Open Hillel’s big month: Swarthmore ‘Kehilah’ is born and a student resigns over Hillel restrictions

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When Hillel International head Eric Fingerhut spoke to a Long Island synagogue in January, he did not mention the Open Hillel movement in his prepared remarks. And when he was asked by an audience member about Open Hillel, the group of students seeking to overturn Hillel’s guidelines that bar certain critics of Israel, he said the movement “does not” have legs.

But over the past month, Open Hillel has been making waves in the Jewish community–doing its best to prove Fingerhut wrong.

Those working to change Hillel’s “standards of partnership”–which bar speakers who are supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement or those who believe in a democratic one-state–are attracting support in the Jewish community, which has become increasingly split as Israel’s right-wing consolidates power. The split is buoying liberal Zionist and non-Zionist groups.

Hillel International’s threat to sue the Swarthmore chapter for hosting speakers that buck their guidelines led to a backlash from segments of the Jewish community. The student president of a Hillel chapter resigned over the parent organization’s refusal to host civil rights veterans. And after Fingerhut pulled out of last week’s J Street conference because Saeb Erekat was speaking there, Open Hillel members who attended the J Street confab marched on Hillel’s Washington, D.C., offices and received a promise from Fingerhut to meet with them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s win has no doubt provided momentum to Open Hillel’s push to open up American Jewish communal spaces to more honest and frank discussions of Israel. Earlier this week, the Jewish Daily Forward, a leading Jewish newspaper, wrote in an editorial that the Jewish community needs “to break apart the ridiculous and increasingly flouted rules governing conversation about Israel in Jewish communal spaces, especially on college campuses.”

Some of the recent controversy has centered on the Open Hillel-sponsored tour of Jewish civil rights veterans. In February, Harvard Hillel agreed to host them, though that was only after a pro-Israel speaker was added to the panel. Still, the event saw Dorothy Zellner, a former member of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), tell a crowd at Hillel that she is “a supporter of BDS. I’m doing the work that I learned from black people and I will keep on doing that work,” as the Forward’s Cara Hogan reported.

But Hillel chapters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, declined to sponsor subsequent events with Zellner, Ira Grupper, Mark Levy and Larry Rubin. And on March 19, Caroline Dorn, the student president of Muhlenberg’s Hillel, announced she was resigning over Hillel’s refusal to host the civil rights veterans. 

“I am heartbroken that I feel no place to be both a Jewish student and an academic thinker at Muhlenberg,” Dorn wrote, in a piece published by the Muhlenberg Weekly. “ I am disgusted with Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership, and their attempt to set boundaries on who is invited into our Jewish space on campus and what we can discuss. I refuse to be silenced by an organization that is supposed to empower me, and I will not accept anything less than free speech for any organization that I’m a part of.” 

Hillel has also been met with backlash over its legal threats to a Swarthmore chapter. 

Last year, Swarthmore’s Hillel chapter announced it would become the first Open Hillel chapter. In mid-March this year, Swarthmore Hillel announced it would be hosting speakers “focused on social justice issues in Israel and Palestine.” They include the civil rights veterans and Ali Abu Awwad, a well-known Palestinian activist.

But in response, Hillel issued thinly-veiled threats to take legal action over Swarthmore’s use of the Hillel name. “Hillel International is the sole and exclusive licensee with the right to use the famous Hillel name and mark in connection with college campus activities,” wrote Tracey Turoff, Hillel’s legal counsel, in a letter to Swarthmore administrators. Turoff wrote to object to Swarthmore’s hosting of the civil rights veterans.

Swarthmore’s Hillel then decided to change its name to Swarthmore Kehilah (which means “community” in Hebrew) to duck the legal threats. Over a hundred Jewish leaders signed a statement denouncing Hillel International’s threats to Swarthmore. 

Yet another controversy broke out when Fingerhut announced he was pulling out of the J Street conference because Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was speaking there. J Street U students were incensed over the move, and speculated that Fingerhut was caving to donor pressure. 

J Street U members decided to march to the Washington, D.C. office of Hillel to demand a meeting with Fingerhut. The Hillel head has since said he would meet with J Street U representatives. 

Hillel chapters have welcomed some J Street U chapters within the Hillel fold. But Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization filled with those who question Zionism, has not been invited. JVP remains a bridge too far for Hillel, though Open Hillel is trying to change that.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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112 Responses

  1. Mooser
    March 28, 2015, 1:52 pm

    “But in response, Hillel issued thinly-veiled threats to take legal action over Swarthmore’s use of the Hillel name.”

    Good heavens! If Swarthmore can get sued for using the “Hillel” name, just think of the legal danger JVP is in!

    • ritzl
      March 28, 2015, 2:02 pm

      LOL, Mooser. When is the book coming out? :))

    • bryan
      March 28, 2015, 3:24 pm

      Mooser – I fail to get a lot of your humour, but that one cut to the quick. Well said.

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 11:50 am

        “Mooser – I fail to get a lot of your humour,”

        Well, that makes two of us.

      • Philemon
        March 29, 2015, 7:58 pm

        Well, I like Mooser’s “humour” or “humor” for the U.S. Americans out there. I get it good and loud, and I’m very sorry for those who fail to get it. They’re more to be pitied than censured, I suppose.

    • RoHa
      March 29, 2015, 1:10 am

      ““Hillel International is the sole and exclusive licensee with the right to use the famous Hillel name ”

      They’ve got a letter granting them that right. It was written by Rabbi Hillel himself.

      • Hostage
        March 29, 2015, 11:59 am

        “Hillel International is the sole and exclusive licensee with the right to use the famous Hillel name.”

        Looks to me like Open Hillel should file a Title VI complaint against both Bnai Brith and Hillel International for making threats and discriminating against Jewish students on campus on the basis of their ethnicity or religious beliefs;-)

    • Rusty Pipes
      March 29, 2015, 3:52 am

      So you think if they had t-shirts saying, “If I am only for myself, who am I?,” Hillel might sue them for copyright infringement?

    • Hostage
      March 29, 2015, 11:39 am

      Re: If Swarthmore can get sued for using the “Hillel” name

      Anyone can file a lawsuit over trademark infringement, but B’nai Brith probably can’t win one over the use of the term “Open Hillel”. They have a registered Service Mark, “Hillel”, for their association’s services: namely, promoting the interests of members of the Jewish religion through religious, career and vocational counseling programs, sporting events and social programs, and by providing information on issues concerning human rights and inter-faith relations.

      But “Hillel” is a figure from the 2000 year old Talmudic literature and tradition. So there are thousands of so-called “Hillel” day schools, private schools, academies, & etc. which have nothing to do with B’nai Brith. They have obviously violated and diluted the trademark’s value without B’nai Brith raising any complaints. The B’nai Brith didn’t file “Hillel” as a “collective mark” that could only be used by a specific class of persons. In fact, anyone of the Jewish faith or any Jewish student association could legitimately claim to be “students” (talmudim) or followers of the “school of Hillel” or “house of Hillel” without obtaining Mr. Fingerhut’s or B’nai Brith’s consent (if I’ve read the Talmud and the 1st amendment correctly).

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 11:54 am

        Hostage, that still doesn’t relieve JVP of the liability associated with improperly using the “Jewish” word and logo.
        Can I build a go-kart in my garage and call it a Chevy?

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 1:10 pm

        Sorry, I meant Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz. My apologies.

      • Hostage
        March 29, 2015, 1:30 pm

        Re: Hostage, that still doesn’t relieve JVP of the liability associated with improperly using the “Jewish” word and logo.

        To quote Rufus T. Firefly, “I object!” At the worst we would have to bamboozle the Judge with the patented “Who is Jew?” argument and then demand a dismissal on the grounds that the other “purported Jews” are just a bunch of rotten scoundrels who had failed to state a claim (i.e. alleged a cause of action that doesn’t even exist). In any event, we could make a good counterclaim case over the way their flagrantly improper use of the terms “Jewish people” and “peace” – in the marketing of their “peace process” scam – had sullied everyone else’s good “Jewish” reputations, names, and service marks.

      • just
        March 29, 2015, 1:32 pm

        rotflmao!

        That’s a keeper!

      • JeffB
        March 29, 2015, 2:25 pm

        @Hostage

        Certainly Kehilah can say they and not the organization called Hillel are the authentic or more accurate, more righteous followers of Rabbi Hillel. So absolutely they can claim all they want to be students of Hillel or forming a school to study Hillel’s teachings. That’s a religious assertion and not subject to trademark.

        B’nai Brith on the other hand owns the trademark for foundation for campus jewish life (college clubs) under the name Hillel. And that has not been diluted it has just been enforced. It is very simple. Hillel is a brand of college clubs, just like Coke is brand of soda or Levi is a brand of jeans. The guys at Swathmore having an Open Hillel are pretending to be Hillel brand college clubs when they aren’t. The moment any money changes hands that’s trademark infringement and quite possibly fraud.

        There is no evidence that prior to B’nai Brith there were Jewish college clubs operating under the name “Hillel” nor that people generally don’t associate Hillel with the Hillel organization.

      • Hostage
        April 1, 2015, 10:47 am

        There is no evidence that prior to B’nai Brith there were Jewish college clubs operating under the name “Hillel” nor that people generally don’t associate Hillel with the Hillel organization.

        That’s nonsense. Rabbi Hillel the Elder has always been part and parcel of Jewish learning and education. If you simply Google “Hillel School” you’ll get over 2 million hits for entities in all levels of Jewish education doing business as yeshivas, Hebrew schools, academies, day schools, and other entities associated with or operating in traditional places of worship and study like Synagogues, Shuls and Temples. They all pick that name for their pedagogical endeavors for the same religious reasons that Reform Rabbi Benjamin Frankel picked it for his Jewish “campus ministry” at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1923. Hillel the Elder was a national figure from the Second Commonwealth of Israel who “symbolized” open inquiry, the pursuit of life long learning and teaching of others, plurality, and social justice according to the principles of the so-called “Golden Rule”. But he wasn’t just another Rabbi who founded his own academy and attracted a few disciples. He was reputedly a descendant of King David and one of the Patriarchs of the Palestinian Jews who was accorded the title “Nasi” or Prince. He served as one of the Presidents of the Great Sanhedrin during the Temple era. As such, he had sufficient respect and religious authority to hand down decrees or decisions on Jewish law that became part of the Halakhah, which many religious Jews feel obliged to study and observe to this very day.

