Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
The U.S. government didn’t invest directly in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. But it could take the biggest hit of all. From the AP:
Even Uncle Sam may get burned by Bernard Madoff. Investors who lost their fortunes in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme will end up paying far less in taxes and may even be eligible for refunds, according to accounting experts. By some estimates, the Internal Revenue Service could be out as much as $17 billion in lost tax revenue.
“This is one more thing federal, state and local officials will have to deal with,” said John Berrie, a tax partner at the law firm Bryan Cave in New York City. “It’s another heavy box on their back.”
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December 18, 2008 | 4:28 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Between $200-$600 million dollars.
That’s one estimate on how much money members of the Minneapolis Jewish community lost to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
“Many, many people are wiped out,” someone close to that community told The Jewish Journal.
(More details later from our reporter Dean Rotbart).
The information is borne out in articles that have appeared in The New York Times, AP, The Wall Street Journal and today in the Minneapolis-based Jewish weekly, American Jewish World.
According to this story by Mordecai Spector (http://www.ajwnews.com/archives/401)
“Members of Oak Ridge Country Club who invested with Wall Street insider Bernard Madoff have lost tens of millions of dollars, according to knowledgeable sources in the local Jewish community.
Federal authorities arrested Madoff, 70, on Dec. 11, after he admitted to running a massive pyramid scheme that bilked investors of as much as $50 billion.
Locally, one family lost $26 million that they invested with Madoff, and another family is out $10 million, sources told the AJW this week.
“A lot of people lost everything,” said a Minneapolis-area financial professional with personal knowledge of Madoff’s local clients. He said that he could not divulge names of Oak Ridge members who were victimized by Madoff and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Some people are going to have to sell their homes, their jewelry,” he said, regarding bilked investors who belonged to the predominantly Jewish country club in Hopkins. He added that some individuals approaching retirement have lost their life savings in the Madoff scam; they may have to return to work.”
...In a statement issued Tuesday, UJFC, the St. Paul-area federation, noted “that many outstanding members of the worldwide and local Jewish philanthropic community are victims and we are especially saddened that this alleged fraud will impact so many who have done so much with their own resources to help the most vulnerable among us. To the best of our knowledge at this time, we believe that the St. Paul Jewish community will have limited exposure to this tragic event.”
Spector’s interview with investor Harold Roitenberg tells a wide-spread story
“In addition to my own money [invested with Madoff’s firm], I had the money in a charitable lead trust that I used for making contributions, and that’s gone,” Roitenberg said.
Roitenberg and his wife, Ruth, are among the leading philanthropists in the local Jewish community. They were the lead donors for the Sholom Community Alliance’s Roitenberg Family Assisted Living Residence in St. Louis Park, and for the new Roitenberg Family Adult Day Center under construction at the new Rossy and Richard Shaller Family Sholom East Campus in St. Paul.
“I have been in touch with my bank and they know I lost money,” Roitenberg commented. “I’m trying to salvage whatever I can from this debacle.”
Here’s how Madoff got his hooks into Minneapolis, according to an AP story:
The Associated Press reported last Friday that Madoff targeted the Jewish community here, beginning about 20 years ago. Mike Engler was Madoff’s liaison to the Jewish country club set, according to the AP story. Engler, who lived in Minnetonka, died in
An Oak Ridge member recalled that Madoff was treated like visiting royalty when he visited the country club some years ago. The AJW was not able to confirm that any information about losses suffered by investors who were members of Hillcrest Country Club.
Robert Barrows, immediate past president and a current board member of Oak Ridge Country Club, told the Jewish World that the country club has a policy of not commenting on its members.
A friend of a local couple who lost their life savings in the Madoff investment scam recalled that the elderly couple referred to Madoff as “Uncle Bernie.”
In addition to local investors who lost large sums of money - as well as prominent figures in the American Jewish community, including Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Mort Zuckerman, et al. - to Madoff, the AJW was told that relatively small investors also were victimized.
“I never knew that you could have a relatively small account with that guy,” said a local reputable source, who previously thought that Madoff’s threshold was at least a million dollars. “He made himself out to be extremely exclusive,” but some families invested as little as $50,000 with Madoff’s scam operation in New York City.
“People who got in with the small dollars” felt as if Madoff had granted a “personal favor to let them in,” said the AJW’s source. “You felt privileged to have your money with him, because he always made money, year in and year out - even when Warren Buffett lost money, this guy still made money.”
December 17, 2008 | 8:17 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), the premier Jewish provider of a wide variety of social services to LA’s poor, elderly and disabled population, lost $425,000 in the Bernard Madoff scandal.
The money, a portion of the JFS Endowment Fund, wasmanaged as part of the Jewish Community Foundation’s Common Investment Pool, which had been invested in Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLP. JFS estimates that approximately $425,000, The money represents about 10% of JFS’s invested assets.
“These losses compound the difficulty of providing critically needed services to the vulnerable in an already fragile economic environment,” said Paul S. Castro, JFS CEO and Executive Director in a statement just released to The Jewish Journal, “We will work directly with the Jewish Community Foundation to mitigate the damage and minimize the impact on client services.”
