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Andrew S. Borans

In a move years in the planning, Andrew S. Borans, long-time executive director of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi), the world’s only Jewish college fraternity, will begin working as the full-time chief executive officer of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation (AEPi Foundation) in June. James Fleischer, currently the AEPi assistant executive director, will then become the fraternity’s chief executive officer.

 “Andy Borans has meant more to the success of AEPi than any individual in the last 40 years. His contributions to our growth to nearly 200 chapters and interest groups in six countries and to our influence as a leading Jewish college organization can never be understated,” AEPi’s International President Scott Cohon said. “Now, Andy is going to leverage his connections and relationships to grow our Foundation to unprecedented heights.”

 Borans has a 38-year history with AEPi. In 1980, he began a 10-year stint working for AEPi, overseeing its growth from 57 chapters to 109 chapters. In 1990, Borans went into the private sector and founded a successful New Jersey-based sportswear and apparel company. After selling his business in 1998, Borans returned to AEPi, charged with stewarding the organization's development into the 21st century. Borans is actively involved in a number of national and international Jewish causes, including the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (COP), B'nai B'rith International, Hillel and Chabad on Campus. He also currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of B'nai B'rith International and the National Council of AIPAC and was a founding member of the steering committee for the Israel on Campus Coalition.

During Borans’ tenure as the fraternity’s executive director, AEPi grew to become one of the 10 largest international fraternities and opened chapters in the UK, Austria, Canada, Australia and Israel. Under his leadership, AEPi brothers have taken a more active role in Israel advocacy and Jewish-oriented philanthropy, having already fulfilled a goal to raise $700,000 for seven different Jewish organizations and now having nearly completed – years ahead of schedule – a goal to raise another $1 million for 10 additional Jewish philanthropic organizations.

“Having Andy Borans join the AEPi Foundation full time as its CEO (Borans previously only devoted a portion of his professional time to running the Foundation) represents an incredibly exciting moment in the history of our organization. Andy personally knows thousands of our alumni because of his work for the fraternity and his relationships with other Jewish organizations around the world are extensive,” said Michael A. Morris, AEPi Foundation chairman.

“But, more important than that will be the passion and energy that Andy will bring to our organization. His love for AEPi – and our mission to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities -- knows no bounds. I know that he will do everything in his power to help us fund the educational mission of AEPi brother.” Morris said.

 “I’m thrilled to be moving to the AEPi Foundation. This is a natural transition for me. I’m still going to be able to create and implement programs that will help our undergraduates accomplish our mission of developing leadership for Jewish communities, but now I’ll be working to ensure that our Foundation will be able to support that mission for decades to come. I’m looking forward to working with the Foundation board of directors and, especially, our managing director, Jay Feldman, to continue the great work they have been doing. I will miss the day-to-day interaction with our undergraduates but I’m heartened to know that AEPi will be in the more than capable hands of Jim Fleischer,” said Borans.

Fleischer is a 1993 graduate of Kent State University. Upon graduation, he worked as an AEPi chapter consultant for a year before
working as a fundraiser for UJA Federation of New York. He owned his own printing business on Long Island for nearly 18 years, during which time was a volunteer for AEPi and was elected to the fraternity’s board of directors in 2006. In 2013, Fleischer rejoined the fraternity’s executive staff as its assistant executive director and chief operating officer. He also serves on the governing council of the North American Interfraternity Conference.

A native of Canton, Ohio, Fleischer and his wife of 23 years now reside in Carmel, Ind. with their three children.

“Jim Fleischer is the right man to lead AEPi at this time. He’s learned at the feet of Andy Borans and brings knowledge and love of AEPi, business acumen and experience and an absolute commitment to our mission of developing leadership for the Jewish community,” said Cohon.

The long-planned executive transition – which will go into effect June 1, 2018 – comes on the heels of very successful years for both AEPi and the Foundation. “Andy Borans has grown our fraternity beyond our wildest dreams during his time as executive director. I can only hope to be as successful as he has been in managing our fraternity. I know that he is going to be just as successful at growing our foundation’s operations,” said Fleischer.

Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) is the world’s Jewish college fraternity, operating chapters on more than 190 college campuses in six countries. Founded in 1913, AEPi has more than 90,000 living alumni.  While non-discriminatory, the fraternity’s mission – developing the future leaders of the Jewish communities – is demonstrated every day through acts of brotherhood, Tzedakah (charity), social awareness and support for Jewish communities and Israel.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized a proposed bill that would make it illegal to describe Nazi death camps as Polish.

"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he said in a statement. Under the bill, which is an amendment to an existing Polish law, anyone who suggests Poland was responsible for Nazi crimes could face a prison term.  It is expected to pass in the Senate before being signed by the president.

The Polish charge d'affaires to Israel has been summoned by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany during World War Two. Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust.

The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz. The camps were built and operated by the Nazis after they invaded Poland in 1939.  Israeli officials are opposed to the proposed law, suggesting it will limit discussion of Polish involvement in the Holocaust.

"This is a shameful disregard of the truth," said Israel's Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett. "It is a historic fact that many Poles aided in the murder of Jews, handed them in, abused them, and even killed Jews during and after the Holocaust."

But he acknowledged that phrases such as "Polish camps" were misrepresentative.

"It is also a historic fact that the Germans initiated, planned, and built the work and death camps in Poland. That is the truth, and no law will rewrite it. These facts must be taught to the next generation."

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Israel said "There is no doubt that the term 'Polish death camps' is a historical misrepresentation. Yad Vashem will continue to support research aimed at exposing the complex truth regarding the attitude of the Polish population towards the Jews during the Holocaust."

The Polish government said the bill was not intended to limit freedom to research or discuss the Holocaust. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted that "Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase".

The country's Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki, who authored the bill, said Israel's objections were "proof" that it was needed.

"Important Israeli politicians and media are attacking us for the bill. On top of that they claim that Poles are co-responsible' for the Holocaust," he said."This is proof how necessary this bill is."

It is estimated that 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, died at Auschwitz before it was liberated by Soviet forces in 1945. --BBCi


Agudath Israel of America, a national grassroots Orthodox Jewish organization, is applauding congressional passage of a bipartisan budget bill that enables and enhances the eligibility of houses of worship and religious schools in regard to FEMA-administered disaster aid. Agudath Israel has been one of a small number of groups that have, for over five years, been in the forefront of this legislative effort and played a key role in this change.

 “This is a profoundly important step forward for equal treatment of religious institutions,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director. “With this change, they will no longer be unfairly treated as 'second class citizens' in regard to disaster relief aid. Ultimately, the beneficiaries will be the communities they serve.”

Under FEMA policy existing at the time, houses of worship were denied disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters, including most recently Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite considerable advocacy by religious groups who argued that the policy distinguishing houses of worship from other nonprofits was discriminatory, FEMA maintained that houses of worship were not explicitly included in the federal program and were, per se, ineligible to receive the aid.

But after President Donald Trump expressed to Congress his view that houses of worship should be considered eligible to receive disaster relief, FEMA announced last month that, based on a recent Supreme Court ruling, it was revising its policy and would begin accepting their aid applications. Nevertheless, congressional supporters and groups active on the issue agreed that legislation was still necessary, so that the new FEMA policy would be enshrined in law and not be revoked or revised by future administrations.

Furthermore, while FEMA changed its policy in regard to houses of worship, it left intact the ineligibility of schools that were of a “religious character” or “of primary religious use." This concern grew when FEMA indicated that the existing legislative proposal would not be enough to address the religious schools issue. “Though some Jewish schools have survived this test and have received FEMA aid, there is no question that many of our institutions – including yeshivos gedolos on the higher education level, as well as a growing percentage of elementary and secondary yeshiva day schools – might not be deemed eligible for disaster relief.”

“After working with Jewish schools for over two decades on FEMA-related problems, I knew we couldn’t let it stand,” Rabbi Cohen added. “It is vitally important, whether in this or other programs, that they equally and consistently receive the full benefit and protection of our laws.”

In the month leading up to passage, Agudath Israel worked intensively with the White House, FEMA, congressional sponsors and other religious school advocates, in bringing the problem to their attention, clarifying issues, answering questions and suggesting legislative approaches and language. In the end, Congress passed legislation that explicitly removed the respective restrictions on both houses of worship and religious school.


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Los Angeles

          4-11 Adar, 5778                                                     Feb. 19-25, 2018 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES  --  603rd Web Ed.