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					           O R G A N I Z A T I O N S




       The
       SEPHARDIC COMM
           A Movement Reborn

           I
                  n order to identify the events,
                  ideas, people and moments
                  that change the course of his-
                  tory, one typically needs the
                  perspective only the passage
                  of time can provide. However,
                  there are rare instances when
           the stream of history pivots before
           your eyes in what appears to be a
           single moment. To witness it is as
           inspiring as it is exceptional.
               That is what happened on
           March 16th at the Sephardic
           Community Alliance’s (SCA) semi-
           annual meeting when over 100 intel-
           ligent, energized, and committed
           men and women gathered to
           address the fundamental values that
           we live by and the future direction of
           our community.
               This meeting marked the SCA’s
           maturation into a transformational
           movement. In just six short months,          The founders meeting took           motivated individuals, and important
           the organization has more than dou-      place in the ballroom of the Loews      community institutions to conserve
           bled the amount of members in            Regency Hotel in Manhattan.             and spread the traditional values we
           attendance, a testament to the gath-     Thanks to the extraordinary talent of   share; and to be a resource for all
           ering strength, appeal, and inherent     Norma Cohen, working closely with       those that share our ideals. He
           worth of the ideas and goals of the      board member Bobby Dweck, the           touched on the extraordinary
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           SCA agenda.                              venue was prepared beautifully and      accomplishments to date and said
               The SCA Declaration of Values        the program ran flawlessly.             that the SCA is entering a new and
           represents ideals once considered            SCA President Morris Bailey         exciting phase of engaging and har-
MAY 2010




           to be self-evident, but which have       ably chaired the meeting, opening       nessing even larger parts of our
           increasingly been challenged. They       by emphasizing the core mission of      community in projects and pro-
           are available for everyone to see at     the SCA: to continue to work with       grams. This outreach process
           www.sc-alliance.org.                     our great rabbinical community,         includes recruiting additional volun-
68
UNITY ALLIANCE
teers to work on existing commit-             Mr. Bailey then introduced Joey     ed in all disciplines, and maintained
tees, as well as soliciting proposals     S. Harari, the keynote speaker for      a high level of involvement in the
for new initiatives. Mr. Bailey invited   the evening, who outlines the urgent    world community. He described how
the community to reach out to the         challenges facing our community.        Sephardic communities were stimu-
SCA with ideas, suggestions, and          With great clarity, he emphasized       lated by society, not threatened by
offers to volunteer, or with any other    the need to reconnect with our glori-   it. He went on to illustrate that, his-
feedback—be it positive or other-         ous Sephardic tradition and history,    torically, an isolationist policy and
wise. This can be done via the            where our Hachamim and laymen,          insulation from society will, on the
ideabox@sc-alliance.org.         Every    while fully committed to Torah and      one hand, lead to unwelcome
email will be read and discussed by       halacha, were at the same time inte-    halachic extremism for the minority,
a strategic planning committee.           grated with modern society, educat-     and sadly, a total abandonment of
                                                                                  tradition for the majority. He
                                                                                  stressed that only a greater commit-
                                                                                  ment to Torah and secular educa-
                                                                                  tion based on our values can secure
                                                                                  our future existence as a vibrant
                                                                                  Jewish community.
                                                                                       Mr. Bailey then invited SCA
                                                                                  executive board members to brief
                                                                                  the group on the status of current
                                                                                  projects.
                                                                                       Jeffrey J. Beyda, Chairman of
                                                                                  the Lay Leadership Development
                                                                                  Committee announced the success-
                                                                                  ful completion of the first phase of a
                                                                                  multi-year plan to insure a strong
                                                                                  young leadership today, and an able
                                                                                  and motivated one for the future.
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                                                                                  ILEAD (Israel Leadership and
                                                                                  Development Program) is a five
                                                                                  week intensive leadership course
                                                                                                                            MAY 2010




                                                                                  for boys and girls, during the sum-
                                                                                  mer between their high school junior
                                                                                  and senior year. Admission is com-
                                                                                  petitive and by application and inter-
                                                                                                                            69
           O R G A N I Z A T I O N S




