000 ...Kings Bay YM-YWHA Inc., Brooklyn 50,000...Mesivta Eitz Chaim D'bobov, Brooklyn 50,000...
Donors to Schumer, Mikulski Sought $$ for Orthodox Home: Critic; Religious Groups Behaving Like NRA The Forward (New York)December 17, 1999Criticism is mounting of the $400,000 federal subsidy for housing Orthodox Jewish women in Brooklyn, following the disclosure that campaign donors to Senator Schumer and Senator Mikulski asked the senators to support the project.A donor to Mr. Schumer, Abraham Biderman, told the Forward he had asked Mr. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, to support the project. And two Senate staffers told the Forward that Ms. Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland, was lobbied on the issue by Howard Friedman, a politically active Jew from Baltimore.The new details about the lobbying efforts by Neve Yerushalayim College for its housing project underscore the extent to which faith-based organizations are borrowing techniques more commonly associated with big business in their efforts to get government money. With two top presidential candidates, Vice President Gore and Governor Bush, both supporting "charitable choice" funding -- in which faith-based groups get government money to run social-service programs -- the issue seems likely to become more important in the future. Already in Washington, lobbying firms such as the Russ Reid Co., which helped Neve Yerushalayim, are specializing in faith-based programs, a trend that seems likely to accelerate."Religious groups are being dragged down to the same level of the National Rifle Association and beer distributors, and that's not a positive role for them to be in," the assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Robert Boston, said. "Politics as usual and these sort of backroom deals are dirty business, and that's just the way it is. Whenever religious groups try to play a lobbying game, it ends up badly. The easier way to go would be to fund it with your own money," he said.Mr. Biderman told the Forward that he had lobbied Mr. Schumer to support a Neve request for federal money. The yeshiva sent a letter the senator and a number of other New York elected officials asking for $2 million in funds."I've known Rabbi Refson for many years, and I know the work he does, and I think it's first-rate," Mr. Biderman said. "This is a legitimate project and a very good organization, and so I mentioned it to Schumer." Mr. Biderman said his financial and political support of Mr. Schumer were not connected to this or any other lobbying efforts.Mr. Schumer's office did not respond to calls concerning whether his support for the project resulted from Mr. Biderman's efforts. In a statement last month, a spokeswoman for Mr. Schumer, Cathie Levine, said, "We have an office policy of not talking to the Forward newspaper." When reached last week, she would only say, "Our policy still stands."Mr. Friedman, who donated $1,750 to Ms. Mikulski in 1997, according to Federal Election Commission records, did not return phone calls seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Ms. Mikulski did not return a call seeking comment about Mr. Friedman's involvement in the project.The Forward reported on November 5 that a friend and campaign donor to Senator Bond of Missouri, Simcha Lyons, also helped push the project through the Senate. "The college wanted to enlist help from people that have access to various senators," Mr. Lyons said at the time. On November 19, the Forward reported that another campaign donor to Mr. Schumer, Zev Wolfson, provides Neve Yerushalayim College with a rent-free suite of offices in a Manhattan office building; Mr. Wolfson said he did not know anything about the housing project in Brooklyn.A Neve director, Bernard Greenwald, said the religious institution may hire the Russ Reid Co. in the future because of its success at getting funds for the Flatbush housing project. The firm was recommended to Neve Yerushalayim by the director of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, Bernard Kahn. HASC received a $700,000 appropriation. HASC paid the lobbying firm $40,000 for the first six months of 1999, according the Senate records.Officials from the Russ Reid Co., which specializes in procuring federal funds for faith-based programs, did not respond to several calls seeking comment. However, Mr. Greenwald said the Washington-based lobbying firm did not charge Neve for its initial services. "It was sort of like a trial," Mr. Greenwald said. "We might actually hire them in the future."Mr. Greenwald defended the project and the lobbying effort. "There's an assumption that if a religious group gets money from the government, there's always a backroom deal. That's just not the case. We're going to use this money for its intended purpose, and we're happy they gave it to us," said Mr. Greenwald, who is heading up the dormitory project.Officials of the college and backers of the housing project have at times characterized it as intended to assist Orthodox Jewish women, but they also insist it will help at-risk youth in the neighborhood and will have no religious requirements.