“Unfortunately, one man’s unconscionable greed will impact services for thousands of people in need across the country,” said Jeff Nagler, JFS President. “However, the Los Angeles community can continue to count on JFS to provide a safety net for individuals and families who need our help.”
ABOUT JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE OF LOS ANGELES (from its web site)
Jewish Family Service, established in 1854, serves people of all ages, ethnicities and religions with compassion and caring. JFS’ nationally recognized services counsel and support individuals and families, helping more than 60,000 people each year in the greater Los Angeles area. JFS provides food and shelter, connects people with disabilities to vital resources, and help relatives and friends care for loved ones, young and old. JFS counsels families in crisis and at-risk children through school based programs. JFS provides safe shelter for homeless families, as well as for abused women and their children, and helps them create independent lives. More information is available at www.jfsla.org.
December 17, 2008 | 7:51 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
As financial losses resulting from the Madoff scheme continue to bleed throughout the country, two things have become clear: Jewish investors are acutely affected, and a few of them hail from Hollywood.
First we heard about Spielberg, then Katzenberg, then their longtime business manager Gerald Breslauer, who recommended investing with Madoff. Earlier today, the LA Times reported that screenwriter Eric Roth, who last week was nominated for a Golden Globe for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” lost his entire retirement savings. Those are the first few to fall, but the way this Ponzi pyramid is breaking down, there will likely be more.
Is it mere coincidence that the Hollywood players ensnared in the scheme are all Jewish?
If they’re from Hollywood, they’re not really Jewish, goes the stereotype. But the Madoff mess actually reveals something contrary to the prevailing belief that there’s nothing substantively Jewish in Hollywood (besides a bunch of Jewish names). It speaks to a foundational common thread, something sacred that is shared amongst members of a close-knit community; a community built on trust.
How else can you explain the kind of incestuous financial rings developed and sustained within the Hollywood Jewish community? Spielberg entrusts his net worth to his Jewish business manager; he shares said business manager with friend Jeffrey Katzenberg; and that very same manager trusts their sizable assets to another reputable Jew: Bernard Madoff. It could be argued that the entire entertainment industry operates this way; a tribalistic clan working together, sharing with each other and trusting one another.
What’s more Jewish than that?
December 17, 2008 | 6:53 pm
Posted by David Suissa
If you want to understand what’s behind the financial and ethical scandals we’re all consumed with these days, go to the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas on any Saturday night, and look for the loudest craps table.
If it’s a loud table, that means the roller’s on a winning streak. The dice keep coming up “winner”. The crowd gets louder. The bets get bigger. The cocktails keep flowing.
Now take a look at the guy rolling the dice. With every winning roll, he’s getting more cocky. He kisses the dice in a certain manner, as if he’s got some unique magical touch that’s creating the winning rolls and making money for everybody. By now, hot babes in skimpy dresses are fawning all over him—because he keeps winning. Off to the side, his mother, who he brought to Vegas for her 70th birthday, is trying to tell him to cash in his winnings and join her for a late tea.
Now, who do you think he’s going to listen to? His sensible mother or the sexy babes? Who makes him feel more powerful? Who makes him feel like he’s on top of the world?
Hint: it’s not the old lady who speaks Yiddish.
America’s gone crazy. Thomas Friedman wrote in a column last week that ever since American capitalism vanquished communism in the late 1980’s, we’ve unraveled. Having an ideological enemy focused our minds and gave us discipline. Absent that opposition, we became a juvenile nation that just wants to party, gamble and celebrate.
A president who makes out with an intern in the same office where Abraham Lincoln toiled to keep our country together. Another president who uses phrases like “bring it on” in the middle of a geopolitical crisis. We turned into a nation where empty swagger became a substitute for serious thought.
On the economic front, the nation became one big craps table. We all wanted to believe. There was a little voice inside of us telling us there’s no way this good luck can continue, but the noise of the crowd was too loud. We fell for the hype of high-rolling politicians who promised us the moon and told us the sky was the limit—because that’s the only way they could get elected.
We saw the captains of Wall Street inflate values with sophisticated schemes few people could understand, even when the schemes were legal. We got seduced by money lenders shouting “no money down, no mortgage payments for two years!”, and failed to notice that by tampering with the integrity of risk, they were creating an economic time bomb.
And we shopped. Boy did we shop. Three hundred million credit cards made it easy.
When we finally woke up from our party at the end of 2008, we had taken on the signs of a third-world nation. We became the world’s largest exporter of raw materials and the largest importer of finished goods. We bought things, but we stopped making them.
All along, whenever sober naysayers would try to warn us about the dangers lurking within, we would look away. Who likes a party pooper, anyway?
The naysayers knew we were getting drunk on two lethal cocktails: One, the crazy idea that we had nowhere to go but up. And two, the crazy idea that we can get something for nothing.
Out of this superficial and immoral cesspool burst forth a Jew who will surely go down as one of the all-time great Jewish villains: Bernie Madoff. Madoff came from the culture of the craps table, but he took it to a whole other level. He was the “counter” who needs a mask to get into any casino because he’s figured out how to game the system. He was the deceiver who got so drunk on his power that he lost all moral bearing.
