Delegate Cardin Introduces Sexual Assault Legislation For Maryland Campuses

Delegate Jon S. Cardin will introduce the first legislation in the Maryland history that will address campus security for victims of sexual assault. If approved, the legislation would require state colleges and universities to report all incidences of sexual assault on their campuses and to provide services for victims.

The legislation also calls for confidential sexual assault surveys to be distributed to students. These surveys are designed to more accurately capture the number and nature of sexual assaults on campuses. Each school will also be required to have a victim advocate on campus to provide confidential aid to those affected by sexual assault.

“The big question is: How will they utilize the victim advocate?” said Lauren Shaivitz, director of programs for CHANA, a counseling, helpline and aid network for local abused women. “Are they there to escort the victim? Is it a referral person, a one-time consultation, or do they stick with the [victim] from point A to Z? … Part of that has to be figuring out what happens to the perpetrator. That’s the one thing that I’m not sure is getting addressed [by the legislation], but you have to start somewhere. Sometimes you don’t see how badly that’s needed until you get the numbers.”

Nancy Cantalupo, a research fellow at the Victim Rights Law Center and for Georgetown Law and an adviser in Delegate Cardin’s effort to pass the legislation, said that the legislation would make Maryland a leader in innovative campus sexual violence prevention. Decades of research have shown that, although approximately a quarter of women will be victimized while in college, very few sexual violence victims ever report it to law enforcement or campus authorities.

“[The legislation] is good thing,” said Joyanna Silberg, executive vice president of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. “Big institutions often see themselves as being outside of the law. It’s important that they are all bound by the state laws like everyone else in terms of reporting assaults.”

Melissa Gerr is JT senior staff reporter and digital media editor — mgerr@jewishtimes.com

Not Optimal

112213_not-optimalFor 73,000 Marylanders, the launching of the Affordable Care Act has brought with it a mix of excitement and trepidation.

According to Maryland Health Care Administration statistics, that is the number of people who will lose their current insurance plans due to new federal requirements for comprehensive coverage. However, the Obama administration says their plans will be replaced with better, stronger plans.

Under mounting pressure from both Republicans and Democrats, President Barack Obama addressed concerns over coverage drops after promises that insured Americans who elected to keep their existing coverage would be able to do so.

Obama promised a one-year extension on insurance plans that were to be dropped, something experts say he and Congress might not necessarily have the power to implement.

“As a practical matter, how this [the one-year extension] is going to all play out is a huge question,” said Tracey Paliath, director of economic services at Jewish Community Services, which has spent months educating the community about the ACA. “The president’s press conference
yesterday left largely unanswered how this is going to happen.”

In the next year, Paliath said, the practicality of the ACA will be put to the test. While those with job-sponsored insurance are largely fine, those with individual policies have the most at stake as the plan’s kinks are straightened out.

“They’re willing to pay for health insurance, but there’s only so much they can afford, and it may not be the comprehensive package,” she said. “I don’t know how you force the insurance to offer that benefit at a price that’s comparable to what they’re paying this year.”

At nonprofit HealthCare Access Maryland, which is tasked with reaching and signing up uninsured Marylanders in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County, President and CEO Kathleen Westcoat said the group is far behind its goal.

With 217,000 uninsured Marylanders in its coverage area, HCAM’s goal in the first year is to sign up 18,000 to 20,000 people in the city and about 15,000 in the county. So far, Westcoat said, they have enrolled 300 people.

“Things are … they’re not optimal,” she said. “We really should be enrolling many more, and it’s largely due to the technical issues with the Web portal.”

For some people, these technological problems mean having to wait until January, February or even March to sign up. For these people, Westcoat said, every tech issue is a new worry.

However, Westcoat added, there is still plenty of time for those in the market for insurance to sign up for a plan. The deadline to enroll is March 31, 2014. Those who have not signed up by then will be fined.

“I can see why so many millions of people are frustrated,” said Larry Burgee, department chair and associate professor at Stevenson University’s Department of Information Systems.

Burgee said he has been using the website as an example in his e-commerce class of what not to do. When he asked his students to get information online about what plans were available to them, they came back with nothing.

Part of the problem with the process, he said, is that the websites — both Maryland’s and the federal’s — ask users for a lot of personal information up front before letting the customer see what kinds of options are available to them. Visiting the site for a general quote is not an option.

An e-commerce site “shouldn’t stop [the customer] at the door and ask them for a whole lot of personal information before they decide if you have something for them,” said Burgee. “No business would ever do that.”