Preying on the good such as:Mikey Butler Foundation supports camp, curriculum by Lee ChottinerJewish ChroniclePittsburghAugust 12, 2004A foundation established in the memory of Mikey Butler will support projects consistent with the young man's ideas through the school and organizations he loved, his parents said.Among the projects being funded by the Mikey Butler Foundation include a computer/recreation room for camp counselors at a camp for special needs people in upstate New York and -- more ambitiously -- a curriculum to teach Mikey's ideas.Mikey Butler died on Jan. 26 after a long fight with cystic fibrosis and finally cancer. The family organized the foundation one month after his death, and it is supported by contributionsThe Hebrew Academy for Special Children (HASC) in the Catskills, where Butler's autistic brother, Uri, has gone for 14 years, is one of the first beneficiaries of the foundation. Counselors there have a new respite center complete with computers, a pool table and ping pong table. Butler was on the administrative staff for parts of five seasons. His brother, Gavri, and sister, Shoshi, have been counselors there."It's a 24/7 operation," Dan Butler, a former Pittsburgh municipal judge, said of the camp. "The counselors are isolated. The camp had one computer available for counselors to use and our son used the computer all the time. So we ordered 10 computers and set up a wireless network so that anyone with their own laptops could come in.The curriculum is not as far along.Nina Butler, principal of general studies at Hillel Academy, didn't want to comment extensively on the project, saying it was still in development and a committee is being organized to put it together.But she did say she wants a curriculum that can be used in a traditional classroom setting as well as others. It also should have a Web-based component to reach as wide an audience as possible.Whatever it teaches, she added, will be based on the values Mikey held dear."I don't want to say too much because I want it to be an open and dynamic process (in putting it together)," Nina Butler said.She hopes to have a model curriculum ready by spring and the final product ready for use by the fall 2005.Initially, the Mikey Butler Foundation will support projects through HASC, Yeshiva University and the National Council of Synagogue Youth -- three institutions that were important to Butler, but mother Nina Butler said the foundation-supported projects could expand in time."In the future we're not tied to any of those organizations," she said. "We just want to continue Mikey's legacy, so for the initial grant period we want to do programming of meaning, and those three institutions were very important to him. In the future, we're very open to branching out."(Lee Chottiner can be reached online at email@example.com.)
McCain's Attack on Pork Targets Several Projects Sought by Jewish Groups: Cites Seeds of Peace, Hebrew Academy; May Put Spotlight on Funding of Neve YerushalayimThe Forward (New York)March 10, 2000Senator McCain says Jews are among those pigging out on pork in the form of taxpayer-funded special-interest projects.Among the items Mr. McCain categorizes in a campaign press release as "everyday, garden-variety pork" are $978,000 for a presidential commission on Holocaust assets, $57.5 million in spending on missile defense, $1 million for the Albert Einstein Medical Center, $30 million for counterterrorism laboratories, $400,000 to Neve Yerushalayim College for a residential community center in Brooklyn, $700,000 for the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in New York, $1.5 million for the National Jewish Medical Center in Denver, Colo., and $861,000 for the Seeds of Peace program aimed at fostering Arab-Israeli coexistence. He vowed that if elected president he would cut funding for all of those programs, which were included in the spending bills approved by Congress for 2000.Mr. McCain's steps, while they will reinforce his image as an iconoclastic reformer, may hurt him among some Jewish voters, who defend some of the projects Mr. McCain is criticizing. Voters tend to oppose wasteful government spending in principle, but they usually like the spending that supports projects in their own communities. By issuing a 52-page press release from his presidential campaign listing $13 billion in projects he opposes, Mr. McCain may have damaged himself politically. That is the thinking, at least, of Governor George W. Bush of Texas and his supporter Governor Pataki, who while campaigning in New York criticized Mr. McCain for opposing some government funding for breast cancer research. On the other hand, Mr. McCain's press release may shine the spotlight on some projects, such as the grant to Neve Yerushalayim College, which have been criticized as wasteful even by some Jewish groups, such as the American Jewish Congress."For over a decade, I have been fighting to cut pork-barrel