When his great-great grandchildren Google his name or read any history book on America at the turn of the millennium, they will have many reasons to hold their noses and feel the sting of shame.
We don’t have to wait that long. Jews already feel the sting of shame, and worse, the sting of enormous financial loss that will reverberate to Jewish charities and homes everywhere.
In the advertising business, we always say that we sell optimism. That’s what clients come to us for—to feed their dreams and help them reach higher and higher. When they want sober reality, they can go to their accountants.
On that note, someone asked me at a party the other night how I would counsel someone like Bernie Madoff. I blurted out that from now until the day he goes to jail, he should visit the Jewish communities of every state and not just beg for their forgiveness, but explain how he will spend very waking minute of the rest of his life trying to redeem himself. He can call it the Madoff Redemption Tour.
So yes, America’s in a mess, and the Madoff story is big. It’s bigger than big. It’s so big, in fact, that it can start to own us.
I remember how during the second intifada, when one terror attack after another kept hitting Israel, for months we had pretty much stopped singing at our Shabbat table, or saying words of Torah or telling sweet stories. We were consumed with what was happening in the Holy Land.
One day, I decided that I would no longer let Yasir Arafat destroy my Shabbat table. I would fight for Israel and discuss things like terrorism 24/6, but not 24/7.
I feel the same way about the mess we are in and especially about Bernie Madoff. It’s bad enough that he destroyed so much in the Jewish world and the world at large. But come this Friday night, I will sing songs with my children and tell beautiful stories, and I won’t let him destroy my Shabbat table. You can bet on it.
December 17, 2008 | 5:55 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
The number is almost too big to comprehend. It’s not quite as much as the $110 million that Yeshiva University lost in the Bernard Madoff investment scheme. But I’m not sure Hadassah has $90 million to spare. That’s right: $90,000,000.
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, said it had invested $90 million with Bernard Madoff.
“We are currently in the process of investigating the exact amounts and their impact, but it appears that at the time of his arrest, Hadassah had approximately $90 million invested with his firm,” the organization said Wednesday in a statement. “Falling victim to this unprecedented fraud will require us to make necessary adjustments, but it has not in the slightest affected our commitment to our core Zionist mission. These are indeed turbulent times, but the key pillars of Hadassah remain as strong as ever.”
Hadassah already was facing tough times because of the economic downturn, adopting cuts in its operating budget and expecting additional reductions in the coming months. The details of the yet-to-be-determined cuts are likely to become clearer following a board meeting next month.
“Now the Madoff situation compounds and accelerates the matter,” said a source close to the situation.
December 17, 2008 | 12:05 pm
Posted by Dean Rotbart
Developments have been breaking so rapidly in the Madoff investment scandal that there has been little time for reflection. When there is time, it seems evident that Yeshiva University’s handling of the public relations crisis will become a case study in how
to respond under similar circumstances. First YU tried to hide its Madoff ties, then it stonewalled media questions and delayed confirming the obvious, i.e. Yeshiva University was badly injured in the whole Madoff mess and some of its trustees—or I should say former trustees, are squarely to blame.
In any case, it seems YU finally wised up and permitted Rubenstein Associates, a first class PR firm in New York, to represent it. This morning an executive at Rubenstein shared with me this letter from YU’s Richard M. Joel to the university’s community. Personally, I think Joel should have said something more to the effect that “this is catastrophic and those who perpetrated this are evil.” Instead, he notes that the $110 million loss is only 8% of YU’s endowment. I’ll keep that in mind next time I receive a solicitation from YU asking me to donate $36 of my hard-earned savings. Here is Joel’s letter.
Dear Yeshiva University Community,
I would like to speak with you, members of the Yeshiva University Community, about recent events in the news. As a result of the last week’s revelations regarding Bernard Madoff, much concern and speculation has arisen regarding Yeshiva University. I write to you to make our situation clear.
Before going further let me reassure you:
1. The University is financially strong.
2. Be assured that our levels of scholarships and financial aid will not diminish.
3. Yeshiva University staff pensions are not impacted by this revelation.
4. Our leadership, faculty and students are engaged and advancing.
5. We will learn all appropriate lessons from this experience.
6. We have been engaged over the last two months in reviewing our budgets to seek ways to cut our operating costs due to global economic realities. We will continue to do so and remain committed to advancing our crucial mission of providing an education that ennobles and enables our students.
Bernard Madoff is no longer associated with our institution in any way. The University had no investments directly with Madoff. Last Thursday night, we were informed by Ascot Partners, a vehicle in which we had invested a small part of our endowment funds for 15 years, that substantially all its assets are invested with Madoff. The Ascot fund was managed by J. Ezra Merkin who has served as a University trustee and chairman of the investment committee. Mr. Merkin has resigned from all University positions.
In the most recent statement from Ascot, Yeshiva’s investment was valued at about $110 million, which represents about 8% of our endowment. While these facts are disappointing, we need to remain focused on the larger picture. We are but one of many institutions and individuals that have been impacted.
