NewsBits: Around the Jewish Web

from The Forward:

Birthright Scored for Picking P.R. Firm Tied To Scandal, Hard Right Politics

Taglit-Birthright Israel, one of the most widely praised Jewish communal programs, is facing a rare dose of criticism from within the Jewish world after deciding to hire a public relations company with big national clients – and a history of controversy.

Birthright, which sends young Jews on free 10-day trips to Israel, has retained the services of 5W Public Relations…

Rabbi Andy Bachman, a rising star in the Reform movement and a fan of Birthright, posted a long item on his blog chastising Birthright.

“You can’t hire an unethical person to represent a program that is supposed to inspire people to connect with the Jewish tradition – and all the great things Judaism has to offer,” Bachman, the chief rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, told the Forward. “A person with questionable integrity sullies the brand – it’s that simple for me.”

both from The New York Jewish Week:

Resolving The Day School Crisis: It Takes A Mishpocha

Responding to families drowning in day school tuition bills, UJA-Federation of New York has proposed a bold plan to raise $300 million in endowments to expand scholarships. Can a massive undertaking like this actually succeed?

A major day school endowment effort for New York is critical – and decades overdue. The day school tuition crisis is essentially an issue of middle-income affordability. If we do not substantially restructure the funding model for day schools, many of them will simply become schools for the wealthy and a small segment of lower-income families, with no “middle.” This does not serve the interests of the Jewish community.

Sephardic Charities Move Toward Self-Audits 

A Sephardic organization working to avoid collateral damage from last month’s arrest of three Syrian rabbis in an alleged money-laundering scheme has named a lawyer and accounting firm to oversee many of the community’s charities…

Suggested measures included an independent certification process, the creation of an audit committee, the adoption of a conflict-of -interest policy to protect against any benefit to officers and employees of a charity and procedures on accepting contributions and distributing grants.