News Briefs, the Week of March 2, 2017


Magerman Suspended Without Pay for Criticizing His Trump-Supporter Boss

Kohelet Foundation Founder and President David Magerman was suspended without pay from his position at the hedge fund company Renaissance Technologies for criticizing its CEO, Robert Mercer, for his family’s support of President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said Magerman, a major Jewish donor in the Philadelphia area, was complaining to colleagues about Mercer being a Trump booster — and word got back to Mercer.

“I hear you’re going around saying I’m a white supremacist,” Mercer told Magerman, according to the Journal. “That’s ridiculous.”

Magerman responded that those weren’t his “exact words,” then discussed his concerns about Trump.

“If what you’re doing is harming the country then you have to stop,” Magerman told Mercer, according to the Journal.

Vanity Fair said Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, donated significant amounts of money to Trump’s campaign — after which Trump put money back into a data-analytics firm Rebekah Mercer co-owns. She also was named to Trump’s transition team executive committee.

Vanity Fair said the Mercers were behind Trump’s hiring of both Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.

Magerman has worked at the hedge fund for 20 years, helping to design its trading systems.

Magerman, who most recently was interviewed by the Jewish Exponent in May 2016, said via email that he “can’t speak to the press on the matter right now, while the company is evaluating my employment.”

Ardmore Native Benj Pasek Wins an Oscar

Benj Pasek won an Academy Award for Best Song on Feb. 26 for “City of Stars” from the movie La La Land.

Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the lyrics, while Justin Hurwitz composed the music. The same trio was responsible for another song from La La Land, “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” which also was nominated for Best Song.

“I want to thank my mom who is my date tonight. She let me quit a JCC soccer league to be in a musical. This is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and all the moms who let them,” said Pasek, who is an Ardmore native and a Friends’ Central graduate, during his acceptance speech.

Ron Rubin Steps Down as PREIT Chairman

Ron Rubin, who was profiled in the Dec. 8. Jewish Exponent, has resigned as chairman of the Board of Trustees of PREIT, the publicly traded real estate investment trust announced via PRNewswire.

Although the resignation was effective Feb. 16, Rubin will remain chairman until PREIT’s annual shareholders meeting on June 1, at which time he’ll be nominated to serve as a board member.

Rubin was the longtime CEO of PREIT, starting with its 1997 merger with The Rubin Organization. He’s been a part of many major Philadelphia-area projects, including the redevelopment of the Bellevue and the rebuilding of the Gallery.

Rubin was honored in December by the National Museum of American Jewish History.

‘This Is Hunger’ Interactive Experience Starts March 5

An interactive exhibit designed to increase hunger awareness will be stationed at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road in Elkins Park from March 5 to 9.

Called “This Is Hunger,” the free exhibit is designed for those 10 and up and features the stories of those who deal with hunger on a regular basis.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas will speak at 2 p.m. on March 5 at the opening event.

Act Against Hunger said 10 percent of Montgomery County residents are “food insecure,” which means they have “limited uncertainty that they or their families will have enough food to eat.”

To sign up for the exhibit, visit


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