Let me be clear regarding our financial position: the University’s endowment, taking into account the Ascot loss, is currently estimated to be approximately $1.2 billion, down from approximately $1.7 billion on January 1, 2008. That loss of 28%, calendar year-to-date, compares with an S&P loss of 38% and Dow Jones loss of 32%. While certainly this represents a painful decline, we are in the same or better position as many universities. Although this decreased endowment must factor into our long term fiscal plans, it will have minimal impact on day-to-day operations. Total income from endowment last year represented 13% of the University’s operating income. Much more critical to our future health is the continued level of financial support from the YU family, philanthropists, and friends. So, while we are in a healthy and strong position to move forward, we must use the moment to address all concerns that this situation has illuminated.
In light of recent developments, we have decided to examine our existing conflicts policies and procedures, and governance structures. To assist us in this process we have engaged Sullivan & Cromwell and Cambridge Associates, internationally renowned and respected institutions with recognized expertise in corporate and institutional governance, to ensure that our policies and procedures and structure reflect not only best practices, but the gold standard—the standard to which we aspire for all our endeavors. We will be working closely with our advisors over the coming weeks and months and I’m confident that we’ll emerge stronger than ever.
I must add a more personal thought. We all should use these times to reflect on our blessings but also to reflect on our responsibilities. We should constantly be communally introspective and focus on advancing our ideals. The times are appropriate for us to focus on our core values, to practice and refine them and to share them with the world. We can and should always advance. Yeshiva University is committed to engaging in that conversation with other people of good will. I thank you for your interest, commitment and support.
Richard M. Joel
President, Yeshiva University
December 17, 2008 | 11:10 am
Posted by Dean Rotbart
The Chais Family Foundation (CFF) is one of early victims of the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities fraud. Launched in November 1985 by the Chais family - led by Stanley and Pamela Chais of Los Angeles, CFF donated many, many millions of dollars to worthy global causes, especially in the areas of education, health care and the “deepening of Jewish identity.”
A reader emailed me this morning with this list that she compiled of organizations that have received funding from CFF. Those interested in learning more can still find background on the foundation’s web site, which remains a testament to its good deeds. Having lost all its funds in the Madoff swindle, CFF closed its doors this past Sunday. CFF’s president, Avraham Infeld, was previously International President of Hillel. To view board members, click here.
Adain Lo is the leading communal and family service center in St. Petersburg with more than 20 programs serving over 3000 participants. Adain Lo sponsors kindergarten programs, and organizes Jewish camps for disadvantaged children.
Aharai identifies youth at risk from poor neighborhoods from age 14 through 25 and helps them pass the Bagrut. Aharai also prepares them for service in the army and provides counseling for military veterans.
Alma is a study center for secular Israelis which combines the study of Jewish and world literature, poetry, philosophy and the arts. Alma also operates a community outreach program focusing on Jewish holidays. Hundreds of young people attend these holiday festivals in Israel and the United States.
ARCHIMEDES PROJECT AT THE TECHNION
The Archimedes Project at the Technion was founded with the goal of expanding the number of highly qualified science students in Israel graduating with degrees in chemistry. Every year the project chooses fifty exceptional high school students to study chemistry and mathematics in special classes at the Technion. Students in the program earn college credits which they can apply towards their future studies at the Technion.
AV Israel works with hearing impaired children through early diagnosis and advanced audiological rehabilitation. The Chais Family Foundation established The Charitable Fund for Disadvantaged Families which helps provide these children with the necessary treatment and equipment that they could not otherwise afford.
Ayalim is a grassroots movement of young Israelis who move to economically depressed areas of Israel in order to provide educational mentoring and community services in exchange for college scholarship and low-cost housing. Starting with two caravans in the Negev, Ayalim has grown to include several hundred students in ten villages in the Negev and the Galilee, and is one of the fastest growing volunteer organizations in Israel with more applicants than it can handle.
BEIT AGNON MOSCOW
Beit Agnon is a culture club in Moscow which provides a platform for the performing arts in Hebrew for young students. Theater arts, choir, and popular entertainment are performed in schools, community centers and family camps throughout the FSU.
BEN GURION UNIVERSITY – FUND FOR RECRUITING SCIENTISTS
The Chais Family Foundation has participated in a program to attract Israeli scientists who are studying abroad to return to Israel. Cff provides them with laboratory and research facilities comparable to the best universities in Europe and the United States. Since the program began, twelve top Israeli scientists who had finished their post-doctorates at foreign universities have returned to teach at Ben Gurion University.
The Bialik-Rogosin school is located in a poor neighborhood in south Tel-Aviv. Cff joined a coalition of Israeli philanthropists to create an educational system which includes extended school hours through the evening, and specialized classes and tutoring. Night courses are available for parents who wish to learn Hebrew. As a result of this effort, enrollment has increased dramatically as has the percentage of students passing their matriculation exams and entering the army.
BINA - SECULAR YESHIVA
Bina is a “secular yeshiva” which combines the study of traditional texts and community service. It is part of a national kibbutz movement which spends part of its time studying and the balance mentoring students from schools in deprived areas of south Tel-Aviv.