spending that wastes the taxpayers' dollars on special interest projects. I have publicly identified tens of billions of dollars of wasteful, unnecessary and low-priority spending that has been added to spending bills without being considered in the normal, merit-based prioritization process," Mr. McCain said in the release. "As president, I would cut every one of the projects on the following list and use the money to protect Social Security and Medicare, provide much-needed tax relief to American families, and begin to pay down the massive federal debt."Officials involved with the projects said they are worthwhile and don't qualify as pork."There is nothing wasteful about our operation. This is an effort that has broad bipartisan support in the Congress and that shows American democracy at its best and shows we can look at our history, warts and all. There is no special interest here. The interest here is in America's understanding of its own history and demonstrating to the world the power and vigor of our democratic system. That's not a special interest. To me, that's the definition of the public interest," said the executive director of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, Kenneth Klothen.The president and founder of Seeds of Peace, John Wallach, said the money Mr. McCain described as pork was intended to help fund a center in Jerusalem that serves between 100 and 200 Israeli and Palestinian-Arab youngsters each week. "Clearly, Mr. McCain should be informed that a number of Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Benjamin Gilman, have supported Seeds of Peace. There were 82 congressmen and senators that took the lead in this measure. John McCain should take a closer look at what Seeds of Peace stands for and what we're doing. We are the only project that is bringing Israeli and Palestinian youngsters together in Jerusalem."A Pentagon official from the Reagan Administration, Douglas Feith, defended the spending on missile defense. Mr. McCain had categorized as pork $50 million in spending on radar improvements for the Navy theater-wide missile-defense system and $5 million for boost-phase intercept theater missile-defense acquisition. "I think boost-phase interception is a worthy area for defense investment, and I do not consider that in general to be pork," Mr. Feith said. "If you are going to intercept missiles, there are advantages to intercepting them in their boost phase because the debris falls on the attacker rather than the target."The director of public affairs for the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, James Carpenter, defended a $1.5 million federal grant to fund research on the relationship between indoor and outdoor pollution and the development of respiratory diseases. "This is absolutely a good investment, and we don't understand why McCain would target this as pork. This is for the environmental lung center here.... We are the No. 1 respiratory hospital in America. We don't think it ought to be lumped in with things that are considered pork barrel."A spokeswoman for the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia said she didn't know anything about a $1 million federal grant for the "LIFE elderly care model" that Mr. McCain described as pork. A spokesman for the Albert Einstein Medical College of Yeshiva University in New York also said he did not know anything about such a program. It was unclear from the press release which Albert Einstein facility was to receive the grant.The executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Kari Watkins, said her center deserved the $15 million allocated by Congress for "research of new technologies and threat reduction for chemical and biological weapons as well as cyber-warfare." "We think this is an important request," Ms. Watkins said. "If the senator wants to call this pork, then that's his opinion. He needs to come here and take a look at what we're doing and visit with the families and survivors who have spent the last five years fighting terrorism."Officials of Neve Yerushalayim College and lawmakers who backed the grant for a housing project in Brooklyn have defended it in the past as a worthwhile effort to provide housing for needy women.An official of the Hebrew Academy for Special Children was not available for comment.Mr. McCain's Jewish backers say that his objection isn't necessarily to the individual projects, but to the way lobbyists and lawmakers stuck them in the budget while bypassing the normal authorization and appropriations process. "The senator's pet peeve is this last-minute add-on stuff with no depth, no sophistication, no hearings, no testimony. That's what brings these into John's classification of pork," said the chairman of Democrats for McCain, Sidney Rosen. "I'm sure many of these programs in the Jewish community have merit and are worthy and will have John's support, but not the manner in which the funding was secured."
