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September 24, 2009 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-09-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Opinion

Mentor A Student, Change A Life

F

or the past couple of years, I have
served on the advisory board
of the Mentor Connection. I felt
guilty at every meeting because I was not
mentoring a young person. After all, if Gov.
Granholm and her husband, Dan Mulhern,
can find time to mentor, so should I. When
the opportunity for a three-month men-
toring relationship came up, I jumped at
the chance ... and I am so glad that I did.
For three months, I have been mentor-
ing Justin, an 18-year-old young man who
loves politics. I brought Justin to Lansing
many times; he had an opportunity to
work as an intern writing tributes, dealing
with constituents and sitting in on com-
mittee and interest group meetings. I also
used him as an extra pair of hands at a
town hall meeting in the district. I tried to
give him a breadth of experiences, includ-
ing lunch with a lobbyist!
This is not an easy time to be a young
person deciding on college and a career.

Students face a radically changing job
market and economic uncertainty at the
local, state, and federal level, which affects
the services and programs they
use. What they face in their lives
today may or may not be more
difficult than what we faced
as young people. Who had it
harder isn't the issue. The issue
is will we offer them our help
and advice and will we sup-
port programs like the Mentor
Connection at Jewish Family
Service Detroit that matched
me with Justin?
For me, mentoring wasn't just
giving unsolicited advice, but
also providing some other non-
career focused activities. We went
to a Detroit Tigers game where a foul ball
actually landed in his seat and he showed
a side of him that touched me deeply. He
offered me the ball. Although I rejected his

kind offer, that act will always show me that
he and I really connected. We also trekked to
Ann Arbor to explore the campus and visit
the Gerald Ford School of Public
Policy, a school that he has a
great deal of interest in.
And I think Justin also
learned some lessons in net-
working. As a result of our
mentoring relationship, I
served as a job reference for
a job Justin recently landed. I
arranged for him to meet an
admission's officer from the
University of Michigan to talk
about how to best position
himself for transferring to a
four-year college.
There are many programs
that can match you with a young person.
You can contact the Mentor Connection
at Jewish Family Service by calling (248)
592-2651 or by visiting the Web site at

www.mentorconnect.org . The State of
Michigan's Mentor Michigan program can
also help. That Web site, www.mentorm-
ichigan.gov, includes tips on mentoring
and a Mentor Michigan Directory that lists
mentoring programs by county and city.
My mentors helped put me on the path
that has led me to where I am today. My
work with Justin will, I hope, help him with
the choices that he makes about what he'll
do in life. He has opened my eyes to what
it means to be young and searching for a
place in life. I hope that I have opened his
eyes to the many possibilities for his future.
So for others who have been reluctant to
take on a mentoring role, I strongly encour-
age them to take the leap. LI

State Senator Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington

Woods, represents the 14th State Senate

District. She can be reached toll-free in

Lansing at (888) 937-4453. Visit her Web site
at www.senate.mi.govaacobs.

Are We Paying for Hamas?

I

n this time of rising unemployment,
escalating health care costs and
record deficits, it would be nice to
know where our dwindling taxpayer dol-
lars are going. Did you know that you, the
U.S. taxpayer, helped contribute to $148
million last year and over $3.4 billion over
the last 59 years to the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)?
What is UNRWA and why should we
care? Founded in 1949 as a temporary
relief agency for Palestinian refugees, it
has become the only agency dedicated to
one group of refugees and is dedicated to
serve all descendants, including grand-
children and great- grandchildren, of the
original 900,000 refugees in 1950.
UNRWA serves Palestinian refugees in
Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and
Gaza with its 24,000 estimated employees,
four times as many as the UNHCR (U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees,) the
agency dedicated to caring for 11.4 mil-
lion refugees around the world.
How, you might wonder, do we know
if UNRWA serves Hamas, the terrorist
organization that intentionally kills Israeli
citizens to achieve its announced goal
of destroying the state of Israel? Peter
Hansen, commission-general of UNRWA
in 2004, told the Canadian Broadcasting
Corp., "I am sure that there are Hamas
members on the UNRWA payroll, and I
don't see that as a crime."
According to U.S. Rep. Steven Rothman

46

September 24 2009

J1111

of New Jersey, UNRWA has employed,
among others, Said Sayyam, Hamas
Minister of Interior and Civil Affairs,
Awad al-Qiq,"who led Islamic
Jihad's engineering unit that
built bombs and Qassam rock-
ets," and Nidal Abd al-Fattah
Abdallah Nazzai,"who con-
fessed in 2002 to transporting
weapons and explosives to
terrorists in an UNRWA ambu-
lance Likewise, schools admin-
istered by UNRWA have pro-
duced several graduates affili-
ated with terrorism, including
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh, and former Hamas
chief, Abd al-Azis Rantisi.
Lanny Davis, special counsel
to President Bill Clinton from 1996-1998,
writes, "There is indisputable evidence
that anti-Semitic and anti-Israel textbooks
are being used in UNRWA-sponsored
schools — including texts that contain
negative references to Jews and omit
entirely the State of Israel from maps:'
("Time for transparence and account-
ability for UNRWA," Lanny Davis, The Hill,
Sept. 9)
It would be nice to know what our tax
dollars to this Palestinian organization
are funding, but financial accountability
by UNRWA is negligible. According to the
UNRWA Report of the Board of Auditors
for the biennium ended Dec. 31, 2005,

"UNRWA does not track recording, delet-
ing, renaming or manipulation of financial
information by staff members or volun-
teers, and therefore has no
means of detecting the altera-
tion of financial data or other
types of redirection of UNRWA
funding."
If you would like to make
a difference, tell your con-
gressman to support House
Concurrent Resolution 29,
sponsored by Rothman
and 31 other Democratic
and Republican cospon-
sors. Resolution 29, which in
January was referred to the
House Committee on Foreign
Affairs, expresses "the sense of
Congress that the United Nations should
take immediate steps to improve the
transparency and accountability of the
UNRWA in the Near East to ensure that it
is not providing funding, employment or
other support to terrorists:'
Resolution 29, which has been stalled
since January, "strongly urges the
Secretary of State to take all necessary
measures to certify that United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian
Refugees (UNRWA) operated in full com-
pliance with section 301(c) of the Foreign
Assistance Ace and therefore, no American
taxpayer dollars are being directed to ter-
rorists or to further terrorist propaganda."

It's easy to get angry about us taxpay-
ers bailing out MG and Fannie Mae and
Chrysler and Citibank. It's worrisome
to many of us frustrated by economic
stimulus packages and proposed health
insurance legislation that will further put
us in the hole. We are already borrowing
from China and other countries to pay
for our mounting debts. You may not like
paying for banks and their million-dollar
executives and mortgage companies and
car companies and more health insurance.
But how do you feel about us United States
taxpayers paying for anti-Semitic and
anti-Israeli textbooks and giving our dol-
lars to members of Hamas so they can buy
bombs and rockets to destroy our brothers
and sisters in Israel? Can you define the
word, "absurd"?
I think we could all agree with the basic
premise of House Resolution 29, which
states that "United States taxpayer dol-
lars should never be used for purposes
of supporting terrorist cells or activities
that support terror or promote a culture of
hatred at any of its locations."
Tell your representative to take a few
minutes away from health insurance
debates and turn his or her attention to
terrorism again. We must refuse any lon-
ger to pay for the destruction of Israel.
In this time of the New Year and the high
holidays, it's the least we can do. II

Arnie Goldman is a Farmington Hills resident.

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