Additionally, said Burgee, the system could have benefited from postponing the Oct. 1 launch in order to work out some of the glitches.

“I think it would have been much better for the president and for his legacy if he had just said we need one more year on it,” he said. “People now laugh at this. They don’t trust it. They don’t think there’s anything good about it, and when they go to the website there isn’t anything to convince them it is better [than they think].”

In the meantime, said JCS’s Paliath, her organization has been recommending to clients that they avoid the Web portal all together.

Said Paliath: “Our advice has been for people to just pick up and call.”

Heather Norris is a JT staff reporter — hnorris@jewishtimes.com
Marc Shapiro is a JT staff reporter — mshapiro@jewishtimes.com

Worth The Ask

The Baltimore Jewish Council met with Gov. Martin O’Malley earlier this month to discuss budgetary and policy priorities.

“We left feeling very positive from that meeting,” said Cailey Locklair, the BJC’s director of government relations.

She discussed the group’s requests for FY2015 at a board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 14.

The BJC asked for $60,000 for the Sinai Family Violence Prevention program, which has never been funded but for which funding was requested in previous years. That program, as well as the Domestic Violence (DOVE) program at Northwest Hospital, works to educate medical staff on how to identify victims of domestic violence. The BJC asked for level funding (the same funding awarded last year) for DOVE at $150,000.

Level funding was requested for the Hillel Center for Social Justice, which was awarded half of a $2 million request in FY2014.

“The Hillel Center for Social Justice is a place where students of all faiths, cultures and ethnicities can come together for social justice dialogue [and] leadership development,” Locklair said.

The groups asked for the second half of operating funds for the Medical Home Extender Plan at Sinai Hospital ($250,000). This program creates additional primary-care services for the uninsured and underinsured and fits in with health-care reform, Locklair said.

The BJC asked for $75,000 to complete its request of $150,000 for the Elder Abuse Center, the first program of its kind in Maryland. National data shows that one in 10 people over the age of 60 are experiencing some kind of abuse, and Locklair said this problem is going to get worse over time.

“This population cannot be serviced by traditional domestic violence and sexual abuse programs,” she said.

A request of $450,000 was made for the Supportive Community Network, half of which goes to the Baltimore community and half of which goes to the Washington, D.C., Jewish community to maintain this grassroots program that helps seniors stay in their homes.

Level funding was requested for the Maryland/Israel Development Center of $275,000. The program fosters business relationships and encourages Israeli companies to establish American headquarters in Maryland.

The BJC also asked for level funding for the Maryland Education Credit, which allocated $1.5 million to textbooks and technology in non-public schools last year, making O’Malley the first governor to add funding for non-public schools since Parris Glendening, who governed from 1995 to 2003. A capital program of $3.5 million was also created for aging non-public schools. The BJC hopes for level funding in both programs, although Locklair said the Maryland House leadership may not be fully supportive.

The BJC also plans to pay close attention to storm-water management fees, which disproportionately impact nonprofits and faith-based institutions in some areas, Locklair said. The organization would like elected officials to examine disparities between Maryland jurisdictions.

The BJC is also expecting kosher wine to be an issue this upcoming session and plans to continue to meet with the alcohol lobby to try to work out a compromise.

“Whenever we meet with opponents directly one-on-one and explain to them … this is a very small minority that just wants access to a variety of kosher wines that they can’t get in the state currently, they just go, ‘Oh, oh,’” Locklair said.

Marc Shapiro is a JT staff reporter — mshapiro@jewishtimes.com

Ralph Jaffe Declares Gubernatorial Candidacy

Ralph Jaffe filed his bid for governor last week.  (David Stuck)

Ralph Jaffe filed his bid for governor last week.
(David Stuck)

Pikesville teacher Ralph Jaffe says he’s not a politician. In fact, the main goal of his 2014 bid for governor isn’t to get elected.

“Changing the corrupt system is the goal,” Jaffe said. “But if elected, I will serve. Free, of course.”

Jaffe’s goal is to replace money in politics “with ethics,” he said. He officially filed for candidacy on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

“Right now, we don’t have one ethical politician in the state,” he said.

Jaffe, 72, thinks elected officials should refuse campaign contributions, referring to them as disguised bribes, should serve only one term — without pay — and should stay away from paid lobbyists.

If elected, Jaffe said he will oppose any effort to increase taxes. He will attempt to abolish the state Public Service Commission, which he says is a puppet of Maryland’s governor and allows BGE to “rip off customers.”

