Monday, December 18, 2006

From ICDF to Buddy Macy

On Monday, December 11, 2006, Buddy Macy of Little Falls, NJ, participated, at the headquarters of UJA-Federation of New York, in a meeting concerning the plight of the expellees of Gush Katif and northern Samaria with the CEO of UJC's largest Federation.

Many years ago, more than 20, I and Dassie Marcus along with Michael Teplow and others, struggled to get the UJA to fund worthy non-political projects in Jewish communities across the Green Line. They balked. They claimed the State Dept. opposed and that it was against the charity law.

What BS.

We fought them and proved to them that either they were ignorant or worse, lying. With the help of local Federation activists, among them Dr. Blum in New Jersey, we did manage, through the vehicle of the Israel Communities Development Fund (ICDF) [*], to get monies out of Jewish establishment blowhards and into needy hands.

Anyway, to bring things up-to-date, Buddy has been waging a battle on behalf of needy Jews living in Israel, inside the Green Line. But since they came from the other side, they were expelled, they've been shunned.

From the report, things may improve:-

In attendance at the 5:00 pm meeting, that had been organized by Fabian Schonfeld, rabbi of Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, were eight rabbinical leaders: Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Rabbi Heshy Billet, Rabbi Bernard Rosenzweig, Rabbi Kenneth Hain, Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, Rabbi David Hill and Rabbi Dale Polakoff. Also present at the gathering were Jan Fenster and Cynthia Zalisky, President and Executive Director, respectively, of the Queens Jewish Community Council, Larry Sheldon, Chairman of the UJA Annual Appeal at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens and myself, Buddy Macy, an independent activist.

Representing UJA-Federation of New York were John Ruskay, Executive Vice President and CEO, Dr. Alisa Kurshan, Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Organizational Resources, Dru Greenwood, Director of Synagogue Renewal, Rabbi Michael Paley, Scholar in Residence and David Mallach, Managing Director of the Commission on the Jewish People.

Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld began the discussion by thanking Mr. Ruskay for hosting the critical meeting. He then explained the purpose and intent of the gathering: to seek financial help for the expellees from Gaza and northern Samaria, 16 months after their expulsion in August, 2005; and, to discuss humanitarian needs, not politics. Rabbi Schonfeld said that he could not figure out why United Jewish Communities (UJC, the Jewish Federation network in North America), and, specifically, the UJA-Federation of New York, had not provided help to the nearly 10,000 Jewish refugees, victims of the Israeli Government's "disengagement" plan; especially, after the organizations had supported the expulsion plan prior to its execution. (Approximately four months ago, UJC did allocate $400,000 to the expellees, after learning more about their severe needs. The funds from this pledge of support are coming from remaining contributions from the previous Israel Emergency Campaign, that had been conducted several years ago.)

Mr. Ruskay responded to Rabbi Schonfeld's concern and amazement, offering his explanation as to why he and UJA-Federation of New York had not helped the expellees. He stated, simply: "I thought the [Israeli] Government was doing it." It was curious to hear this from him, in light of the large volume of reports, articles and commentary written about the Israeli Government's failure to help the Jewish refugees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria -- including the report of Israeli State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss (Untranslated) In addition, during the past 11 months I have had a very public, running "debate" with Howard Rieger, President of UJC, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, over UJC's silence regarding the devastating plight of the Jewish refugees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Therefore, I find Mr. Ruskay's comment extremely difficult to understand.

Nonetheless, the Federation CEO informed our assembled group that now that he knew that the Israeli Government failed to care for the victims of the expulsions as it promised it would, he and his staff will work to aid financially the expellees. This is an extremely important commitment on the part of John Ruskay and UJA-Federation of New York. And, he acted immediately towards the fulfillment of his pledge, appointing Dr. Kurshan as the contact person for aid to the expelled from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Mr. Ruskay said that he would report back to us in a month regarding the progress his Federation had made in its efforts to help the Jewish refugees -- our fellow Jews who have been suffering tremendous emotional, mental and physical hardships during the past 16 months.

At the meeting, John Ruskay said that he would be traveling to Israel in February, and that he would meet with some of the leaders of the expellees for a few hours. I am confident that after observing the conditions in which the expellees are currently living, UJA-Federation of New York and UJC will do all they can to provide the necessary funds to relieve their plight.

To the thousands of people to whom this email is being sent directly or forwarded, please consider contributing to the needy Jewish refugees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. It would be a Chanukah mitzvah, especially for the children and youth. Also, it is a perfect time to take a tax deduction for 2006. Here is the simple information for making a generous donation:

Friends of Gush Katif
P.O. Box 1001
Little Falls, NJ 07424-1001

Or, directly to Israel, at:

Gush Katif Committee
P.O. Box 450
Ahuzat Etrog 79411

To donate by credit card, please go to:
Friends of Gush Katif is a registered 501(c)(3) charity.

I will continue to apprise you as to the progress made in securing significant, desperately -needed funds for the expellees. In the interim, if you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Buddy, great work!


The ICDF was established in 1990 as the main philanthropic conduit for the residents of the Jewish communities throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Since the major Jewish charities do not disburse money across the "green line," humanitarian activities and communal endeavors in these Jewish communities have been excluded from receiving donations. The American Friends of the ICDF is registered as a tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Funds are used for supplementary educational programs and equipment; emergency medical services, clinics, preventive medicine programs, and pre-natal and pediatric care; parks, playgrounds and libraries; fire-fighting equipment, rescue and other accident response vehicles, distress alerts and other emergency communications equipment; special programs for handicapped children, centers for music, and public service broadcasting.

Tax-deductible contributions to the ICDF allow those living abroad to participate in a direct "people to people" campaign, helping to provide the greatest service where it is most needed at a crucial time for Israel. For further information, please contact: The American Friends of ICDF, 70 West 36th Street, New York, N.Y. 10018; Tel: 212-279-0164; Fax: 212-695-6232.

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