A B’nai B’rith International delegation, led by President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, has been meeting over the past week with dozens of world leaders on the sidelines of the 73nd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
During these meetings, the delegation has discussed priority issues including Iran’s threats to global peace and security, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, global anti-Semitism and continuing mistreatment of the Jewish state within U.N. bodies. The scheduled meetings have included those with leaders from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, India, Italy, Jordan, Mexico and Ukraine, among others.
“It is imperative that we hold these meetings so that the United Nations and the international community finally afford Israel the equality and fundamental rights to which it is entitled. Time and time again the U.N. singles out Israel for demonization and mistreatment, and I am proud to represent B’nai B’rith and fight this bias,” Saltzman said.
“Global engagement is one of B’nai B’rith’s core values, and meeting with these presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and others allows us to speak out against some U.N. members’ relentless delegitimization of the world’s only Jewish state,” Mariaschin said.
Engaging with world leaders is imperative to advocating for Jewish values and interests on the global stage. B’nai B’rith, active at the U.N. since the world body was founded, is committed to holding the U.N. accountable to its founding principles and aspirations.
In addition to Saltzman and Mariaschin, the B’nai B’rith delegation includes: Sheila Mostyn, senior vice president; Charles Kaufman, chairman of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy; Ira Bartfield, chairman of the B’nai B’rith Center for Jewish Identity; Seth Riklin, executive board of directors member; Larry Magid, International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy board member; Millie Magid, International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy board member; and Andy Borans, board of governors member and executive director of the AEPi Foundation. In addition, several students from the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity (AEPi), a B’nai B’rith partner, were included in select advocacy appointments.
B’nai B’rith International Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels and Program Officer for U.N. Affairs Oren Drori are coordinating the meetings.
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) recently 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. South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House in South Orange, New Jersey is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“Around a third of America’s homeless population is over the age of 50. Organizations like B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey provide a life-saving service by ensuring that senior citizens have safe, affordable housing. Since being in Congress, I have supported Section 202 housing and advocated for the needs of senior citizens. I’m happy to visit with the residents of South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation Housing to learn from their experiences and hear their concerns,” Payne said.
Payne’s tour of the building included two resident apartments, the library, the management office and the community room.
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.
The congressman held a Q&A session with residents and answered questions regarding changes to Medicare and possible rent increases to Section 202 housing. The Congressman also spoke at length about taking the necessary action in Washington, D.C. to keep Social Security intact.
“We are so thankful that Congressman Payne was able to visit South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House. B’nai B’rith believes visits like this one are the most effective way to demonstrate the importance of the HUD Section 202 program to members of Congress. We will certainly be encouraging additional members of Congress and their staff to visit other B’nai B’rith sponsored buildings throughout the country in the future,” said B’nai B’rith International Center for Senior Services Assistant Director for Aging Policy Evan Carmen.
In attendance from South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House were: Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation Harold Colton-Max; Beth Rayman, site manager; and Christopher Bailey, site superintendent.
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 participated in a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw, Poland. The gathering, which focused on human dimension issues such as pluralism and non-discrimination, featured government officials and non-governmental organizations from the OSCE’s 57 member countries in North America, Europe and Eurasia.
Eric Fusfield, deputy director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, spoke at the conference on the need to combat anti-Semitism in the OSCE region. He identified the OSCE’s Words into Action project as a practical tool for countering hatred of Jews and Israel. Words into Action, funded for the past two years by the German government, develops activities in the areas of education, security and coalition-building.
“It is crucial that this work continue, as the need is more pressing than ever,” Fusfield said in his statement to the plenary. “B’nai B’rith calls on the OSCE to continue its support of Words into Action and insists that it not downgrade the project or diminish its specific focus on anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a unique, and uniquely persistent, social phenomenon, with distinct characteristics and distinct prescriptions for countering it. Now is simply not the time to reverse course on this important effort.”
