Dress to impress on your next interview


You applied for your dream job and scored an interview. Congrats! Now it’s time to show your future employer that you mean business. While it may be tempting to wear something quirky or unique, keep it professional with these vestments and accessories by Jewish designers and let your personality shine instead. Now go get ’em!

GENTS:

The hand-silkscreened microfiber LOOSE SCREW TIE ($40) from UncommonGoods (above), a company founded by David Bolotsky, pulls together your look and elevates it with a subtle yet playful design. ” target=”_blank”>rag-bone.com

Tip: Make sure it’s ironed — details matter when an interviewer has to make quick judgments. 

” target=”_blank”>calvinklein.com

Tip: When buying dress pants, make sure the pant legs break at the top of your shoes. 

LADIES:

” target=”_blank”>dkny.com

Tip: If you do carry a smartphone, turn it off during your interview. 

” target=”_blank”>rebeccaminkoff.com

Tip: When buying a blouse, make sure it doesn’t gap at the bust and the buttons don’t pull. Be mindful of anything that exposes more than your collarbone. 

” target=”_blank”>marcjacobs.com

Tip: Pencil skirts (and similar styles) should hit the knee or 1 to 2 inches above. 

In Rachel Corrie suit dismissal, one small question is key


The verdict by an Israeli court in the case of Rachel Corrie, an American activist killed in Gaza by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003, may have captured international attention and touched on a range of ethical issues at the center of Israel’s military operations. 

But at its core, Tuesday’s ruling on whether Israel was responsible for Corrie’s death nine years ago hinged on one simple question: Did the bulldozer driver who ran over Corrie see her or not?

The judge in Haifa District Court ruled that he did not. Corrie’s family maintains that he did. 

Larger issues were part of the proceedings and their surroundings: What are the responsibilities of civilian activists in an armed conflict? Does a civilian area with terrorist activity count as a war zone? What distinguishes between an organization that peacefully opposes the Israeli occupation of Gaza and one that aids terrorists?

Those matters, however, took a back seat to the actual reasoning of the legal ruling by Judge Oded Gershon. 

Corrie, a 23-year-old from Olympia, Wash., has become a symbol for some American and other groups that oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policies toward Gaza. Her parents founded the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which “supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice,” according to its Web site, and a play titled “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” opened in London in 2005.

On March 16, 2003, Corrie was an activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which was protesting in the southern Gaza city of Rafah during the Second Intifada. Her supporters say she was acting as a human shield for a house that was about to be demolished by the Israeli army when she became enveloped in the pile of dirt created by an armored bulldozer as it moved toward the house. Corrie died soon after in a nearby hospital. The Israeli military denies that a house demolition was taking place.

Her parents brought a lawsuit in Israel that accused the state of responsibility for their daughter’s death. But in clearing the state of all charges, Gershon said that Corrie voluntarily risked her life by entering a place where there was daily live fire. Moreover, the Haifa judge said the bulldozer driver did not see Corrie as she was standing behind a pile of dirt, and that Corrie did not move out of the way when she saw the bulldozer moving toward her, instead climbing on the pile of dirt. 

Corrie “put herself in a dangerous situation opposite a bulldozer when he couldn’t see her,” Gershon said, reading the verdict. “She didn’t move away like anyone of sound mind would. She found her death even after all of the IDF’s efforts to move her from the place.”

Gershon also dismissed charges that the state tampered with the evidence in its investigation into Corrie’s death. He added that the demolition of the home by the Israel Defense Forces on that day was an “act of war” and the area was a closed military zone. 

The judge reserved some of his harshest words for Corrie’s organization, saying ISM was “mixed up in terror” and accusing the group of aiding terrorists behind a facade of human rights activism. 

“There’s a big gap between the organization’s declarations and the character of its actions,” Gershon read from the verdict. “ISM activities include placing activists as human shields for terrorists,” and “financial, logistical and moral assistance to Palestinians, including terrorists.”

But speaking at a news conference following the verdict, the Corrie family and its lawyer presented a narrative that contradicted the judge’s. 

The lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, called Corrie and the other ISM volunteers “all peaceful activists. The army did not try to stop them. There was no command that it’s a closed military area. There was no threat to the lives of the soldiers. How could he say that?” 

Hussein added that the driver of the bulldozer must have seen Corrie, as she was protesting in one spot for five hours before she was run over. 

The Corrie family said it planned to appeal the verdict, which it must do within 45 days.

Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, blamed the ruling on “a well-heeled system to protect the Israeli military and the soldiers who conduct actions in that military, to provide them with impunity at the cost of all the civilians who are impacted from what they do.”

“This was a bad day not only for our family but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel,” she said. 

Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, said after the ruling that though they had sued the state, he rejected “the idea that simply making some of these things known is an attack on Israel.” Israeli anti-occupation activists, he said, have supported the Corries “from the first moment we’ve done this.” 

