Some of you may remember the Fiveish, a singing, dancing five-dollar bill who has been filmed dancing with kids and adults alike across the United States and Israel to promote fundraising for the Oorah organization, whose goal is “awakening Jewish children and their families to their heritage”. This organization runs various outreach programs, and runs summer camps for Jewish children. As a sidenote, in 2007 one of the Oorah summer camps was raided by ICE where 31 illegal immigrant maintenance and construction workers were arrested.
Recently it was found that the Kars4Kids charity program run out of New Jersey, with a well-known radio jingle encouraging people to donate used cars to pay for children’s education, founded by Rabbi Chaim Mintz in 1994, donates around 44% of its raised funds to charity ($40 million of the $87.8 million raised between 2012 and 2014), and that of that 44%, 90% (about $36 million) goes to its sister organization Oorah. Particularly, in Minnesota, where the scandal broke after a report by the state attorney general Lori Swanson, it was found that less than one percent of the funds raised went to Minnesota children ($11,600 out of $3,000,000).
Swanson says the organization is also violating IRS accounting rules and that some donations ended up financing other Oorah ventures.“We looked at were Oorah is spending their money and we found over $9 million that were lost in real estate transactions,” she said.
According to the report, the organization spent less than 44 percent of the proceeds from vehicle donations on its charitable mission between 2012 and 2014, but it used two different financial reporting tactics to make it appear that it spent 63 percent. The attorney general’s office has sent the compliance report to the Internal Revenue Service for review.
Here are some promotional videos from Oorah, the first three featuring Fiveish.
“Dance The Fiveish! from Oorah’s Shmorg”: youtube.com/watch?v=Uj2vWIdzOBQ
“Fiveish Fun in the Snow!!”: youtube.com/watch?v=m3bGjKvKj1A
“Oorah’s Fiveish And Friends from Shmorg 4 – Fiveish Get’s Ready For Shabbos”: youtube.com/watch?v=FLNy72Dj5YY
“Purim Video – Sorer B’Veiso”: youtube.com/watch?v=uN_GpZ4T41w