July 13, 2024
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July 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

In last week’s paper a press release from the Golda Och Academy announced the hiring of a new principal for the middle and high schools. It has been confirmed by the incoming head of school that the new hire is not Jewish. The following is in response to that article.

We Jews are on a constant path to learn from our role models. We constantly study and learn from ancient texts and contemporary teachers. Our history binds us together in an almost unfathomable relationship of one to the other. We feel united in our commitment to our Judaism. We are taught to do as I do. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. At least that’s what we strive for when we assume the enormous expense and commitment of sending our children to day school.

Therefore, I find it astounding that the Golda Och Academy, from which our four children are proud alumni, has now seen fit to employ a non-Jew in the second-highest leadership position within the school hierarchy: middle school/high school principal.

I do not question the individual’s intellect or ability. I do not question her education or interpersonal skills. As a matter of fact I am deeply troubled that my writing this letter may cause her pain and embarrassment. It should never have had to be this way. One of the absolute requirements of the position should have been that the candidate must be Jewish. Even more than that. Knowledgeably Jewish. How could it have been otherwise? Would any of us ever think for a moment to employ a rabbi who wasn’t Jewish? A chazan? A principal of a Jewish day school? A director of a Jewish camp? An editor of a Jewish newspaper?

Those of us committed to Jewish education, which by definition is the most significant path to in-marriage and the most defiant tool against assimilation that we have in our arsenal, are just blown away by this casual rejection of what we hold dear.

Where are the sensitivities to Jewish education that should be so prominent in this type of appointment? Who will sing Hatikvah with the children? Who will join in their tfilot? Who will introduce programs with a d’var Torah? Who will talk about her own celebrations of our chagim? Who will show the children that being Jewish is indivisible into subject matter and that when you are learning math and science you are still learning about being Jewish?

I urge the members of the GOA Board of Trustees to reconsider this decision. This choice is wrong and unacceptable. If there were truly no qualified Jewish candidate it would have been wiser to appoint a teacher as an interim.

I hope the GOA Board of Trustees will reevaluate their choice.

Rosanne Skopp
West Orange

To the Editor:

Thank you to Dr. Norman Sohn for pointing out the many benefits of using a donor-advised fund (DAF) to manage your charitable giving (“EZ-DAF: Enhanced Tzedakah With Donor-Advised Funds” April 23, 2015). DAFs have been a “best-kept secret.” In recent years, the popularity of donor-advised funds has continued to grow and there has been increased awareness of the many benefits they offer for the average charitably inclined Jewish family.

At Jewish Communal Fund (JCF), we are proud to facilitate charitable giving for a diverse group of more than 6,000 fund holders. We [provide] people with funds ranging from $1,800 and up a way to give more thoughtfully and strategically to the charitable causes they hold dear. Last year, our generous fund holders granted out $329 million to charities in all sectors. On average, JCF fund holders grant nearly $7 million each year to New Jersey synagogues and Jewish educational institutions.

As Dr. Sohn mentioned, donor-advised funds organize your giving easily and efficiently—you can view the donations you made all in one place, and only need that one receipt to document your charitable contributions for tax purposes. In addition, when you donate long-term appreciated securities to a donor-advised fund, you don’t have to pay capital gains and therefore have more money available for tzedakah.

When choosing a donor advised fund, here are several points to consider:

Show your Jewish pride: Every grant check we send out to both Jewish and secular charities bears the Jewish Communal Fund logo. Many of our fund holders choose to make donations to secular organizations such as the American Heart Association from their JCF fund, as this generates a Kiddush Hashem and demonstrates the Jewish community’s charitable character.

Double your impact in the Jewish community: JCF reinvests in the Jewish community by providing an annual gift of $2 million to the UJA-Federation of New York to fund worthwhile projects in the Jewish community. In addition, JCF has granted more than $10 million from its endowment, the Special Gifts Fund, to Jewish organizations locally and in Israel, including Jewish Community Centers, the Masbia Kosher Soup Kitchen, Ramapo Camp for Children, and the MJHS Hospice. When you give with JCF, you are also providing support for these important communal institutions.

Educate yourself and benefit from networking events: JCF frequently hosts lunch-and-learns and evening events meant to educate our fund holders about the latest trends in the philanthropic sector, from giving circles and legacy and estate planning to charitable giving focused on issue areas such as Israel and women and girls. JCF continues to create innovative educational resources to help fund holders give more strategically, including our free teen-giving app, Clink! (www.jcfny.org/clink); Your Jewish Philanthropy Roadmap; our Guide to Funding Jewish Innovation, and the Teen Tzedakah Guide.

Expertise and robust database of Jewish charities: JCF offers the largest and most comprehensive database of Jewish charities that have already been pre-vetted by our grants research team. Our staff offers unparalleled expertise in the Jewish nonprofit world.

Calculate total fees: When comparing fees, be sure to calculate total costs by examining the underlying investment fees. Since JCF is not an investment brokerage firm, we are independent and free to select the best-in-class investment options in multiple asset classes from a variety of different investment firms. You can view our robust investment platform on our website.

Personal Service: When you open a JCF fund, there is always a live person who is happy to assist you. This warmth and dedication has resulted in a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate.

Tamar Snyder

Tamar Snyder is the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at Jewish Communal Fund. She can be reached at:  [email protected]. To learn more about Jewish Communal Fund, please visit www.jcfny.org.


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