Orthodox Charity Is Misunderstood by Marvin SchickThe New York Jewish WeekJanuary 15, 1999Acriticism of Orthodox Jewish life that merits response was Michael Steinhardt's recent speech at Yeshiva University charging the Orthodox with a willingness to take from the larger Jewish community while they give little in return.I suppose the charge would not have attracted the coverage it received were it not for the status of its author, a major philanthropist. Still, Mr. Steinhardt is a serious man and he was not on virgin territory when he spoke. His accusation is a restatement of reams of rhetoric directed for years at the Orthodox. I am certain that he will not be the last to find the Orthodox guilty of a form of communal parasitism.It apparently matters not at all that the charge is untrue, that giving to the overall Jewish community and to individual Jews irrespective of their religious orientation is Orthodoxy's strong point.Like other distortions, half-truths and out-right fabrications, frequent repetition provides sufficient empirical support for what, in fact, is false. The Orthodox must be guilty as charged because, after all, the accusation has been given wide circulation. It is also true that, perhaps out of resignation, the Orthodox have said little to refute the claim that they are selfish.There is much exaggeration in the widely held view that the Orthodox -- especially their institutions -- are on the receiving end of substantial Jewish philanthropic support. In the aggregate, federation assistance across the country has been minimal, specifically including day schools whose financial needs increasingly are being met by mandatory charges and parental contributions. With minor exceptions, the record of private Jewish philanthropy is not much better.We now recognize that day schools are crucial to our communal well-being, to any prospect for Jewish continuity. This alone should induce gratitude for the Orthodox contribution to the larger community. They sustained the belief in day schools in the face of harsh neglect, and they established these institutions in dozens of communities through their personal giving and sacrifice.Even with the more recent creation of non-Orthodox day schools, the Orthodox schools account for more than three-fourths of the enrollment, including many non-Orthodox students. The Orthodox schools have especially reached out to the needy, as well as to immigrant and marginal families, by maintaining scholarship policies that demonstrate concern for families that cannot afford full tuition or who are unwilling to pay it.Mr. Steinhardt has devoted some of his considerable talents and fortune to expanding day school opportunity, a commitment that should provide a generous appreciation of what the Orthodox have achieved.If he wishes to consider the issue that he has raised apart from the field of Jewish education, a good place to begin would be the activity of the hundreds of Yeshiva University undergraduates who, over the years, have served as staff members at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children summer camp. HASC is about to pay tribute to Dr. Norman Lamm, YU's president, in recognition of the devotion of these students.If the Orthodox-bashers are willing to travel to Brooklyn, they could learn about HASC's widely admired yearlong programs that serve special children, including many blacks.They might also visit organizations like Tomchei Shabbos with its warehouse for distributing free food packages to needy Jews. Or they could drop in at Ohel and look at its foster care services and residential care programs for adults. They might see Hatzoloh in action, with its emergency medical services. In every neighborhood they will see bikur cholims caring for the elderly, frail, needy and sick without any regard for the religiosity of the recipients.For the critics of Orthodoxy who might find Brooklyn and the outer boroughs too remote, the Manhattan hospitals provide daily evidence of the effective and creative work of bikur cholim volunteers, including, at times, the assistance given to patients who happen not to be Jewish.A listing of the network of Orthodox-sponsored and sustained charity agencies -- just their names and a one-line description for each -- easily would exceed the space allocation for this column.There are thousands of volunteers who give abundantly of their time, means and spirit. Their organizations are often stunningly creative in fashioning new ways of reaching out to the needy. There are telephone hotlines for the emotionally stressed, facilities for new mothers, projects to assist needy brides, hundreds of free-loan funds and so much else.Here is where the Orthodox excel and yet their detractors go to great length charging unconcern for those who are not in their religious fold.One explanation for the disconnect between the reality and the false picture given by the critics is that the Orthodox avoid the American Jewish model for philanthropic activity, shunning public relations and focusing instead on direct and personal service to the needy.The Orthodox do not as much reject participation in some of the community's better-known philanthropic agencies as they conduct their charitable activity in the same way that they go about their religious activity.Like their parents before them they help people directly, feeding and clothing them and meeting their emotional and physical needs. Their critics are ignorant about these activities. They assume that what they do not know can-not exist. In fact, any hospital visit would readily disclose the Orthodox commitment to all Jews.Beyond this, in the reckoning of those who attack the Orthodox, chesed activities are not taken into account because they are viewed as a separate, less important zone of Jewish life; something that has little to do with the issue of what the Orthodox give to the larger community.What counts -- perhaps all that counts -- is whether the Orthodox accept religious pluralism, a formulation that converts the Orthodox refusal to accept what they regard as religiously counterfeit into the refusal to assist or give to other Jews. The critics transmute giving into acceptance and by doing this they are able to render Orthodox accomplishments as irrelevant.Marvin Schick is president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School and a consultant on Jewish affairs.