The Corries grew most passionate, however, when discussing what happened on the day their daughter died. They contradicted a statement from Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office declaring that “the driver of the bulldozer and his commander had a very limited field of vision, such that they had no possibility of seeing Ms. Corrie.” 

Corrie’s sister, Sarah Corrie Simpson, still wants answers from the driver. 

“I can say without a doubt that I believe my sister was seen as that bulldozer approached her,” she said. “I hope someday he will have the courage to sit down in front of me and tell me what he saw and what he feels.”

Teriton tenants win battle to stay in historic apartment complex


After a three-year battle with alleged religious nonprofit Or Khaim Hashalom, tenants of the historic 28-unit Teriton Apartments in Santa Monica have won the right to remain in or return to their apartments for up to seven years under their former rent-controlled leases, according to a settlement made public Dec. 4. Jurisdiction will be returned to the Santa Monica Rent Control Board.

Tenants have also received monetary restitution from Or Khaim Hashalom, negotiated individually and confidentially. Additionally, the nonprofit must adopt a comprehensive, written fair-housing policy and provide training for property managers. In addition, its IRS status, donations and applications and rental agreements must be monitored for three years by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.

“This is really a wonderful outcome,” said Dan Zaidman, whose mother, Nathalie, 93, has lived in the complex for 40 years and has become both physically and mentally impaired. “To move her right now would have been very traumatic.”

Approximately 10 of the tenants affected by the ruling, including Zaidman, are currently living at the Teriton. Another, Kaveh Zal, has returned to the building.

The controversy began in November 2005, when owners Rouhollah Esmailzadeh and others, who had purchased the building in April 2005 for an estimated $10.5 million, obtained a demolition permit. The action triggered a routine review by the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission of the three-story garden apartment building designed by architect Sanford Kent in 1949, which sits on almost an acre at 130-142 San Vicente Blvd.

The following April, in a scheme Santa Monica Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades described as “odd, complicated and, hopefully, one of a kind,” tenants received notice that religious nonprofit Or Khaim Hashalom, which had incorporated only three months earlier, had purchased the building.

The organization, under spiritual head Rabbi Hertzl Illulian, sought to evict the tenants, demolish the building and build up to 40 luxury condominiums, as well as provide housing for Jewish refugees from the Middle East.

Multiple hearings and lawsuits ensued, with the tenants claiming that the mission of the nonprofit violated their civil rights according to 42:405 of the Fair Housing Act. They were represented by attorney Christopher Brainard.

The Santa Monica city attorney’s consumer protection unit concurrently filed a lawsuit against Or Khaim Hashalom; its legal representative, attorney Rosario Perry; and others for alleged discriminatory practices, including “terminating their tenancies because of their race, religion and national origin.”

Meanwhile, the Teriton was unanimously declared a historic landmark by the Landmarks Commission on Nov. 13, 2006. That decision was upheld by the Santa Monica City Council on June 12, 2007, when the council rejected an appeal by Or Khaim Hashalom, claiming it was exempt from landmarking under California Government Code Section 3736(c), which allows an organization to alter or destroy historical buildings under certain conditions, including economic hardship or hindrance of religious mission.

Eventually, after Or Khaim Hashalom failed to have the discrimination lawsuits dismissed, a series of negotiations with parties from both cases followed, with retired Judge Robert Altman mediating.

Separately, Or Khaim Hashalom filed suit against the city of Santa Monica, challenging the City Council’s designation of the Teriton Apartments as a historic landmark. On Oct. 15, 2008, Judge James C. Chalfont denied that claim.

Or Khaim Hashalom has appealed the judgment, with a ruling expected in about a year, according to the group’s legal representative, Perry, who also serves as secretary of its board of directors. Tenants’ attorney Brainard believes the designation will not be overturned.

The building was put up for sale on Nov. 15, 2008, at an undisclosed price. Any potential buyer would be obligated to honor the terms of the settlement, according to Brainard.

Or Khaim Hashalom’s Rabbi Illulian remains optimistic. “We lost a lot of money, a lot of time, energy and hopes, but we don’t give up,” he said.



For previous stories on the Teriton:

Teriton ‘landmark’ status upheld but residents still face eviction

Santa Monica apartment building at center of battle receives ‘landmark’ status

Fate of Santa Monica apartment building embroils rabbi and residents in legal battle



Briefs


 

OU Reaches Out to Deaf Community

The Orthodox Union’s deaf outreach came to Long Beach for a Shabbaton gathering of the deaf and their families, a small event that meant a lot to the often-isolated Orthodox deaf community.

“There wasn’t a big turnout, but I think that it’s really necessary; when you have a deaf child who’s Jewish, there’s a smaller population,” said Jo Cooperman, who drove up from San Diego County with her 3-year-old deaf son, Jadyn Avram. “He always comes back really, really happy from these things. It has a wonderful effect on his self-esteem and his identification with Jews, with deaf Jews.”