While other candidates have focused on increasing
access to pre-K, Jaffe said he would abolish the Maryland Department of Education.

“What a waste of money,” he said. “Each county’s department of education should be the people who oversee the public educational system in their county.”

He would also abolish two other institutions he said are wastes of taxpayer money: the Maryland Stadium Authority and the state’s Vehicle Emissions Inspection program. He also hopes to get nursing homes giving lackluster patient care to stop ripping off residents, he said.

A new goal, Jaffe said, is to strengthen the protection of animals and their owners when people need to give up their pets for adoption.

Jaffe, with his sister, Freda Jaffe, as his running mate, ran in 2010, earning 19,517 votes in the primary election and 319 votes as a write-in candidate during the general election, according the Maryland State Board of Election. He ran that campaign on less than $1,000, he said.

He also ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 and received 3,313 votes in the general election, according to the Board of Elections.

“What we’re trying to do is make these politicians ethical,” he said.

Marc Shapiro is a JT staff reporter — mshapiro@jewishtimes.com

To Life! In Israel

Toby Mower’s $2 million gift to Ben-Gurion University endowed the Toby Mower Curriculum for the Prevention and Treatment of Addiction. (David Stuck)

Toby Mower’s $2 million gift to Ben-Gurion University endowed the Toby Mower Curriculum for the Prevention and Treatment of Addiction.
(David Stuck)

Toby Mower has always been considered an iconoclast in Baltimore.

Nearly 20 years ago, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Rivka Carmi, the Mowers — Toby and husband Morton — got involved with the school. The couple had a longstanding philanthropic relationship with several Israeli projects and this was simply another. Then, about 10 years ago, a BGU student who was spending the summer in a program at Johns Hopkins University stayed at the Mowers’ home. She intrigued Toby Mower, who decided to learn more about the university. On the couple’s next visit, they did just that.

And that was the beginning of the close relationship that led to the
establishment of the Toby Mower Curriculum for the Prevention and Treatment of Addiction, including endowing two presidential development chairs at Ben-Gurion University in 2012.

“We worked with her to find something that would be of interest to her and of value to us as well,” said Carmi. “She came up with the idea of a course on addiction, which we embraced. We didn’t have anything of that kind.”

And it seems, neither does anywhere else in Israel. The new program is the first-ever Israeli program housed in a nursing school and combining intellectual study with hands-on learning and treatment experience. The interdisciplinary program brings students together from not only the nursing school, but also the schools of social work, psychology and pharmacology.

“It is so comprehensive and multidisciplinary. It is very unique,” said Carmi.

Toby Mower played a role in putting together the program curriculum. A recovering alcoholic, Toby Mower said she has been in recovery for 31 years. She also was the founder of the Jewish Recovery Houses, Baltimore’s response to addiction. Those houses closed about one year ago due to lack of funding.

Toby Mower said she remembers when she and Carmi began discussing the program. She was meeting with Carmi, she said, and she asked her, “You were the first female to head a medical school in Israel. You are the first female to be president of a university. How would you like another first?”

After preliminary discussions, plans for the program moved forward. It took nearly four years to develop.

Toby Mower said one important message for people in Israel is that there are addicts all over the world. Israel, like America, has many people who suffer from addiction. Of course, some are Arabs and Bedouin, but just as many are Jewish Israelis.

There is a great deal of education needed in the Jewish state, Toby Mower said. For example, she said, a team of educators is helping students to realize that addiction is a disease and not “a problem,” as they commonly termed it. Additionally, she hopes the students will understand that one is never “rehabilitated” but is constantly “rehabilitating.”

In response to Toby Mower’s $1 million gift, which made the program possible — she is the sole funder — and in recognition of her many years of work in the field, BGU gave Toby Mower an honorary doctorate. In acceptance, Toby Mower gave the first lecture of the program. She said that she spoke from the heart, which the students really appreciated.

“She has a very compelling life story,” said Carmi. “I really admire people like Toby, people who turn their issues and problems and challenges into something fruitful and significant, who have a drive to make people better, to take care of those who are unfortunate and not able to come out of their own conditions.”

Will this change the culture of treatment for addiction in Israel?

Said Mower: “In a sense it will.”

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the university’s expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel’s southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. To learn more about the school, visit aabgu.org.

Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief — mjaffe@jewishtimes.com

Making Humanoise

Humanoise is (from left) Harrison Stone (vocals/guitar), Marc Shapiro (lead guitar), Carson Korman (bass/vocals) and Dave  Cavalier (drums/vocals).