        Frankel’s campus “Hillel” raised $12,000 in one day from Chicago business men and was doing business, as such, for more than a year before Frankel decided to approach the Reform Hebrew Union and the B’nai B’rith to see if they were interested in becoming his national sponsors. Here’s a link to a Jewish Virtual Library reprint of the Encyclopaedia Judaica Hillel article on the subject © 2008 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_08951.html and a related one at My Jewish Learning http://mobile.myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Stages/Jewish_Education/Trends/hillel.shtml

        Even B’nai B’rith publications admit that it didn’t become involved or sponsor any campus Hillel organizations until 1925. While they credit Frankel, there are other examples of even older claimants, e.g.:

        Founded in 1916, Texas A&M Hillel is the oldest organization in the United States called “Hillel.”

        The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (TAMC) Menorah Club was organized in 1916 by Esther Taubenhaus and Dr. Jacob Taubenhaus, the first Jewish professor to be hired at TAMC. In the fall of 1920, the group was transformed into the TAMC Hillel Club under the guidance of Rabbi David Lefkowitz of Dallas.

        http://tamuhillel.org/a/about-us/our-history/

        So there is no chicken and egg conundrum involved here at all. There were already campus Hillel clubs, branded as such, with common law rights to the name years before B’nai B’rith ever got involved.

      • Hostage
        April 1, 2015, 12:59 pm

        Re: Certainly Kehilah can say they and not the organization called Hillel are the authentic or more accurate, more righteous followers of Rabbi Hillel. So absolutely they can claim all they want to be students of Hillel or forming a school to study Hillel’s teachings. That’s a religious assertion and not subject to trademark.

        Once again, I’m talking about hundreds of thousands of entities “doing business as” d/b/a Hillel academies, schools, and etc. Many of them pre-date the first B’nai B’rith application for a federal service mark registration in 1966. FYI, prior unregistered use in the USA by others is grounds for denial of registration or invalidation of an existing mark by the Courts.

        Re: B’nai Brith on the other hand owns the trademark for foundation for campus jewish life (college clubs) under the name Hillel.

        The Encyclopaedia Judaica explains that the first Hillel at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was a classic example of a campus ministry. B’nai B’rith only own an exclusive service mark on the category of “association services” listed on any “live” USPTO registration that has been published for public notice and objection. They may still have state or common law rights on “expired” or “abandoned” marks that remain in continuous use, but they are not necessarily entitled to the normal legal presumptions in federal court that are granted to an owner who pursues renewals, pays the necessary fees, and maintains a “live” trademark with USPTO.

        The current registration for the “Word Mark: Hillel” … “Type of Mark: Service Mark” does not mention campuses or foundations. It could be used to prohibit others from using the name in their own religious ministries, since it stipulates that the beneficiaries or customers of the Hillel service are members of the Jewish religion:

        IC 042. US 100. G & S: association services; namely, promoting the interests of members of the Jewish religion through religious, career and vocational counseling programs, sporting events and social programs, and by providing information on issues concerning human rights and inter-faith relations. FIRST USE: 19230000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19230000

        One of the most obvious problems with these registrations was the examiners jaw-dropping failure to demand a disclaimer statement. Any mark, copyright, or patent is a government-franchised monopoly. The establishment clause of the first amendment prohibits the Congress from granting any kind of monopoly to one of many competing Jewish religious ministries regardless of whether or not their services happens to be offered on state property.

        FYI, the goods and services description is considered more dispositive than the category shown above, i.e. Nice Agreement international class 42 (“Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software”. The two specimens provided to illustrate the use of the word mark in commerce were captured computer screen images from the Hillel internet site. It would still be perfectly okay for another entity to file an application using the word Hillel in Class 41 (“Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities”) if their description of goods and services were sufficiently different or distinct from those in the B’nai B’rith Class 42 registration.

      • Hostage
        April 1, 2015, 1:50 pm

        Re: The guys at Swathmore having an Open Hillel are pretending to be Hillel brand college clubs when they aren’t.

        No Open Hillel is a student protest movement that doesn’t provide any goods and services. The only trademark involved is B’nai B’rith’s. FYI, the Courts have held that trademarks, like all intellectual property rights, are subject to fair use by others for the purpose of parodies, criticism, protests, & etc.

        Re:The moment any money changes hands that’s trademark infringement and quite possibly fraud.

        The New York Times quoted a B’nai B’rith spokesman who admitted that each of its 550 affiliated campus Hillels are independently funded. FYI, the first Hillel was established and branded by an independent group who hired a Reform Rabbi back in the days when the anti-Zionist Pittsburgh Platform was still in effect. At the time that “Hillel” entity asked the Hebrew Union and the B’nai B’rith to become its national sponsors, neither of those organizations had publicly endorsed Zionism. Collective trademarks were prohibited by law at that time. So it’s pertinent to ask if, and exactly how, B’nai B’rith acquired the rights owned by the Illinois entity which was established by the Rabbi and some area businessmen?

        A recent editorial noted the fact that anti-Zionist organizations were still being invited to form their own local campus chapters under the Hillel umbrella after the State of Israel was established:

        In 1948, upon the establishment of the State of Israel, Hillel directors across the country sought guidance from the national office asking if the then-anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism should be allowed to form chapters within the Hillel umbrella. The answer from Hillel International was clear: “Hillel represents the total Jewish community on each campus which it serves, it excludes no student activity which legitimately represents the interests of a group of students, so long as they accept the principle of community responsibility. Just as there are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform outlooks represented in the Hillel program, so there can be both Zionist and anti-Zionist outlooks.”

        http://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/11viewpoint-shabbat11

        The 1992 Hillel trademark registration specifically stipulated that promoting discussions of human rights would be one of the services offered to members of the Jewish religion under the exclusive Hillel brand. To sum-up: for decades persons who harbored anti-Zionist views have relied upon what appear to be fraudulent assurances when they were asked to provide charitable contributions of money, property, or real estate; made posthumous endowments; or donated their personal time and effort to build-up the Hillel organization.

        While the 1946 trademark statute permitted collective service marks used to denote accredited membership in an association, B’nai B’rith didn’t register one until 1966. That one was granted for a now-defuct logo and was subject to a disclaimer on any rights to generic depictions of the Torah. It was abandoned in 1989. So for more than half a century there is a documented history of unregistered use by the individual chapters who acquired their own funding and rights to the brand through its use under common law or state law. There are no consent agreement documents or assignments of ownership at all contained in the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) which might indicate that one or more of them had ever signed over their legal rights in the brand to B’nai B’rith.

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 2:42 pm

        “To quote Rufus T. Firefly, “I object!”

        Oh, you are always like that, Hostage. Whatever it is, you’re against it, before they’ve commenced it, you’re against it!

        Think about it, Hostage; here I’ve been, for years, descrying the divisions with in Judaism. I’m the only guy left who’s still trying to patch things up after the Trefa Banquet .

        But now I realize how dumb I am. I should have known better, Zionists aren’t stupid. Divisions in Judaism is their peace plan! Think about it: They start kicking people out of Judaism, and pretty soon Israel won’t need anything beyond the ’48. Partition! Israel shrinks back to a manageable size, problem solved . And everybody who is left can have a five-bedroom house in Tel Aviv suburbs and a guilt-edged annuity.

        I would make one suggestion, rather than use a number or card to identify real, authentic, ones-who-matter Jews, we should use a bar code. Just pass your wrist over an I-phone and Android equipped with the “true-Jew App” and your bona frums are established!

      • RoHa
        March 30, 2015, 12:54 am

        “that people generally don’t associate Hillel with the Hillel organization”

        Depends how general you want to be. Most people in the world have never heard of either Rabbi Hillel or the organization. I knew of the Rabbi from arcane studies in early Christianity, but I only learned of the organization from MW. And I have taught in American universities!

      • Mooser
        March 30, 2015, 5:49 pm

        “Most people in the world have never heard of either Rabbi Hillel”

        Rabbi Hillel? Everybody knows Hillel. He’s in all kinds of colloquial sayings like “When Hillel freezes over”, or “going to Hillel in a hand-basket” or “come Hillel or high water”.

        That’s why their “trademark” claim is so ridiculous. They can go to Hillel.

      • JeffB
        March 30, 2015, 6:19 pm

        @RoHa

        Depends how general you want to be. Most people in the world have never heard of either Rabbi Hillel or the organization. I knew of the Rabbi from arcane studies in early Christianity, but I only learned of the organization from MW. And I have taught in American universities!

        I’ll assume you aren’t Jewish. Among American Jewish students Hillel is very well known. That a vendor isn’t well known for people who aren’t potential customers doesn’t mean much. The public is the public of customers. If “Open Hillel” were selling flowers to Mormons they would have a better claim but they are going after the same customer base using B’nai Brith’s property.

      • Hostage
        April 1, 2015, 2:45 pm

        Re: I’ll assume you aren’t Jewish. Among American Jewish students Hillel is very well known.

        That’s one of the reasons the trademark should have been denied. The law generally allows any trademark subject matter to be registered unless it falsely suggests a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or brings them into contempt, or disrepute. See 15 U.S. Code § 1052 – Trademarks registrable on principal register; concurrent registration https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1052

        I’ve given you a link to an Encyclopedia article which explained that Hillel (a dead person’s name) was deliberately chosen because he was a national and religious “symbol” who was considered a champion of social justice and plurality. Now the Zionists have misappropriated his good name and adapted it, like everything else, for the exclusive use of their abominable Jewish state and brought it into disrepute, by making it synonymous with intolerance and denial of human rights.

        That a vendor isn’t well known for people who aren’t potential customers doesn’t mean much. The public is the public of customers. If “Open Hillel” were selling flowers to Mormons they would have a better claim but they are going after the same customer base using B’nai Brith’s property.

        The only live registered trademark currently held by B’nai B’rith says the customers are members of the Jewish religion. By itself, it’s pretty useless, unless you are keeping others from designing, engineering, or developing something, in international class 42, like computer hardware or software used to promote human rights. The specimens of its use in commerce were computer screen shots of a web site. How any reasonable person could confuse that with the power to prohibit affiliates in good standing from meeting in their own Hillel building on campus to hold an in-person discussion about human rights beats the hell out of me.

      • RoHa
        March 31, 2015, 2:59 am

        “I’ll assume you aren’t Jewish. ”

        That penny has finally dropped?

        “Among American Jewish students Hillel is very well known.”

        Don’t doubt it. As I said, it depends how general you want to be. “American Jewish Students” isn’t very general, but that is your choice.

