B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is disappointed to learn the European Union will not yet designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the wake of the Bulgarian government’s findings that the group was behind the attack that killed six people, five Israelis and one Bulgarian, in the resort town of Burgas in July 2012.
In a press conference Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barros said the EU does not have sufficient evidence of Hezbollah’s activities in Europe, but did not rule out taking action in a few months’ time. The Bulgarian government said it is still finalizing its investigation and according to reports is expected to formally ask the EU to place the group on its list of terrorist organizations next month.
By tabling this decision, the EU is sending the wrong message when the evidence is quite clear, and when in fact this attack occurred on European soil. Bulgaria spent six months investigating the suicide bombing, finding the names of the perpetrators, fake documents and a money trail leading back to Lebanon. Not designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization will only empower and embolden the group. We urge the EU to act quickly to cut off Hezbollah’s resources and to take the information provided in the Burgas report seriously.
Spring 2013 Issue Also Looks at “The American Shtetl” and Efforts to Preserve the Yiddish Language
Before Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Jewish creators of Superman, had even conceived of their legendary superhero, there was Siegmund “Zisha” Breitbert, a Jewish strongman who could bend iron bars into the shape of braided challahs with his bare hands. While Superman had his iconic “S” affixed to his costume, Breitbart often had his performing garb emblazoned with a large Jewish star.
Along with Breitbart, Sidney Frankel (a matador) and Lena Bernstein (an aviatrix) were three well-known early 20th century Jewish daredevils. Though better known for their steely nerves than their Judaism, their public achievements helped to debunk negative anti-Semitic stereotypes. In the spring 2013 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, writer Cheryl Kempler delves into the lives of these Jewish icons whose names have slipped into obscurity since their days of celebrity. (This article is available for reprinting. Contact us for more information.)
Elsewhere in the issue, the self-contained Hasidic communities located primarily in New York state are the subject of “The American Shtetl.” Yiddish is their daily language and they keep the secular world at a distance. Writer Uriel Heilman reports on these modern incarnations of old-country shtetl life.
While the American shtetls are helping to perpetuate the Yiddish language, the mamaloshen (mother tongue) has been reinvigorated in other ways. Writer Dara Kahn details the various organizations and institutions committed to its preservation and promotion, including the Yiddish Book Center, an organization devoted to the dissemination of Yiddish books.
In his regular column, B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin gives his take on the state of the mamaloshen after attending and speaking at the “Permanence of Yiddish” conference in Paris.
With Passover less than a month away, the spring 2013 issue also examines the delicious potential of gourmet Passover food. Restaurant chefs around the country are revitalizing Passover recipes by spicing up traditional dishes with their own unique culinary flare.
All this and more can be found in the current issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine.
And for exclusive digital content, visit the magazine website.
B’nai B’rith is extremely disappointed that the ill-advised, across the board cuts known as sequestration have come to pass, especially because of the major ramifications they could have for older adults as time goes on. Low-income seniors across the country could soon face problems getting to doctors appointments and could lose vital personal care services when the sequester budget cuts go into effect at midnight.
B’nai B’rith sponsored housing facilities are bracing for these spending reductions and senior residents are preparing to face the myriad of complications and harsh realities these budget cuts may bring. While the full impact of the cuts will be felt over time, the uncertainty has already frightened and unsettled residents and staff. No one knows how quickly residents and other seniors will feel the impact of the cuts.
Our facilities provide affordable housing for low-income seniors. They also save seniors and the government money by avoiding expensive health care and nursing home stays, and they allow people to age independently, where they can be active participants in their communities. With the looming sequestration those goals will become harder to achieve, especially if the cuts are imposed long term.
B'nai B'rith is the largest Jewish sponsor of federally subsidized housing for the elderly in the United States with 42 buildings in 26 communities. Through our partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), our facilities provide safe, affordable housing for low-income seniors.
Over time, the sequestration will create a litany of problems, especially because this 5 percent cut to the Fiscal Year 2013 annual budget comes so late in the current fiscal year that many programs will have to cut 9 percent to achieve the savings necessary to meet that target. This is an enormous blow to programs already unable to meet the needs of low-income seniors and other at risk populations.
The sequestration also means a total $18 million cut from HUD’s Section 202—housing for low-income elderly— for the rest of the year. This cut would most likely be felt in reduced apartment unit maintenance and supportive services for 114,000 households—services that are crucial in enabling seniors to remain in an independent living situation.
Additionally, the sequestration cuts Health and Human Services programs under the Older Americans Act, including a $285 million reduction to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), potentially cutting off home heating assistance to 290,000 senior households. Even the ability to get meals delivered to the elderly could be jeopardized. The number of grants Senior Nutrition Services provides to states supporting home-delivered meals programs such as Meals on Wheels will likely be cut, resulting in an estimated 17 million meals that will not be delivered to those seniors who need them most during the rest of the year.
The kinds of maintenance and supportive services that seniors rely on affect all aspects of daily life. Losing them will not only hamper seniors’ independence, but could also have serious consequences. Among the things the sequester threatens are rides for seniors to medical appointments and the grocery store; access to the homemaker services that help them with basic daily housekeeping needs; personal care services such as in-home assistance with bathing, toileting and dressing; adult day care programs that give seniors health care, socialization and nutrition they need; and legal services to avoid abuse and fraud, or help them fight back if they are victims of abuse and fraud.
B’nai B’rith calls for a bipartisan effort to immediately address the nation’s fiscal issues.
B’nai B’rith Disappointed with Los Angeles Teachers Union Endorsement of Ron Gochez for L.A. City Council
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed that United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)—one of the largest labor unions in Los Angeles, representing more than 35,000 teachers—has endorsed Ron Gochez for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.
Gochez is known for spreading hate, including making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements.
In 2002, Gochez wrote a letter to the San Diego State University student newspaper asserting, “The Jewish-owned media continue to blind the masses with propaganda to keep them in fear.” He has also lamented that no current city council members are “pro-Palestine.” Gochez has used his Facebook page to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state by comparing it to apartheid South Africa, encouraging divestment from Israel’s economy and referring to the country as “occupied Palestine (AKA Israel).”
UTLA’s decision to endorse a purveyor of hate speech for public office threatens to stoke ethnic tensions in Los Angeles and legitimize his extremist and hateful views. We call on the UTLA to withdraw its endorsement of Gochez and hope voters will consider his record of inciteful statements when voting for city council.