A highly inspiring and widely promising international conference titled “Sparta-Israel: Renewing an Ancient Friendship” took place in Sparta, Greece, on September 2 & 3, 2018 ( www.sparta-israel.org). The conference was organised by the Municipality of Sparta, B’nai B’rith Greece and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute. It was meant to celebrate the ancient friendship between the Spartans and the High Priests of Judea, as initiated by Areus, the wise king of the Spartans, ca. 300 BC. The King Areus mission and the content of his letter, delivered to High Priest Onias, is mentioned in the books of Maccabees and in the historical works of Josephus. It begins: “Areus King of the Spartans, to Onias the High Priest, greetings. It has been discovered in records regarding the Spartans and Jews that they are brothers, and of the race of Abraham. Now that this has come to our knowledge, we shall be obliged if you will send us news of your welfare.”
In the context of this significant conference and with the purpose of commemorating King Areus’ extraordinary mission in cultural diplomacy, the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute announced the “King Areus Awards”, planned to be presented yearly to distinguished personalities of Jewish descent. This year’s awards, steeped in centuries long cultural symbolism, were bestowed as follows:
For further information, please, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
B’nai B’rith Ready to Work with Local Groups to Provide Post-Hurricane Florence Rebuilding Aid
B’nai B’rith International is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief Fund to assist those impacted by Hurricane Florence, which is expected to cause catastrophic damage across the Carolinas and into Virginia and beyond. Experts predict millions of people will lose power, despite the storm being downgraded to a Category 1. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in several cities in both Carolinas and Virginia.
The Carolinas will face flooding, historic rainfalls up to 20-40 inches, winds up to 110 mph and storm surges as high as 9-13 feet. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have already declared a state of emergency.
Our Disaster Relief Fund is part of our longstanding tradition of helping communities in distress. Since 1865 when we raised funds in pre-state Israel to aid victims of a cholera outbreak, B’nai B’rith has helped countless people across the globe who have faced adversity after natural and man-made disasters. Recent donations to our Disaster Relief Fund have helped victims of Hawaii’s volcanic eruptions, community rebuilding after California wildfires and flood victims after Hurricane Harvey.
If you would like to help us help communities in need, donate here to our Disaster Relief Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/bbi-disaster-relief
Donors can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone. Or can send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to:
B’nai B’rith International
Disaster Relief Fund
1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N
Washington, D.C. 20036
B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We welcome the passage of The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act by the House of Representatives. It not only strengthens the position of the individual who will hold this post, but also sends a clear message as anti-Semitism surges globally that the U.S. will not tolerate hatred and bigotry.
This legislation, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and bipartisan co-sponsorship, states that the envoy position will be elevated to the rank of ambassador. B’nai B’rith strongly urges the Senate to pass this legislation.
B’nai B’rith has long spoken out about the vital nature of this position. In May 2017, former U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman came on the B’nai B’rith Podcast, hosted by CEO and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, to discuss the bipartisan origins of the envoy post and how various countries experience different kinds of anti-Semitism. He also noted that by prioritizing the position, the United States sets an important example to other governments about taking the lead in combating anti-Semitism.
In March 2017, Mariaschin and NCSEJ Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Mark B. Levin wrote an op-ed for Fox News imploring the Administration not to cut the State Department’s anti-Semitism envoy.
Republican Congressional candidate Marty Nothstein and Democratic Congressional candidate Susan Wild 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 Apartments in Allentown, Pennsylvania is a residential facility sponsored by B’nai B’rith in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Nothstein visited the complex on Aug. 16 and Wild toured the building on Sept. 5.
Their tour included the party room, recreation room, computer room, the library and a model apartment. They both met with about 20 residents and discussed 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 experts say for every low-income senior housing apartment nationwide there are 10-12 seniors waiting for a spot.
“Visits by congressional candidates Marty Nothstein and Susan Wild to B’nai B’rith Apartment’s in Allentown were a fantastic way to highlight the importance of affordable housing for seniors of limited means during campaign season. We certainly hope whichever candidate wins the race will take back to Congress the conversations they had with residents about how critical affordable housing, income security and health care matters are for seniors,” said B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services Assistant Director for Aging Policy Evan Carmen. He went on further to say, “We want to thank both candidates for visiting the building and expressing their views on how our country can best tackle seniors issues in the future.
The B'nai B'rith Senior Housing Network in the United States consists of 38 buildings in 27 communities, and serves more than 5,000 residents.