Humanoise is (from left) Harrison Stone (vocals/guitar), Marc Shapiro (lead guitar), Carson Korman (bass/vocals) and Dave
Cavalier (drums/vocals).

Some readers may recall seeing or hearing about the documentary “Some Kind of Monster.” The film, released in 2004, follows heavy metal rock band Metallica as it travels to performance venues across the country with a therapist in tow. The band, as the film reveals, has contracted with the therapist to help them resolve their considerable and longstanding interpersonal difficulties.

In contrast, local band Humanoise (formerly The Rez), whose members have played together for the past seven years and have known one another since they attended Franklin High School together, is remarkably harmonious. The band’s harmony extends beyond the members’ relationships to their musical chemistry, which is evidenced in their new and first full-length album, also called “Humanoise.”

Guitarist Harrison Stone, 28, is the band’s singer, primary songwriter and lyricist. He has been playing music since the age of 4 and began writing music when he was about 14, the same year he and Humanoise bandmates Carson Korman (bass) and Dave Cavalier (drums) formed their first band, playing ska music together.

“The ska band was fun, but the lyrics were ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic-ish. We started wanting to do some more serious music,” said Stone. “I was an English major in college, and I loved words. We didn’t want to be pigeonholed, so we started a new band [The Rez], where we played reggae, rock, acoustic, funk, heavy rock and psychedelic. That’s when Marc [Shapiro] joined the band.”

Stone said Humanoise’s music has been likened to ’90s rock, which “makes sense, since that’s what we grew up listening to. We’re anti-pop, catchy, riffy and often heavy rock.”

In addition to musical groups from the 1990s such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone and Shapiro, who plays lead guitar, are both heavily influenced by the music their parents used to play — The Beatles, Led Zeppelin.

“One of the cool things about us is we all have unique tastes, and we bring them all to the table,” added Stone.

Stone said that songwriting is a “democratic process” for band members. “Generally I’ll have lyrics and a rhythm guitar part. I’ll send it to [the other band members], and they will write their own parts. I just bring a skeleton of a song, and they’ll finish it.”

He continued: “The lyrics have gone from being love songs when I was younger to more philosophical to more political.”

The band recently changed its name from The Rez to Humanoise to reflect its more thought-provoking subject matter.

“It’s about people being heard,” said Stone. “Now it’s more possible for people to be heard because of the Internet. Look all over the world. People are more and more informed. People are outraged [about inequality and other issues]. And they should be.”

For more information about Humanoise and its new album, visit facebook.com/makehumanoise.

(Full disclosure: Marc Shapiro is a JT staff reporter)
Simone Ellin is JT senior features reporter — sellin@jewishtimes.com

Stepping Up

Michelle Ostroff, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, said this year the federation is looking for new donors to step forward.

Michelle Ostroff, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, said this year the federation is looking for new donors to step forward.

Take a step forward and support your community as well as Jewish heritage worldwide with the Jewish Federation of Howard County’s 2014 Campaign, StepForward. As the name implies, this year’s theme is about advancing the campaign, taking a more proactive role and enhancing, as well as defining, Jewish culture, heritage and overall quality of life — locally and internationally.

“It symbolizes moving ahead and that it takes a community … to raise money to nurture Jewish identity, culture and engagement in Howard County, to keep Israel strong and to serve vulnerable Jewish communities around the world,” said Michelle Ostroff, executive director at the federation.

As a “step forward,” this year’s annual campaigners hope to build up larger gifts as well as increase the number of first-time donations. The goal is to raise $615,000 and to have 1,018 donors by June 30, 2014. Contributions will support the federation’s existing programs, social services, scholarships and overseas needs, and offer opportunity for greater community growth and innovation. So far, $120,000 has been raised.

Several years ago, the federation began an initiative to increase incentives through the Knesset Club. Donors to the Knesset Club contribute $100 a month or $1,200 a year to the annual campaign.

“That was a tremendous success, and the federation received a Sapir Award [for campaign excellence] from the Jewish Federations of North America,” Ostroff said. “This year, we would like those Knesset donors to ‘step forward’ to the next giving level of $1,800, $150 a month. This is the Pomegranate level. If just 20 Knesset donors make this increase, this will be an additional $12,000
toward our goal.”

