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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 25, 2014 - With a nudge from advocates, more Jewish groups embracing paid parental leave PAGE 15A By Julie Wiener NEW YORK (JTA)--The United States is the only industrialized country in the world not to mandate paid maternity leave, and only 11 percent of private-sector American employees have access to it. But a growing list of Jewish nonprofits are now offering or expanding paid maternity leave, the result of a push by Advancing Women Profes- sionals, a communal advocacy group. Persuading scores of Jew- ish organizations to add paid benefits during a recession was no easy feat. Leaders of many organizations debated the matter for years before opting in. "Almost no one said, 'Let me sign up right away, what a great opportunity,'" said Shifra Bronznick, AWP's founder and president. "They all felt 'we can't afford this.' America has taught us we can't afford it." Through its Better Work/ Better Life campaign, launched in 2010, AWP aims to "enlist 100 Jewish organizations as a catalyst for making healthy work-life policy the norm in our com- munity," according to the group's website. An AWP survey conducted shortly before the campaign's launch found that 65 per- cent of responding Jewish organizations--a mix of 227 gi'oups that included natioflhl and religious institutions, local federations, JCCs and service agencies--offered no paid maternity leave and that only 7 percent provided 12 weeks or more. Ten percent did not provide even unpaid maternity leave; the Family Medical Leave Act requires employers provide 12 weeks unpaid, but organizations with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the require- ment. So far 82 groups--ranging from large national organiza- tions such as the Union for Re- form Judaism and Birthright Israel to foundations, local federations and a handful of large synagogues--have earned a place on the AWP's Better Work/Better Life list. To qualify for the list, an or- ganization must offer at least four weeks of paid maternity leave or have formal flexible- scheduling policies to enable caring for children. Another 17 groups are "in the pipeline," according to AWE Twenty of the groups on the list--including the Jewish Federations of NorthAmerica and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee-- earnedAWP's "gold standard" by offering at least 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, sixweeks of paid parental leave (for fa- thers, partners and adoptive parents) and prorated parental leave for part-time employees. Organizations aiming to make the Better Work/Better Life list must provide their written employment policies to AWP, but the group doesn't police them. "It is kind of an honor code, but it has teeth in it because the Jewish com- munity is essentially a small world," Bronznick said, noting that if an organization were not complying with its own policies, word would get out relatively quickly. " Founded in 2001, AWP, through a combination of research, advocacy and lead- ership development and men- toring programs, has worked to get more women into top professional positions at Jew- ish organizations and have more women represented on conference panels. The group announced last fall in an eJewishPhilan- thropy article co-authored by Bronznick and Barbara Dobkin, AWP's co-founder and a board member, that it plans to cease being a"formal organization" in 2015 because "we believe that our impact will be more sustained if we give our growing network the responsibility for carrying the work of gender equity into the next decade and beyond." While many large and high-profile national Jewish groups are on the AWP list, it still represents a small frac- tion of the Jewish nonprofit sector nationally. No Jewish day school has signed on, al- though Manhattan's Rodeph Sholom School, affiliatedwith the Reform movement, is "in the pipeline," and RAVSAK, which serves as a network for 130 North American non- denominational Jewish day schools, meets AWP's "gold standard." Leaders of several organiza- tions that have signed onto the list have shared written testi- monials vouching for its suc- cess, and those interviewedby JTAsay they recommend their expanded policies to others. (Most tie the amount of paid leave to an employee's length of service--an employee who becomes pregnant only a year or two after starting the job may not be eligible for any paid leave.) Robin Salsberg, the hu- man resources director at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Said employees literally applauded when the new work-life poli- cies, which include up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new fa- thers as well as mothers, were announced. Before revising its policies, JDC had offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the minimum required under the Family Medical Leave Act. So far, 16 employees--including Sharkansky From page 4A of the population, without bothering with meaningful taxation. Unknown portions of the foreign money go to keep happy those at the top of Palestinian politics, via pay- ments siphoned to personal accounts. Among the unresolvedprob- lemsarea failureofPalestinians to carry throughwithwater and sewage treatment programs despite offers of funding. Perhaps the administration of such projects is beyond the concern of leaders who thrive on issues bringing higher vis- ibility. Or maybe they hope that the stink and disease will add to the sympathy for Palestinians. And in the spirit of fairness, we must also admit that the constant threat of unrest serves Israelis, overseas Jews, and Jewish organizations- -some of them with great prestige- -that compete for our contributions and purchases at their on-line stores on the basis of claims to be protecting us from adversaries. Ira Sharkansky is a profes- sor (Emeritus) of the Depart- ment of Political Science, He- brew University of Jerusalem. Kolin From page 7A his generosity, kindness, and sense of humor. He loved his family, his work, and telling a good joke. