Author Archives: meyer



FIDF Live Features Rena Quint Who Shares her Journey of Survival and Triumph as a Child of the Holocaust

At just three years old, Rena Quint’s life was uprooted when the Nazis invaded her hometown of Piotrków Trybunalski. On Thursday, one day prior to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rena shares her heart-wrenching journey and miraculous story of survival through the Holocaust, in her living room in Jerusalem with 30 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Friends of the IDF (FIDF) facilitated this meaningful, emotional gathering to provide soldiers with a heightened sense of purpose as they bravely protect the Jewish homeland, a safe haven for Jews everywhere, leading up to the 75th anniversary of its establishment this spring. This intimate meeting is featured on FIDF LiveThursday, January 27, 8 PM EST/5 PM PST. 

In 1942, at the tender age of six, Rena’s mother and two older brothers were transferred to the extermination camp of Treblinka. She and her father spent several years slaving in a glass factory before her father, and a woman who was watching over her were killed. From that point on, several other women at the camp cared for her and were ultimately responsible for her survival. Against all odds, Rena was finally liberated in Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She was the sole survivor of her family.

At the end of the war, Rena went to Sweden where a Jewish woman, also a Holocaust survivor who had recently lost her daughter, suggested that she take her daughter’s visa and go with her to America. The woman died several months after arriving and Rena was then adopted by an American couple and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Proud to be a schoolteacher and lecturer at Adelphi University in New York, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rena established a new life for herself. She eventually made Aliyah with her husband and four children. For more than 30 years, Rena has dedicated herself to volunteering at Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, where she speaks with groups from the world over.

Meet this fascinating woman of strength and bravery as shares her stories with IDF soldiers responsible for protecting the Jewish homeland, presented only by Friends of the IDF (FIDF).

FIDF LIVE, hosted by American former Lone Soldier and author Joel Chasnoff, is a high-level production broadcast that brings awareness of FIDF’s mission and activities to a broader audience. By introducing content through this platform, FIDF is connecting Americans and the world to Israel. FIDF has always been a bridge between Americans and Israelis, and this virtual experience continues that tradition in a novel way, serving as the place for everyone who loves Israel and wants to stay connected.

About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of transforming the lives of the young men and women of the IDF who protect Israel and Jews worldwide through empowering educational, financial, well-being and cultural initiatives. With 24 chapters throughout the United States, FIDF proudly supports soldiers before, during, and after their service, as well as families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans, reinforcing the vital bond between the communities in the United States and the soldiers of the IDF. For more information, please visit:

New York Jewish Guide

Getting to know the Jewish Community in Turkey: A Conversation with Rabbi Mendy Chitrik


                                   New York Jewish Travel Guide sat down with Mendy Chitrik the Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Turkey since 2003 and chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States since 2019 to ask a few questions about Jewish life and the community in Turkey. The following interview was edited for clarity:

NYJTG: Rabbi, many thanks for your time. Can you tell us about yourself? Why did you decide to come to Turkey and how long have you been here? You also were elected in 2019, as Chairman of ARIS (Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States). Can you explain what this organization means to our readers? 

Rabbi Chitrik: My wife and I came to Turkey in 2001. We came here per the request of the Turkish Jewish community. We were young people; I was 24, my wife 23, and my son Elie wasn’t born yet. We came to help the Jewish community with education and other projects. Eventually, I started being involved as the Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community, as well as running the kosher services that the Jewish community here offers. With time, my job has evolved. I’ve also been chosen to be the chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic State. It’s an alliance of some 55 rabbis in 16 different Muslim countries, and it is our responsibility to these communities to strengthen the rabbis to give them the tools needed to strengthen their commitment to their communities and also to lobby on behalf of Jews in Muslim countries to let people know about their existence and to strengthen the Jewish life in countries where they don’t have Jewish communities yet.

NYJTG:  Can you describe Jewish life and the community in Istanbul? What is the community made up of? and what are its demographics?  

Rabbi Chitrik: The Jewish community resembles the ancient community in Turkey and has been in existence for 2,700 years.  First, there was the period of the Romaniote Jews in which the Jews of the Roman Empire existed. Then before the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, 2,700 years after the Assyrian conquest of Northern Israel, where they brought the Jews into exile into Assyria, all the way as far west as the city of Sardis, which is right off about an hour drive from Izmir, that is the oldest settlement of Jews in Turkey. The Jews of Istanbul itself or Romaniotes Jews, that is Jews from the Roman Empire have lived here for more than 2000 years, and they have always remained here under Byzantine rule and later Ottoman rule. The second Jewish community in Istanbul is the Ashkenazi Jewish community. It’s the smallest one today, and it has been here for some 750 years since the Jews were expelled from Hungary in the year 1250. And some 500 years ago, the Jewish community of Spain was exiled by the Inquisition, and they arrived in Istanbul to become the most dominant Jewish community. Today 95% of the Jews of Istanbul are descendants of those Sephardic Jews who came from Spain to live here. The Jewish community today has a school, a secular Jewish school, and some 15 functioning synagogues open on Saturday. It is not a very religious community. It’s a secular Jewish community, but the services are following the Orthodox Jewish interpretation. 

NYJTG: What is the Jewish population in Turkey and where do most Jews live? I heard a range from 22,000 to as low as 16,000 of which 95 percent of Turkish Jews are of Sephardic origin and 5 percent are of Ashkenazi origin. What is the correct estimate? Where does the Jewish population live: on the European side or the Asian side?

