B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin will give the keynote address at the Sparta-Israel Conference. The conference is sponsored by the Greek branch of B’nai B’rith and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute, and will be held from Sept. 2-4 in Sparta.
The conference includes several panel discussions which aim to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Greece through technology, entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and tourism. Professor Donald Kagan, who is known for his accomplishments in Classical Hellenic Culture, will be recognized at the conference. Additionally, the conference also looks at the “historical and cultural aspects of the ancient friendship between the Spartan Kings and the High Priests of Israel.”
For more information on the conference click here.
B’nai B’rith’s ‘There’s No Place Like Home Day’ Stresses Importance of Congressional Support for Low Income Housing for Seniors of Limited Means
At B’nai B’rith’s “There’s No Place Like Home Day” at Homecrest House, in Silver Spring, Maryland, residents told Congressional staff members why Congress’ support for low-income housing for seniors is so important.
Jarrett Moore, who works in Constituent Services for Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Patrick H. McCarthy, who is with the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, listened as residents noted any increase in the amount they have to pay in rent would be “devastating.” During a panel discussion, residents wanted these Capitol Hill staffers to know how big a hardship it would be on them if such supported housing were not available. Homecrest residents noted that the building is a “good compromise between independence and help.”
Homecrest House is part of B’nai B’rith’s network of low-income housing for seniors. We launched a partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1971 and currently have 38 buildings and some 4,000 residents in what HUD calls Section 202 housing, making us the largest national Jewish sponsor of subsidized senior housing in the nation.
Mike Goldman, the Homecrest House board president, reminded the Capitol Hill staff members that “Congress is really important to keeping the whole thing afloat,” and he urged them to “carry a message back to Congress that a lot of people are grateful and dependent on your continued generosity.”
Homecrest House staff members led a tour of the complex, including visits to apartments, the on-site beauty salon, fitness center and library, as well as to the dining room, where some 200 dinners a day are served, to very positive reviews. A resident services coordinator noted how she assists in coordinating such services as housekeeping, transportation and even fall prevention guidance, for the building’s residents.
B’nai B’rith advocates across Capitol Hill on behalf of seniors, calling attention to the high demand and low capacity of federally subsidized apartments. Currently at Homecrest House, there is a 12-18 month waiting period for people seeking an affordable home.
“Today was a great way to highlight the importance of the Section 202 program and the vital role it plays in the lives of low-income seniors. This type of housing allows seniors to age in place and avoid more costly institutional care,” said Janel Doughten, B’nai B’rith’s associate director of the Center for Senior Services. “The HUD Section 202 program provides vital affordable housing for low-income seniors. B’nai B’rith International is proud to sponsor Section 202 buildings across the country and advocate on Capitol Hill against rental reforms which would be hurtful to our residents.”
Click here to read our latest Seniority Report newsletter, for up-to-date information on B’nai B’rith’s seniors program: https://www.bnaibrith.org/seniority-report-newsletter
Massachusetts Suffragan Bishop Apologizes for Airing Libels Against Israel
In July, at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Suffragan Bishop Gayle Harris of the denomination’s Massachusetts diocese publicly asserted having seen Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers commit atrocities against Palestinians. Harris claimed that IDF soldiers killed a teenager by shooting him ten times, and handcuffed a 3-year-old boy whose ball fell over the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The allegations were made during debate over a litany of anti-Israel resolutions considered at the Episcopal convention.
On Aug. 17, Harris expressed remorse for her comments, writing: “After reviewing my words in the House of Bishops from a transcription, I now acknowledge that I reported stories which I had heard and unintentionally framed them as though I had personally witnessed the alleged events. I sincerely apologize. I now understand how the framing of my words could and did give the wrong impression … I was ill-advised to repeat the stories without verification, and I apologize for doing so.”
Tragically for interfaith relations in the U.S. and elsewhere — and for genuine peacemaking in the Middle East — a wildly disproportionate and singularly hostile focus on badmouthing and sometimes even boycotting Israelis, or those deemed to be inappropriately engaged with them, has become commonplace in a number of mainline Protestant and other denominations.
Massachusetts Bishop Alan M. Gates, in affirming Harris’s apology, said, “We recognize that for Christian leaders to relate unsubstantiated accounts of Israeli violence awakens traumatic memory of a deep history of inciting hostility and violence against Jews — a history the echoes of which are heard alarmingly in our own day. We grieve damage done to our relationships with Jewish friends and colleagues in Massachusetts, and rededicate ourselves to those partnerships, in which we are grateful to face complexities together.” His sentiments are appropriate.
Discrimination, stridency and falsehood have no place in a healthy Christian-Jewish relationship and in pursuing a fair, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace. It is long past due to end the maligning of the world’s only Jewish state and the Middle East’s only democracy, not least in religious institutions entrusted with particular moral authority.