Is there a criminal proceeding for the HASC allegations? What is happening there?
>Is there a criminal proceeding for the HASC allegations?>What is happening there?"Some insiders expressed dismay over why the board members, apparently aware of their fiduciary responsibility to a charitable organization, did not go to the authorities after Bernard Kahn’s financial dealings were made known to them. One board member resigned at the time."It's not clear to me if that has changed. I would note that ALL board members are already in serious breach of their fiduciary obligations and there may be significant consequences to them as well.Folks, this is serious stuff here. This money belonged to the special needs children and their families who desperately need that money NOT those who control the organization.These "entitlement" arguments are obscene. These are charities NOT the Kahn family slush fund or the Kahn family employment agency.The Jewish community needs to adopt a framework for dealing with these types of situations. Part of that framework needs to be following both fiduciary and ethical obligations to the charity. That includes reporting such fraud to the proper authorities immediately.This is another example of rabbonim and balai batim conducting their own "Mickey Mouse" hearings and internal investigations. The police have trained, professional fraud investigators that would have effectively dealt with the situation.The losers here: special need children who likely will never see much of this stolen money.
So, nu? Are authorities investigating criminal conduct there? Should that be the Attorney General Office? And what is the future of HASC?
>So, nu? Are authorities investigating criminal conduct there? >Should that be the Attorney General Office? And what is the>future of HASC?Still not clear to me, I encourage those with information or seeking information to contact the Attorney General's Office see:http://www.oag.state.ny.us/contact/addresses.html#hotlinehttp://www.oag.state.ny.us/tour/tour.htmlspecifically:CHARITIES, 120 Broadway, New York, New York 10271, (212) 416-8400
You can submit complaints regarding HASC or any other NY charitable organization at (note false complaints are a serious offense):http://www.oag.state.ny.us/complaints/html/comp_char.htmlNew York State Office of the Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Charities Bureau 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor New York, New York 10271 (212) 416-8400 (phone) (212) 416-8393 (fax)
For further information about a national charity, you may write to one of the "watchdog" agencies which monitor the activities of charities. Philanthropic Advisory Service Council of Better Business Bureaus 4200 Wilson BoulevardSuite 800Arlington, VA 22203-18041-800-575-GIVE www.bbb.org Better Business Bureau - New York Philanthropic Advisory Service 257 Park Avenue SouthNew York, NY 100101-212-358-2873www.newyork.bbb.org
Attorney General’s Helpline (800)771-7755 For More Information New York law requires most charities soliciting contributions to register with the Attorney General and file annual financial reports. To find out if a charity is required to register and to get a copy of its financial report, call or write: Office of the Attorney General Charities Bureau 120 Broadway New York, NY 10271 (212) 416-8400 You can also check out guidestar.org (free registration required for some basic features)
Here's a Freedom of Information request form. Note there is no charge for receiving documents by email.http://www.oag.state.ny.us/charities/char007.pdf
Is there any news about HASC? What's happening with the program? What about the leadership?
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