MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE MOBILE AREA JEWISH FEDERATION, INC.
December 14, 2020
The properly noticed meeting of the Board of Directors of the Mobile Area Jewish Federation, Inc. was called to order by President Susan Sass on December 14, 2020 at 5:30 p.m
Also present were board members Larry Voit, Rickie Voit, Saundra Grace, Robert Bloom, Gil Laden, Steve Katz, Judy Aronson, Neil Sass, Josh Isen, David Meola, Steve Muhlfelder, Barry Silverman, Michael Cohen, Jonathan Fratkin, Ken Bloch, Priscilla Gold-Darby, and Cassie Morgenstern, Executive Director.
The meeting was held virtually via Zoom. Each person who attended the meeting affirmatively stated his or her consent to electronic participation via Zoom, that he or she waived the right to require members to be physically present to count in a quorum, vote, and otherwise participate in the meeting.
The Board welcomed the Federation's new Executive Director Cassie Morgenstern, and Gil Laden, new President of the Springhill Avenue Temple, to the Federation board meeting.
Treasurer's Report. Ken Bloch provided the attached written report,
It was duly moved and seconded to approve the issuance of a PNC Bank Visa card to Executive Director Cassie Morgenstern to be used for necessary and reasonable purchases and charges of the Federation. The motion passed unanimously.
It was duly moved and seconded to approve Ken Bloch, Lawrence B. Voit, and Steve Katz as signatories on the Federation's bank account at PNC Bank, with only one signatory required for a check of up to $1,000.00, and two signatories for any check over $1,000.00. The motion passed unanimously.
Nominating Committee. Larry Voit reported that the committee's task to identify and recruit a suitable person to be considered for the office of President of the Federation has not yet been successful. After Susan Sass' term of President ends on December 31, 2020, and in the absence of a person to succeed her in that office, the Federation will be led by an Executive Committee consisting of Susan Sass, Immediate Past President, Jonathan Fratkin, Vice President, Larry Voit, Secretary, and Ken Bloch, Treasurer.
Program Committee. Judy Aronson reported on several new program possibilities, including a virtual tour of the City of David.
Campaign. Cassie Morgenstern reported that this year we have received pledges totaling $100,176.00. The figure for 2019 was $99,337.00.
Film Festival. Barry Silverman reported that the Film Festival will be held virtually, probably beginning in the last part of February 2021 and continuing into March for three weeks. There will be fewer films. Sponsors will be solicited as in the past.
Bob Bloom reported on his concerns about food insecurity in our community. Judy Aronson, Neil Sass, and Priscilla Gold-Darby have agreed to work with him on determining the Federation's possible role in addressing this problem.
David Meola informed the board about the proposed Alabama Holocaust Education and Countering Anti-Semitism Act, and draft letter from Jewish and Christian leaders to the Alabama Superintendent of Education requesting his attention. A copy of the draft act and the draft letter are attached.
It was duly moved and seconded to authorize the Executive Director to sign the draft letter on behalf of the Federation. After discussion the motion passed with ten votes in favor and four abstaining.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:56 p.m.
Lawrence B. Voit Secretary Date: 12-24-2020
As reported to the board last night, MAJF balances as of 11/30/20 at PNC Bank are as follows:
Business Checking Plus
Business Premium Money Market
Certificate of Deposit
If you need anything else, please let me know. Thanks, Ken
Ari Morgenstern Updated Holocaust Education Bill December 14, 2020 at 12:22 PM
Cassie and Tzlil,
Attached please find the updated draft of the bill. In addition, in case you need it, attached please find the letter to Dr. Mackey.
Tzlil, the only thing we really discussed after you left the call was the reporting requirements, in particular the section which notes that the Dept. of Education will publicly list which schools are in compliance and which schools are not.
Ari Morgenstern Senior Director for Policy and Communications Christians United for Israel Tel: 404 898 1278 www.cufi.org
DRAFT Alabama Holoca...4.docx
December 22, 2020
Dr. Eric Mackey Stale Superintendent of Education Montgomery, AL
Dear Dr. Mackey,
We, the leaders of Christian and Jewish congregations and organizations in the state of Alabama, are communicating with you today in an effort to raise the importance of Holocaust education in our state.
chalende og er
ander in a con
ciens en meganisation in the mining
As you know, education is the ultimate equalizer in society. As such, there are core elements of history that must be taught, lest we see the tragedies of the past repeat themselves. Sadly, bigotry is rooted in ignorance and ignorance about the Holocaust is widespread.
One study revealed that 31% of Americans and 41% of millennials believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Forty-one percent of Americans and two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was. Another survey showed that nearly two-thirds of US young adults are unaware 6 million Jews were killed in the liolocaust.
In Alabama, a recent study found that 31% of young adults could not name a single concentration camp. Ten percent were not sure if they believe the Holocaust happened and 9% think the Jewish people caused the Holocaust.
The consequences of the forgoing statistics are tragic and predictable. Assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at near-historic levels in the U.S. Even in our own state, hatred has found traction. In September, an Alabama synagogue Zoom session was infiltrated by white supremacists shouting profanity and anti-Semitic slurs while displaying vulgar graphics, and in April, two Huntsville synagogues were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti during Passover.
