david golinkin 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Management at the Jerusalem-based Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies said
Wednesday that a solution to end a five week strike by members of the college’s
faculty should be reached in the coming days.
Eitan Cooper, vice
president of development, told The Jerusalem Post that negotiations held Tuesday
between the management and representatives of some 70 striking employees had
“We have reached an understanding on most issues and I
believe it will all be resolved in the next few days,” said Cooper, explaining
that cutbacks made to staff salaries over the past year were necessary so the
private college could survive in the long-term.
He pointed out that
Schechter, which is funded primarily by donations from the Conservative Jewish
community in the US and does not receive financial support from the Israeli
government, was committed to its student body and continually strives to keep
tuition fees as low as possible, despite the fact that it is a private
Last week, President David Golinkin announced that students
who had completed 80 percent of their required coursework when the strike was
announced in early May would receive a pass grade. He also declared the semester
officially over and said striking employees would not receive their salaries
through August 1.
In response, the Academic Committee of the Institute
said that it might not endorse Golinkin’s intention to automatically pass
students. However, Cooper said Wednesday that while management “respects the
sovereignty” of the Academic Committee, “on financial issues the President has
the authorization to act.”
He said that passing students would avoid a
situation whereby tuition fees would have to be reimbursed, which could in turn
cause severe financial damage to the institution.
Professor Yossi Turner,
Chairman of the Workers Committee and head of the negotiating team for the
striking employees, said Wednesday that he was “guardedly optimistic” about
reaching a final solution.
“I do believe that we got further yesterday
than we have in the past and as long as there are no more surprises we hope to
reach an agreement,” he said.
Prior to launching an open ended strike
early last month, Schechter employees had been holding on-and-off negotiations
with management after their salaries were cut by up to 10 percent last year
following the passing of the institutes’ single largest donor, American
billionaire William Davidson, and in light of the global economic
When it was announced last March that the Davidson Foundation had
in fact donated half a million dollars to the college, which provides recognized
graduate courses in Jewish subjects to more than 600 Israel-based students, the
workers were informed their salary reduction would end.
welcomed that move, they also demanded to be reimbursed for the loss incurred
during the months of reduced salary and asked that the management accept a
communal staff agreement in order to prevent such a situation from occurring
again in the future.