Rabbi Chitrik: The Jewish population in Turkey is about 15,000 Jews. Jews live in Izmir and another 500 to 600 Jews are scattered around other cities like Bursa and Antakya and several other cities, and about 13,000 Jews live in Istanbul itself. These are the estimates, although nobody knows the exact numbers. There are a great number of Jewish ex-pats who are coming here; journalists, diplomats, other businesspeople, and young people who find Istanbul to be cheaper than other cities in Europe. Most Jews live on the European side with most of the synagogues. On the Asian side, there are three functioning synagogues, maybe fewer, which are usually open, but most Jews live as I said, on the European side, where there are more synagogues and Jewish centers.

 NYJTG: How do the members of the Jewish Community into How do members of Jewish Community interact, and socialize? Do these social relationships occur within the context of the larger community, for example in schools and universities?   I understand that keeping a decent kosher diet in Turkey is not so easy as you don’t have all the kosher ingredients needed in the supermarket that you can find elsewhere. How do you manage?

Rabbi Chitrik: Members of the Jewish community meet and interact at weddings, bar mitzvahs, brises, synagogue services, unfortunately at funerals, and other religious ceremonies. There is also a Jewish club on one of the islands off the coast of Istanbul. Three islands have synagogues where Jews socially interact. They are open during the summer when Jewish members mostly come together and socialize. There is a Jewish club, Buyakata on Princess Island. Unfortunately, there are no Jewish supermarkets and there are no kosher markets. There is a Jewish slaughterhouse, in Istanbul for the Jewish community.  Soon there will be a brand new, beautiful kosher restaurant for fine dining which will be of great interest to tourists and locals where they can enjoy kosher Jewish Turkish cuisine

NYJTG: Are there any factories in Turkey that have a Kosher certification? How many are there?

Rabbi Chitrik: There are hundreds of factories in Turkey that have kosher certification. Turkey used to be the breadbasket. If Ukraine was the breadbasket of food in Europe, Turkey today is the breadbasket of Jewish food, where every given day there are hundreds of factories preparing kosher food. More on a commercial scale, there are always religious supervisors’ rabbis to supervise the production of kosher food all over the country. Turkey has been quite successful in capturing this segment of the Jewish community in the manufacturing of kosher food.  I am responsible for the kashrut of the Turkish rabbinate for all exports, and it is my responsibility as a representative of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Orthodox Union and other cultural organizations to supervise kashrut, for the factories, among other things, which must be exported from here. We also have a production of local kosher wine, and local kosher Arak because Arak in Turkey is made from grapes and that is why it must require cautious care. Other Arak markets around the world are made from other grains or fruits, and that’s why they don’t require a kosher certification in most cases.

 NYJTG: How is the local attitude toward the Chabad and the Jewish community in Istanbul?

Rabbi Chitrik: We’ve been living here in Turkey for more than 21 years and never encountered any direct antisemitic insults or anything like that directed at us in the street. Yes, there are always some, you know, conspiracy theorists who write some things in the newspapers, or on social media. And my son encountered antisemitism from some tourists while we visited the Turkish airport some months ago when he was on the way to New York. He told me it was the first time that anybody has insulted him as a Jew, in his 19 years living in Turkey. So, we have never encountered anything like that. We here at Chabad have an open house where there are some 70 guests every Shabbat, sometimes more, sometimes less. We are always happy to host people for Shabbat, always happy to have people with us here. It is our pleasure and an honor to serve all local Jews as well as tourists and businesspeople who pass by the Jewish community. The Chabad operation is funded by donations coming from passersby and local donors and this is how we are maintained.  Chabad here in Turkey may be different than in other countries, it is very much integrated into part of the local Jewish community. I’m a rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community and this is unique and may be an example for other communities: to be always embracing, loving, and united, united in a way that makes us different.

NYJTG: Thank you for your valuable time and for all the information you shared with us. I appreciated it, as will our readers.

For more information: 

To plan a trip to Turkey, contact the Turkey Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) or go to

Fly Turkish Airlines –

To contact Chabad House of Istanbul, Turkey, or to reserve a seat for Shabbat dinner, email

Ela Turizm – Historical religious tours. –

Story by Meyer Harroch – New York Jewish Travel Guide & New York Jewish

The author took part in a press trip sponsored by the Turkey Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

17th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience, NYC FEB 6



FEB 6, 2023; 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM, HOSTED BY ROYAL WINE CORP

Royal Wine Corp, the largest producer, and importer of premier kosher wines and spirits kick off the 17th Annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE) with a return to Chelsea Piers in NYC, on Feb 6. The ‘not-to-be missed’ event featuring a vast array of premier wines and spirits from around the globe – filling Pier 60 from end to end – will also highlight Royal Wine’s growing portfolio of Passover wines to consumers, industry professionals, and oenophiles alike.

“KFWE has been a key influencer in determining which wines will grace America’s Passover Seder tables, showing wines ranging in price from $6 to $500,” says Gabriel Geller, PR Director, Royal Wine Corp. “The show’s success underscores the fact that the kosher food and beverage industry is exploding at warp speed and shows no sign of slowing down. The takeaway from every sold-out event to date – there’s no culinary or wine-making envelope that can’t be pushed,” adds Geller.

 KFWE Wines

Guests will enjoy six hours of nonstop wine and food tasting. Thousands of bottles of wine representing more than 60 wineries from the world’s best-regarded regions will be poured throughout the evening for all to taste and savor.

Novelties include:  Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, part of the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage estates; Razi’el, the new winery of the Ben Zaken family and owners of Israel’s flagship boutique winery Domaine du Castel, will be present with its traditional method rosé sparkling wine and its award-winning blend of Syrah and Carignan.

