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November 8, 2013

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 Sh 00gging off critics and an assassination attempt, Vadirn 0000abinovich claims mantle of Jewish leader Kiev Central Synagogue Vadim Rabinovich, second from right, during a visit last year to Kiev Central Synagogue. By Cnaan Liphshiz KIEV, Ukraine (JTA)-- The explosion that ripped through Vadim Rabinovich&apos;s luxury SUV in central Kiev was strong enough to send a shock wave from the parking lot up to his third-floor office in the heart of the Ukrainian capital. "It was a shock for a day or two," Rabinovich said, "and then I moved on." The 60-year-old media mo- gul and Jewish philanthropist views the March 4 explosion as an attack on his life. He has accused Andrey Derkach, a businessman and former poli- tician, of being responsible, telling the Ukrainian media that Derkach had tried to bully him intosellingJN1, the Kiev-based television station specializing in Jewish news Jewist that Rabinovich launched a couple of years ago. Derkach has denied the accusation and threatened to sue for libel. The police are still investigating. "Now I have an armored car," Rabinovich said. "And that's the only thing that has changed." If a brush with death isn't enough to cow Rabinovich, it's hard to see whatwiil. Over the years, the feisty oligarch has battled Ukrainian authorities, business rivals and Jewish community leaders, some of whom have expressed re- sentment about his ongoing efforts to challenge the old guard of European Jewish institutional life. But the relentless criticism, like the explosion, has not had : its intended effect. "You can't please every- one," Rabinovich said. "That's life." In an interview with JTA this month, he was clad in his typical uniform of jeans and sneakers, a get-up he has been known to wear to occa- sions where everyone else is in business attire. Rabinovich has a limited appreciation for formalities and, as he puts it, "little patience for nonsense." In the 1980s, Rabinovich was arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison for black market ventures, but wound up serving only seven years, according to Korrespondent, a Ukrainian weekly. Rabi- novich says he was jailed on "trumped-up charges," but the United States to this day has barred his entry as a result, Ie confirmed to JTA. "You will find accusations against me inthe U.S. In Israel, WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) applauded the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pen- sions (HELP) for its approval of the Older Americans Act some say I am connected to the mafia. In Ukraine, they say I am Mossad agent, if you find this kind of nonsense interesting," Rabinovich said. "I don't." Following his release in 1991, Rabinovich began to amass a fortune as a metals dealer operating in the eco- nomic free-for-all after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By 1995, he began pouring millions into Jewish causes. "After I turned 40, I made a discovery that there is such a thing called Torah," he said. "It led me in all kinds of new directions." Rabinovich says he puts on tefillin and prays every morn- ing. He also hosts friends at his house every Friday, where he leads a discussion on the weekly Torah portion. In 1997 he founded the All- Ukrainian Jewish Congress, which has an annual budget of $3 million, and still serves as its president. He has spon- sored Limmud Jewish learn- ing conferences, provided security services to Jewish schools in Ukraine and started JN1, the world's first 24-hour Jewish news network. In 2010, Rabinovich and Igor Kolomoisky, a friend and business partner, tried to take over the helm of a long- running Jewish organization, the European Council of Jew- ish Communities, but were stymiedwhen board members staged a walkout after Kolo- moisky was appointed presi- dent outside traditional nomi- nating procedures. Detractors  said Rabinovich played a key role in what they described as a "hostile takeover" of the organization. So Rabinovich started his own organization the fol- lowing year, calling it the European Jewish Parliament and setting up offices in Kiev and Brussels and a board of 120 members. Critics laughed it off as a farce, noting that the group's initial nominees included celebrities such as soccer star David Beckham, filmmaker Roman Polanski and actor Sacha Baron Co- hen-who didn't even know they were candidates. "Clearly, the principle of representation is lacking from this organization--which, like other groups, is no more than a vehicle for the ego of its creator," Edwin Shuker, the London-based vice president of the European Jewish Con- gress, told JTA. But Rabinovich, whose organization has lobbied Eu- ropean governments on Jew- ish issues, is unfazed by such criticism. In fact, he doles it out just as readily. Rabinovich on Moshe Kan- tor, the European Jewish Congress president: He "just sits behind a desk and does nothing and will do every- thing the Kremlin tells him." On Yaakov Dov Bleich, the U.S.