167 Jewish sites and cemeteries saved by Muslim nation of Morocco; King Mohammed VI honored at New York Museum of Modern Art

At the New York Museum of Modern Art on November 19, distinguished guests from a multitude of faiths converged to pay tribute to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The Moroccan royal was honored for his work in preservation of Jewish cemeteries in his mostly Muslim nation. King Mohammed’s efforts reflect how citizen and leadership majorities can still successfully join together in harmony to provide for the interests of minorities.

Attendance of this distinguished event was also a successful joining, with many religious dignitaries standing to applaud the king. His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was present for the ceremony, as was His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Rabbi Arthur Schneier lauded King Mohammed’s efforts, as did Imam Mohamed Hamagid, the Islamic Society of North America’s President.

Despite increasing tensions and ever present cultural stressors throughout the world, this convergence indicates the willingness of peoples from all faiths to work together for common good. Hosted by the Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco and produced in conjunction with religious leadership and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Thursday event proved well-attended by diverse peoples with the goal of honoring King Mohammed VI for his rehabilitation of Morocco’s Jewish cemeteries.

A photo journal produced as part of the cemetery rehabilitation project chronicles efforts from start to finish. The project has become known as “The House of Life.” The Conference of Presidents and King Mohammed hope that the photo collection will one day be exhibited within a museum such as the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Religious historic sites today often suffer the wrath of disrespect and wanton destruction. It is rare that one religious group will work diligently to restore damaged sites of another faith, as this project entailed. The House of Life is seen as a positive example of interfaith historic preservation in a time when so many faiths fail to find common ground or work together with mutual respect. It is a project of hope.

Launched in April 2010, the House of Life project of Morocco spent five full years rehabilitating Jewish cemeteries throughout the kingdom. King Mohammed VI oversaw efforts and directed the course of action for restoration of 167 Jewish burial places. As part of the project, 159 new doors were installed. 140,000 feet of fencing was constructed. Perhaps most heartrending, over 12,600 graves were repaired.

Of the project, Ambassador Serge Berdugo quoted the king as saying that House of Life is a testimony of the kingdom’s spiritual heritage, as well as its richness and diversity. The king paid tribute to the country’s Jewish legacy and called its rituals and other aspects an “intrinsic part of our country’s heritage for more than three thousand years.” He referred to the new Moroccan Constitution, wherein Hebrew heritage is recognized as a facet of the national identity.

As part of his speech, Rabbi Arthur Schneier noted appreciation and thankfulness for the work of His Majesty Mohammed VI. Schneier called him a “role model of interreligious peaceful coexistence between the children of Abraham.” Schneier then recognized united pursuit of tolerance and peace through diversity. He said, “United we shall prevail over the terrorist scourge that has metastasized, united we shall prevail over the wreckers of civilizations.”

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How will this nonprofit remake its reputation?

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Bonita Springs Assistance Office is a local charity providing emergency financial aid and a food pantry for residents facing a crisis. 39-year old Marjorie Kasell-Johnson (MJ) was the executive director and president of BSAO for about a year before she was recently fired, suspected of misappropriating funds. Continue reading

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Lululemon Facing Dangerous Drawstrings

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Lululemon is recalling nearly 320,000 women’s tops from the U.S. and Canadian markets, and there are rightfully concerns about Lulu’s second Lemon product within a few years and the negative PR of the two incidents. Just when Lululemon looked like they had put the see-through yoga pants behind them, now they are getting smacked in the face with hazardous drawstrings. And, of course, that means not only are they dealing with the current fallout but the ghosts of yoga pants past hover only a breath away once again.
The good news is that they are addressing the problem. These tops in a variety of styles and colors have all been fitted with a drawstring at the neck to pull the hood or collar tight. The problem is that at each end of the drawstring is a heavy metal or plastic clasp that makes it easy to thread through the casing and keeps the cord from fraying. But the metal/plastic clasps are at the perfect length to come swinging upward when pulled and released to smack them in the face causing injuries.
Lululemon has had seven reported injuries from the tops that were all manufactured and sold between January 2008 and December 2014. However, there have been no lawsuits filed, and Lululemon’s spokesperson says none of the injuries were serious. The company has made a wise decision in removing the products and should consider additional possibilities of reversing the negative PR. The faster they turn this situation around, the better will be their forward momentum.
If you happen to have one of these tops, stop wearing it or remove the drawstring. You can also contact Lululemon on their website to request a non-hazardous drawstring and instructions on how to put it in place. You can also check their website for a full list of the 20 styles of tops with this problem.
But one thing is certain Lululemon needs to create better guidelines when developing new products so their sales in the future will not generate another marketing fiasco. Three strikes is not what any company wants to face. And it is a good lesson for all companies that manufacture products, look for possible problems or hazardous impact attachments before releasing your product to the public.

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Beau Biden Still Doing Good from Beyond

Beau BidenSometimes your good works in this life are so consistent and well-known, that they live beyond your years. For some people, those works live on in a trust, a bequest, or a foundation. For some, it’s a business built from the ground up. For Beau Biden, that means having all your campaign funds funneled into a new charity.
The son of Vice President Joe Biden and an accomplished politician in his own right, Beau Biden had served two terms as Delaware’s Attorney General before cancer took him at the age of 46. Rumors had already placed him in the 2016 governor’s race, cancer or no cancer. His campaign continued to take in donations though he had not yet officially announced his candidacy. That’s how much donors in Delaware thought of Biden. They gave so he could consider running. They knew the sort of man he was, and they wanted that man as their governor.
Sadly, Biden passed away with much left undone in his life, many dreams yet unfulfilled. Even so, he managed to do a lot more than many in about half as many years. His own father spoke of Beau as a hero – a loving husband, dedicated father and accomplished businessman, the sort of person a father can easily be proud of. Many others felt the same way, apparently. To date, roughly $660,000 had been collected by two organizations supporting Biden’s unofficial gubernatorial campaign.
Now, CNN is reporting that many of those funds will be channeled into the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. While the principals involved have not said how much, they still have some unfinished business on the political side, any amount at all is a testament to the strength of the memory of the man.
Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, released a media statement about the bequest. “The campaign money will be used to continue the work Beau loved most — protecting children — and the natural place to do that is the foundation.”
In a situation fraught with sadness and difficult headlines, that is one that can give everyone a reason to smile when they remember a man who made serving others his legacy.

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Southwest Airlines Delivers Goodwill

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Things have not been good for Southwest Airlines on the PR front lately, but Ronn Torossian says a recent decision may just put them back on even footing. It’s the sort of thing that used to be called “customer service” but is fairly rare these days. A thing that Southwest can justifiably be proud about.

Here’s the story, as reported by travel correspondent Andrew Der:

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Why are iPad Sales Falling

falling ipad sales

Remember when the iPad was the undisputed Future of Computing? Not that long ago, really, but since the summer of 2013, Apple has been on the defensive, trying to explain away plummeting sales and a shifting place in the consumer mind. Even the competition got caught up in mobile madness. Tablets were being advertised toe-to-toe with laptops and notebook computers, daring the larger “bulkier” machines to strike back. Well, apparently the honeymoon is over. At least for the iPad.

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The Need To Be Responsive

responsive

You may have heard the word “responsive” when it comes to the internet and the public relations industry. But what does it really mean to be responsive? Catering to the needs and demands of your customers by creating a customized experience through your products and services is what it’s all about. Because of the wide range of devices and technology that is available today, it is more important than ever to make sure that your company website and digital media is user friendly across many different platforms.

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