      • Mooser
        March 31, 2015, 2:05 pm

        “That a vendor isn’t well known for people who aren’t potential customers doesn’t mean much.”

        Look, there’s Mr. Fingerhut, with his pushcart full of wares! And I thought we got past that whole itinerant peddler thing.

      • Mooser
        March 31, 2015, 2:34 pm

        “I’ll assume you aren’t Jewish. ”

        C’mon, JeffyB, shape up! How far would the Nazis have gotten with an attitude like that?

      • Mooser
        April 1, 2015, 2:39 pm

        “The establishment clause of the first amendment prohibits the Congress from granting any kind of monopoly to one of many competing Jewish religious ministries”

        “Competing”? Hostage, surely not! “Competing”? Don’t you mean, uh…, oh ‘different branches of the same organization, all of whom recognize each-other and their place in the hierarchy’? But “competing”? Oh my! This can’t be.

      • Mooser
        April 5, 2015, 5:21 pm

        ” affiliates in good standing from meeting in their own Hillel building on campus to hold an in-person discussion about human rights beats the hell out of me.”

        Whoa, there Hostage! “their own Hillel building”? Each individual chapter of Hillel either owns its own building, or is responsible for providing facilities for Hillel to meet in? Big mistake, Fingerhut. Big mistake. You should have bought those buildings, every one, or provided funds for renting space.

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2015, 6:03 pm

        Hostage, that still doesn’t relieve JVP of the liability associated with improperly using the “Jewish” word and logo. … Sorry, I meant Cadillac or Mercedes-Benz. My apologies.

        I always say to go with your first impressions, they can’t always be wrong. So, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Business Identity System @ https://www.kansas.gov/businesscenter/index.html:

        Kansas Business Center
        Name Availability Status

        “The Jewish People” Is Available

        You can reserve this name now for a $30.00 fee. A name reservation is not required to form a new business. It is ONLY for those who intend to form a corporation or other entity, but require additional time to complete the necessary paperwork.

        The right to a reserved name may be transferred by filing a written consent signed by the original applicant. A Name Reservation is valid for 120 days, after which it expires and the name is released for public use.

        Name reservations may not be renewed if a reservation is submitted prior to the expiration date of a current name reservation. If this occurs, the new reservation will be rejected. … Reserve this Name?

        FYI, you can never be too safe so I checked and: Name Availability Status “The Palestinian People” Is Available too, but only if we act now.

        If you’ve ever read “The Remaking of Hillel: A Case Study on Leadership and Organizational Transformation, Mark I. Rosen, Case Analysis, by Amy L. Sales”, then you know that Hillel International is funded in part through a corporate combination, the US Council of Jewish Federations, and that their facilities in Kansas and elsewhere around the country have been upgraded especially for use by “The Jewish People” at the taxpayers expense, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security (and a plethora of other federal community block grant programs). So I don’t believe they are allowed to discriminate against “The Jewish People” patrons and our “Hillel Symposium (and “Trefa Banquet”) by denying us accommodations on the basis of our non-violent Anti-Zionist religious creed, deviant tastes in Klezmer music, or fondness for German cars. See “Charity Helps Jewish Groups Feel Safe” (http://forward.com/news/217929/how-a-secret-charity-helps-jewish-groups-feel-safe/

      • gamal
        April 23, 2015, 7:28 pm

        “to quote Rufus T. Firefly, “I object!” At the worst we would have to bamboozle the Judge with the patented “Who is Jew?”

        Pick me, Pick me!!! Listen i own a book on Tekyu, which makes me almost a Prophet.

        “and then demand a dismissal on the grounds that the other “purported Jews” are just a bunch of rotten scoundrels who had failed to state a claim (i.e. alleged a cause of action that doesn’t even exist). In any event, we could make a good counterclaim case over the way their flagrantly improper use of the terms “Jewish people” and “peace” – in the marketing of their “peace process” scam – had sullied everyone else’s good “Jewish” reputations, names”

        Jews are just like us (Muslims), dirty lying bastards, only the Christians can adjudicate,
        “Peace” Hostage you’re a poet,, would you like to buy “Islam” ,
        good trademark, big following, no one knows what it might refer to, its anti-tribal or is that ante-tribal, sometimes white people are no fun, why all the despondency, the empire will totter, but it ain’t falling anytime soon. USA, USA..etc. I have sold for considerable sums my assessment that the US oligarchy isnt falling anytime soon. Courage Mon Brave, long road in front of us.

      • Hostage
        April 28, 2015, 1:32 am

        Pick me, Pick me!!! Listen i own a book on Tekyu, which makes me almost a Prophet.

        Your application has been approved! But it made me realize that “The Jewish People” just wasn’t inclusive enough. You can be the Grand Mufti of our “B’nai B’rith Mosque & Maddrassah” .

  2. ritzl
    March 28, 2015, 2:13 pm

    It’s great that Netanyahu’s reelection is spotlighting, clarifying, driving the wedge deeper, etc., and forcing choice within the mainline Jewish community. It’s all to the good and long overdue.

    I hope that nobody forgets that the price being paid for that ulimate clarity and glacial pace, is being paid solely by the Palestinians in lost lives and withered futures.

    When the history of this is written, I hope that is acknowledged, and fronted, by the Jewish component of this fight for justice.

    • catalan
      March 28, 2015, 2:25 pm

      mainline Jewish community. Ritzl
      The term mainline Jewish community is a source of deep confusion to me. It sounds like something cool to belong to, some type of in-group, and yet I cannot quite get there. I got some education, even a little bit of money. And yet, how do I become “mainline”? Are the Orthodox Jews mainline? Is the Jewish guy who works at the gym “mainline”. Or do I have to be something famous to be mainline, an actor or a journalist, or something cool like that? I feel like this is some type of big picture stuff, a pillar of society sort of thing that my base nature just has no access to. I understand there are a lot of networks there, access to cool goodies, and yet, it’s closed. Perhaps Phil Weiss is a member of this thing.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 28, 2015, 2:40 pm

        are you also confused by alex’s reference to the forward’s ““to break apart the ridiculous and increasingly flouted rules governing conversation about Israel in Jewish communal spaces, especially on college campuses.” ??

        for your edification:
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mainline

        Definition of MAINLINE

        transitive verb
        slang
        : to take by or as if by injecting into a principal vein
        intransitive verb
        slang : to mainline a narcotic drug

        2mainline
        adjective
        : belonging to an established and widely accepted group or system
        Full Definition of MAINLINE

        : being part of an established group; also : being in the mainstream

        so, to answer your question “how do I become “mainline”” simply sign up at your local jcrc. get on some mailing lists, they’ll tell you what you can and cannot say.

      • ritzl
        March 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

        Yeah. Both senses Annie.

        Mainlining ziocane, or nominally collective.

        But as mooser says, the “collective” isn’t really collective as there are significant group differences under the Jewish umbrella.

        I tried to pick a word.

        Thanks.

        ◇◇◇

        In the artful, non-apology department: I’m sorry you’re confused, catalan.

      • just
        March 28, 2015, 3:20 pm

        Perhaps you’re confusing ‘mainline’ with Philly’s “Main Line”

        “Today, the “Main Line” is another name for the western suburbs of Philadelphia along Lancaster Avenue (U.S. Route 30) and the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line, extending from the city limits to, traditionally, Bryn Mawr and ultimately Paoli,[8] an area of about 200 square miles (520 km2). The upper- and upper middle-class enclave has historically been one of the bastions of “old money” in the Northeast, along with places like Long Island’s Gold Coast, Westchester County, New York, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

        It is home to some of the wealthiest communities in the United States, such as Gladwyne, which has the 14th highest per-capita income in the country for places with a population of 1,000 or more. The eastern section of Villanova also was ranked 39th in “The Elite 100 Highest Income Neighborhoods in America” with a median annual household income of $366,904.[9]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Main_Line

        lol…

      • Mooser
        March 28, 2015, 5:36 pm

        “It sounds like something cool to belong to, some type of in-group, and yet I cannot quite get there. I got some education, even a little bit of money. And yet, how do I become “mainline”?”

        “catalan, just remember: “Think Yiddish, Dress British!”

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 3:34 pm

        “Perhaps Phil Weiss is a member of this thing.”

        “catalan” You ain’t been nowhere, til you’ve been in.

  3. just
    March 28, 2015, 2:49 pm

    “Hillel chapters have welcomed some J Street U chapters within the Hillel fold. But Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization filled with those who question Zionism, has not been invited. JVP remains a bridge too far for Hillel, though Open Hillel is trying to change that.”

    “Closed” Hillel and Eric Fingerhut might want to read this article, then:

    “Embracing Israel Boycott, Jewish Voice For Peace Insists on Its Jewish Identity

    Group Now Has More Facebook Followers Than AIPAC and J Street”

    http://forward.com/articles/217528/embracing-israel-boycott-jewish-voice-for-peace-in/

    Thanks Alex, and good luck to “Open Hillel” & Swarthmore Kehilah.

    • Mooser
      March 29, 2015, 1:15 pm

      “Group Now Has More Facebook Followers Than AIPAC and J Street”

      Yeah, yeah, And there’s very few Louis Vuittons bags and genuine Hermes scarves, but about a billion knock-offs floating around. It’s the same thing.

  4. eGuard
    March 28, 2015, 3:11 pm

    When one meets a Hillel-member student, chatting over business as usual (BDS, one-state, democracy, the weather), one can say: “How would you know? You’re now allowed to think about this.”

  5. just
    March 28, 2015, 4:02 pm

    *Alert* for some lucky folks:

    “Should be a great program: @ronnie_barkan will be joining @MaxBlumenthal at Princeton University April 1st! ””

    https://twitter.com/MichaelLevin11/status/581886851192991744

    Chris Hedges will also be there. Check the link.

    (via Michael Levin and Max B.)

    • pabelmont
      March 29, 2015, 7:42 am

      This a joke? Won’t Princeton oust them?

    • Kay24
      March 29, 2015, 8:50 am

      Thank you for that information. I live close to Princeton university and enjoy going for such discussions and to hear Max Blumenthal and Chris Hedges speak will be wonderful.