-born chief rabbi of Ukraine: "Speaks no Russian and comes to Ukraine twice a year." ' And of American Jewish organizational leaders, Rabi- novich says they "only want to be interviewed on television." Bieich told JTA he spends most of his time in Ukraine. A spokesperson for Kantor's European Jewish Congress told JTA that Rabinovich's statements are "unfounded and spurious allegations un- worthy of comment." "This is a desperate attempt by Rabinovich to remain on the agenda one last time be- fore his organization ceases to exist in the same way as many other fleeting orga- nizations which come and go, causing confusion and embarrassment to the Jewish community and its relation- ship with European leaders," the spokesperson said. Joel Rubinfeld, a former leader of Belgian Jewry and current co-chair of the Eu- ropean Jewish Parliament, counts some successes of Rabinovich's organization, notably securing the con- struction of Montenegro's first modern synagogue and co-organizing the first Eu- ropean Jewish choi f<stival in Vienna. Rubinfeld says Rabjnovich's contributions, his prickly style notwithstanding, are deeply appreciated by Jewish communities, particularly in locales with limited resources that had suffered for decades under communist rule. "Vadim is both:a builder and a bulldozer," Rubinfeld said, "and as such I think he sees life in a rather geometric manner. He always takes the shortest distance between two points. Some cherish him for it, others resent him." Federations applaud Senate support for elderly (OAA),which includes the Ho- locaust survivor legislation. Services under the OAA help enable Holocaust survivors and other older adults to age in place in their homes and communities. The festival is pzoduced by Enzian and the ICC ol Greater Orlando us part of the Culttiral Festal Ca'cu and is supported  United Arts of Cenb'al Florida with funds from the United Arts Campaign arid by the State ol Florida, Department of State, OiViSlOe of ENZIAN CulnZl kflail, the FIoNdu kls Council, and the National Eudowrneet for Ihe Arts. I, IL. FOOD I'mtI.DS gET YOUI00 TICKETS AT WWW.ENZIAN.OI00G "With each passing day it becomes even more urgent to do all we can for the sur- vivors of the Holocaust," said Michael Siegal, chairman of the JFNA Board of Trustees. "The guidance that the Older Americans Act requires will make state and local govern- ments acutely aware of the need to provide care for aging Holocaust survivors." Holocaust survivors face challenges similar to those of all older people--but effects from the Holocaust can make placing them in senior care facilities especially compli- cated. The loss of privacy, au- tonomy and control, and the introduction of new sights, sounds, smells or practices, such as unfamiliar showers, can trigger residual impacts from the Holocaust. The OAA's reauthorizationwould require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration on Aging to work with local communities to develop guidance to help serve Holocaust survivors. As recent findings indi- cate in A Portrait of Jewish Americans, the Pew Research Center's report on its 2013 survey of U.S. Jews, the Jew- ish community has a larger percentage of older adults than the general population. According to the report, 24 percent of Jewish adults are over the age of 65, while only 18 percent of U.S. adults overall are over the age of 65. Jewish institutions have de- veloped programs to respond to the aging population, and they continue to lead in plan- ning for the needs of the baby boomer generation as it ages. Jewish Federations have promoted the Older Ameri- cans Act for decades, as its programs provide essential services for aging in place. Many OAA programs take place at Jewish community Senate on page 15A Madoff, fire and theft: How Jewish nonprofits lost money By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Bernard Madoff. An unscru- pulous contractor. Art that disappeared or was destroyed by fire--it's not clear which. Bad, bad bookkeepers. And did we mention Bernard Madoff? These were among the causes of"material diversion" of assets--tax-speak for lost funds or property totaling $250,000 or 5 percent--re- ported by Jewish organiza- tions on their tax returns. Since 2008, the IRS has asked nonprofit organiza- tions to indicate on their tax returns whether they have become aware of such losses in the past year. Ac- cording to an investigation of 1,000 nonprofits published Sunday in the Washington Post, 21 Jewish organizations answered yes. The year 2008 happened to be when Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme came to light. In the twoyears that followed, at least 13 Jewish organiza- tions that were victims of Madoff answered yes to the question on their tax returns. Several of the organiza- tions provided explanations of the losses. Yeshiva University's 2008 return noted that Madoffwas a former university trustee and described how multiple investments wended their way into Madoff's portfolio, eventually adding up to a $95 million loss. The return also described the steps taken by Y.U. in response. "The university enhanced its conflict of interest policy," the university reported. "Un- der the enhanced conflict of interest policy, members of the university board of trust- ees may not be engaged in business with the university." Other Madoff victims are terser in describing their relationships with the swin- dler, in some cases not even naming him. The America Israel Cultural Foundation's explanation of how it lost $14 million to Madoff amounted to this: "The custodian of the investment pool did not invest the funds and stole the remaining moneys under his custody." Some were hit indirectly by Madoff. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and at least three California family foundations reported millions of dollars in losses through investments made through the Jewish Community Foun- dation, which reported in its 2008 return an overall loss of more than $23 million to the Ponzi scheme. One of the tilers, the Ameri- can Jewish Congress, reported $18.2 million in losses to Madoff in its 2008 return. Missing is the poignant fol- low-up: The American Jewish Congress has largely ceased operations, but it has con- tinued to operate in a mostly nominal fashion under the leadership of philanthropist Jack Rosen. Madoffdoes not account for all of the 21 Jewish organiza- tions reporting losses. The Conference on Jewish Mate- rial Claims Against Germany Madoffon page 15A