“Living at B'nai B'rith Allentown is one of the best things that ever happened to me. It's a beautiful place, it's a friendly place. All staff and maintenance are helpful and wonderful. It's just the best there is,” said Bobbie Rudolph, a resident of B’nai B’rith Apartments.
B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
The decision by Paraguay to reverse itself and now move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv is deeply disconcerting.
This action will only embolden the Palestinians to feel that they need not negotiate, but instead circumvent talks with Israel, going country to country, seeking to isolate the Jewish state.
That tactic will push peace further away, not closer.
Paraguay should honor the commitment of its previous government immediately, and reverse its decision to move its embassy away from Jerusalem.
In An Exclusive Interview With B'nai B'rith Magazine Sex Therapist Dr. Ruth Chronicles Her Early Years
Famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who turned 90 in June, survived the Holocaust by escaping to Switzerland via a Kindertransport from Nazi-occupied Germany. Westheimer remained in a children’s home until the war’s end. Amazingly after that, she fought in the Israeli army for Israel’s independence. She eventually received a master’s degree at the New School for Social Research, where she conducted a study on the children who were with her at the orphanage in Switzerland. Westheimer chronicles her early life and more in an exclusive interview with B’nai B’rith Magazine.
Until an engineer came along, burial plots were becoming harder to come by in Israel. Arik Glazer, managing director of Rolzur Tunneling, came up with a plan to solve this crisis — build the first subterranean cemetery below an existing one (Har Hamenuchot).
In this issue, we also take a look at the relationship between Jews and guns. Horrific mass shootings have drawn attention to the largely unrestricted access to guns and their use in American society, and many Jews are demanding stricter gun control laws. There are also Jews who are concerned the government will pass laws making it harder to obtain a gun for self-defense purposes.
In his last column as B’nai B’rith president, Gary P. Saltzman reflects on some of the accomplishments B’nai B’rith has achieved in the last three years. Saltzman has led several delegations to advocate for Israel at the United Nations in New York, Paris and Geneva, and has met with dozens of international leaders and key government officials.
Many Jews struggle to maintain healthful eating habits during the High Holidays due to high-fat and high-sugar ingredients so common in some traditional Jewish recipes. However, cookbook author Paula Shoyer shows that there are some easy changes to make these beloved dishes healthier for your friends and families.
Israel turned 70 this year, and B’nai B’rith CEO and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin writes about the first time he felt a connection to the Jewish state and other reflections on Israel’s 70th..
Mark D. Olshan, director of the B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services, discusses November’s mid-term elections and how imperative they are for seniors.
Read these unique stories and so much more in the fall issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine.
To access the magazine online click here.
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin gave the keynote address at the Sparta-Israel Conference, which was sponsored by the Greek branch of B’nai B’rith and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute, and held from Sept. 2-4 in Sparta. Mariaschin also received the 2018 King Areus Leadership Award at this international conference.
The conference included 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, was recognized at the conference. Additionally, the conference also looked at the “historical and cultural aspects of the ancient friendship between the Spartan Kings and the High Priests of Israel.”
Mariaschin spoke of how B’nai B’rith’s presence in Greece came to be, with the establishment of our lodge in Thessaloniki in 1914, and how it’s helping to strengthen relationships between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. B’nai B’rith has led three trilateral missions to explore the major political, economic and security developments underway in the eastern Mediterranean.
However, Mariaschin also noted that these relationships had been established long ago: “…it must be acknowledged that Diaspora ties among American Jews and Greeks, including those of Cypriot descent, had solidified even before the most cautious attempts at diplomatic rapprochement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. In a nation of immigrants, the close interaction of Jews and those of Hellenic origin has made good sense. In cities across our country, they were neighbors, parents and merchants who shared common goals for themselves and their children. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) can look back on a significant act that touched American Jews during a time of great turmoil. As reported in B’nai B’rith’s national magazine, members who attended its 1938 national convention passed a resolution against Hitler ‘condemning the inhuman and cruel persecution of a race and faith which has given so much to the world. Members of AHEPA and American citizens of Greek descent are bound to their co-citizens of the Hebrew faith with manifold ties.’”
We thank the efforts of Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, for his efforts to bring the conference to fruition.
For more information on the conference click here.