On One Year Anniversary Of Deadly White Supremacist Rally In Charlottesville B’nai B’rith Renews Call For Civility And Tolerance
In a tumultuous year marked by too many instances of intolerance, we again vehemently condemn the white supremacist and neo-Nazi-backed sentiments and subsequent death and other violence that rocked Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12 last year during the “Unite the Right” rally. We further deplore the “Unite the Right” rally scheduled for Washington, D.C. this Sunday.
That original rally (and now the anniversary shows-of-support for it), are pathetic tools of extremists to intimidate and undermine our democratic values. As a nation, we cannot let our principles be compromised by the fringe. We urge others to publicly reject divisiveness and intolerance.
B’nai B’rith International is outraged by the Hamas rocket barrage against Israel and we stand in solidarity with the Jewish state after Hamas launched more than 150 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli neighborhoods.
According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus seven people were injured. Residents of Sderot and neighboring communities must race to bomb shelters and countless are traumatized by these ongoing attacks. Israelis live by a 15 second clock — the maximum amount of time between a defense siren warning of an attack and the rockets actually falling.
B’nai B’rith urges the international community to unequivocally condemn Hamas.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip well over a decade ago — only to be subjected to indiscriminate terror from Hamas terrorists ruling Gaza. Israel has a fundamental right and obligation to defend its civilians and its borders, and it has done so with exceptional care and restraint. The time is now for the international community to condemn these terror attacks on a sovereign nation.
B’nai B’rith welcomes the White House’s reinstatement of sanctions against Iran, which had been suspended after the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.
We had long expressed skepticism that the rogue regime in Tehran would abide by the deal. Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror, continues to call for Israel’s destruction and meddle dangerously in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and across other Middle East hot spots.
B’nai B’rith believes that continued pressure on Iran is required to curb its nuclear and hegemonic ambitions.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) toured one of B’nai B’rith International’s housing facilities for low-income senior citizens to meet with residents and discuss the critical importance of housing for adults with limited means. B’nai B’rith Deerfield Beach Apartments in Deerfield Beach, Florida is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“With approximately 10,000 Americans reaching retirement age each day and increases in life expectancy, the population of older Americans will double between 2012 and 2050. Congress must continue strong support for programs like Section 202 to ensure that high housing costs do not jeopardize a safe and secure retirement for hundreds of thousands of seniors. It was a pleasure to meet with the residents, board members, and staff of B’nai B’rith to see how federal investments in affordable housing help maintain quality of life and independence for South Florida seniors. Every American deserves to retire with dignity. Organizations like B’nai B’rith make that possible,” said Deutch.
Deutch’s tour of the building included the computer room, the arts and crafts room and the community room.
The congressman held a Q&A session with 65 residents and answered questions regarding affordable housing, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This type of housing is in constant demand, and researchers say for every low-income senior housing apartment nationwide there are 10-12 seniors waiting for a spot.
In attendance from the B’nai B’rith Deerfield Beach Apartments were: Board President Arthur Fentin, Board Vice President Dennis Rice, Board Secretary Dr. Allan Land, Board Treasurer Stephen Rose and Board member Hank Meyer. Staff members from the apartment complex included Administrator James Lynch, Service Coordinator Janet Murphy, Service Coordinator Lynn Maccarone, Assistant Manager Lisa Bryan and Assistant Manager Tameka Perez.
“One of the core values of B’nai B’rith is ‘Tikkum Olam’ — loosely translated as ‘repairing the world.’ The government’s Section 202 housing program was initiated to provide safe, secure, affordable apartments to older persons of limited income. Our national senior housing network does just that. It provides hope and a dignified place to live for over 8,000 persons who would otherwise have no place to call their ‘home,’” said B’nai B’rith International Associate Executive Vice President and Director of the B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services Mark D. Olshan.
The B'nai B'rith Senior Housing Network in the United States consists of 38 buildings in 27 communities, and includes some 4,500 apartment units. B’nai B’rith Deerfield Beach Apartments comprises three separate buildings which accommodate 271 units.
Deerfield Beach Apartments was also the site of the 2017 B’nai B’rith Housing Conference in December. The conference is held annually to bring board and staff members together to discuss approaches to affordable apartment house management. Last year B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman spoke about our role in the affordable housing community and Wendi Lipsich, district director to the Congressman, also spoke at the conference regarding constituent service and disaster preparedness and responses.
“This is the best place to live — without this federal subsidized housing for seniors, I would not have this wonderful home in a clean and safe environment. It means the world to me to be able to live independently and feel proud of my home," said Carmen Rodriguez, a resident who lives in the complex.