      • just
        March 29, 2015, 9:32 am

        I thought that I recalled that you attended a talk with Prof. Finkelstein @ Princeton, Kay24! I think you are in for a real treat~ Ronnie Barkan, who founded “Boycott From Within” is also going to be there! If you’re unfamiliar with him, here’s a link to an interview from last year to get started:

        http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/israel-has-no-right-be-apartheid-state-says-boycott-within-founder

        (pabelmont~ heh)

      • Kay24
        March 29, 2015, 10:17 am

        Thank you Just much appreciated. I just emailed asking how I can get in. I would never have known about this if not for your comment. :))

  6. JeffB
    March 28, 2015, 11:20 pm

    I made this comment a year ago when this started that Open Hillel as a name was a clear cut trademark violation of B’nai B’rith’s property. I think I’m well entitled to I told you so for those of you who took part in that conversation with the usual dose of cursing and insults and so forth. Here we are a year later and the kids from Swathmore and changing their name because of what I said the moment they conduct anything remotely commercial (like paying a bill or accepting a check) under the name Hillel they committing a tort at a minimum and committing fraud at a maximum.

    Kehilah is open they are welcome to it. Now if only it were legal to hold a trademark on the name of a religion so that B’nai B’rith could get JVP to drop the J. Oh well.

    • Mooser
      March 29, 2015, 11:58 am

      “Now if only it were legal to hold a trademark on the name of a religion so that B’nai B’rith could get JVP to drop the J.”

      There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the real, official Jews from suing JVP for using Jewish without permission. Should be a simple matter to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt those JVP folks have no right to that august appellation!
      So New, so sue!

      Did I call it, or what? Good ol’ “JeffyB” he always comes through.

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 1:26 pm

        “Now if only it were legal to hold a trademark on the name of a religion…”

        Oy Such high aspirations “JeffyB” has for Judaism. I cannot for the life of me understand why this simple and ordinary commercial precaution, of copyrighting or trademarking all relevant synbols and logos has not been taken.

        And BTW, “JeffyB” here’s the topper: You very much can copyright and trademark a religion! Scientology has done it, and very successfully, too!!
        Why not study what Scientology has done, and apply it to Judaism? (Watch HBO tonight for Alex Gibney’s “Going Clear” (8 pm) and learn how. We’ve got to keep up! Why not make Judaism like “the most ethical religion on the planet”?

    • Mooser
      March 29, 2015, 12:03 pm

      “I made this comment a year ago”

      “JeffyB” you can’t disprove my hypothesis that reading Mondo makes you smarter, unless you can show that you have actually read Mondo, not just typed at it.

      Yup, you made all your comments a year ago. Can’t gainsay that.

      • Mooser
        March 29, 2015, 2:50 pm

        “Now if only it were legal to hold a trademark on the name of a religion…” “JeffyB”

        And as good old Hillel himself might say: “And all the rest is just commentary”

    • Philemon
      March 29, 2015, 7:50 pm

      “…under the name Hillel they committing a tort at a minimum…”

      JeffB must be very upset to let his grammar and punctuation lapse in that manner.

      • Mooser
        March 30, 2015, 11:01 am

        Philemon, before I came here, if somebody told me there was a “JeffyB” I would not have believed it.
        His mind isn’t compartmentalized, it’s a confederacy.

  7. pabelmont
    March 29, 2015, 7:45 am

    Motto of Open-Hillel: “Let My People Go”.

    (And motto for folks who go to unsatisfactory Passover seders:, “Next Year, Palestine in all Passover celebrations”).

  8. RoHa
    March 30, 2015, 3:06 am

    And every time I look at the headline of this article I find I misread it as “Open Hillel’s big mouth”.

    • Mooser
      March 30, 2015, 5:43 pm

      Me too. I happen to have excellent misreading comprehension!

    • just
      March 30, 2015, 6:02 pm

      I thought I was alone!

      I’ve done it over and over again, and I keep laughing.

  9. just
    March 30, 2015, 3:00 pm

    “Protesting restrictions against anti-Israel speakers, Muhlenberg’s Hillel president resigns

    Caroline Dorn says steps down because Allentown, Pa. college was barred from hosting Jewish civil rights veterans.

    …….The Jewish civil rights activists on the tour — Dorothy Zellner, Larry Rubin, Mark Levy and Ira Grupper – are supportive of BDS tactics against Israel. Their tour is being sponsored by Open Hillel, which aims to challenge Hillel International’s rules on Israel issues.

    The four were featured at a March 26 event at Muhlenberg’s Moyer Hall that drew some 100 students and faculty members, according to organizers. Three of the veteran activists shared their experiences fighting for civil rights in the 1960s as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and “their perspectives on the situation in Israel/Palestine,” organizers said.

    “The vets opened the floor to questions, and we had a great group conversation,” Dorn said in a statement. “It’s too bad the event could not be hosted within Hillel, as the center for Jewish life on campus, and where these conversations should be happening.””

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.649649?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Thank you, Ms. Dorn!

    (PS~ there’s nothing “anti- Israel” about BDS… the headline is misleading)

  10. JeffB
    April 1, 2015, 3:50 pm

    @Hostage —

    Starting a new thread since others are unlikely to follow.

    There were “Menorah Clubs” which were early Hillels though obviously under a different name including the one you mentioned, in 1916 they were the “The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (TAMC) Menorah Club” not a Hillel till 1923, which is what the Trademark asserts is the date they started doing business as Hillel. The the groups got the name and started working together. Companies merging and having a new joint name for the merged company doesn’t mean the trademark doesn’t apply, I can’t do business as IBM. The current trademark was filed in 1965 which is well before any of the Open Hillel’s existed. So even if I were to grant some sort of questionable origin it has been cleaned up. Moreover the organization called Hillel would assert that B’nai Brith’s trademark is valid. I don’t see a case that Open Hillel can make that they were active before 1923 or even before 1965.

    Similarly with sponsorship as far as the trademark, who cares? Hillel the organization doesn’t contest B’nai Brith’s trademark. If the two parties have agreed no one else is going to have standing to contest the trademark. To have standing to contest the trademark from the Hillel Foundation you would need a Hillel going back at least 1965, and possibly to 1923, that was independent of the Hillel Foundation and Bnai Brith that could argue legitimate claim to the trademark. Open Hillel doesn’t come close.

    As for the claim that this is satire or protest. They aren’t protesting forming a college social group for Jews they are forming a college social group for Jews. They are a competing product. Pepsi cannot claim to be protesting against Coke and then label their product that way.

    As for Open Hillel not wanting to conduct business. If they don’t conduct business they can’t violate a trademark and the rest doesn’t matter. You have to engage in trade to violate a trademark. Who would Hillel even sue if there is no organization called Open Hillel in a corporate sense. Obviously the Open Hillel people want to sell tickets, rent a facility, pay for something… under the name “Open Hillel”. That’s why they are changing the name because otherwise they would be violating the Hillel trademark.

    In terms of monopoly. The government is granting them a monopoly on calling their Jewish clubs “Hillel” not a monopoly on operating Jewish clubs. Same as Coke doesn’t have a monopoly on soda but does have a monopoly on the use of the word Coke.

    Finally in terms of changing the terms. Bnai Brith can change the terms whenever they want it is their property. Coke can allow someone to use their trademark for something and then disallow the very same use once the license expires. Companies are free to change their mission statement, that doesn’t invalidate their trademarks.

    One of the reasons that B’nai Brith might hold the trademark is they are unquestionably a single entity and thus license use of the name however they choose subject to change whenever they choose. I.E. to counter exactly the kinds of claims you are making about some sort of perpetual claim.

    How any reasonable person could confuse that with the power to prohibit affiliates in good standing from meeting in their own Hillel building on campus to hold an in-person discussion about human rights beats the hell out of me.

    Trademark holders can prohibit people from doing all sorts of legal things under their trademark. They are free to meet they just aren’t free to confuse potential customers by calling their meetings brand Hillel Jewish social clubs.

    • Hostage
      April 1, 2015, 8:23 pm

      There were “Menorah Clubs” which were early Hillels though obviously under a different name including the one you mentioned, in 1916 they were the “The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (TAMC) Menorah Club” not a Hillel till 1923

      No, I just quoted an extract from the Texas A&M “About Us” page and provided you with a link which explains that their Menorah Club changed its name to the “Hillel Club” in 1920. It did not immediately go into business, partnership, or affiliation with the “Hillel” that was subsequently established in 1923, neither did B’nai B’rith for that matter. Your willful ignorance of the historical, chronological details is duly noted.

      It really doesn’t matter whether B’nai Brith subsequently acquired rights to its brand through mergers or otherwise, there should still be some documentation about that merger or acquisition of mark ownership on file with the trademark application. That’s particularly true if it is going to claim “exclusive rights” to it – and if Hillel International (itself) still needed a license after the merger. In any event, the first use of the term on the registrations is incorrect. It wasn’t an entity doing business as B’nai B’rith or even Rabbi Frankel’s Hillel in Illinois. In the example above, the Texas A&M group wouldn’t necessarily have lost its existing rights established in 1920 under state or common law usage, simply by becoming a member or affiliate of another association with a similar Hillel trade name in its registered design mark. Nothing would prevent it from reviving or continuing to use the words “Hillel Club” once B’nai Brith let the 1966 trademark for its old logo expire in 1989. The new logos are not registered, but would be covered by copyright protections and licensing anyway as works of art . My point is that: if the Texas A&M Hillel declared itself to be an Open Hillel, and Fingerhut decided to sue, they might very well prevail in Court and have his trademark on the word declared invalid or severely reduced in its scope of applicability through the incorporation of disclaimer statements. As I noted earlier there is no mention of college campuses in the 1992 registration that would exclude its application against hundreds of thousands of other entities that provide similar services in “Hillel” schools, academies, yeshivas, & etc. It’s pretty obvious that Fingerhut is not complaining about those entities unlicensed use of his word mark.

      The rest of your post is drivel. The Open Hillel website explains that it is “a student-run campaign to encourage inclusivity and open discourse at campus Hillels”. It’s not a business partnership or a merger to provide goods or services. That’s fair use of the term for the purposes of public discussion and debate. http://www.openhillel.org/about.php They advocate that Fingerhut’s existing affiliate Hillel partners do exactly what the trademark registration says that they do in connection with the promotion of discussions about human rights. Fingerhut doesn’t have any grounds to go after them when one of his affiliates adopts an Open Hillel resolution and declares itself to be an Open Hillel. He has to take that matter up with the Hillel concerned. It appears that in the Swathmore case, Fingerhut no longer has any presence on campus.