The first federation in North America was established in 1895 in Boston. Jews in other cities soon followed; the Jewish Federations of North America currently comprises 153 federations and more than 300 network communities, including Anne Arundel County, the Baltimore metropolitan area, Cumberland, Md., Frederick, Md., Salisbury, Md. and Washington, D.C. The Jewish Federation of Howard County was established in 1969.

The 2010 Jewish Community Study of Howard County showed the area has an estimated Jewish population of 17,500 residents living in 7,500 households. This denotes an eight percent increase in Jews living in the community and a 15 percent increase in Jewish households over the last 10 years. Jews between the ages of 50 and 64 years make up 35 percent of the population in Howard County. Ostroff said the federation wants to ensure that they have the infrastructure to meet the needs of these community members as they age.

The Jewish Federation of Howard County contributes roughly 30 percent of earned campaign dollars to local social services, 30 percent to overseas partners and 30 percent to enriching Jewish life through engagement in Jewish Howard County. Overseas partners include the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, World ORT and Birthright Israel.

As a still new and growing Jewish community, Howard County, Ostroff said, has come a long way.

“When the community began, we had only interfaith centers. We now have interfaith centers that house many of our congregations and stand-alone synagogues for two of our congregations, Beth Shalom and Temple Isaiah,” she said. “We contribute to the vibrancy of Jewish life locally by funding programs such as PJ Library and BBYO as well as religious school scholarships.”

Additionally, the federation provides communitywide programs, including movies and concerts, which are held in venues throughout Howard County, including the Howard Community College and The Meeting House at Oakland Mills.

“Simply put, we enhance Jewish life and save Jewish lives,” said Ostroff.

There are many ways to give to the StepForward campaign. To make an online contribution, visit jewishHowardCounty.org/StepForward.aspx. To donate by mail, send to Jewish Federation of Howard County, 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 400, Columbia, MD 21044.

Officials, Community Members Talk Nonpublic School Money

State officials from across the Baltimore area didn’t hold back when they met with constituents Wednesday night at Talmudical Academy to discuss funding for parochial schools.

Parents who send their children to private schools attended a meeting Tuesday night to discuss funding options. (Photo by Heather Norris)

Parents who send their children to private schools attended a meeting Tuesday night to discuss funding options. (Photo by Heather Norris)

“This is probably not happening this year,” said State Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-11), noting, along with Del. Adrienne Jones (D-10), that the combination of budget constrictions and a big election year doesn’t lend itself to controversial legislation like the Maryland Education Credit, the topic at the forefront of the discussion.

The credit, which is being promoted by a number of different private school organizations and parents of those who attend the schools, would provide businesses with a 60 percent tax credit for donations made to organizations that provide financial assistance to nonpublic schools. At this point, it is not a bill and is only being discussed in “open house” meetings hosted by nonpublic schools in regions throughout the state.

Zirkin also told meeting attendees that they should factor in the possibility that this money they want from the state — $15 million to fund the credit — would more than likely come with strings attached.

“With money comes restrictions, too,” he said. “You can’t separate the one from the other.”

State Sen. Delores Kelley said she understands the parents’ perspective, having sent her children to Pilgrim Christian Day School.

“I’m sure that many of you struggle to support the choices that you make,” she said.

However, she added, those parents who send their children to nonpublic schools have a choice.

“My concern is that we are just so far from where we should be as far as public education is concerned,” Kelley said, noting that the state’s official and legal obligation is to provide for public schools first, a concept Zirkin seconded.

Of the seven state officials who attended (Zirkin, Kelley, Jones, Del. Dan Morhaim (D- 11), Del. Jon Cardin (D-11), Del. Dana Stein (D-11), Del. Sandy Rosenberg (D-41)), only two — Cardin and Rosenberg — expressed support for the idea, though others said they looked forward to hearing more details.

When it comes to helping students in the nonpublic school system, Rosenberg said, “We can do better.”

 

Weinberg Foundation Distributes $106 Million In Grants

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Tuesday evening celebrated a year of giving at its annual community gathering. At the event, which was held at Beth El Congregation and welcomed 1,000 people, the foundation announced it had distributed $106 million in grants this past year. The grants were made to nonprofits serving low-income and vulnerable individuals and families.

The event took place on the backdrop of a recent announcement by the foundation of an additional $4 million grant to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to provide emergency assistance to Holocaust victims in North America. The grant, which will be allocated through 2016, supplements the $10 million, five-year grant that the Weinberg Foundation provided the Claims Conference in 2010 to help elderly Jewish victims of Nazis live out their lives with dignity. The $4 million grant will be distributed as follows: $500,000 in 2014 (in addition to the $1.5 million from the previous allocation); $2 million in 2015; and $1.5 million in 2016.