While Royal Wine has had an impressive selection of prestigious wines from Bordeaux such as Château Giscours and Pontet-Canet, the kosher wine importer, négociant and distributor continue to add outstanding names to its repertoire. Château Bellefont-Belcier, a Grand Cru Classé from Saint-Emilion, is the latest producer to join the kosher wine bandwagon with a kosher cuvée 2020 vintage – an excellent vintage for the region. Château Léoville Poyferré, a Grand Cru Saint Julien which has been making kosher cuvées since 1999 will also be present at KFWE with its 2020 vintage, marking the 200th anniversary of ownership by the Cuvelier family.

There are many great appellations in France beyond Bordeaux, such as the Rhône Valley. One of Rhône’s most respected estates will be represented at the wine show with the introduction of its first two kosher wines: Raymond Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Raymond Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes.

From Tuscany, Villa Mangiacane will present Magnificus, a Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Herzog Wine Cellars, Royal Wine’s own winery located in Oxnard, CA, will showcase its line of award-winning wines, including the value line Baron Herzog as well as its high-end Napa Valley-grown Herzog Generation VIII. David Galzignato, Herzog’s new Senior Director of Winemaking Operations, will be on hand at KFWE 2023 to answer questions about the many wines he oversees.

KFWE Gourmet Food

In addition, a cornucopia of gourmet food representing a variety of cuisines including classical French, Japanese, steakhouse favorites, traditional Jewish cooking, nouveau American, charcuterie, fusion, Caribbean, authentic barbecue, and Mexican, as well as a variety of decadent desserts and specialty coffees will be served


VIP guests will enjoy exclusive amenities including an exclusive selection of curated wines and spirits as well as a mouthwatering menu catered by Reserve Cut.


General Admission – $160.76 incl. fees; VIP Guests – $240.33 incl. fees

New York Jewish Guide



Hanukkah Dinner celebrates Rise Up Campaign which now stands at $350 million

Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, announced record success in the first year of Rise Up: The Campaign for 613. Last year at this time, the Rise Up campaign, which has a goal of raising $613 million over five years, was launched with private-stage funding at $250 million. Today, with an additional $100 million raised this year, the campaign has passed its halfway mark and now stands at $350 million.

The announcement was made in a packed room of over 500 friends and supporters of Yeshiva University at its 98th Annual Hanukkah Dinner on December 4th.

“Thank you to all of our friends, alumni, and supporters for their commitment to building the flagship Jewish university,” said President Berman. “Any student of history understands that today our greatest need is to educate the next generations to be leaders of tomorrow, deeply rooted in our Torah values and forward-focused to meet the challenges and realize the enormous opportunities of our times. In all of our metrics — national rankings, student enrollment, cutting-edge academic programs, and career accomplishments of our graduates — Yeshiva University is on the rise. With gifts to secure scholarships, build state-of-the-art facilities, and support our world-class faculty, the continued success of the Rise Up campaign is propelling YU into its next great era.”

The dinner committee included YU leaders from across the country, with Ingeborg and Ira Rennert serving as Honorary Chairs, and Anita Zucker and Senator Joseph Lieberman as Dinner Chairs.

The interactive program included virtual presentations demonstrating the dramatic impact of campaign gifts across the University with touch-screen kiosks, pop-up theaters, surround-sound video, and hologram testimonials from YU students, all underscored by the dynamic big band sound of Chris Norton and the powerful voice of Shulem Lemmer.

Already, students are benefitting from the campaign’s many new initiatives, including the Shevet Glaubach Center for Career Strategy and Professional Development, the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Rabbi Lord Jonathan SacksHerenstein Center for Values and Leadership, a joint Yeshiva University-Albert Einstein College of Medicine B.A./B.S.-M.D. program, the endowment of the Abraham Arbesfeld Chair of the Director of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Semikhah Program, the Louis and Malca Drazin Beit Midrash, the Mitzner Master of Science in Real Estate degree program at Sy Syms School of Business and a significant expansion of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. New initiatives and spaces are in development, including the new Belz Building on Wilf Campus, the Anita Zucker Program for Jewish Early Childhood Educators, the Graduate Nursing Program at the Katz School of Science and Health, and the Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice at Cardozo Law School. Significant scholarship funding has helped Yeshiva University support its stellar student body who are benefitting from a YU education that uniquely prepares them for lives of personal meaning and great success. For more information about the campaign for Yeshiva University, go to  Visit the YU Web site at

About Yeshiva University

As the flagship Jewish university, Yeshiva University is animated by its five core Torah values: Seek Truth (Torat Emet), Live Your Values (Torat Chaim), Discover Your Potential (Torat Adam), Act With Compassion (Torat Chesed) and Bring Redemption (Torat Zion). Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools – Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business – offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Katz School of Science and Health and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic institutions

New York Jewish Guide

J100 Gala with Pat Boone, Enes Kanter Freedom and Emily Austin


The Algemeiner newspaper celebrates its 50th Anniversary with its J100 Gala this year honoring singer Pat Boone, NBA athlete and activist Enes Kanter Freedom, former Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and philanthropists Ben and Annie Fisher on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 West 54th St) in New York City. The Gala heralds the annual highly anticipated J100 List of the top 100 individuals positively influencing Jewish life, similar to the TIME100.

Pat Boone, the 88yearold rock ‘n’ roller and author of the theme song of the classic movie
“Exodus,” is being honored for his political activism and advocacy for Israel.
Philanthropists Ben and Annie Fisher are being recognized for their generous support of Israel and Jewish organizations in New York City and abroad.