      Fingerhut seems to think that “members of the Jewish religion” doesn’t include anti-Zionists and that he can conduct a campus harassment campaign against them using his trademark claims. He needs to be careful about that if he wants to avoid a Title VI complaint on that account. Even Ken Marcus had to admit in his William and Mary journal article that anti-Zionism cannot be construed as anti-Semitism, when it is based upon a student’s religious beliefs. Anti-Zionist Jews can certainly file formal complaints about other groups that have the school’s permission to offer public accommodations on campus, but refuse to provide them service on the grounds of either their particular Jewish creed or ethnicity. School administrators have the same responsibility to them as they have to other Jews when it comes to preventing a threatening campus environment.

      • JeffB
        April 2, 2015, 12:24 pm

        @Hostage

        I have to tell you I’m starting to lose track on what points of law we are disagreeing about vs. what points of fact we are disagreeing about vs. what points of likely outcome we are disagreeing about.

        So I’m going to get a little more specific with a scenario. Assume that Open Hillel of Swarthmore didn’t change their name. George from Open Hillel invites Phil (Ali Abunimah or …) to speak. Phil agrees. George

        1) Rents a room under the name Open Hillel from Andrea with payment due later.
        2) Charges $15 a ticket to see Phil speak. Betsy buys a ticket.

        Assume only 10 people come and thus he doesn’t pay Andrea because the event doesn’t generate the $500 he needed to pay her. Andrea claims she thought the contract was with Hillel and wouldn’t have signed a contract with payment after the event with some small student club. Betsy claims she thought it was a Hillel event and wouldn’t have bought the ticket had she known.

        We have 4 possible claims.

        i) Does the rent situation constitute a trademark violation since Open Hillel has now besmirched Hillel’s name?
        ii) Does the ticket sale constitute a trademark violation since Open Hillel has caused Hillel to appear to endorse Phil?
        iii) Does the rent situation constitute a petty theft through fraud?
        iv) Does the ticket situation constitute a petty theft through fraud (counterfeit goods)?

        My assertion is that (i) and (ii) are yes, they are trademark violations. I also assert that (iii) and (iv) and probably no. But that’s not definite and an aggressive prosecutor could go for it. Which is a real danger.

        Obviously all these problems disappear under the name Kehilah because then there is no fraud and no trademark violation. We agree there is no fraud and no trademark violation when Open Hillel / Kehilah is not engaging in trade. The question is about what is the situation when they are engaging in trade.

        ______

        Now the next question you have is about Texas Menorah clubs. You are confusing two issues.

        1) Could these Menorah clubs claim to have a pre-existing right to Hillel.
        2) Can some group in 2013 come along and claim to have a right to use the term Hillel.

        I think the answer to (1) is no. The order of events doesn’t matter. If at some point Texas its use of the term Hillel was as part of the Hillel Internation as trademarked by B’nai Brith they’ve waived their rights. And I think it is unquestionable they have done so. Texas A&M Hillel would testify against Swathmore BDSers saying they do recognize B’nai Brith / Hillel International as holding trademark to the name if they tried to raise the argument you are suggesting. And that would settle it for court.

        But even if I were wrong on point (1) that does Swathmore Open Hillel no good at all. Saying Texas can contest the trademark doesn’t mean Open Hillel Swathmore can. Open Hillel most certainly did not pre-exist the trademark registration. And clearly the reason they called themselves “Open Hillel” was in reference to the business run by the Hillel International. And that’s exactly what you meant by your “fair usage” claim. They can’t claim to both be a referring to the other organization and not be in a trademark trial. I do not see how Pennsylvania would issue them a DBA and trying to do business under the name Open Hillel without a DBA is a crime. In Pennsylvania the B’NAI B’RITH HILLEL FOUNDATION BUILDING FUND OF PENNSYLVANIA, HILLEL OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA… exist and they are going to lay claim.

        The Swathmore BDSers cannot have a Hillel brand Jewish community center (again assuming they do something involving trade) for the same reason they cannot sell a Coke brand soda. They are trying to do precisely what trademark law is designed to prevent.

        Finally on Title VI here do disagree. Fingerhut runs a private organization with a clear and open religious affiliation. He can choose to consider any doctrine to be heretical and expel from his organization for it. The right to have a regenerate church, i.e. to only include believers and not all comers was one of the things quite literally the pilgrims left England over. This is as settled law as it gets. Church discipline has been upheld by state and federal courts numerous times.

        To pick a few recent examples:
        Paul vs. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 1987
        Guinn vs. Church of Christ of Collinsville 1989
        Williams vs. Gleason 2000

        Fingerhut can declare anti-Zionism to be a Jewish heresy that disqualifies one from being part of the Jewish equivalent of the regenerate and he is on very firm ground. He can’t harass the Swarthmore BDSers but he most certainly can prevent them from using his trademark.

      • Hostage
        April 4, 2015, 12:58 pm

        @JeffB There was a death in the family yesterday and I haven’t had time to respond. I promise I’ll post a reply to this shortly when things settle down.

      • Hostage
        April 28, 2015, 2:27 am

        So I’m going to get a little more specific with a scenario. Assume that Open Hillel of Swarthmore didn’t change their name. George from Open Hillel invites Phil (Ali Abunimah or …) to speak. Phil agrees. George … We have 4 possible claims.

        No, the fact is that Hillel International isn’t the source of anything at Swarthmore. It looks like the Philly Area Hillel may have provided a Reconstructionist Faculty Advisor who had finished her seminary work. She has announced her departure. Other than that, the College provided all of the grants and setup individual accounts with the Student Budget Committee for each Jewish Group on Campus, e.g. Chabad Chaverim, Hillel, Swat Students for Israel, etc.
        http://sbc.swarthmore.edu/ http://sbc.swarthmore.edu/files/payment_request.pdf
        and provided them with an Interfaith facility, Bond Hall. http://www.swarthmore.edu/religious-spiritual-life/interfaith-center

        The answer to your hypothetical is that George is not an agent of Open Hillel. If he is a member of Swat Hillel, then he’s not passing off. His group really was an official affiliate of the Greater Philly Area Hillel Foundation, named Hillel – even after the resolution saying it was also an Open Hillel.

        Andrea claims she thought the contract was with Hillel and wouldn’t have signed a contract with payment after the event with some small student club. Betsy claims she thought it was a Hillel event and wouldn’t have bought the ticket had she known.

        Hillel International and the Local Philly Hillel Foundation didn’t fund Swat Hillel, the College did. The Hillel didn’t change its name, so Andrea was dealing with the same small non-profit student group in any case and should have known that. Here’s what Title 15 of the Pennsylvania State Code says about Liabilities of an unincorporated association: § 9117. Liability.

        (a) Scope.–

        (1) A debt, obligation or other liability of a nonprofit association, whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise, is solely the debt, obligation or other liability of the nonprofit association.

        (2) A member or manager is not personally liable, directly or indirectly, by way of contribution or otherwise, for a debt, obligation or other liability of the nonprofit association solely by reason of being or acting as a member or manager.

        (3) This subsection applies regardless of the dissolution of the nonprofit association.

        (b) Liability for conduct.–A person’s status as a member or manager does not prevent or restrict law other than this chapter from imposing liability on the person or the nonprofit association because of the person’s conduct.

        (c) Agents.–A person that makes a contract or incurs an obligation on behalf of a nonprofit association after September 9, 2013, is not liable for performance or breach of the contract or other obligation if the fact that the person was acting for the nonprofit association was disclosed to, was known by or reasonably should have been known by the other party to the contract or to the party owed performance.

        (d) Observation of formalities.–The failure of a nonprofit association to observe formalities relating to the exercise of its powers or the management of its activities and affairs is not a ground for imposing liability on a member or manager of the nonprofit association for a debt, obligation or other liability of the nonprofit association.

        (July 9, 2013, P.L.476, No.67, eff. 60 days)

        2013 Amendment. Act 67 added section 9117.

      • just
        April 4, 2015, 1:06 pm

        My condolences, Hostage.

      • Hostage
        April 8, 2015, 8:13 am

        My condolences, Hostage.

        Well thank you, and everyone else here. The deceased was a lifelong best friend of mine and one of my brother-in-law’s siblings. He passed away after a long illness. He was probably considered the favorite uncle among my sister’s children and grandchildren. They all came in from out-of-town to attend the funeral. She and I were both busy hosting everyone and putting-up all of those who stayed-over to visit.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 8, 2015, 10:39 am

        lifelong best friend

        ohhh. sending love – big hug.

      • JeffB
        April 4, 2015, 2:53 pm

        @Hostage

        Understood. Take whatever time you need.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 4, 2015, 3:37 pm

        sending my love hostage.

      • RoHa
        April 8, 2015, 7:16 pm

        My sympathy, Hostage. It takes a while.
        I still keep thinking of jokes to tell my brother, but he died two years ago. Actually, I still sometimes think of things to tell my father, and he died thirty years ago.

      • just
        April 8, 2015, 8:47 pm

        A lovely and caring comment, RoHa.

        Thanks for sharing it.

      • Boomer
        April 16, 2015, 4:24 pm
      • Boomer
        April 16, 2015, 4:27 pm

        Hostage, I’m posting here, not to reply to this specific message of yours, but to express sympathy on your loss. There didn’t seem to be a reply button at the appropriate place for that. While writing, I will add that I’ve really come to appreciate the knowledge and insight you bring: I’ve learned a lot from you.

    • Hostage
      April 1, 2015, 9:16 pm

      As for Open Hillel not wanting to conduct business. If they don’t conduct business they can’t violate a trademark and the rest doesn’t matter.

      I’d have agreed with you, if you had stopped right there. The government hasn’t given B’nai Brith a monopoly on campus political activities and services under any name, for the simple reason that those activities fall completely outside of the scope of the categories and types of services listed on the registrations of the limited monopoly rights that have been published for objection by USPTO. You are comparing apples to oranges again. The Swarthmore Hillel could have adopted a resolution proclaiming itself a Rainbow LGBT Hillel, and Open Hillel or any other number of things without violating any trademark statutes or student association bylaws, or altering a word in its papers of incorporation.

    • just
      April 8, 2015, 8:23 am

      Lots of hugs and tears, then.

      I hope that your memories of your friend and those that share your mourning will sustain you and your loved ones.

  11. Dan
    April 1, 2015, 11:02 pm

    Restrictions placed by Hillel on debate is a foolish, wrongheaded policy.

    Let a thousand flowers bloom – especially at universities, diversity of opinion should be encouraged, and a guiding principle. Unfortunately, it is at universities these days where that principle is under siege, by both the left and the right.

  12. MHughes976
    April 8, 2015, 1:51 pm

    I haven’t heard any more – well, it’s a long holiday weekend – about the terrible loss of free speech in the name of public order at Southampton University. I think there is to be some legal action, though it’s a long shot.

