UJA NY trims staff, U.S. immigrant to Israel tests positive, a new tool to fight domestic abuse


UJA-Federation of New York, which has awarded millions of dollars in emergency grants to help organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic, is joining the ranks of organizations letting go staff members as it anticipates declining donations. JTA reports that 54 employees are losing their jobs, no open positions will be filled, and CEO Eric Goldstein will forgo his salary for the coming year, the philanthropy announced yesterday.

The 12 percent reduction in the size of the staff was announced by Goldstein in a note to staff. “We expect our major donors to continue generously supporting our work – at a time when our mission has never been more urgent,” he wrote. “However, given the current environment, we nonetheless project a significant drop in FY’21 fundraising (and potentially beyond), particularly because it will be many months before we expect to resume large in-person events and missions – critical drivers of our annual revenue.”

Goldstein, who joined the organization as CEO in 2014, earned a salary of $546,000, with his total compensation coming to $884,000 in 2018, the last fiscal year for which tax filings are available. In addition to Goldstein’s decision to forgo a salary, senior executives at the federation will take pay cuts of 10 percent, while other higher-paid members of the staff and management teams will have their pay reduced by 3-5 percent.

The Met Council on Jewish Poverty has introduced a new texting service designed to let victims of violence safely report attacks, the Jewish Week reports. Met Council announced on Tuesday that its new Secure Text initiative will allow people subject to any form of abuse — sexual, physical, spiritual, financial, verbal or any other form of domestic abuse or sex trafficking — to contact Met Council caseworkers, trained social workers who will answer the calls.

David Greenfield, the agency’s executive director, said Met Council, which in a usual year handles 700 to 800 family violence cases, has dealt with more than 1,000 so far this year. While the agency assists people from any religious or ethnic background, most of domestic abuses complaints Met Council has received are from the Jewish community, Greenfield said in an interview with The Jewish Week.

With the new app, a text sent from a cell phone or smartphone will automatically disappear, making it impossible for an abuser to trace it.

The texting number, (917) 540-0225, went into operation this week, and will be available 8 a.m.-midnight, the same hours as Met Council’s extant domestic violence call-in helpline ([212] 453-9592).

A new immigrant who was on a group flight with dozens of other people moving to Israel from North America on Tuesday has tested positive for the coronavirus, the immigration aid group Nefesh B’Nefesh told the Times of Israel. The woman was part of a group of 51 men and women from the U.S.

The organization said the woman and her daughter had tested positive for antibodies before their flight, but then decided to take a second test for the virus to see if they were still active carriers. After she arrived at her new home, the woman received the results from the private laboratory in the States stating that she tested positive for Covid-19. Her daughter received a negative result.

The test result means that the 49 other new immigrants on the flight could have been exposed to the virus. A passenger on the same flight who wished to remain anonymous told the Times of Israel that social distancing guidelines were not maintained and that many people weren’t wearing masks.

The deputy director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry gave out quarantine waivers to several people in addition to a visiting billionaire, officials told a television network yesterday, the Times of Israel reports. Itamar Grotto’s job was reportedly under threat following the revelation that he granted Israeli-Cypriot billionaire Teddy Sagi’s request to be exempt from having to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Israel during a recent visit.

Sources in Health Ministry said Grotto handed out such approvals and would have given more, if not for the media attention. “That was not the first time and if it wasn’t for the revelation, it would not have been the last,” a Health Ministry source told Channel 12.

Sagi, who owns the gambling company Playtech, then reportedly attended a rooftop party in Tel Aviv hosted by a real estate developer that allegedly violated the Health Ministry’s guidelines on large gatherings.

Recommended Viewing

Jewish National Fund has prepared a podcast conversation on the value of humor in times of stress. Participants are actor Nimrod Eisenberg, and celebrity interviewer Steven Shalowitz. They will discuss The Dream Doctors Project, an Israeli organization that helps patients with the medical coping process through humor and entertainment. https://jnf.org/menu-3/news-media/israelcast/nimrod-eisenberg


Friends of Yad Sarah will present a webinar on Pandemic Philanthropy: The State of Giving to the Jewish State on Thursday at 2 p.m.

The Freidom organization will sponsor an online discussion about Struggles: Unorthodox and Orthodox, focusing on people who have left the haredi world in which they were raised, on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Participants will be Ayala Fader, author of “Hidden Heretics,” Freidom founder Gene Steinberg, and Freidom members Eli Rosen and Malky Wigder.

Memory Keepers of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center will sponsor a talk by Ziporah Janowski, daughter of a Polish-born Holocaust survivor, on Friday at 5 p.m. Info: mjasper@hhrecny.org

Keshet, which works for the “full equality of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life,” has announced a series of events throughout June, including a Rainbow Challah Baking Class for Families on Thursday at 4 p.m. and Multiracial processing space for LGBTQ Jewish teens on Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage, Folksbiene – National Yiddish Theatre, Sing for Hope, and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, will present We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope on Sunday at 2 p.m. The event commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Participants will include Mayim Bialik, Renée Fleming, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Joel and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

The America-Israel Friendship League will offer a virtual tour of Masada on Sunday at noon.

JSpaceCanada will sponsor a discussion about the future of Arab-Jewish partnership amidst the threat of West Bank annexation on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

The Zamir Choral Foundation will offer a webinar on Taking Note: Conversations about Music in Challenging Times on Sunday at 4 p.m. Participants will be Galeet Dardashti and Matthew Lazar.

Lilith magazine will sponsor an online flatbread baking demonstration by chef/food writer Susan Barocas on Friday at 4 p.m.

The Center for Jewish History, the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, and the Consulate General of Israel in New York will host an online conversation among Irina Nevzlin, chair of the Museum of the Jewish People, Ethan Bronner, senior editor at Bloomberg News, and Consul General Dani Dayan on June 17 at noon. Their topic: Identity in the Throes of Crisis.

Nefesh B’Nefesh will hold an online program on Getting your Master’s Degree in Israel on June 21, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Author Nancy Sinkoff will give an online speech, under the auspices of Rutgers University’s Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, on June 17 at noon. The subject is her new book about Lucy Dawidowicz.

Helen Turner, director of education at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County, will give a virtual tour of the museum on June 25 at 1 p.m.

HonestReporting Canada will present an online briefing on “Unmasked: The Anti-Israel Movement in Academia” on June 28 at 12:30 p.m. panelists will be professors Rudy Rochman and Gil Troy.

The Drisha Jewish educational organization will offer a virtual Beit Midrash for women in high school on June 29 – July 23. The program will run Monday through Thursday, including a Talmud instruction with a havruta 9:30 – 11:30 am, and “specialty classes” 1 – 2:15 pm.

The Nanuet Hebrew Center & Montebello Jewish Center are co-sponsoring a Dinner Theater at Home, “Fiddler on the Zoom,” on June 30 at 6 p.m.

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan will offer Israeli-style Hebrew language Ulpan instruction online starting July 6. For information: asole@mmjccmanhattan.org