“Aging Jewish Holocaust victims, abandoned by the world in their youth, must now know that they are remembered and cared for in their final years,” said Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider in a statement thanking the Weinberg Foundation.

Foundation President Rachel Garbow Monroe told the JT that the foundation decided to extend the grant because “it was clear to us … that not all the issues [of the survivors] would be resolved.” She explained that the initial $14 million was spread out among survivors to average a grant of $830 per person.

“That tells us we are helping roughly 16,800 individuals,” she said.

Monroe said the grant to the Holocaust survivors “fits perfectly” into the mission and heart of what the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation stands for.

“If you were in our board room, you would see a photograph of Harry and Jeanette at the time of their marriage, and it states that while others solve the ills of the world, someone will be hungry, someone sick, someone cold — that is our job.” … The single largest population we support through grants is poor, frail older adults.”

In the last year, the Claims Conference has come under scrutiny for mismanagement and allegedly facilitating fraud. Monroe said the foundation had no concerns about this — “the work they are doing with us on this emergency assistance fund is beyond reproach” — and that there are oversight and reporting requirements in place.

Created with flickr slideshow.

“They have been honorable and transparent every step of the way,” Monroe said, restating the need, as 25 percent of all survivors live in poverty and that one in three lives alone.

As much as 40 percent of all Weinberg Foundation funding remains in Maryland, and roughly half is distributed within the Jewish community. Monroe said this vision — and the Tuesday event — highlights the legacy of Harry and Jeanette Weinberg, and she also expressed gratitude to the foundation’s partners and grantees “for their exceptional, meaningful work this and every year.”

Learn more about the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation at hjweinbergfoundation.org.

Showcase Of Innovation

A crowd of 200 people poured into Howard County Community College on Tuesday, Nov. 19, for the Maryland/Israel Development Center’s Showcase of Innovation, a program celebrating Israeli companies with offices in Maryland and local companies doing business in and with the Jewish state.

The cocktail hour and round-robin dialogues made for an interesting evening, as high-level executives and professionals networked and discussed high-tech, bio-tech and opportunities for growth.

But the event, which ran from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., was highlighted by a keynote address from Thomas Feldhausen, director of international operations for Lockheed Martin International.

“The reality is that today you have to be global. We are connected as one global society,” said Feldhausen. “We realized that if we want to continue to grow internationally, if we want partnership and commitment from foreign governments and businesses around the world, we cannot do it from Maryland. We have to work and live with them day in and day out.”

Feldhausen then spoke about the short list of countries that Lockheed Martin, a company that employs 116,000 people worldwide, considered for such a partnership. Israel was at the top of that list. Earlier this month, the defense giant announced plans to open a major subsidiary in Israel that will employ hundreds of people, while simultaneously looking to purchase Israeli companies and integrate itself into the Israeli economy. Feldhausen said he is confident his company is making a good decision.

According to Feldhausen, Israel and Lockheed Martin have a relationship that dates back more than 40 years, to when Lockheed Martin introduced the general dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon to Israel.

“That relationship has continued through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with a variety of weapons defense systems, information technology and significant partnerships with Israeli industry,” said Feldhausen, noting than in an average year the company does $3.4 billion worth of business with Israel. He said 25 percent of the content of the F-16 is manufactured in Israel, including 100 percent of the wings.

Feldhausen said Lockheed Martin also does business in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Japan. He said staffing in Israel will grow as business grows, but the company expects at some point to employ hundreds of people on the ground in the Jewish state.


Created with flickr slideshow.

“We recognize Israel has been a great partner, and we want to be a great partner with Israel; I think this is key to our growth,” said Feldhausen. “We have had a four-decades-long relationship with Israel. We see another four decades.”

Other companies that were present at the event included 20/20 GeneSystems, Inc., which develops and commercializes technologies and products to detect early-stage cancer and for personalize cancer therapies, Advanced Defense Technologies, a contract manufacturer of wire harnesses and mechanical assemblies, and Altenera Technology Inc., an early-stage company with the mission to rethink wind- energy-generation technology, among others.

The Maryland/Israel Development Center, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and supported by the Maryland and Montgomery County departments of Business and Economic Development, promotes trade and investment between Maryland and Israel to help create jobs in both economies. To learn more about MIDC, visit marylandisrael.org.