Long Beach’s Congregation Lubavitch hosted about 30 deaf adults and children and their families at the OU’s Jan. 7-8 “Our Way” Shabbaton. Long Beach attorney Allen Sragow, who put up about 10 “Our Way” attendees at his house, sponsored the small Orthodox Union agency’s fourth annual Southern California gathering. Organizers said last weekend’s heavy rain cut into the attendance level.

“It’s always a fresh perspective for me to see the Jewish deaf, how they’ve come to understand their interaction with Jewish life,” said Jan Moore, a North Hollywood optometrist who has two deaf sons. His teenage daughter, who can hear, came to Long Beach with two of her Valley Torah High School classmates so the trio could support deaf children and their hearing siblings.

Flying into Los Angeles to lead the “Our Way” Shabbaton was Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, who is not deaf, but is the son of deaf parents and lives in Brooklyn with his own six children – including deaf daughters Lida, 13, and Toby, 18. Both have cochlear implants allowing them to hear.

Lida Lederfeind told The Journal in a telephone interview, “I feel like I’m part of everything.”

Every two months, Lida’s father travels to Orthodox deaf enclaves around the country to conduct an “Our Way” Shabbaton.

“More and more deaf youth are Orthodox. They should be able to mainstream in a shul,” said Lederfeind, who oversaw the “Our Way” group’s spirited – and at times humorous – deaf dialogue about Israel in the Lubavitch shul’s small study.

When Lederfeind asked what was the sign language gesture to describe the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, someone jokingly responded: “It’s a sign that you can’t use in public.” – David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Israel ‘Line of Fire’ Program Comes to UJ

An armed Israeli attack helicopter spots a Palestinian ambulance on the road below. Aware that such ambulances have been used to transport terrorists and weapons, the pilot checks with his ground controller whether to strafe and destroy the vehicle. Pilot and controller talk back and forth, weighing whether the ambulance is more likely to carry weapons or sick people. When the vehicle finally pulls up to a hospital, they decide to give it the benefit of the doubt and call off the attack.

The dramatic, real-life incident, with actual footage of the chase taken from the cockpit, will be a highlight of the Jan. 20 event, titled “Air Force in the Line of Fire.”

Israeli and American helicopter fighter pilots will discuss the moral choices facing them during combat missions in the airspace above Israel and Iraq.

Panelists will also speak about the dangers and fears of combat, new weaponry, Israeli-American military cooperation and the future of the Israeli air force. A Q-and-A period will follow.

Speakers will include reserve Maj. Gen. Nehemia Dagan, founder of Israel’s attack helicopter strike forces; two other veteran Israeli combat pilots; and Col. Bill Morris of the Pentagon, former assault helicopter commander in the 101st Airborne Division.

The event, in English, will start at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Judaism, sponsored by the Council of the Israeli Community (CIC) and 12 other local organizations. The CIC is a support organization for the State of Israel and the estimated 100,000 Israelis living in the Los Angeles area, said Chaim Linder, the group’s first vice president.

General tickets for the Jan. 20 event are $10 (CIC members) and $12 (general); reserved seats, $25; reception with the pilots and one reserved seat, $50.

For reservations and information, call (818) 342-7241. – Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Court: NVJCC Familes Can Sue Gun Companies

Three families, whose children were shot in the 1999 attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center (NVJCC), can pursue their lawsuit against the companies that made the weapons used in the shooting spree.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 10 let stand a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the suit could go to trial and declined to hear an appeal for dismissal by two gun manufacturers and two distributors.

The suit grew out of the Aug. 10, 1999, attack by Buford O. Furrow, Jr., a self-avowed anti-Semite and white supremacist on the NVJCC in Granada Hills, which left three teenagers, one adult and three children wounded.

Lead plaintiff in the suit is the mother of Joseph S. Ileto, a Filipino-American postal carrier, who was killed by Furrow the same day in a separate attack.

Last May in San Francisco, the full 26-member appeals court, in a split decision, confirmed that the case could be tried. At the time, Donna Finkelstein, whose then 16-year-old daughter Mindy suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg, told The Journal, “I am so elated that we are finally moving forward.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Alan Stepakoff and Loren Lieb, whose then 6-year-old son, Joshua Stepakoff, was also shot in the leg.

Also participating in the suit are Eleanor and Charles Kadish, whose son Benjamin, then 5, was the most seriously injured, with gunshots to his stomach and legs.

Among the large cache of weapons found in Furrow’s car were an Austrian-made Glock 9-mm handgun and a 9-mm rifle, made by North China Industries, both manufacturers are defendants in the suit.

In filing the original suit more than four years ago, attorney Joshua Horwitz of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence said that Furrow, a convicted felon with a history of mental instability, should not have been allowed to build an arsenal of assault-style weapons.

“It is not enough to let guns go out of your factory door and say, ‘Sorry, we don’t know where they’re headed,'”Horwitz said.

The case will now return to the U.S. district court in Los Angeles for trial.

Congressional legislation which would have barred lawsuits targeting the gun industry failed last spring. – TT