Dovid Efune, Enes Kanter F…n, Emily Austin – Jared Siskin/PMC

NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom is being honored for his human rights activism and for launching a basketball camp for Muslim, Jewish and Christian children in Jerusalem.
Sebastian Kurz is being honored for his work as the current cochair of the European Council on
Tolerance and Reconciliation, and as the youngest chancellor in Austrian history, who spoke out
strongly against antisemitism.
Event Chair and former Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Dovid Efune, will introduce the
new Algemeiner CEO Jason Pressberg. “For 50 years the Algemeiner has served as the foremost
media tribune of the Jewish people, today reaching more people and with greater impact than ever
before. It’s a proud legacy. It’s our answer to the Kanye’s and the Khamenei of the world”, said
Efune before the upcoming Gala. “I’m pleased to welcome Jason to the team. He’s a leader of the highest caliber. We look forward to achieving even greater growth together in the years ahead.”

Dana Arschin, Emmy Award-Winner and TV journalist, will host. Publisher Simon Jacobson,and Dovid and Mushka Efune, will co-chair the evening. Bernard-Henri Lévy is again servingas Honorary Chairman. Speakers include esteemed philanthropist Mark Gerson and Ukrainianrefugee Slavik Gokhman.

Pat Boone, Mark Gerson – Jared Siskin/PMC

The J100 Gala is a major gathering for community leaders, celebrities, and cultural icons. Past
honorees and J100 Lists include Sacha Baron Cohen, Warren Buffett, Gal Gadot, Jerry Hall,
Larry King, Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Kraft, Meghan McCain, Debra Messing, Ambassador
of Israel to the U.S. and U.N. Gilad Erdan, Nina Rennert Davidson, Melissa Rivers, Adam
Sandler, Sharon Stone, Elie Wiesel, and HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, to
name a few.

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Algemeiner is a global news destination published
online and in print that serves as an independent media voice covering the Middle East, Israel, and matters of Jewish interest around the world. The Algemeiner has been identified as the “fastest growing Jewish newspaper in the US” by CNBC. It has been described by former Israeli
Ambassador Ron Prosor as “the voice of the Jewish people and Israel” and hailed as “brave and
relentlessly accurate” by longtime New Republic editor Marty Peretz.

New York City News – New York Jewish Guide- Meyer Harroch

ZOA honors Trump, hails best friend Israel’s ever had in the White House


There were standing ovations in abundance at Chelsea Piers on Manhattan’s West Side Sunday night as former President Donald Trump received the oldest pro-Zionist organization in America’s highest honor.

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, bestowed its Theodor Herzl Medallion on the 45th U.S. president for his achievements on behalf of Israel and world Jewry.

Those achievements, outlined by Klein to thunderous applause, included signing an executive order to extend protection under Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (banning discrimination based on race, color or national origin) to Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses; and reversing “discriminatory labeling”—a reference to the Trump administration’s regulation allowing products manufactured by Israelis in Judea and Samaria to be labeled “made in Israel.”

The ZOA head continued with his enumeration of Trump’s achievements: signing into law the Taylor Force Act, which reduced financial aid to the Palestinian Authority so long as it continued to pay stipends to terrorists and the families of slain terrorists who murdered Israelis or Americans; allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth on their passports; moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal; and forging the Abraham Accords between Israel and four Arab nations: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.

U.S. President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem, on May 22, 2017. Credit: GOP.

Klein also praised Trump’s appointment of “the greatest friends of Israel to important posts affecting U.S.-Israel relations” and his being “the first U.S. president, ever, to pray at the holy Western Wall.”

Completing his introduction, Klein said, “For all of these reasons, and for the Abraham Accords, Mr. President, you deserve, unquestionably, the Nobel Peace Prize for your extraordinary work. But it is my honor and my privilege to present to you the 45th president of the U.S., Donald J. Trump.”

The ZOA, which celebrated its 125th anniversary Sunday, rarely awards the Herzl Medallion. Past recipients include Winston Churchill and Arthur Balfour.

Chants of “Four more years!” rang out as Trump entered the banquet room at the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex.

He read from an essay by Herzl about his vision of a Jewish state. Trump then told those assembled, “Half a century later, after the Jewish people have endured and persevered through the bottomless evils of the Nazi Holocaust, that dream finally came true.

“It was a big dream and it came true….Today the State of Israel stands as a living tribute to the unbreakable spirit of the Israeli people and the glory of Almighty God. What an achievement.”

He spoke of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

“The U.S. and Israel are not just allies on a military basis but economically and politically. We are allies morally, culturally, and spiritually, and we always will be—at least if I have anything to do about it.”

Trump called to persuade more Jews to vote Republican.

“We have some people in this country that happen to be Jewish that are not doing the right thing for Israel, you know that too many,” he said. “Just as you [Klein] were saying how much we’ve done, as you know the Democrats get 75% of the [Jewish] vote, which is hard to believe, right? We can’t let that continue. I think we’re going to have to listen to Mort and David [Schoen, Trump’s personal attorney]…do a little speaking I think, we’re going to have to give a little a lecture…you understand what I mean…when you see all of the horrible things that have taken place with Biden and Barack Hussein Obama, and then they get 75% of the vote. What the hell is going on here, Mort?”

Later in his speech, discussing the relocation of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem, Trump said, “Lots of great Jewish people, they felt it was a miracle. And you know who else? Evangelicals. You have great allies.”

He criticized the United Nations for singling out Israel and neglecting peace-making efforts, including regarding the Ukraine war.

“A deal could’ve been made so easily [between Russia and Ukraine] if I’d been president….If I were president the Russian invasion of Ukraine never would’ve happened. But the United Nations should be doing this stuff….I know President Putin very well. I know President Zelenskyy very well. A great relationship with him….What a shame to see all these people dying, and the numbers are far greater than what you hear.”

