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JewishJournal.com

October 11, 2007

Briefs: Local nonprofits named ‘most innovative;’ Molestation arrest at Valley shul; ACLU backs Samm

http://www.jewishjournal.com/community_briefs/article/briefs_local_nonprofits_named_most_innovative_molestation_arrest_at_valley_

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'Slingshot' Cites Innovative Nonprofits

Jewish World Watch and IKAR were among a handful of L.A. nonprofits included last week in an annual guidebook of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations.

"The organizations listed in Slingshot '07-'08 are among the most forward thinking and innovative that North America has to offer," said Sharna Goldseker, director of 21/64, the division of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies that published the Slingshot guidebook. "By shining the spotlight on their creative work, Slingshot gives undercapitalized nonprofits due recognition for their achievements."

This is the third year the guide has been published. It was created to survey the landscape of Jewish nonprofits for donors interested in giving to more revolutionary organizations, including the Foundation for Jewish Camping and the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. Other L.A.-based nonprofits included were MAZON, the Jewish Television Network and Progressive Jewish Alliance.

"As innovative Jewish programs emerge in record numbers across the U.S. and Canada, the opportunity to fund these programs and make a direct impact through philanthropy has never been greater," Dr. Debbie Findling, deputy director at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and one of 25 Slingshot evaluators, said in a statement. "The challenge for funders is finding the gems that are out there, and then determining which ones are a strategic fit for their giving."

The Slingshot guidebook can be downloaded for free or ordered in hard copy at http://www.2164.net/slingshot.html.

-- Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer

Israeli 'Transient' Held in Alleged Molestation

Eyal Magid, a native of Israel, was arrested on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Chabad of Sherman Oaks for allegedly molesting a 7-year-old girl.

During the morning kiddush of the Shimini Atzeret holiday, synagogue members told the girl's parents that they had seen Magid, 28, lead the child down the stairs of the shul. After the parents questioned the girl, they immediately called the police, according to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, assistant director of Chabad of Sherman Oaks.

Police have charged Magid with kidnapping with the intent to molest, which could carry a stricter sentence than kidnapping, an LAPD spokesman said. As of press time Tuesday, Magid was still being held with bail set at $600,000.

Magid was a "transient," Lipskier said. "He hung out a few months here, but he's kind of homeless." Magid had lived in Florida and Chicago, but "there were no concerns" about him, the rabbi said he found out after the incident.

Although the community already has in place education for parents and children about child safety, they are working with experts in the field for community education and preparedness, Lipskier said. "These are community issues -- and they're national issues."

-- Amy Klein, Religion Editor

ACLU Finds Violation at Chapman

Chapman University violated students' free speech and association rights by banning the activities of an historically-Jewish fraternity on campus, according to the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Orange County office. In an Oct. 2 letter to University President James L. Doti, ACLU Orange County Director Hector Villagra asked Chapman to restore the students' constitutional rights and expunge any punitive measures from their disciplinary records.

Sigma Alpha Mu members say they were told not to wear T-shirts bearing their Greek letters after administrators refused to recognize the fledgling group during fraternity expansion in February 2006, adding that they were also ordered to stop advertising and meeting on campus and to remove their Chapman Facebook Web page.

Despite the 2006 ruling, the fraternity receives support from its national organization and has continued to meet and hold events off campus, calling itself the Orange County chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu. The chapter currently has 20 students.

ACLU's Villagra said he hopes to resolve the matter amicably but did not rule out litigation.

"We had no intention of making the university angry or provoking them," said Sigma Alpha Mu President Pascal de Maria at an Oct. 3 press conference at the ACLU Orange County headquarters. "We just wanted a culturally based fraternal experience."

Neither the students nor the ACLU take issue with Chapman's refusal to recognize the group, but claim they are the subjects of restrictive rules that do not apply to other unrecognized groups.

"When only one group's members can't wear their letters, can't meet on campus and can't advertise their activities, then Chapman, we have a problem," Villagra said.

Chapman spokeswoman Mary Platt dismissed the T-shirt allegation as false.

"The shirts the students were wearing at the news conference [bearing the name Sigma Alpha Mu] are the same ones they've been wearing all semester with no action taken," she said, adding that the administration doesn't object to the shirts as long as they don't mention the university.

Chapman officials declined further comment citing federal student privacy regulations. The university is a party to a federal investigation into alleged student privacy violations by the U.S. Department of Education stemming from Kertes' and Hutchison's Sept. 22, 2006 letter.

-- Lisa Armony, Contributing Writer

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