  13. Hostage
    April 11, 2015, 4:06 pm

    I have to tell you I’m starting to lose track on what points of law we are disagreeing about vs. what points of fact we are disagreeing about vs. what points of likely outcome we are disagreeing about.

    Starting this here to avoid narrowed-down block quotes. We are disagreeing on: (a) the meaning of just about every important point of Jewish religion, history, and culture; and (b) the extent to which contracts, common law, or federal and state laws can be used to regulate individuals or their religious or political associations.

    I’ve discussed the details of all those individual subjects here in the past, including the disastrous results of the dispute between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel over relations with the Gentile inhabitants of the Land of Israel and denial of their basic humanity. I’ve never tried to condense all of those thousands of comments into one reply before. But I really do think that there is a unified “Jewish Theory of Everything” which explains all of the hatred and attempts at censorship within the Jewish community that invariably get triggered by the Zionists among us, whenever anyone else talks about “The Three Oaths”, “the State of Israel’s right to exist”, or the State of Israel’s formal adoption of a dual system of laws and regulations that deny the most basic human rights to the non-Jewish inhabitants of the country and any occupied territories unlucky enough to come under its jurisdiction. If readers will stick with me, I’ll try to tie-up some of the loose ends.

    Our Gentile friends can be excused for their ignorance about the sage Hillel. But I’m really amazed that the task of having to explain exactly why Hillel International’s position is so ridiculous and outlandish on religious grounds, has fallen through the cracks into the hands of a secular Jew, like myself. There have been scores of articles, both here and in the Jewish press, about this heated debate inside the local Hillel chapters and none of them have explained it either. Maybe some of those authors will read this and spread the word.

    I’ll have to address the religious and cultural aspects here and the legal aspects in separate comments, just to keep this post down to a manageable size.

    It’s only fitting for Hillel chapters to object about the attempt by Hillel International to impose a policy, “in the name of Hillel”, of silencing or disaffiliating groups of religious Jews who insist on politely hearing and discussing opposing points of view regarding violations of the law and fundamental human rights. Like the Christian Professor who helped establish the first campus Hillel chapter, I’m shocked that so many Jews aren’t more familiar with their own biblical literature and traditions on the subject. The “law” and “the way to go” (a.k.a. the Torah and the Halakhah) are supposed to govern nearly every aspect of Jewish life – even on campus. The Talmud tells us that the law followed the House of Hillel when it came to these differences over basic human rights and listening to, or debating, opposing points of view:

    Rabbi Abba said in the name of Samuel: For three years the Schools of Hillel and Shammai were in conflict, each saying, “the law is according to our view.” A heavenly voice announced: “Both are the words of the living God – but the law is according to the School of Hillel.” But if both are the words of the living God, why did the School of Hillel “win?” Because they were calm and humble and always taught both their own view and that of the school of Shammai. Moreover, they would always state the view of the School of Shammai before their own.

    – Babylonian Talmud, Eruvin, 13b http://halakhah.com/rst/moed/13a%20-%20Eruvin%20-%202a-26b.pdf (.pdf file)

    So, the Talmud encourages all of the Jewish faithful to be disciples or students of the teachings of the “House” or “School” of Hillel and to follow their example, rather than the example of the House of Shammai in the case of these particular debates over Jewish relations with others.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia article on “Gentiles” explains that some Jewish sages held that the Torah itself was Israel’s exclusive, Divine inheritance. They felt that anyone who revealed it to a Gentile was worthy of death. The story about Hillel and the Golden Rule implicitly deals with that subject and what the law said about relations with the Gentiles

    On another occasion it happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, ‘Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.’ Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder’s cubit which was in his hand. When he went before Hillel, he said to him, ‘What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.’

    Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbath, Folio 31a http://halakhah.com/shabbath/shabbath_31.html (.html file)

    Many Jews today think that the Torah deals only with the subject of Israel’s relationship to God. But this story about Hillel says that the Torah, and all of the 613 commandments, can be boiled-down to just one simple rule that governs a person’s neighborly relations with everyone else (including God).

    Xenophobia, paranoia, and dislike of Gentiles is likened to idolatry in the Jewish religious literature on these debates. The scriptures indicate that there were always unassimilated, native-born Gentiles living in the Land of Israel. They included the remaining Canaanites that King Solomon conscripted to build the first Temple. They also included the Rechabites, righteous Bedouin descendants of Jethro. the priest of Midian, who lived on the southern border of Judah and in their own communities by the Sea of Galilee in the Northern Kingdom. Various other groups of native born or visiting Gentiles are mentioned in the books of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Scriptures.

    According to the Torah, there is only supposed to be one law for these native-born Jews and Gentiles and for any strangers who happen to be sojourning in the land. Some claim that the term “strangers” only applies to proselytes or converts to Judaism, but that interpretation is simply untenable. The same scriptures remind us to love the strangers, because our own Patriarchs were once strangers in Egypt. The only ritual formula that the Torah requires each Jew to recite is the one which reminds us that our Patriarch and his family went down to Egypt and became a great and mighty nation there. The scriptural story of their sojourn in Egypt does not say that they were proselytes or converted to another national religion.

    According to the Talmudic legends in Yoma and Gittin, empty acts of piety, charity, and hatred without a cause had become endemic in the Jewish religious community. Those conditions eventually led to the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the exile, e.g. Yoma 9b says:

    But why was the second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they were occupying themselves with Torah, [observance of] precepts, and the practice of charity? Because therein prevailed hatred without cause. That teaches you that groundless hatred is considered as of even gravity with the three sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed together.

    link to halakhah.com (.pdf file)
    Shulchan Aruch Orech Chayim sec. 580 lists dates on the Jewish Calendar on which tragic events occurred. It’s traditional for a religious person to fast on those days. The last date on the list is the 9th of Adar, when the dispute between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel over “the 18 ordinances” took place. The disciples of Shammai, subsequently managed to murder enough of the followers of Hillel to secure a majority of votes in the Sanhedrin in favor of implementing the ordinances:

    “The disciples of the school of Shammai stood below, slaughtering the disciples of the school of Hillel. Six of them ascended, while the rest threatened them with swords and spears.”

    — See the extract from the Jerusalem Talmud at link to biu.ac.il

    Our sages tell us that

    “Five misfortunes befell our forefathers on the 17th of Tammuz,” … …”The second is also from the Talmud, tractate Shabbat 13b and 17a”: A count was conducted, and it was found that the sages of Shammai were more numerous than the sages of Hillel. Eighteen ordinances were enacted on that day… and that day was as difficult for the people of Israel as the day on which the Golden Calf was made.

    — See link to chabad.org and link to halakhah.com

    Then as now, some bigoted Jews created a controversy that almost destroyed the Jewish people by insisting that they accept a legal system which viewed Gentiles as enemies. The new ordinances made it illegal to have anything at all to do with native born or foreign Gentiles. Then as now, the Zionist zealots insisted that Jews cannot live normal lives and co-exist in peace with Gentiles. The Jewish Encyclopedia notes that it eventually became impossible for the two differing Houses to even form a minyan and worship together in public under the same roof:

    Bitter feelings were consequently engendered between the schools; and it appears that even in public worship they would no longer unite under one roof (Jost, “Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten,” i. 261; Tosef., R. H., end). These feelings grew apace, until toward the last days of Jerusalem’s struggle they broke out with great fury.

    As all the nations around Judea made common cause with the Romans, the Zealots were naturally inflamed against every one of them; and therefore the Shammaites proposed to prevent all communication between Jew and Gentile, by prohibiting the Jews from buying any article of food or drink from their heathen neighbors. The Hillelites, still moderate in their religious and political views, would not agree to such sharply defined exclusiveness; but when the Sanhedrin was called together to consider the propriety of such measures, the Shammaites, with the aid of the Zealots, gained the day. Eleazar ben Ananias invited the disciples of both schools to meet at his house. Armed men were stationed at the door, and instructed to permit every one to enter, but no one to leave. During the discussions that were carried on under these circumstances, many Hillelites are said to have been killed; and there and then the remainder adopted the restrictive propositions of the Shammaites, known in the Talmud as “The Eighteen Articles.” On account of the violence which attended those enactments, and because of the radicalism of the enactments themselves, the day on which the Shammaites thus triumphed over the Hillelites was thereafter regarded as a day of misfortune (Tosef., Shab. i. 16 et seq.; Shab. 13a, 17a; Yer. Shab. i. 3c).

    link to jewishencyclopedia.comThe Jewish Encyclopedia also explains that before his death Hillel is said to have prophetically designated Johanan Ben Zakkai, his youngest pupil, as “the father of wisdom” and “the father of coming generations” (Yer. Ned. v., end, 39b). Zakkai, was the primary source of the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. According to the theory formulated in the Mishnah (Ab. ii. 8), that traditions were handed down through an unbroken chain of scholars, Johanan, in receiving the teachings of Hillel, formed the last link in that chain.
    Johanan argued in favor of peace with the Roman’s during the Jewish Revolt. He was trapped in Jerusalem during Vespasian’s siege against the city. (Giṭ. 56b; Lam. R. i. 5; Ab. R. N. iv.). When the strife between the Zealots and the other parties in the besieged city became unbearable he had his students carry him to the Roman camp in a coffin to negotiate with Vespasian. He even obtained permission to teach and practice his religion on a portion of the Roman Emperor’s personal Estate in Yavneh (aka Yabneh/Jamnia). He established an academy and an authoritative rabbinic college there and turned it into the new center of Jewish religious life after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. link to jewishencyclopedia.comFor almost two millennia, religious Jews were taught that their return to the Land of Israel would be governed by the conditions of “The Three Oaths”:

    ‘What was the purpose of those three adjurations? — One, that Israel shall not go up [all together as if surrounded] by a wall; the second, that whereby the Holy One, blessed be He, adjured Israel that they shall not rebel against the nations of the world; and the third is that whereby the Holy One, blessed be He, adjured the idolaters that they shall not oppress Israel too much’.

    Kethuboth 111a http://halakhah.com/kethuboth/kethuboth_111.html

    FYI, the Gentile “nations” have never been completely synonymous with the idolators or persecutors of the Jewish people. The friendly nations didn’t overly burden the Zionists about their return to Palestine. Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate simply imposed “suitable conditions” to allow gradual, rather than mass Jewish immigration, in the interest of preserving the rights and position of the existing Gentile communities. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp#art6 In response, the Zionists rebelled and formed underground terror units which ignored the imposition of official immigration quotas. Next the United Nations agreed to the establishment of a Jewish state. But only on condition that a declaration regarding equality of rights would be supplied to the United Nations by the new Provisional Government and that it would swear the stipulations contained in it were:

    “recognized as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them: “No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.