Trump warned of the need to remain vigilant as the number of anti-Israel members of Congress grows.

Opposing the Iran deal was the single most important thing he did for Israel, he said. He linked his election loss to increased danger to Israel from Iran.

“I imposed the toughest-ever sanctions on the Iranian regime and we would have had an incredible deal worked out, but we had an election which was far better than my first run, we did much better, we got many millions of more votes, we got more votes than any sitting president…in history, you know that very well. And something screwy with our elections…because of that we’re now in another bad position…

“What has taken place in a short period of time is…incredibly bad for Israel.”

Trump spoke of an “important announcement” he would be making “on Tuesday.”

Klein called Trump “the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House” and added, “Too many forget he was also one of the greatest friends ever of the United States of America in the White House.”

Miriam Adelson, a donor to conservative and pro-Israel causes, announced the former president via Zoom, speaking of “the countless Israelis and Americans who held and still hold you dear and the countless more who will be born into the better world that you made. May you forever feel that warmth in your heart when you wear the Theodor Herzl medallion over it, Mr. President. God bless you and keep you.”

At one point, Klein asked Holocaust survivors and their descendants to stand and be recognized. Several dozen persons stood, to booming applause. Then he asked those who have served in the Israel Defense Forces to stand, and they received the same applause.

Iranian pro-Israel activist Ali Meli, who was also among those honored at the gala, said, “It is my great honor to dedicate it to the many Iranians who have risen up to oppose extremist ayatollahs.”

Meli received a standing ovation after thanking Trump for his “impeccable judgment” and “decisive intervention” in ordering the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani in January 2020.

JNS spoke with several people attending the gala.

Michele Bachmann, a former Minnesota Congresswoman, and Republican presidential candidate told JNS, “I’m highly honored to be here with the ZOA. They say what no one else is willing to say.”

“I admire what President Trump did in office,” said James Kahn, a financial adviser from Philadelphia who traveled to New York for the event. “I’m also sympathetic to the idea that he has hurt the Republican Party, especially recently toward [Florida Governor] Ron DeSantis…We shouldn’t badmouth each other.”

He added, “President Trump is a great man with tragic flaws. I love him, and a case can be made he cost the Republicans a few elections….He’s not the messiah and it’s not healthy for people to believe he’s the only one who can lead.”

Kahn said he came to show his support for Trump’s “concrete achievements.”

Julie Tigay, a second-grade teacher from Detroit, came to the ZOA gala because her father-in-law was being honored and because “it’s good to be among like-minded people, who care about something near and dear to us, who see the big picture.”

“I feel grateful, as a Jewish woman, for what President Trump has done for Israel,” said Estee Horowitz of Crown Heights in Brooklyn.

President Donald Trump listens to U.S. Ambassador David Friedman during the announcement in the Oval Office of the normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2020. Credit: Tia Dufour/The White House.

Numerous attendees referenced Trump’s work on the Abraham Accords.

“Families bicker until there’s an external threat; then they come together,” said Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiologist from Connecticut. Risch believes that in the realization of the Abraham Accords, “that concept was recognized and applied.”

“To get it done, in a timely and effective way, was groundbreaking,” said Jay Miller of Palm Beach, Florida.

“President Trump in his special way of helping the interests of Israel challenges us on how we need to be Zionists because sometimes he seems more Zionist than us,” said Lt. Col. (res.) Yaron Buskila from Nitzan, which is situated between Ashdod and Ashkelon. Buskila, who is director of operations for the Israel Defense and Security Forum (ISDF), cited the Abraham Accords and Trump’s efforts on behalf of Israeli “sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.”

“It felt amazing to have us all, young professionals and the older generation, in one room,” said Ainsley Koven of Manhattan. “When they said for survivors and their descendants to stand, we were united. And to have the [former] president of the United States there just cemented the feeling of solidarity.”

Rita Cosby, a correspondent for CBS’s “Inside Edition” and a former Fox News anchor, spoke with JNS at some length about what it meant to her to attend the ZOA event.

“My father was a Polish resistance fighter outside the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II,” said Cosby. “He saw the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand. It is deeply personal for me to support Israel, America’s greatest ally and one of the greatest defenders of freedom in the world. During this turbulent moment, it is even more important than ever to be here in support of the great State of Israel.”

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Dr. Fauci Addresses NYC Gala Honoring Gary Jacob & Mitchell Moinian


American Friends of Rabin Medical Center (AFRMC) is pleased to announce it has honored The Moinian Group Principal Mitchell Moinian with the Yitzhak Rabin Philanthropic Leadership Award and Gary Jacob, EVP, Glenwood Management who was honored with the Yitzhak Rabin Lifetime Real Estate Leadership Award, at the AFRMC 22nd Annual Gala, held Monday, November 7, 2022, at The Plaza Hotel to support AFRMC and saving lives in Israel at Rabin Medical Center, Moinian and Jacob were joined by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to seven presidents of the United States, who was honored with the Yitzhak Rabin Lifetime Medical Achievement Award and spoke about Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy and the importance of medical research.

Gala Master of Ceremonies Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, VP of News Programming, Nickelodeon, and Executive Producer, Nick News opened the evening, welcoming guests, friends, and Honorees, then brought onstage Scott Rechler, Chairman & CEO of RXR Realty and Chair of AFRMC’s Honorary Board who introduced Dr. Fauci. After dinner, Jonathan Mechanic, Chairman, of Real Estate, Fried Frank took the stage to present the award to Mitchell Moinian. Wendy Siegel, activist, and philanthropist presented the award to Gary Jacob.

Jonathan Mechanic presents an award to Mitchell Moinian. 

