Posted by Tom Tugend
L.A. synagogue attack may be organized crime, police say
(JTA)—The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating whether Israeli organized crime is connected to an attack at a local synagogue.
The department initially listed the Oct. 30 shooting at the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue in North Hollywood, Calif., as a hate crime, but in recent weeks police been working on the theory that the shooting was to silence someone, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Two people were shot in the legs in the parking lot of the synagogue, located in the San Fernando Valley’s Orthodox community. Police believe one of the men that was shot was the target of the attack, the newspaper reported.
The synagogue has increased security since the attack.
Israeli organized crime has been operating in Los Angeles since the mid-1990s, according to the newspaper.
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December 3, 2009 | 8:47 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
Elliott Broidy, a leading investor in the Israeli economy and major donor and activist in the Los Angeles Jewish community, pleaded guilty Thursday to the felony charge of rewarding official misconduct, according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Specifically, Broidy admitted that he made nearly $1 million in payoffs to four senior New York state officials while pursuing an investment from the state public pension fund, the Wall Street Journal website quoted Cuomo as stating.
The development is part of Cuomo’s wide-ranging pay-to-play probe on whether decisions about how to invest retirees’ money in the giant pension fund were wrongly influenced by money and politics.
In Broidy’s case. Cuomo said, “It was an old-fashioned case of payoffs to state officials. This case is effectively bribery of state officials.”
Broidy has agreed to forfeit $18 million in management fees and a judge may impose a sentence of up to four years in prison following Broidy’s guilty plea, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Israeli media has in the past labeled Broidy as a “mystery man” for his public reticence, but he spoke at length with the Jewish Journal about his business and personal lives in 2006.
By raising $800 million, Broidy made his Markstone Capital Group the largest private equity fund in Israel, at a time when the intifada was at its height and most investors shunned the Jewish state.
In Los Angeles, Broidy has been a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a trustee of USC and of USC Hillel, and has served on the Hebrew Union College board of governors, and as a former trustee of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
He is credited with revitalizing the dormant California-Israel Chamber of Commerce in the mid-‘90s, together with Stanley Gold and Stanley Chais. Gold is president and CEO of Shamrock Holdings and outgoing president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Chais, a large contributor to Israeli and Jewish causes, faces three legal actions as an alleged “middleman” for Bernard Madoff.
At the time of the 2006 article, Broidy was highly lauded for his financial acumen and civic involvement by local rabbinical and business leaders.
Broidy has also been a heavy hitter among Republican supporters, serving as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and among the top fundraisers for President George W. Bush in his 2004 campaign and for Sen. John McCain in his 2008 presidential race.
Gold told the Jewish Journal that he has known Broidy for some 20 years and worked with him on behalf of the Jewish Federation and Wilshire Boulevard Temple, in addition to the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“Elliott has given freely of his time and energy to the community, of which he has been an outstanding member,” Gold said. “Our hearts go out to him and his family at this difficult time.”
Gold added, “Elliott is a decent and good man. It is not my style to desert a friend in his hour of need.”
Broidy’s New York attorney Christopher Clark sent a statement to the Jewish Journal on behalf of his client, in which he confirmed Broidy’s guilty plea.
He added that “Mr. Broidy regrets the actions that brought about this course of events, but is pleased to have resolved this matter with the New York Attorney General and will be cooperating in the ongoing investigation.”
Clark noted that “Mr. Broidy has resigned from all operational, supervisory, and other roles at the firm of Markstone Partners in order to focus his attention on legal matters.
December 2, 2009 | 7:45 pm
Posted by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
The Orthodox Union announced today that Tootsie Rolls will now be certified kosher, with packages of Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Frooties and DOTS bearing the “OU” arriving on shelves within weeks.
It’s the kind of news that rocks the kosher world, as did Oreo’s entry into the kosher marketplace in 1997 or Entenmann’s in 1989.
There is no shortage of kosher candy – nearly all Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars and Ferrara Pan’s products are kosher, and Jewish brands like Paskesz and Bloom’s do a pretty good job of reproducing kosher versions of all the sweet, chewy, sticky stuff that kids (of all ages) crave.
But even with Jelly Belly’s recent entry into the kosher marketplace, nobody comes close to imitating the chocolaty, toothy satisfaction of biting into a Tootsie Roll.
Consumers who adhere strictly to kosher laws require that each ingredient be kosher and each stage of production be monitored by a certified mashgiach, kashrut supervisor.
The Orthodox Union, the largest kashrut supervisor in the world, certifies more than 400,000 products in 80 countries.
“We are very pleased to have Tootsie Roll join with other leading confectionery producers who have attained OU certification in recent years. It was also gratifying for OU to guide Tootsie Roll through the certification process and bring these famous candies to the growing kosher market place,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing.
December 1, 2009 | 8:31 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
In response to the “ginger” attacks at Calabasas’ A.E. Wright Middle School, Andrew Cohen, a senior at New Community Jewish High School, is inviting people to embrace redheads during “Hug a Ginger Day” on Dec. 8. As of Tuesday afternoon he’s had almost 4,000 responses to his Facebook event page.
The 17-year-old issued “Hug” invitations to all 500 of his Facebook friends, many of whom passed along the idea to members of their own contact lists. Now, he’s awaiting responses from more than 3,410 other Facebook members promising to join in “Hug a Ginger Day.”
“I thought it would be a little thing,” Cohen said. “But it blew up.”
Cohen was spurred to action after hearing of a “South Park”-inspired “Kick a Ginger Day” at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas, where seven redheaded students were bullied. In his Facebook message, Cohen said the incidents are more than just a prank.
“I use the example of the Holocaust, and how it started as small acts of discrimination and then it escalated to a much larger problem,” Cohen said. “We can’t take these things lightly. This is a hate crime.”