Community Briefs: Commerce Director Quits, Delaware Proclamation, More


Philadelphia Commerce Director Quits After Reports of Antisemitic Comments
City of Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael Rashid resigned Dec. 5 after reports surfaced that he made antisemitic remarks, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The antisemitic remarks included describing “Schindler’s List” as “Jewish propaganda” and an unverified quote from Malcolm X that calls Jewish neighborhoods “Jew Town.”

“My continued service would serve as a distraction from the work of the Department, which is far too important to the City and region,” Rashid, 74, said in a statement. “I also have had the opportunity to speak with leaders of the Jewish community in Philadelphia and apologize for my previous comments which were inappropriate and insensitive. I look forward to future engagement with the community going forward.”

Several people in Rashid’s department apparently had quit because he verbally abused staffers, the Inquirer reported.

“He will continue to lose employees and hollow out the Department, and his anti-Semitic comments could eventually become public,” former Communications Director Taj Magruder wrote in a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney’s Chief of Staff Jim Engler and mayoral spokesperson Lessard on Nov. 22.

Before Rashid’s resignation, Jewish organizations called for his firing.

“Kenney, earlier this week, stood side by side with leaders of the Jewish community to condemn the rise of Antisemitism,” Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia President and CEO Michael Balaban said in a statement. “If there is no room in our City for Antisemitism, as Mayor Kenney said, then Mr. Rashid should be removed from office immediately.”

“AJC {American Jewish Committee] calls on Mayor Kenney to take immediate action in line with this pledge by calling for Rashid to resign and work with the Jewish community to educate all city offices and city-funded institutions on the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and utilize Translate Hate, an AJC resource that clearly explains when statements are antisemitic,” the organization said in a statement. “Only through education and accountability will Philadelphia truly be the city of brotherly love where pluralism and diversity are respected and honored.”

After Rashid resigned, Marcia Bronstein, AJC director for Philadelphia/South Jersey, said, “Resignation was step one. But a resignation without a commitment to make sure antisemitism is not embedded in the organization through the words and actions of the Commerce Director is the goal of our ongoing work. We still have a lot to do with regard to accountability.”

From left: Jennifer Steinberg, Delaware representative, AJC Philadelphia/Southern NJ; Benjamin Strauss; board member, AJC Philadelphia/Southern NJ; Marcia Bronstein, regional director, AJC Philadelphia/Southern NJ; Delaware Gov. John Carney; and Hilary Levine, associate director, AJC Philadelphia/Southern NJ. Courtesy of  AJC

Delaware Governor Signs Proclamation to Fight Antisemitism
Delaware Gov. John Carney signed on Dec. 1 a proclamation that affirms the state’s commitment to fight antisemitism and expose the hatred of Jews that poses a threat to tolerance and democracy.

The proclamation was signed during Chanukah and coincides with the ongoing national Shine a Light campaign to raise awareness about antisemitism and urge people to stand against Jew-hatred.

“Chanukah is a time for the Jewish community to shine light in the wake of darkness,” Carney said. “These past two years have been challenging, and there has been an increase in antisemitic incidents. It’s on us to come together to combat antisemitism, racism and discrimination and stand with our Jewish neighbors.”

The proclamation calls antisemitism a “persistent and disturbing problem in society” that must be addressed to “protect all Americans from acts of hate, bigotry and discrimination.”
The proclamation follows the recent release by the American Jewish Committee of “The State of Antisemitism in America 2021,” the largest-ever surveys of American Jews and the U.S. public on antisemitism in America. Among its findings were that 90% of American Jews surveyed believe antisemitism is a problem.

“Antisemitic incidents are increasing worldwide. This Chanukah, we are sending a powerful message of standing up and standing together for our community,” said Seth J. Katzen, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware.

Main Line Health Names Dr. Jonathan Stallkamp SVP and Chief Medical Officer
Main Line Health announced that Dr. Jonathan Stallkamp was named senior vice president and chief medical officer for the health system. He served in those roles on an interim basis since July 2020.

Stallkamp has been a member of the Main Line Health medical staff since 2005. Since then, he has practiced at all four Main Line Health acute care campuses and held a variety of clinical leadership positions.

Most recently, Stallkamp helped lead Main Line Health’s COVID-19 response, partnering closely with operational and medical leaders from across Main Line Health to develop and deploy a vaccine distribution strategy for employees, patients and community members.

In his new role, Stallkamp will provide executive leadership and oversight of the Main Line Health medical staff.

Stallkamp brings nearly 20 years of clinical experience to his chief medical officer role. Before he arrived at Main Line Health, he worked as an internist for the Indian Health Service in Bethel, Alaska, and in private practice in Wayne.

Bruce W. Kaufman. Courtesy of the Kaufman family.

Former State Supreme Court Justice Bruce W. Kauffman Dies at 86
Bruce W. Kauffman, a Philadelphia attorney who served on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as well as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, died on Nov. 29 in Bala Cynwyd. He was 86.

Kauffman joined what is now Dilworth Paxson after graduating from Yale Law School in 1958, according to the Dilworth Paxson website. He was the chairman and a named partner (Dilworth Paxson Kalish & Kauffman). He left the firm briefly from 1980-’82 after being appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

He returned to Dilworth Paxson after that term and stayed until 1997 when President Bill Clinton appointed him to the federal district court.

Kauffman taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and co-chaired the Elliott Greenleaf law firm executive committee, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In addition, in the 1980s he chaired the state Judicial Inquiry and Review Board and was chairman of the board at USA BancShares Inc. in the 1990s.

Kauffman is survived by his wife, Carol (née Jackson); children Brad (Joan), Margie Sherr (Tony), Robert (Stacy), Lauri Damrell (Jim), Christine Tracy (Jeff); seven grandchildren; and a brother, Alan.


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