The Chais Family Foundation has joined with the Avi Chai Foundation in funding books translated into Russian from leading contemporary writers. The Chais Foundation will translate and publish six to eight non fiction books a year. Among the books to be published this year are “The Six Day War” by Michael Oren, “The History of Israel” by Howard Sacher, and an adaptation of the Hebrew Encyclopedia on Secular Judaism.
Booknik.ru is a Russian-language internet site targeting unaffiliated Jews. The site focuses on Jewish and Israeli literature and culture, with book reviews, articles and discussion forums. Booknik is now expanding its activities to include podcasts on their site and a hard copy publication. The Chais Family Foundation has shared funding for the project with the Avi Chai Foundation.
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY (CEU)—CHAIS CENTER, HEBREW UNIVERSITY
Central European University and Hebrew University have entered a joint project which allows students from the FSU to combine a Masters program at CEU with additional mentoring at Hebrew University. The project also supports visiting lecturers from Israel who teach Jewish studies at CEU in Budapest.
Headquartered in Vienna, Centropa has preserved 1,500 oral life histories and digitized 25,000 privately held family photographs with particular emphasis on the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish life in Eastern and Central Europe. Centropa demonstrates, with the above media, the vitality of contemporary Jewish life.
CHAIS CENTER FOR JEWISH STUDIES IN RUSSIA
The Chais Family Foundation entered into partnerships with the Universities of Moscow and St. Petersburg to develop accredited programs in the field of Jewish studies. Hebrew University sent professors to teach the courses. Today 150 students are enrolled in the programs in Moscow and St. Petersburg with hundreds having graduated. Many of them are currently working in their communities in Jewish education and related fields.
CHAIS FAMILY FELLOWS PROGRAM AT WEIZMANN INSTITUTE
The Chais Family Fellows Program provides grants to Israeli scientists who have completed their studies abroad so that they can return to Israel as professors at the Institute. Grants are used to purchase state of the art laboratory facilities required for the candidates’ research. Since the program began, 15 of the most talented Israeli scientists have utilized the program.
CHAIS FAMILY LIBRARY
Chais Family Library is a series of non-fiction books on world, European and Jewish history. The books, which originally appeared in other languages, are now being translated for the Russian-speaking market world wide.
COLLEGE FOR ALL
College for All is a program for children from disadvantaged backgrounds that are in need of emotional and educational support. The program guides students with the greatest potential from 2nd grade through high school and into the university system.
Ein Prat is a residential program for post-army students that features courses that are central to Western civilization, including Talmud studies, the Bible, world philosophy, and classic literature. Special emphasis is placed on leadership training.
Based in Jerusalem, Elul is a pioneer in the field of Jewish renewal. It operates in 30 areas in Israel with the purpose of studying Jewish texts from the Bible through contemporary literature and philosophy. Cff is providing the resources to expand the program.
EMEK MEDICAL CENTER
The Emek Medical Center in Afula is the only hospital serving its region. The Chais Research and Medical Excellence Fund provides annual research grants, offers prizes for best research and teachers, and provides the facilities necessary for advance research.
Eretz Acheret is a bimonthly periodical edited on a volunteer basis by a group of journalists, academics, and others concerned by the lack of dialogue in Israeli society. Each magazine focuses on a particular segment of society or on important issues facing the country, and presents articles representing a wide range viewpoints.
Eshbal is a kibbutz established by an Israeli youth movement which focuses on social commitment and responsibility through education and community action. They have also founded an educational boarding school for Ethiopian teen-agers.
Eshkol is a program of cultural activities on Jewish and Israeli themes that takes place in popular cafes in Moscow. This includes readings and discussions of Jewish literature, screenings of Israeli films and photography and creative writing contests. The Chais Family Foundation has shared funding for the project with the Avi Chai Foundation.
EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION FOR FSU STUDENTS
This program for young FSU immigrants provides scholarships, counseling and an introduction to universities.
The Gandel Institute for Adult Jewish Learning promotes adult Jewish literacy. It is a two year interactive program based on Jewish texts which contributes towards a stronger Israel-Diaspora relationship.
GIVAT OLGA HIGH SCHOOL
Givat Olga High School is in an economically depressed community and was about to be closed when a group of 20 idealistic young teachers took up residence in Givat Olga and made dramatic changes in the quality of education. The Sacta-Rashi Foundation and local philanthropists joined Cff in supporting this revitalization effort. Two years into the program, Givat Olga now has 225 students up from 30 students when the program began.
Hazon stimulates American Jews to become involved in the Jewish community through group hikes and bicycle trips in Israel and the United States. Hazon has also initiated a program whereby synagogues become partners with local organic farms to promote healthful eating habits.
Hemda is the science campus for high schools in the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area. By centralizing all of its teaching resources at a single location, Hemda with its extensive scientific facilities and outstanding teachers, offers a quality of education which would not be possible if it were spread over a large number of schools. The Chais Family Foundation sponsors two programs at Hemda geared to students below high school age. “The Physics and Chemistry for the Young” program offers gifted students in their last year of junior high school the opportunity to take courses in physics and chemistry. Now in its fifth year of operation this program enrolls 300 students a year. The Chais Teachers’ Center trains teachers in advanced pre-high school math and science, including refresher courses and instruction in improved use of modern technology.