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Shelley Kolin; son and daughter-in- law, Lawrence and Karen Kolin; son and daughter-in- law, Marc and Linda Kolin; brother-in-law and sister, Morris and Susan Mark; and grandchildren, Dena and Abi. A sanctuary service was held at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland on April 18, 2014, with Rabbi Aaron Rubinger officiating. Memo- rial donations may be made to: Congregation Ohev Sha- lom Education Scholarship Fund. Please sign guestbook at: http://tinyurl.com/nrlflvz. Heroes From page 8A Peace: The Beyond Bullying Experience, who would it be? Beyonce! What do you think you want to be doing when you "grow up" or would like to be doing professionally in perhaps five or 10 years? I'm not sure yet. I like everything and have not completely made up my mind yet. I'm interested in seeing what works and what doesn't. What sort of things do you like to do to have fun? Hang out with my friends, utilize the beaches in San Di- ego, go to plays and concerts, and being involved in my school and local community. The Teen Heroes column is sponsored by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which is dedicated to celebrat- ing and supporting teens repairing the world. To learn more about the foundation's $36,000 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, visit diller- teenawards.org. Please tell us about teens who deserve attention by sending an email to teens@jta.org. courtesy Advancing Women Professionals Shifra Bronznick, founder and president of Advancing Women Professionals, speaking at a conference sponsored by the advocacy group, October 2013. seven men--have availed themselves of the paid paren- tal leave, Salsberg said. Asked how much it has cost, she said, "When you take a look at improved staff produc- tivity and the rise in morale, that people feel good working for a progressive organization, you can't set a dollar value on that. The people who go on leave and see we've invested in them come back. There's an allegiance, and that only adds to our retention of talent and institutional knowledge." Jewish Federations of North America, the umbrella for Jewish federations, also signed on in 2010 and meets the gold standard. It offers up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, depending on length of service, and four weeks of paid paternity leave. "We basically felt that with the concept of Jewish conti- nuity and family being at the heart of Jewish values, we as an organization wanted to walk the talk and set a bar," said Jerry Silverman, JFNA's president and CEO. "We also felt it could create an even more productive environ- ment." Before adopting paid pa- rental leave and flexibility policies, the organization's maternity leave policy "had been an area of discontent," said Gloria Nilsen, JFNA's hu- man resources director. JFNAcurrently is research- ing all human resources poli- cies at its member federations and plans to release findings and recommendations in the fall. Nine JFNA employees have taken paid leaves (three took multiple leaves), and JFNA had to hire temporary replace- ments for only two. The other jobs were covered by other employees, many of whom viewed the situation as an op- portunity to learn new skills and advance in their careers, Silverman said. He noted that two were later promoted. "People don't abuse it; people really embrace it," Silverman said. "It's really enhanced the culture and the work environment." U.S. denies visa to U.N. ambassador (JNS.org)--The Obama administration notified Iran and the United Nations that it would deny a visa to newly ap - pointed Iranian Ambassador to the U.N. Hamid Aboutalebi, who was part of an extremist student group that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, taking 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days. The administration's de- cision comes after the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would bar entry into the U.S. by any proposed U.N. representative who has engaged in esPionage or .... terrorism or who may pose a threat to national security. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama is reviewing the legislation, but did not say whether or not Obama will sign the bill. In a statement, the Ameri- can Israel Public Affairs Committee said it "com- mends President Obama and Congress for sending a strong message that America will take a firm stand against pur- veyors of terror directed at the United States and its allies." js  Hertz From page 5A meeting in the Council of the Araa League Summit in Bei- rut, capital of Lebanon ... have conducted a thorough assess- ment of the developments and challenges.., relating to the Arab region and, more specifically, to the occupied Palestinian territory. With great pride, we followed the Palestinian people's intifada and valiant resistance... We address a greeting of pride and honour to the Palestinian people's steadfastness andval- iant intifada against the Israeli occupation and its destructive war machine. We greet with honour and pride the valiant martyrs of the intifada." The Arab League, which has systematically opposed and blocked peace efforts for nearly 67 years, and is in a declared state-of-war with Israel, is now deemed by the U.S. States Department an organization that can contribute to peace in the Middle East. Eli E. Hertz is president of Myths and Facts, Inc. andre- cipient of ZOA's Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award (2005). Hertz is also the publisher and sponsor of books and articles regarding lsrael and the Arab- Israeli conflict. Most notably are Myths and Facts, a Guide to the Arab-Israeli conflict (September, 2001 edition). Reply, a reply to the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (2004, 2006); This Land is My Land, Mandate for Palestine - The legal aspects of Jewish rights (2006, 2008, English and Hebrew). NBA From page llA fall, Tad Carper, Cleveland's senior vice president for communications, recalled his arena being"full of energy and excitement" for a 2006 contest featuring Tel Aviv. "Certainly, [there was] a great deal of pride and pas- sion from the local Jewish community, with strong attendance and very vocal support for Maccabi. It helped create a very special and fun environment for a preseason game, which is not always the case," he said. Former Tel Aviv player Nadav Henefeld played in exhibition games in Los Angeles against the Lakers and the Clippers, in 1990 and 1991, and noted "the large differences that existed then" between the NBA and Israeli teams athletically and organizationally. Today, he said, the gap is shrinking. Brody, who remains a hero in the Jewish state for leading Tel Aviv in 1977 to its first European Cup, said witnessing his old team or another Israeli club join the NBA "would complete my dream." "If that ever happens--that an Israeli teainwould be in the NBA--I can rest in peace," he said.