“The hospital has always been prideful of their interfaith spirit treating and employing Israel’s population with very open arms,” Mitchell Moinian said during the event. “Even on many occasions entering and receiving patients from Palestinian-controlled territories. And through this collaborative spirit, the hospital constantly accomplishes countless medical phenomena, solutions, and discoveries. This, folks, to me, is a manifestation, and a literally living breathing model, for how Israel can be as a nation. Supporting people from different walks of life to work together all in the name of humankind and its well-being.”

Wendy Siegel presents the award to Gary Jacob. 

Gary Jacob elaborated, “It is because of [Rabin Medical Center’s] global accord and ‘Bridge to Peace’ philosophy that I am honored to be recognized by the American Friends of Rabin tonight. In the face of adversity, terrorism, or global pandemics, Rabin Medical Center continues to be a pillar of strength fulfilling Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy of peaceful coexistence, with accessible healthcare for all as its pursuit.”

Scott Rechler presents an award to Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

“Yitzhak Rabin was an extraordinary individual,” Dr. Fauci said. “I greatly admired him as a visionary and a principled leader. He was meticulously strategic yet unafraid to be bold; he was genuine and respectful; he was honest, and he believed in peaceful coexistence.” He added that as the U.S. nears a third year of contending with the transformational COVID-19 pandemic that has killed millions around the world, and with an increasing mistrust in science despite overwhelming facts and evidence, we must remind ourselves “the common enemy is not each other; it’s the virus.”


In addition to Jonathan Mechanic and Scott Rechler, Gala Chairs included Robert J. Ivanhoe, Jeffrey Levine, and A. Mitti Liebersohn. Co-Chairs included Andrea Himmel, David Himmel, and Harrison Sitomer. Other attendees included SL Green Chairman & CEO Marc Holiday, Cushman & Wakefield Chairman of Global Brokerage Bruce Mosler, as well as executives from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Savills, Crown Acquisitions, and others.


Previous AFRMC award winners include Stanley Fischer, Nava Barak, Stephen Siegel, Peter Riguardi, Stanley Chera, Cardinal Dolan, Scott Rechler, Robert Ivanhoe, and Jonathan Mechanic, among other notable industry leaders.

Moinian and Jacobs were honored for their “outstanding and expert leadership in their fields and for being trusted partners, loyal friends, and exemplary philanthropists.”

AFRMC’s Executive Director Rabbi Joshua Plaut closed the evening by announcing the naming of two Rabin Medical Exchange Fellowships in honor of Mitchell Moinian and Gary Jacob at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center. “I thank you all for being a part of this American-Israeli partnership, as exemplified by the Rabin Medical Center. As a bridge to peace, American Friends of Rabin Medical Center helps to fund Israel’s premier hospital Rabin Medical Center, which bears Yitzhak Rabin’s name and honors the late Prime Minister’s vision of peace and regional economic prosperity.”

As Mitchell Moinian concluded, “I hope this evening will create more understanding and knowledge of how we can help others while advancing ourselves as people and as a global community.”

New York Jewish Guide

A US broker-dealer perspective on the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022


The new act has many features that should protect investors by imposing onerous clauses for the Regional Centers (RC). Many of them were already complying with these requirements voluntarily. Now, it is the law. Therefore, not only RCs but investors and intermediaries such as migration agents, broker-dealers, and consultants must abide by them.[1]

When established in 1990, the mission of the EB-5 program was to create much-needed American jobs. First, the program was strictly a direct investment program. A couple of years later, the RC-augmented program provided considerable flexibility for potential EB-5 investors. Many large-scale project owners were able to employ thousands of Americans as its global popularity and recognition increased.

In the last few years, given their urban locations, there has been considerable disagreement on the benefits of many RC projects, despite many advocates defending their contribution to the US economy. [2] Under the previous law, to qualify for targeted employment area (TEA) designation, project sponsors could use a much larger area surrounding the project. Under the new law, they can only use the census tracts adjacent to the census tract of its location. Unlike the previous law, the local governments are no longer authorized to designate a location TEA. That decision will be centralized and made by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Let’s explore:

  • benefits for both the investor and the issuer of the new act and,
  • expectations from the EB-5 industry to comply with this new standard
  • expectations of USCIS to clear the accumulated backlogs in processing existing and future petitions


Perhaps, the most significant benefit of the new program is the long-term reauthorization through Sept. 30, 2027. In the last few years, we had a few times a year the possibility that the program might not get extended or that the required minimum investment amount might increase. While that fueled an upward spike in the number of applications before each potential termination date of the program, it has not been healthy for the industry. All of the EB-5 stakeholders got frustrated. The trust in the program was rapidly declining. The program almost halted with the increase in the TEA-eligible investment amounts, from $500,000 to $900,000. While we had thousands of applicants annually before the raise, applications declined to hundreds after the raise. [3] The courts ruled the raise unlawful, and the required minimum investment amounts reverted to pre-November 2019 levels before the raise. However, the industry learned the hard way that the lawmakers, for the most part, were in favor of it. The program went into a lapsed mode for almost nine months. Now that we have new legislation, this is our chance to implement the lawmakers’ intent.

For example, by demanding that RCs be subject to USCIS audits at least every five years, Congress wants to ensure that they adhere to their responsibilities. In addition, the law mandates USCIS to investigate and monitor RCs and all the other parties to a transaction, including new commercial enterprises, job-creating entities, alien investors and their alien spouses, and alien children. The bill establishes the EB-5 Integrity Fund to ensure adequate funding for these enforcement activities.