Heznek Le-Atid (“Jump Ahead” in English) provides tutoring to high school students in disadvantaged communities to help them pass their matriculation exams. A second program, Jump Ahead Atidim, works with stronger students to pass their science and math examinations with excellent scores. Students in the program are also motivated to seek higher education through visits to universities and with potential employers, particularly in the field of high tech. The program currently includes 4,500 students in fifty locations throughout Israel. Cff initially supported the program in Dimona, and has now expanded its involvement to include the towns of Safed and Bet Shean.
Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life provides opportunities for Jewish students to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity in local campus and community-based centers through its global network. Hillel’s activities cover a wide range of Jewish engagement from study to social action, from Israel advocacy to providing a Jewish home on campus. The Cff is a major supporter of Hillel in the former Soviet Union and Israel, and a number of select campuses in the United States.
HUC- JIR SPECIALIZATION IN PLURALISTIC JEWISH EDUCATION
This program offers advanced training for teachers and principals so that they can properly teach Jewish thought from the secular to the orthodox in order to create a more tolerant society.
IMMIGRANTS RISING TO EXCELLENCE
Immigrants Rising to Excellence is an after school enrichment program in math and science for immigrant students from the periphery. These students conduct experiments in laboratory facilities not ordinarily available to them.
INTERDISCIPLINARY CENTER OF HERZLIYA (IDC)
The Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya (IDC) is the only private university in Israel. The Chais Family Foundation has a long-standing involvement with IDC, which includes the following:
1. The funding of the Chais Auditorium in the Ofer School of Communications.
2. Scholarships for students of Computer Science.
3. The Stanley and Pamela Chais Fellows program provides grants for promising Ethiopian students.
JEWISH COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN GERMANY
The Chais Family Foundation has joined forces with the JDC in order to integrate 200,000 immigrants from the FSU in 92 communities throughout Germany. The programs are designed to engage young Jewish adults and families through cultural events, leadership training and networking with other Jewish communities.
Cff has recently committed to help support a “second stage” of JDC’s efforts in Germany, which will solidify and expand the original program, and add new Jewish cultural projects such as book fairs and film festivals
JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM AT ST. PETERSBURG UNIVERSITY
CFF has joined forces with Avi Chai Foundation to support Jewish academic studies at two universities in St. Petersburg. The Chais Family Foundation funds both universities in enlarging their student enrollment and provides educational material for libraries.
Judapest has created the first web site for young Hungarian Jews. It provides relevant and stimulating Jewish articles and chat rooms. Judapest has shown enormous growth in just two years.
Klezfest, performed in St. Petersburg, is a festival of Klezmer music. The program draws young adults from all over the FSU as well as Central Europe. Performances and lectures take place in early summer, and contribute to the revival of Yiddish culture.
Kolot is a modern Beit Midrash where Jewish text is studied in order to emphasize the role of Jewish thought in increasing social awareness and Tikkun Olam. Cff has partnered with Kolot in funding a network of learning and volunteering groups, which combines the study of Jewish thought with social activism.
Limmud has created a series of Jewish cultural festivals which have spread rapidly across the world and is enjoying extraordinary success. It attracts Jews from the secular to the orthodox with lectures, performances and discussions, that provide an insight into the vast diversity of thought in the Jewish world. The Chais Family Foundation has helped sponsor the first Limmud festivals in Moscow, the Baltic States, and Southern California. Based on this initial success, Cff will help fund a festival for Russian Jews in Ashkelon in September 2008, and in Yalta in 2009. In our view, Limmud is one of the more important, dynamic and rapidly growing movements in the Jewish world and has enormous potential.
Recently, Cff agreed to help fund a program to collect the methodologies and best practices developed by Limmud since its inception and to create a standardized model for creating new Limmud conferences in different communities throughout the world.
Madatech, the Israel National Museum of Science, has programs and exhibitions that demonstrate the evolution of science from mechanics, to electricity, to optics, to aeronautics, etc. Cff has provided the museum with a classroom and laboratory wing.
Marom is a grass-roots collective of young Jews in Budapest whose activities include theater performances, public lectures, seminars and Shabbat and holiday celebrations. They also meet periodically with young Jews throughout Europe.
MASA’s vision is for young Jews around the world to come to Israel for a semester or a year, and explore its land, its culture and its history. Masa emphasizes meaningful encounters with Israelis and provides opportunities for service in such diverse fields as tutoring, social welfare, and cultural activities. Cff is a partner in this program with the Jewish Agency.
Matach is the largest organization in Israel working to bring the public school system into the computer age by wiring the classrooms, creating digital content for school websites, and developing technology to help disadvantaged students. Cff supports a program which provides on-line tutoring for students living in the periphery in such subjects as physics, math and English. Students in the program meet several times a week on-line with a university student tutor. 650 students were enrolled in 2007, and 150 took the exam – three-quarters achieved grades of 80% or higher.
