This week, New York UJA-Federation CEO, John Ruskay was taken to task by activist group JCCWatch.org for excessive compensation and funding of left wing anti-Israel groups. This accusation followed a review of the IRS Form 990 filings of the Manhattan-based Jewish Federation (NYJFED). We had written about the activities of JCCWatch.org that have been directed at uncovering the anti-Israel pro-Palestinian positions and activities of the NYJFED. JCCWatch.org has been endeavoring to hold accountable the NYJFED board of directors for such actions.
These JCCWatch.org efforts reflect similar ones by Jewish community activists across the US. Ha’Emet-The Truth a local Jewish community activist group in Orange County, California has uncovered evidence local JFed funding of the controversial Olive Tree Initiative of U.C. Irvine. The Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana (JAACI) was launched due to leftist support of anti-Israel programs of the Indianapolis JFed and the affiliated Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) involvement with Muslim Brotherhood front, the Islamic Society of North America, whose national headquarters is located in suburban Plainfield, Indiana. The Boston Russian Jewish Community Foundation has criticized the JCRC of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies for inviting anti-Israel group J Street to become a member of the JCRC in the Hub city.
Noted theologian Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein had known John Ruskay, NYJFED CEO in the latter’s student days and as New York 92nd Street Y education director in Manhattan. He offered this assessment of Ruskay.
John Ruskay was my student assistant in my course on French existentialism at the University of Pittsburgh in the late 1960’s. He was already “liberal.” When he was education director of the 92nd Street Y, he invited me to give a lecture, but became furious when I declined to give him a written text afterwards. I didn’t have the time and he had gotten me on the cheap (small lecture fee plus no travel expenses as I had other reasons to be in NYC).
I had no further contact with him. With Mark Ellis and John Ruskay, I have really had some bad news people as students, but some very good ones as well: Michael Berenbaum, the late Major James B. Halstead, USAF, and others.
Israpundit had the details of the accusations against Ruskay based on the JCCWatch.org investigation.
UJA–Federation CEO in New York should be fired
John Ruskay, UJA-Federation CEO in New York Charged with Receiving Excessive Salary & Perks
The JCCWatch.org discovered through IRS annual Form 990′s filings that John Ruskay, the CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, received an excessive compensation package of over $675,000.00 per year in both 2008 and 2009.
The Founder of JCCWatch.org, Richard Allen states: “It is unconscionable at this time of tremendous need by the beneficiaries, that the head of the UJA-Federation received a compensation package of over $675,000.00 per year. John Ruskay, the Chief Executive officer of the UJA-Federation of New York, is not only taking an exorbitant personal compensation package, he has also been charged by JCCWatch.org with using his position to further his personal political ideology.”
Allen went on to say “Ruskay is also using the UJA-Federation funds to support organizations with a clear political agenda. This is not surprising since he has a history of supporting radical groups including the original anti-Israel group ‘Breira’ during the 1970′s. John Ruskay, through the JCRC, recently supported a group actively calling for the Boycott of Israel, to be allowed to march in the Israel Day Parade in NYC.” This group, named after a far left political party in Israel, Meretz-USA, marched, as well as a group that funds organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel; The New Israel Fund.”
Richard Allen further states, “John Ruskay allocated UJA-Federation Funds of over $1,000,000.00 (One Million Dollars) to the George Soros political front group, “Funders for Jewish Justice.” That group spent over $100,000.00 on an ad attacking Glenn Beck. Neither George Soros nor his front groups are known as Jewish Charitable organizations. There are urgent needs in the community that could have used that money. These needs are going unmet and the funding that could have made a difference was allocated to groups with a political agenda.”
JCCWatch.org calls on the directors of the UJA-Federation to review their funding and priorities. While any one individual is entitled to their political views, Jewish communal monies must be spent on charitable efforts; not political and personal pet projects that undermine the State of Israel.