Bnai Brith Magazine Spring 2012 : Page 44
B’nai B’rith today Haifa Clubhouse Honors Fallen Fire Scout By Seth Shapiro E lad Riven was a straight-A student at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa. So when he called his mother, Tzvia, to pick him up from school in the middle of the day on Dec. 2, 2010, you could be sure he had a good reason. Riven was a member of the Fire Scouts, teenagers 15–18 who volunteer alongside professional firefighters. Even though he was not on duty when a wildfire broke out on Dec. 2 in the Carmel moun-tain range in northern Israel, Riven felt an obligation to help put out the blaze. After Tzvia picked her son up from school in the middle of the day and drove him to the fire station, Riven donned his Fire Scout uniform and joined a group of firefighters from Afula, a city in northern Israel. Along with three other firefighters on his truck, Riven died as his team was overcome by the conflagration. In all, 44 people died in the fire. Almost a year after Riven lost his life in the fire, B’nai B’rith and the Haifa Fire Department built the Fire Scouts clubhouse, dedicated in his memory. The clubhouse was inaugurated on Oct. 23, 2011, with a special cer-emony—it was the day after what would have been Riven’s 17th birthday. “You, represented here today—firefighters, police and Fire Scouts and the Riven fam-ily—all lost friends, comrades and loved ones [in the fire]. This tragedy was not lost on 44 Spring 2012 A fire engine outside the newly inaugurated Haifa Fire Scouts clubhouse. the Jewish communities of the Diaspora who suffered along with you and also sought to make its contribution to healing the wounds and rebuilding,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin at the ceremony in Haifa. “B’nai B’rith is proud B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin speaks at the Haifa Fire Scouts clubhouse inauguration ceremony on Oct. 23, 2011. to play its significant role in this process by funding the building of this facility.” After Riven died, Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusa-lem, wanted to do something to honor his memory. “When I learned that he died in the fire, my thought was to do something for or with the Fire Scouts,” he said. Schneider conferred with Captain Avi Cohen, the Haifa Region Fire Scouts officer, and learned that it had “been a dream of his for some time that that the Fire Scouts have their own clubhouse,” Schneider said. B’nai B’rith used $80,000 from its Israel Emergency Fund, which was initiated in December 2010 to assist relief efforts after the Carmel wildfire charred an estimated 10,000 acres of forest and mil-lions of trees, and put it toward the creation of the clubhouse. Since firefighters, both pro-fessional and volunteer, never know precisely when they’re going to be called to action, they’re used to having down-time on their hands while on duty at the fire station. For the Fire Scouts, during their idle time on duty, they typically do schoolwork or relax with some of their peers. Not only is the clubhouse equipped so the scouts can train, but there are places for recreation and studying as well. “Elad loved volunteer-ing with the firefighters and providing assistance to those who help others. Elad did not waste time, and, when he went for his shift, took books along so that he could study during free time, and the results showed in his excel-lent grades at school,” Tzvia Riven, Elad’s mother, said at the clubhouse inauguration ceremony. “Therefore, it is important that with the inau-guration of the clubhouse, the scouts will have a place to study, rest and unwind.” The Fire Scouts clubhouse represented a continuing effort on the part of B’nai B’rith to help assist the areas devastated by the wildfire to recoup. In May 2011, B’nai B’rith used $25,000 from its Israel Emergency Fund to provide 10 satellite phones to search and rescue teams. In addition to purchasing the phones, the $25,000 also paid for two years of service. The satellite phones, which the teams had desired but were too expensive for them to afford on their own, have helped better facilitate ground communication dur-ing relief efforts.
Devotion to Charity: From One Generation to the Next
As a financial planner in Farmington Hills, Mich., David Jaffa, 65, has clients throughout the country. The advice he gives his clients is based on a philosophy of smart saving, judicious spending and charitable giving imparted to him by his father. And Jaffa, in turn, continues to teach his children to embody those same values.
“We want people to enjoy life, have fun, help their community, [give to] charity and [help] those that are less fortunate,” Jaffa says.
Professionally and personally, Jaffa sought to emulate his father, to be a man of similar ilk. Jaffa’s father, Harold, passed away a few years ago, but he lived to see his son follow in his footsteps in a number of ways. Both father and son served as president of the B’nai B’rith Harry Pekine lodge in Detroit, Mich. Both worked professionally as financial planners. And each maintained active lifestyles where they remained deeply involved in their communities.
The philosophy of Jaffa’s business is to “help people help themselves, help their parents, help their children.” By advising his clients on their investments, taxes and other financial expenditures, Jaffa helps his clients see clearly what they can afford and helps them chart a course for attaining their goals.
Jaffa describes how his father set an example for him and his two siblings through his various commitments and involvements. Growing up, Jaffa watched as his father regularly donated to charity and committed himself to volunteer work and his leadership roles in organizations like B’nai B’rith, in addition to his professional work as a financial planner.
Just as Jaffa followed the path paved by his father, he is now “trying to have the next generation follow in our footsteps.” He talks of “leaving a legacy” for his children and grandchildren.
“My son-in-law is in the business with me,” Jaffa says about his financial planning firm. “He’s the next generation; he’s been with me for 14 years.”
The way Jaffa has involved his children with various charities and organizations is the way he became involved in B’nai B’rith. “Well, my Dad was active in B’nai B’rith, so I was born into the B’nai B’rith family,” Jaffa says.
In addition to his involvement with B’nai B’rith as a past lodge president, Jaffa has recently set up a deferred charitable gift annuity. “[My father] did two charitable gift annuities with B’nai Brith,” Jaffa says, “and that’s given me the idea of following in his footsteps.”
Charitable Gift Annuities enable donors to establish a charitable gift, get an immediate tax deduction and receive income during their lifetime at a relatively high rate based on their age. However, by establishing a deferred charitable gift annuity with B’nai B’rith International, Jaffa postponed receiving his annuity payments for several years. This allowed him to take an immediate tax deduction as well as receive an even higher rate of return than a traditional Charitable Gift Annuity. And when he receives his annuity payments, Jaffa explains, he can evaluate his personal financial status and decide either to keep the payments or donate them back to B’nai B’rith.
“Helping Mr. Jaffa set up this gift was very meaningful to me—my colleagues and I had spoken with his father over the years, and so I knew about the family tradition of supporting B’nai B’rith and our mission,” says Marna Schoen, national deputy director of Planned Giving. “Planned Giving is a way to ensure Jewish continuity and L‘Dor V’Dor, seeing our traditions pass from ‘generation to generation.’ I was also happy to assist with a Deferred Charitable Gift Annuity—this vehicle is underutilized, in my opinion. The benefits of a Deferred Gift Annuity are great, specifically being able to secure an even higher rate of return than a traditional Charitable Gift Annuity.”
“[As a] financial planner, I see the merit of [the deferred charitable gift annuity],” Jaffa says. “I have some of my clients who I recommend doing charitable gift annuities.”
For more information about supporting B’nai B’rith through a life insurance policy or establishing a charitable gift annuity, please contact the Planned Giving Department by mail at 2020 K Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20006; by phone at 800-656-5561; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.