Melitz offers seminars on Jewish identity, Zionism, democracy and civil rights. Melitz also provides programs that create dialogue among diverse cultural, religious and ethnic groups in Israel and around the world.
MELTON MINI-SCHOOL ADULT PROGRAM IN BUDAPEST
The Melton Mini-School program is a global network of Jewish adult-education programs based in Jerusalem. Cff has agreed to help fund the establishment of a Melton Mini-School program to be located in the Hillel Youth Center in Budapest.
The public library in the town of Mevasseret Zion outside Jerusalem was built by the Chais Family Foundation. The library has played a central role in the life of the community, and offers a variety of activities to members of all ages.
Nitzanim Le’Atid was created by the founder of an educational software company who saw the opportunity to apply his company’s expertise to the field of philanthropy. Etgarim, the organization’s flagship program, targets new immigrants from Ethiopia, ages 4-13, and provides them with educational software in Hebrew and Amharic to prepare them to enter the Israeli school system. A second program targets youth at risk, and gives them vocational training leading to an officially recognized certificate in computer instruction. Nitzanim Le’Atid not only develops the software, but funds 50% of the cost of the programs. Cff has joined in funding both programs.
Ofek Bagrut encourages learning that improves the chance of gaining a matriculation certificate. The program is offered in schools with high immigrant concentrations and is offered to students in grades ten through twelve. As a result of this program, 70% of the participants are now eligible for a full matriculation certificate - as compared to 30% before intervention.
OPEN UNIVERSITY OF ISRAEL
The Chais Research Center for the Integration of Technology in Education facilitates the transmission of curricula over the internet in Israel and the FSU. Cff has also funded a state of the art auditorium at Open University, and is the major supporter of a project to bring Judaic Studies to thousands of students across the FSU.
Orr Shalom operates 35 residential facilities in Israel for children suffering emotional difficulties as a result of severe neglect and abuse. It also operates programs designed to integrate disturbed children into normal society by employing after school and work programs in a nurturing family environment.
ORT CHAIS ACADEMIC PROGRAM
The Ort Chais Academic Program offers the brightest students in the Ort school system an opportunity to enter an intensive academic program which allows them to complete an early bachelor’s degree. Students from Ort study additional hours in high school and spend one day a week taking courses at nearby universities. Now in its second year, the program enrolls 800 students from all over Israel.
PACT (Parents and Children Together) is an early intervention program for Ethiopian pre-schoolers which focuses on the child, the family, the community and the local professionals. The program consists of placement in pre-school, literary enrichment, direct home intervention for the most distressed families, and adult literacy programs.
Paideia, located in Stockholm, Sweden, is dedicated to the revival of European Jewish culture. Paideia has also developed projects for educational weekends, alumni and academic conferences as well as month long cultural seminars across Europe.
Recently, Cff increased its contribution to Paideia to help fund a management training program and summer workshop for activists in European Jewish communities.
Chais Family Foundation has joined with Leon Recanati and the Sacta-Rashi Foundation to offer a cash prize for teachers and social workers who have shown exceptional creativity, entrepreneurial skills and initiatives.
Reshit is a boys high school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in south Tel-Aviv. On the verge of closing down nine years ago, a new principal was brought in and, with the help of Israeli philanthropists, Cff and the Los Angeles Federation, transformed it into one of the most improved high schools in the city. From 150 students with a passing rate of 19% on the Bagrut, Reshit now has 350 students and a passing rate of 70%.
The Reut Institute focuses on improving the Israeli government’s ability to function strategically. Reut plans to train a cadre of planners who will become Israel’s future policy leaders. CFF funds four fellowships for a period of two years.
Sefer organizes annual international academic conferences, seminars, and winter and summer schools. Working together with Hebrew University it has created Eshnav, which is a one month study program in Jerusalem. With CFF funding, Sefer also publishes academic journals and Tirosh, a student publication dealing in Jewish studies.
SHAARE ZEDEK MEDICAL CENTER
Shaare Zedek has serviced Jerusalem’s diverse population for over a century. The Chais Family Foundation has funded a unit for Medical Genetics Research of Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
SHALOM HARTMAN INSTITUTE
Shalom Hartman Institute is a research and leadership training institute. Their mission is to revitalize Judaism, strengthen Jewish identity and foster religious pluralism by providing scholars, rabbis, educators, and lay leaders of all denominations with tools to address the central challenges facing Judaism today.
The Chais Family Foundation, along with the Katzir Fund, supports a two year engineering program specifically for Ethiopians who have completed their army/national service. After a nine month preparatory program, those who can pass the academic requirements enter the regular engineering program. Cff also funds their library.
Shitim brings Jewish renewal to Northern Israel through the study of Jewish texts, the Jewish calendar, and the celebration of holidays.
SPNI – ASHALIM
SPNI - Ashalim provides outdoor activities such as camping, field workshops, neighborhood clean-ups and parent-child nature trips for youth in the social & geographical periphery.