USCIS will now learn about the foreign migration agents who might be direct or third-party promoters of the EB-5 projects. US broker-dealers are already under the supervision of US regulators such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As long as USCIS publishes guidelines on how they plan to regulate them, there is no question they will gladly comply. Lastly, in this integrity measures category, the role of the mandated Fund Administrator is very significant. No money transfers will be allowed without proper documentation. The Funds Administrator will verify that the transfer complies with all governing documents, including organizational, operational, and investment documents.

The integrity measures and the required periodic RC audits reveal the lawmaker’s intent in the new law. Most RC investors who want a green card are passive and rely on the expertise of the project sponsor to create the requisite jobs and preserve their capital.

The lawmakers want to ensure that the RC professionals assume this responsibility seriously. There is still the requirement for the investor capital to be at risk. If the investor is provided full disclosure of the risk and makes an educated decision that they want to proceed with the investment, the law permits it under the RC program. The contents of the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) and professional studies like economic reports and business plans, necessary in its creation, provide full disclosure of such risks. Even though the law does not explicitly state this, direct investments, on the other hand, are more suitable for investors who want to run their projects and be actively involved. For ease of implementation, Congress disallowed all direct pooled investments. Their purpose was to protect these passive investors through the new controls in place of the RC program. We cannot deny that the law, being precise by definition, is vague and open to various interpretations until USCIS publishes clear guidance. Nevertheless, given the clear intent of no more pooling of direct investments, we hope that attorneys and dealmakers will not push the envelope in structuring transactions that could be in line with the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.


The 60-day period the new law granted was supposed to help them issue interim guidelines to ensure the successful resumption of the program without further delay. Instead, USCIS interpreted the new law to mean that they needed to recertify RCs whether they were in business for many years or were brand newcomers to the market. All RCs would have to be subject to the same recertification process by filling out the required I-956 form to be eligible to submit the I-924 project-related application. Until an RC was recertified, sent in this information about the EB-5 project, and obtained a receipt that USCIS had received their application, no investor would be allowed to file their I-526 petitions. Most established RCs would have welcomed this interpretation if they had known how long this new process would take. Unfortunately, USCIS, in a public listening forum they held on April 29, announced that the contents of the I-956 and the required supporting documents would only be available on May 14, essentially the end of the 60 days. Nobody had a clear idea of how long they intended to take to review these new recertification applications of the existing RCs. Naturally, this built a lot of tension between the industry and USCIS. RCs, existing investors, and potential investors patiently waiting to file new I-526 petitions were all frustrated with two lawsuits pending disputing USCIS’s strict interpretation of the new law.

Luckily, on June 24, 2022, Judge Vince Chhabria of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction ruling. His ruling reversed the USCIS decision in April that removed the authorization of all formerly designated EB-5 Regional Centers based on its almost certainly erroneous interpretation of the new law U.S. Congress passed in March. Investors were again allowed to file new immigration petitions while the agency would create new regulations for implementation.

While the new law did not bring much-needed relief to the pending investors of retrogressed countries such as China, the visa set-asides for TEAs, especially for rural projects, did for new applicants from these countries. They could significantly benefit from priority processing should they invest in a rural project. [4]

The legislation allows the concurrent filing of the EB-5 application through the I-526 petition with the I-485 adjustment of the status petition if the investor is not from a retrogressed country in the visa category they are seeking and has a valid visa such as an F-1 student visa or H-1B work visa or E-2 investor visa. [5] Together with the I-485, the investor could file I-131, Application for Travel Document, and I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Assuming that their EAD gets approved, college students could get a summer job during college without using OPT. H-1B is subject to a lottery. A student with an approved EAD and an already filed green card application can bypass the H-1B process. As a result, their negotiation power and marketability increase immensely. A bonus for students is the chance of reduced educational costs if they could show residency in the state they want to study. [6] On the H-1B side, we have many India-born residents in the US with pending EB-2 and EB-3 petitions. Most have no hope of getting these petitions approved in a reasonable time.  With a concurrent filing of I-526 and I-485, they could get employment approval quickly. Once their I-526 petition is approved, they could proceed with the green card. The same applies to a valid E-2 visa holder. With a pending I-526 petition, they could also file for adjustment of status, and once they get their EAD approved, they can work anywhere they wish.


The source of funds must now include the capital investment and any administrative or other fees, such as USCIS filing fees associated with the investment. [7] Most RC projects already required the administrative fee to be sourced voluntarily under the previous law. The added mandated other fees requirement is not onerous. The meaning of more likely than not is vague and open to interpretation. It would have been helpful if the new law had clarified it. In recent years, USCIS has taken a very conservative position on this, issuing Request for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) on the source of funds that would have been acceptable just a few years ago. [8] We hope the new USCIS regulations will end this practice. Many eligible potential investors get frustrated by the source of funds scrutiny imposed on them and often decide not to invest. USCIS must develop sophisticated systems that adapt to accepted payment methods of various international jurisdictions. For example, USCIS needs to conclude more likely than not, a medical doctor or an attorney earned the funds they plan to use as capital through lawful means if they are from a country that has a predominantly cash-based economy.

As broker-dealers, we already must have our clients fill out an investor questionnaire that checks the suitability of the investment. [9] We decide on their sophistication based on their income, assets, and overall understanding of the investment risks. Under the new law, migration agents operating overseas in the country of foreign investors have to check investor suitability. Previously, RCs performed this function for investors who reside abroad and find the investment either by themselves or through migration agents. USCIS has not yet issued regulatory guidance on how they plan to supervise intermediaries. In line with the law, they will most likely obligate the migration agents to ensure that each investor’s EB-5 petition includes a disclosure, signed by them, reflecting all fees, ongoing interest, and other compensation paid to any person in connection with the investment. These disclosures have already been part of the offering that each investor sees and signs off. The new law’s intent must be that each investor should be made aware of the related fees.