           view only. The SCA is giving 50%
           scholarship grants to every partici-
           pant. Of over 60 applicants, only 40
           were selected to participate. The co-
           directors of the program in Israel are
           Joey Harari and Rav Shilo Plesser,
           who for the past 14 years have been
           preparing teenagers to become
           leaders in the Israeli military, politics
           and academia. Also on the ILEAD
           staff are two professionals who are         ship     with    Yeshivat      Reishit   Rabbinical College, the SCA will
           deeply involved in the preparation,         Yerushalayim our first group of eight    sponsor a daily adult and young
           execution, and follow up of the pro-        students is spending a year there        adult program of classes and lec-
           gram: Dr. David Sitt, who received          under the guidance of Rabbi David        tures. The Hathaway Shul, with spe-
           his master’s degree and doctorate           Zeit, a graduate of the Yeshivah of      cial thanks to Joe Cayre, has
           from Yeshiva University and is cur-         Flatbush who grew up attending           offered the group the use of its facil-
           rently a clinical psychologist and          Congregation Ahaba v’Ahva and            ity to host the learning program.
           deputy chair of the psychology              received ordination from Rabbi           Bobby and Rabbi Sutton have gath-
           department at Baruch; and Lillian           Alouf and the Sephardic Rabbinical       ered an outstanding group of young
           Galapo, the school psychologist at          College. Thanks to Rabbi Zeit’s          community rabbis who will design
           Yeshivah of Flatbush who holds a            unique ability to connect to these       and give the classes.
           master’s of science in education, an        boys, they’ve each grown as adults            The second component of the
           advanced certificate in school psy-         and as Jews while having the             summer initiative is a Shabbat min-
           chology and is completing her mas-          opportunity to maintain their            yan also sponsored by the SCA with
           ter’s of social work at NYU.                Sephardic traditions.                    minyanim on Friday night, Shabbat
                Jeff explained that the ILEAD               Mikey pointed out that given the    morning, and Saturday night.
           program is the first step in a five         positive feedback from this year’s       Thanks to the efforts of some of the
           year track of leadership training that      group the SCA expects to expand          SCA Deal members, the minyanim
           will involve ongoing workshops,             the program for September 2010. In       will be held in the beautiful auditori-
           mentoring, integration, special lec-        fact, the yeshivah considers the pro-    um of the JCC. Bobby expressed
           tures and even access to college            gram important enough to have            great appreciation on behalf of the
           and graduate level course work that         invited Rabbi Zeit to give a keynote     SCA to the JCC for their willingness
           will help our future leaders gain the       speech at their annual dinner meet-      to help accommodate our needs this
           skills necessarily to lead the grow-        ing to be held at Shaare Zion in         summer and for making us feel wel-
           ing and complicated organizations           June. Mikey said that after the kids     come. This provides a significant
           that support our community, and to          return, the goal is that they be fun-    opportunity for lay people to come
           do so in a way that is rooted in the        neled into learning programs in our      together on Shabbat to pray, and to
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           SCA values.                                 community so they may continue           generate a “community of ideas.”
                Mikey Tawil spoke about the            their studies in a way that is consis-   Here too, young community rabbis
           inaugural year of the SCA Post High         tent with our values.                    will be given a platform to afford
MAY 2010




           School Israel Program. The goal                  Bobby Dweck introduced an           them exposure to a wider segment
           was to establish a Sephardic track          exciting new SCA summer initiative.      of the community. Additional infor-
           in a yeshivah in Israel that already        In conjunction with Rabbi Harold         mation will be provided through
           shares our basic values. In partner-        Sutton      and     the    Sephardic     IMAGE Magazine, our website at
70
SCA                                                                                 outside the community, albeit to
                                                                                    worthy causes.
                                                                                          The final presenter was Vice
                                                                                    President Eli S. Harari whose clear
                                                                                    and concise power point presenta-
                                                                                    tion illustrated the blueprint for build-
                                                                                    ing the organizational structure
                                                                                    itself. He focused on the careful
                                                                                    planning going into raising the rev-
                                                                                    enues needed to meet the objec-
                                                                                    tives of the SCA mission, and the
                                                                                    importance of continually evaluating
                                                                                    the issues we face and what if any
                                                                                    role the SCA should play. Eli will be
                                                                                    continually evolving the doctrine
                                                                                    upon which the SCA identifies what
                                                                                    programs do, and do not fit within
                                                                                    the SCA mandate and warrant SCA
                                                                                    support on a financial, manpower,
                                                                                    or philosophical basis. Like any
                                                                                    investment, Eli believes that we
                                                                                    need to receive a return on it in real
                                                                                    terms that impact our lives in posi-
www.sc-alliance.org, email blasts,       families that need help. Members of        tive and real ways. This is all the
and through SCA affiliated shuls         the Educational Alliance are now           more true when important communi-
regarding details on classes and         meeting regularly with this group to       ty issues are at stake.
minyanim.                                work through the details of this                 President Bailey closed the
     Albert Laboz reported on the        ambitious plan.                            meeting with details about our
Educational Alliance and the effort           Ricky Cohen then made a com-          upcoming board election this
that this committee is expending to      pelling and passionate case for the        August and stressed the need to
find innovative solutions to the         critical need to reprioritize our chari-   identify and support membership
tuition crisis in our schools. He        table giving. He said that morally         initiatives since the SCA, as any
explained that the committee is          and halachacally our primary obliga-       other vital organization, will succeed
working on multiple fronts including     tion is to support the needs of our        on the basis of this vital individual
cost sharing opportunities, expand-      community. Unfortunately, that has         support.
                                                                                                                                IMAGE




ed government funding and priority       simply not been the case and much                The meeting came to an end
fund raising. A young and talented       of the community is ill informed           with a palpable unity of purpose,
group of people, raised and educat-      about the challenging economics of         and agreement that the SCA—with
                                                                                                                                MAY 2010




ed in the community, has developed       our schools. The foundation of our         G-d’s help—will meet its goals to
an outline of a plan designed to ulti-   strong, vibrant community is based         insure that our children benefit from
mately create a new vehicle for pro-     on our yeshivah system and a dis-          the values and traditions previous
viding long-term financing to those      proportionate amount of giving goes        generations enjoyed.
                                                                                                                                71

				
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