SPNI – MALASHIM
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel operates study centers for under-privileged children which give courses in nature and the environment. The Chais Family Foundation supports Malashim in four communities.
The Chais Family Foundation has joined the Sacta-Rashi Foundation in funding the Tafnit program which is designed to improve the quality of education in depressed areas in the south. Tafnit identifies students in danger of dropping out of school and provides personalized coaching. This program includes 20,000 students in 200 schools. Last year Tafnit students passed the matriculation exams with scores significantly above the national average.
TECHNION CHAIS EXCELLENCE PROGRAM
The Chais Excellence Program funds the education of the smartest and most innovative students by providing special mentoring and the freedom to cross departmental lines. Out of some 250 students who apply each year, an average of 15 are accepted. Now in its second decade, the Technion Excellence Program has several hundred graduates, most of whom have taken leading positions in academia.
THE CENTER FOR BIBLICAL AND JEWISH STUDIES IN ST. PETERSBURG
The program provides a post-graduate course in Biblical, Medieval and Modern Jewish history, focusing primarily on Eastern Europe.
THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE, WEIZMANN
The Davidson Institute provides special courses for gifted students, science camps and competitions, teacher training, and remedial programs for youth at risk. The Chais Family Foundation funds superior web facilities as well as the opportunity for gifted students to take credited courses in specialized fields not generally offered at the high school level.
THE DEPARTMENT FOR JEWISH STUDIES, MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY
Under the direction of Professor Arkady Kovelman, the new department of Russia’s leading state university today trains 100 scholars for degrees including PhD’s in Judaic studies, the Hebrew language and contemporary Israeli society. These young scholars are at the core of redefining Jewish identity in the FSU.
THE MIDRASHA AT ORANIM
The Midrasha teaches Jewish text and sources in a modern context. Their works in the field of Jewish and Hebrew text provide a model for social justice and celebrations of Jewish holidays with such disciplines as literature, Talmud, history and geography of Israel.
THE MORIAH LITERACY INITIATIVE
The Moriah Literacy Initiative brings to Israel a revolutionary new teaching model that was developed and implemented in the United States. Thus far the new methodology has been introduced into four elementary schools in Netanya with heavy concentrations of Ethiopian students, and the results have been positive. Cff has agreed to join the Moriah Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Detroit to expand the program into three additional schools in Netanya.
THE SOCIETY FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION (SEE)
The Society for Excellence in Education has a boarding high school in Jerusalem for gifted students in the arts and sciences. The Chais Family Foundation has a long standing relationship with SEE, which includes:
1.The Chais Teacher Institute which trains approximately 1,000 teachers per year in the curriculum of the Excellence 2000 program in schools throughout Israel.
2.Chais Family Exploration Camp gives outstanding students an opportunity to spend two weeks studying arts and science at the campus in Jerusalem.
3.The Chais Center for Excellence building.
TZAMAROT: IN-SERVICE TRAINING FOR SCHOOL PRINCIPALS
Cff joins the Lautman Foundation and the Israeli Ministry of Education in an innovative program to provide high school principals with advanced business management and problem-solving skills. Fifty principals who have been in their position for a minimum of four years have been selected to participate in the program at teaching colleges in Tel Aviv and Qiryat Tivon in northern Israel.
Unistream is a program for under-privileged youth in which students are given a three year course in the basic tools of business management. The students meet with prominent business leaders and receive mentoring in communications. The Chais Family Foundation supports Unistream centers in two communities, and offered a 50% challenge grant in order to open the first Unistream center in the south.
Yedidim employs innovative management and coaching techniques to help high school students in marginal areas develop educational and career goals and the organizational ability to achieve them. Students in the program meet with a professionally trained group coordinator and mentor and create a “Personal Advancement Program” laying out the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest. A set of goals are then formulated along with a plan and timeline for achieving them which is monitored each month. Students interact with their mentor and each other in weekly and monthly sessions, and are introduced to professionals in their particular area of interest. Yedidim currently includes over 6,000 students in 45 communities throughout Israel.
Yemin Orde is a youth village for immigrant children which has become a model for similar organizations in Israel and around the world. Receiving children from the most difficult backgrounds, Yemin Orde has been successful in integrating them into Israeli society thanks to the highly supportive environment in which they are raised and educated.
Cff also supports a one year preparatory course for new immigrants about to enter the Israeli army, as well as Yemin Orde Initiatives which will collect the methods and experiences gained at Yemin Orde and apply them to other youth villages in Israel.
YOUTH RENEWAL FUND
Youth Renewal Fund provides after school enrichment in Hebrew, English and Math for under-privileged Israeli children. Funds from the Chais Family Foundation have expanded the program from fourth to sixth graders to include seventh and eighth graders.
Yuvalim works to narrow social gaps and provide equal opportunity to students in the North of Israel. Special education is provided to students at both ends of the spectrum; those who have failed at least five subjects, as well as top students. Working with junior high school students, the program provides academic assistance for each group. In addition, the students are expected to participate in a variety of community activities that include mentoring, helping the aged, etc. The Chais Family Foundation has funded the opening of two new centers.