The American people recognize the importance of educating our students about this issue. Another recent national survey found that 90% percent of respondents believe that Holocaust education is important.
Al your earliest convenience, we would like to meet with you to discuss advancing an enhanced mandate for Holocaust education for our state's students, ensuring our teachers have the opportunity to learn about this vital subject and ensuring such education be credited in teacher rocertification
DRAFT: Alabama Holocaust Education and Countering Anti-Semitism Act
(1) To provide children with an understanding of the importance of the protection of human rights and the potential consequences of unchecked ignorance, discrimination and persecution, it is a matter of high priority that children in this State be educated concerning the Holocaust.
(2) To reverse troubling trends in basic Holocaust knowledge, which recent studies have shown there to be a lack of awareness when it comes to the key historical facts surrounding the Holocaust, its causes, and its ramifications.
(3) To identify and adopt the internationally recognized definition of anti Semitism in reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of any law, rule, or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts.
(4) To counter anti-Semitism, and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived national origin, shared ancestry, or ethnic characteristics with a religious group, which remains a persistent, pervasive, and disturbing problem in contemporary American society.
The Legislature the State of Alabama hereby enacts as follows:
Holocaust education. -
(1) Each middle school and high school entity in the state of Alabama (collectively, “Schools” and individually “School”) shall, in the academic calendar year following completion of the Alabama Social Studies Course of Study Committee and Task Force's (the “Task Force”), mandated revision of Alabama's social studies curriculum, integrate Holocaust education within each School's social studies program in accordance with the Holocaust education requirements (“Requirements”) issued by the Task Force (collectively, “Holocaust Education").
(2) Notwithstanding the forgoing, should the Task Force fail to issue Requirements, then each School shall integrate Holocaust Education, no later than the start of the 2022-2023 school year, pursuant to the guidelines set forth below. Such Holocaust education shall:
(i) Be age appropriate; (ii) Be sequential in method of study; (ii) Communicate the connection between national, ethnic, racial or religious intolerance and the subjects described in subsection (b), below;
(iv) Communicate the impact of personal responsibility, civic engagement and societal response in the context of the Holocaust; and (v) Communicate the breadth of the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, including the Third Reich dictatorship, concentration camp system, persecution of Jews and non-Jews, Jewish and non Jewish resistance and post-World War II trials.
(3) Schools shall utilize appropriate public or private materials, personnel and other resources in developing and implementing Holocaust Education. These materials are limited to those provided by the following organizations (collectively, the “Organizations");
(i) The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; (ü) The Pennsylvania State University Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies; (iii) Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Reembrace Center, (iv) University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, (v) ) [insert name of local resource(s)]; or (vi) any other entity approved for Holocaust Education by the Alabama State Department of Education or their designee.
(4) Each School shall also (a) provide Holocaust teacher education for all instructors whose teaching responsibilities include courses of study in which Holocaust Education is integrated, as part of its in-service training. These programs shall emphasize:
(i) the causes and ramifications of the Holocaust; (ii) the connection between national, ethnic, racial or religious intolerance and the subjects described in the Definition set forth in subsection (b), below; (iii) the breadth of the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, including the Third Reich dictatorship, concentration camp system, persecution of Jews and non-Jews, Jewish and non-Jewish resistance and post-World War II trials; and (iv) the definition, history, response and actions taken in the face of the Holocaust (collectively, "Teacher Holocaust Education").
(5) School's shall utilize the appropriate programs provided by the Organizations for Teacher Holocaust Education.
(6) Teacher Holocaust Education shall be credited towards the continuing professional education obligations set forth in [insert relevant CPE statute).
(7) Within 60 days of the conclusion of the school year following completion of the Task Force's revision of Alabama's social studies curriculum, but no later than the end of the 2022-2023 academic school year, all Alabama county school boards shall certify to the Department of Education that all
school entities within their jurisdiction are offering instruction in compliance with the Act and provide an overview of the associated Holocaust Education curriculum, or provide the Department of Education with the following:
(i) The number of Schools in the county offering instruction in compliance with the Act; and (ii) For the School's that aren't in compliance with the Act, an action plan to ensure full compliance with the Act by the beginning of the subsequent academic school year.
(8) Within 90 days of the conclusion of the school year following completion of the Task Force's revision of Alabama's social studies curriculum, but no later than the end of the 2022-2023 academic school year, and annually thereafter, the State Board of Education shall issue a report to the Governor, the Secretary of Education, the Chairman and Minority Chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and the Chairman and Minority Chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives addressing the number of School's offering Holocaust Education.
(9) The School's that have and have not complied with the Act, as set forth in the reporting requirements provided above, shall be listed publicly on the State Board of Education website.
Anti-Semitism Definition. –
(b) (1) For purposes of the Act, "anti-Semitism” shall be defined using the
definition adopted on May 26, 2016, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (the “Definition”).
(2) [Insert relevant state code on determination of discriminatory acts] In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of any law, rule, or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts, a governmental entity shall take into consideration the Definition for purposes of determining whether an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory anti-Semitism.
(3) The Act shall not be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the Constitution of the State of Alabama or the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Act shall not be construed to conflict with local, state, or federal discrimination laws.