    All persons within the jurisdiction of the State shall be entitled to equal protection of the laws.”

    The Nations said those rights:

    “shall be under the guarantee of the United Nations, and no modifications shall be made in them without the assent of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Any Member of the United Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the General Assembly any infraction or danger of infraction of any of these stipulations, and the General Assembly may thereupon make such recommendations as it may deem proper in the circumstances.

    Any dispute relating to the application or interpretation of this declaration shall be referred, at the request of either party, to the International Court of Justice, unless the parties agree to another mode of settlement.

    UN Resolution 181(II) http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm

    I’ve commented dozens of times here about the fact that the Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, and the Government of Israel had claimed at the time that they had accepted that resolution and swore during the subsequent hearings on UN membership that they had provided for all of those stipulations in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Their representatives claimed that they had published the declaration as the law the land in their new official State Gazette. But in actual practice they haven’t lived up to either their UN or Torah obligations to love the stranger and to adopt one law for the native born Jews and Gentiles – even after the General Assembly belatedly took them to the World Court in 2003. The Zionists and the State of Israel continue to rebel against the nations over the findings in that case. Now history is just repeating itself. Instead of having one or two states, with justice and liberty for all, the disciples of the House of Shammai have “doubled down” and continue to build walls of separation, even among the Jews. Then as now, they have become ill-tempered and refuse to even allow us to meet together under one roof in the name of Hillel to discuss the mess they’ve made of things and to give opposing views a fair hearing. They blame anyone who even remotely resembles a modern disciple of Hillel for violating their heretical policy guidelines.

    • just
      April 11, 2015, 4:39 pm

      I’ve been struck nearly speechless through 2 readings of your post, Hostage.

      “Then as now, they have become ill-tempered and refuse to even allow us to meet together under one roof in the name of Hillel to discuss the mess they’ve made of things and to give opposing views a fair hearing. They blame anyone who even remotely resembles a modern disciple of Hillel for violating their heretical policy guidelines.”

      Incredibly powerful.

      Whether secular, observant, believing in anything or nothing insofar as religion, it does all boil down to the essential Golden Rule.

      Thank you.

      • Hostage
        April 13, 2015, 10:14 am

        I’ve been struck nearly speechless through 2 readings of your post, Hostage

        I apologize for the length of the post. But I wanted to make sure that everyone here thoroughly understood the fact that Hillel International’s 2010 Policy Guidelines on the State of Israel are an absolute perversion of every vital principle of the Torah and the Halakhah that the real House of Hillel stands for in mainstream, historical Judaism and traditional Jewish culture.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 13, 2015, 10:45 am

        thank you hostage. i recall learning from you about that showdown between hillel and the Shammaites before. “to permit every one to enter, but no one to leave.”

        it does seem strange to use the name hillel and then not ascribe to his beliefs. assuming, at a minimum, that religious jews know this history, and many that are not religious, it’s hard to comprehend how they could not realize history is repeating itself. at least it seems to be.

        it’s a crazy decision to make, the separation between jews and gentiles. i was raised without an understanding of either of them, much less a separation between the two. what’s the point of having an identity that separates yourself from most of mankind?

      • Hostage
        April 13, 2015, 3:19 pm

        . i recall learning from you about that showdown between hillel and the Shammaites before. “to permit every one to enter, but no one to leave.” … it’s a crazy decision to make, the separation between jews and gentiles.

        I hope that you’ve also learned from me that the United Nations conditioned the establishment of Jewish and Arab states on complete legal equality for everyone and that there never was any intention of severing either communications or commerce between the Jews and Gentiles. I’ve commented almost endlessly here about the fact that the minority protection plan, and the plan for economic union and right of transit, were integral, indivisible parts of the “Plan for the Future Government of Palestine” a.k.a. UN resolution 181(II).

        I’ve also discussed “The Three Oaths” here in the past. Some Orthodox Jews claim that the criteria have already been fulfilled, while others contend that it’s still just a prophecy of future events. This is the first time I’ve explicitly pointed out the connection between the Oaths and the criteria regarding legal equality for all in both the Torah and the stipulations contained in resolution 181(II). To say that Zionists have rebelled against the Nations in that regard would be a guarded understatement.

        it does seem strange to use the name hillel and then not ascribe to his beliefs.

        I agree, but the primary problem is the use of an utterly false name association with the beliefs of an authoritative Jewish religious institution, the House or School of Hillel, in order to deliberately disparage, bring into disrepute, and even prohibit the adoption of its core beliefs – all “in the name of Hillel” – and under the auspices of “the commerce clause” of the US Constitution. It’s supremely ironic to me, that Jewish religious tradition teaches everyone that the real students of Hillel were so strongly opposed to the adoption of man-made ordinances forbidding any commerce or communications between Jews and their Palestinian neighbors that the measure could only be adopted after they had been put to death with the sword.

        I pointed out in an earlier comment that the trademark statute, itself, attempts to prevent situations, just like this one, from ever coming up in the first place. Any trademark can generally be registered, unless it consists of matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1052

        Everything I’ve outlined above can be easily confirmed by simply reading the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entries for “Gentiles”, “Hillel”, “Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai”, and “Academies in Palestine”, taken together with passages from Rodkinson’s 1918 translation of the Babylonian Talmud or the Soncino versions. The documentary evidence establishes, beyond any doubt, that prior to either its registration by USPTO or its first use “in commerce”, “Hillel” was in common English usage. It was: (a) the name of a famous deceased person; (b) a name that already had a secondary generic meaning. It was used with the definite article (“The House of Hillel”, “The School of Hillel”, “The Academy of Hillel”) to identify “a college”, “a sort of university or academy”, or a specific, authoritative (halakhical) Jewish religious institution with a very well-defined set of beliefs and practices. There were already institutions on university campuses here and abroad, like the Hillel Book Club at Texas A&M. For example, the “Hillel House” of the Perse School in Cambridge, England was established in 1904. It was originally a Jewish day school for the children of Cambridge dons. It evolved into a co-educational boarding school, a student athletic society, and a religious center/home away from home for Jewish students of all ages. Its members are known as “Hillelians”. They in-turn have been active in founding other university organizations there that promote Jewish, Christian, and Muslim interfaith relations and study offerings under the Cambridge University system umbrella and imprimatur, i.e. The Woolf Institute, The Centre for the Study of Jewish Christian Relations, The Centre for the Study of Muslim Jewish Relations, and The Centre for Policy and Public Education. I wonder if JeffB is worried about consumer confusion in those cases?

        All the available evidence suggests that the original Hillel Foundations deliberately chose the name Hillel for the same reasons as everyone else – precisely because it symbolized those beliefs and practices that I’ve described above. That was certainly the case when the trademark was first used in commerce in 1923; when it was first published for public objections by USPTO; and during the five year waiting period before the papers were filed requesting that the mark be granted uncontestable status.

      • just
        April 13, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Hostage~ I’ve learned so much from you!

        Thank you for your posts, and thanks for being here.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2015, 1:52 am

        hostage, i’ve read your comments in this thread many times now — over time. they are incredibly valuable. thank you for linking to them again in this thread http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/supreme-israel-jerusalem#comment-773581

        i keep sending them to people and really hope they read them. you are a treasure, our treasure.

        xx
        a

      • Hostage
        June 11, 2015, 2:43 am

        i keep sending them to people and really hope they read them.

        xx
        a

        XX back at ya

        Oh, Lord! Hostage is at it again.

        Yes in hindsight there are admittedly a number of errors in punctuation and grammar, plus some gaps and strange whitespace caused by my digital dyslexia. Maybe Annie should let you moderate my comments before they go public;-)

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2015, 2:58 am

        i’ve already cleaned up a bunch of those ‘gaps’ that come from copying historical texts hostage. i often do that with your post. it’s just how they copy. and it’s very easy to fix.

    • JeffB
      April 20, 2015, 7:28 am

      @Hostage

      Sorry for the delay in responding. Trademark law when it comes to religious identities is clear. If a trademark is granted, religious organizations are still entitled to use the name but those religious organizations have an obligation to make sure consumers aren’t confused between the religious organization and the commercial brand. I am free to setup a temple of Nike, and an organization associated with that temple — but that temple better not get into the business of selling footwear. I am free to setup a temple to Saturn but that temple better not get into the business of selling cars. Similarly a purely religiously Jewish Hillel society can exist but it better not get into the business of running college social clubs. The point of Open Hillel is of course to create precisely the kind of confusion that trademark law prohibits as a way of protesting against B’nai B’rith’s brand of social clubs.

      Now a religion under USA law is defined as an organization functionally equivalent to an institution whose primary focus is the relationship between man and creator. Human rights organizations, even those with a religious bent are not religions. Hillel International is not the one making the claim about how narrow the religious exemption is, that’s USA law. Certainly a group that was actually studying the teachings of Rabbi Hillel would fall under this umbrella and all would be fine. But of course a group that wanted to study Rabbi Hillel would present no problem for Hillel International, though they would be better off doing that sort of study with their synagogue or an OU club. In reality of course we both know that if I handed a page of Talmud with some teachings of Hillel the typical Open Hillel kid could not find the zugot quote much less have an interest in studying it. Jewish Voice for Peace / Open Hillel kids (I’ll use JVP/OH), with possibly rare exceptions, have 0 interest in Hillel, they want to be in a college based human rights organization not a religious organization. Non-religious non profits have stricter rules about avoiding each other’s trademarks.

      Everything else hangs on this important point. JVP/OH is not a religious group and thus doesn’t get the religious exemption regarding the use of the Hillel brandname for their college social clubs. This is a simple case, Open Hillel is trying to do precisely the activity that trademark law is designed to prevent.

      The second argument you make is that the name Hillel is irreplaceable. That is if a court were to agree the name Hillel should never have been trademarked because of Rabbi Hillel’s unique status in Judaism. Now let me just point out that even if that were true there are variants on Hillel’s name like HaBavli which wouldn’t violate the trademark and I’d be hard pressed to see why the court wouldn’t demand that Open Hillel use those to avoid brand confusion.