Previously, it was common for an RC to solicit investors directly. Once they identify an investor, they would refer the investor to an immigration attorney for processing. It is not clear whether the active involvement of a regulated broker-dealer or migration agent was necessary. However, a fully informed investor should inquire about other immigration alternatives from a non-conflicted financial advisor or a broker-dealer.

It is possible that due to some of the well-known challenges, EB-5 might not be the right fit for every applicant. They might have an issue with the source of funds, global tax, or residency requirement. They might not be able to wait as long as it takes to process their application. The cost of the EB-5 could be prohibitive. Therefore, clients should be able to consider alternative nonimmigrant intent visas such as E-2, L-1, O-1, etc., instead. They could also try EB-1 if they have exceptional talents and recognition that set them apart nationally or internationally. When a team of immigration attorneys and broker-dealers covers the clients, they are more likely to get a customized solution.

In conclusion, intermediaries should be unconflicted among projects they promote and potentially other suitable immigration options with or without investment. They need to work as a team with immigration attorneys and RCs. They should match the potential immigration applicant with the best immigration option offering a menu of already vetted investment options if that immigration option necessitates an investment. Immigrants, introduced to solutions suitable for their specific needs, rather than to products RCs or intermediaries have on the shelf they need to sell, will once again gain trust in the system.

By Marko Issever

Marko Issever, the founding CEO of America EB5 Visa, leads EB-5 capital-related activities at Riverside Management Group, connecting international investors with EB-5 issuers. He recently launched CBP Invest, a global immigration company, advising clients in second-country citizenship in countries like Grenada, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Malta, and Greece. Previously, Issever was a managing director at BNY Mellon, leading the firm’s financial institution’s derivative sales business globally. Issever speaks Turkish and Ladino Spanish fluently. He earned his MBA in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Bogazici University and Robert College, located in Istanbul.

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Back to school with healthier air thanks to Israeli device


Aura Air purifiers are being installed in thousands of American classrooms and school buses using federal Covid-relief funds.

Aura Air, an Israeli air-purifier, is being installed in thousands of American classrooms and school buses as the academic year begins, underwritten by federal Covid relief funds for school districts across the United States.

The purifiers have already been placed in many schools and universities in New York, Maryland, California, South Carolina, Florida, Washington, Mississippi, and Massachusetts.

Aura Air’s award-winning patented technology filters and disinfects indoor air through a unique four-stage purification process that captures and kills 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, germs, and allergens.

An accompanying app lets parents, educators, and facility managers monitor and control the air quality in classrooms in real-time and get alerts on allergy and virus risks.

Aura Air not only purifies the air but also allows for monitoring and controlling air quality via an app. Screenshot courtesy of Aura Air

In June, former US National Parent Teacher Association (“PTA”) President Leslie Boggs joined Aura Air as an advisory board member

“With Covid-19 cases rising and the Influenza virus spiking across the country, indoor air quality in our schools continues to be a top concern for parents and teachers,” said Boggs.

“Aura Air’s technology is scientifically proven to eliminate 99.99% of Covid and flu particles in 60 minutes or less. The platform enables schools and universities to monitor and purify indoor air quality in real-time across campuses to keep educators and students healthy.”

Founded in 2018, Aura Air is also helping to purify the air in homes, hospitals, businesses, hotels, restaurants, and buses in close to 90 countries. The company is headquartered in Israel with global offices in the United States and India.

Many Israeli school districts, including Tel Aviv, also ordered Aura Air units in time for the first day of school on September 1.

About the Author

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a major daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.

Is there anything more wondrous than soaring through the autumn air in a hot air balloon?


Is there anything more wondrous than soaring through the autumn air in a hot air balloon?

Whether it is just a bucket list item or a unique gift to celebrate someone special, Just Ducky Hot Air Balloon Experiences can help you create memories that will last a lifetime. Our boutique hot air balloon company specializes in designing a flawless flight experience for you. Our passengers have enjoyed exclusive sunrise and sunset flights that launch from picturesque western New Jersey, less than 2 hours from most New York locations.

When a more elaborate weekend is in order, we offer Bed, Breakfast, + Ballooning weekends where you stay at Sky Island Bed + Breakfast in Bucks County, PA for the ultimate get-a-way including a two-night stay.

Thinking of popping the question? We are experienced at keeping your secret very safe. also, We have special photography services available to document your special event. We have a skilled drone photographer to capture the most fantastic footage while you are in the sky!

Looking for a gift for that someone who has everything?

Imagine their delight when they open a beautifully boxed gift certificate with the promise of an experience of a lifetime.

A hot air balloon flight makes an extra special bar/bat mitzvah or Chanukah gift.

Make it a family outing for Chol Hamoed. Kashrut laws are respected.

Your unique sunrise experience with Just Ducky Hot Air Balloon Experiences begins when we meet minutes before sunrise at one of our designated launch sites. The launch site will be determined when we learn the direction of the wind for your scheduled flight. With the assistance of our experienced crew members, we set up the balloon in preparation for inflation. At this stage, we recommend your participation, in order to appreciate your experience to the fullest.

Once fully inflated, you will be invited onboard the balloon.

And as if by magic, we ascend into the air. The actual flight time is approximately one hour. During our flight, our chase team has been following us on the ground and will be at our landing site to help pack up the balloon. Upon returning to our launch site, we join together for our traditional celebratory post-flight champagne toast!

For more information and to book your adventure, call 917-609-9628


New York Jewish Guide