Former Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin was denied a new trial by a U.S. appeals court.
On June 14, employees at Bet Tzedek, a Jewish legal-service organization, demonstrated in front of the organization’s office at 145 S. Fairfax Ave., calling for higher wages. Bet Tzedek — which means “House of Justice” in Hebrew — is a nonprofit that provides free legal services to Jews and non-Jews in Los Angeles. The Bet Tzedek employees — lawyers, legal secretaries, paralegals and clerical workers — want pay increases of approximately 2 percent, according to Marc Bender, an attorney at Bet Tzedek and president of Bet Tzedek Legal Services Union, which has 54 members.
Faced with a pension shortfall of $20 million, the organized Jewish community's largest philanthropy finds itself forced to divert millions of donor dollars to employee retirement benefits, rather than to needed social services.
Benjamin Brown found out a master's degree in Jewish history didn't help him much in finding a job. So a few years ago, Brown, 29, launched an employment Web site for the Jewish community, which he named JewishJobs.com. The initiative seems to have been a success: Brown not only secured a job at the now-defunct United Jewish Communities' (UJC) Trust for Jewish Philanthropy, he has attracted more than 6,000 job seekers to his service, which boasts a testimonials page of happily matched employees and employers.
There was a time when the retail clothing industry was thriving. "In the '80s, my customers spent almost 8 percent of their disposable income on clothing," said David Sacks, owner of Sacks SFO apparel stores. However, time and a change in consumer habits have eroded this reality. Over the last decade, Sacks, 53, has had to close several of his outlets. He watched his retail miniempire dwindle from 20 stores nationwide to two local outlets: one in Studio City (12021 Ventura Blvd.) and a new location in Culver City (9608 Venice Blvd.).
The streamlining continues at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the city's biggest nonprofit outreach organization. A total of 30 positions were cut; 20 union and 10 nonunion. In the past month, buzz among Federation employees was that anywhere from 30 to 40 positions would be cut from all three local Federation outlets.
For the past four years, the predominantly Latino hospitality and housing employees at the University of Southern California have been fighting for a written guarantee of job security. Now, union leaders representing the workers have turned to Jewish leaders to support what they consider a call for justice.