Staten Island synagogue feuds with ‘Kars4Kids’ entity

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — An Orthodox congregation in Staten Island, New York is feuding in court with a Jewish group associated with Kars4Kids, whose ubiquitous advertising jingle seeks donated cars in exchange for tax breaks.

The New York Post reported Sunday that the Young Israel of Eltingville is claiming that Oorah, which receives most of the money raised through Kars4Kids, is using the Staten Island synagogue as a shield “to put their more questionable financial dealings through an entity that would not be subject to the same public scrutiny.”

Young Israel filed suit last week in Staten Island Supreme Court.

Under IRS rules, the Post reports, a religious charity is not subject to the same rules of public disclosure as other nonprofits.


Oorah, meanwhile, told the IRS that it was operating a synagogue in the building where Young Israel is currently housed.

Bad blood between Oorah and Young Israel goes back to 2007, after Oorah offered to renovate the building in exchange for operating a school on the premises. The deal soured, and Oorah claims that Young Israel owes it $1 million for the upgrades.

Although the Jewish nature of its charitable work is rarely mentioned in Kars4Kids marketing, Oorah has raised as much as $28 million a year, the largest portion of which is intended to help Orthodox students attend religious day school.

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