      But of course the uniqueness argument is not true. Certainly Hillel is an important Rabbi. But other rabbis like Maimonides, Akiva, Rashi are certainly greater in importance and influence. Even if one were to limit to just the 10 Zugot you can make a case he is the greatest, but that’s it and I can easily see others disagreeing. For example Simeon ben Shetach (another Zugot) forms the Yeshiva system under Alexander Jannæus. The fact is little of Hillel’s teaching have survived, while earlier because he simply wasn’t that important. What has survived is mostly about candle lighting, divorce, contents of the Haggadah… in line with what survives from most of the Zugot. I should mention that all of this material is stuff the Open Hillel people don’t care about. So I suspect if a court were to rule on their challenge to the trademark the court would assert that even if they felt they needed to pick a Rabbi’s name and not name themselves like many other Jewish non-profits that don’t use Rabbinic names there is no particular reason that the JVP/OH kids can’t pick one of dozens of equally important Rabbis.

      Now of course one could argue it isn’t Hillel personally but the school of Hillel that was uniquelly influential. But even here you run into slightly problems. In the mid 1st century Hillel’s school was increasingly marginalized. When Hillel came back into fashion he did so under the explicit theocracy of Gamliel of Yavne (the successor to the Johanan Ben Zakkai you mentioned). The Tannaim treated him as important but not in any sense unique. As for saying the importance is some sort of secularism that is simply not born out by the facts. Hillel operated comfortable in a Jewish monarchical theocracy and his later influence was on the formation of the tribal theocracy of the Tannaim in the aftermath of the 1st Jewish-Roman war. There is no hint of secularism in his life or his legacy. The quotes you are giving are lacking a context and the effect is analogous to debating George Washington’s role in the War of the Roses. If you were to associate Hillel (and for that matter Johanan Ben Zakkai) with any political cause it would be not supporting the anti-colonialism of the Zealots. Which makes the tie you are attempting particularly ironic for the JVP/OH group whose defining issue is fierce anti-colonialism.

      • Hostage
        April 21, 2015, 4:23 pm

        @ JeffB, let me explain something to you. I’ve commented elsewhere that my day job in the Air Force for many years required me to arrange for the contract work performed by members of the DoD research community on computer operating systems employed for telecommunications. I also participated in UNIX/IEEE standard setting bodies. Nearly everyone involved was an AT&T source code licensee. Despite the fact that Bell Labs was part of one of the largest government-franchised monopolies of all time, all of us were working within the strict parameters of a DOJ antitrust consent decree, until the local Bells were finally spun-off in the 1980s. After that, AT&T entered the communications computer data market and became a normal competitor. From that point on, everyone was constantly threatened and reminded that the UNIX source code was protected by trademark, copyright, patent, and license non-disclosure agreements regarding proprietary trade secrets. The new policies were so onerous that the research community quickly formed various “Open Group”, “Open Source”, BSD, or Free Software foundations and/or protest movements. Several of them were located in the same Harvard-MIT community that spawned the Open Hillel movement. For decades there were infringement lawsuits between AT&T and its successors in interest and licensees including UNIX Systems Labs vs The University of California Regents, SCO vs IBM, & manufacturers who employed the Linux/Android kernel source code. Unlike the smart lawyers at the DOJ, I managed to retire without getting sued by anyone for infringement, theft, or weird entanglements with the Israeli Mossad. See the Inslaw scandal entry @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inslaw

        So I wasn’t born yesterday. You’re going off the deep end quite a bit and engaging in fanciful discussions that really have nothing to do with reality. Each case has to be decided individually by the Courts, based upon the material facts and the applicable laws. In these cases, the necessary facts simply aren’t available to the public yet. There are reliable reports from former Hillel officials in the Jewish Daily Forward and the Jewish Press which claim: that there is nothing in their affiliation agreements that would permit the CEO of Hillel International to fire anyone; that all of the affiliation agreements they are familiar with contain non-exclusive trademark license agreements; that Fingerhut hasn’t revoked or disaffiliated a single foundation or campus student group yet, despite the fact that many of them have ignored the new Israel guidelines; that the Greater Philadelphia Area Hillel Foundation still considers Swarthmore Kehilah to be one of its campus organizations. So, Fingerhut has presumably been threatening the school administrators instead, on what appears to be a rather flimsy theory of their unlicensed use of the Hillel name and mark or for unfair competition.

        FYI, under both the Federal Rules of Procedure and the Trademark Statute itself, anyone holding one of those affiliate license agreements is entitled to request relief from the Court against a claim of infringement on the grounds of a statutory affirmative defense. See Rule 8(c) License https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_8 and 15 U.S. Code § 1115 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1115

        It appears that, since the spin-off, B’nai B’rith and Hillel International may have been deceiving the public through the use of the service mark about the true source of the services, funding, and ownership of the individual Hillels. That is one of the statutory defenses against a claim of infringement. I’ll comment on your hypothetical examples and your church or religious-affiliated group arguments in separate comments.

      • JeffB
        April 22, 2015, 8:24 am

        @Hostage

        Nice to know you worked on the early days. Your history is a bit off. The Open Group was an industry alliance against Sun and AT&T it had nothing to do with open source but rather open standards. The open source movement in the 1980s centered on LISP machines and VMS while Unixes were a different group of people entirely. They merged during the 1980s with the GNU project. FreeBSD (though at that time BSD386) is probably the closest to what you are describing, and the threat of lawsuit required them to make some changes.

        In particular you don’t see any of the BSDs, Linuxes, Minix, etc… infringing on DEC, Sun, SGI, HP, Compaq, IBM… trademarks. The question by analogy is not whether a company can have a Unix compatible operating system, but whether that company can call that operating system Solaris without Sun suing the crap out of you.

        Finally I should mention you as an individual are unlikely to get sued. Entities who get sued generally have money, companies sue each other over trademark. Which is precisely why the University is likely to be the ones threatened first about their participation in trademark infringement before the students get threatened because they have the resources to pay if they lose. The same way that if I opened my own Coca-Cola Bottling Company without Coke’s permission using a Pepsi distributor, the distributor would be quite likely also be threatened.
        __________

        As for the courts deciding, of course the courts are going to decide on the material facts. And not all the details are public. But what is public is dreadful for Open Hillel of Swathmore (and similarly for the others)

        1) We have clear evidence that Hillel was a brand name for 90 years with a trademark filled on that name.
        2) We have a large organization called Hillel International that passes sums of money around to branch offices called Hillel. There is ongoing activity and community awareness of the brand.
        3) There are 2 Hillel DBAs in the state of Pennsylvania, both of which go back substantially before Open Hillel and both of them with institutional and financial ties to Hillel International.
        4) Open Hillel has no legal connection to Hillel, nor any historical connection.
        5) We have clear statements from Open Hillel that their point of their naming was to create precisely the sort of brand confusion with trademark law does not allow.
        6) Everyone with better claim is going to testify against Open Hillel.

        Those are horrific facts. I agree we don’t know all the facts but the facts we do know are incredibly damning.

        Does B’nai B’rith own the exclusive right to use the brand Hillel with regard to college social clubs: Yes they do.
        Does Open Hillel have B’nai B’rith’s permission to use their brand: No they don’t.
        Do the other Hillel’s have B’nai B’rith’s permission to use their brand: Yes they do.

        And if that’s not in explicit paperwork the court can just ask B’nai B’rith and they will happily fill out an interrogatory saying that most Hillel’s aren’t infringing their brand while the Open Hillels are.

        Or maybe they don’t go after them on USA Hillel trademark but instead go after them under the fact that they don’t have a DBA for Hillel which is an existing DBA in Pennsylvania.

        If I started my own Coca-Cola bottling company without Coke’s permission I could easily present the same kind of arguments you are trying to present regarding how John Pemberton didn’t necessarily have clear title and Mariani is really the one to create a cocoa wine… And I’d still lose. I could present arguments that the association agreement between Coca-Cola bottling companies and Coca-Cola is not as clear on the brand as I’d like, and I’d still lose. Whatever issues there may be with Coca-Cola’s association agreement I’m still trying to do precisely what trademark law exist to prevent.

        As for the association agreement and a defense. A real Hillel could break with Hillel International the same way a Coca-Cola bottling company can break from Coca-Cola. And in the real world that bottling company is not going to get to use the Coke name.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 22, 2015, 10:17 am

        jeff, if hillel can be trademarked exclusively, why not washington or jesus?

      • Hostage
        April 22, 2015, 6:36 pm

        @JeffB

        Your trademark analogies and arguments are really not relevant, I only mentioned the UNIX example because of the license or contract agreements. Those can be used to impose terms and conditions that have nothing at all to do with the content or intent of the federal statutes. Licenses also happen to be the only real leverage that Fingerhut might posses. To borrow the hammer analogy, if all you have is a license, everything starts looking like a licensee. But that’s an inherent weakness too. We are talking about a service mark. In order to satisfy the statute criteria that has to be an activity you perform for third parties, not your own organization or member associations. So on Swarthmore we have Chabad, Chaverim, Hillel, Swat Students for Israel, and a host of other student groups that may have Jewish participants who could request services from the local Hillel chapter. Fingerhut doesn’t have a license agreement with any of those other groups, so nothing at all prevents them from employing the word “Hillel” or participating in the Open Hillel protest movement as disgruntled customers, so long as they satisfy the criteria I’ve mentioned above for statutory or nominative fair use.

        We aren’t disagreeing on the seminar type issue. I’ve said that multiple times, “you have to engage in trade to violate a trademark”. There is no question that Open Hillel can as long as money doesn’t change hands be fine.

        You still failed to grasp that “money changed hands” in both of the Supreme Court cases (and all of the others that I mentioned above) AND that the defendants don’t need the trademark owner’s consent to use the words in commerce under either the statutory fair use exception or in the case of nominative fair use. There is no consumer confusion burden of proof for the defendant in a statutory fair use case. The only confusion test the Courts allow in the case of nominative fair use is whether or not the defendant falsely claimed or implied the owner’s endorsement or approval.

        Your history is a bit off. The Open Group was an industry alliance against Sun and AT&T it had nothing to do with open source but rather open standards.

        There was no need for any such alliance, while AT&T was legally prohibited from competing in the market. And The Open Group formed for exactly the reasons I stated. You’re just having some reading comprehension difficulties. I never said the Open Group had anything to do with open source. I said that once AT&T became a competitor, it adopted new licensing policies for its source code that “were so onerous that the research community quickly formed various “Open Group”, “Open Source”, BSD, or Free Software foundations and/or protest movements.” I indicated that those were are all separate things.

        Many commercial enterprises were members of the research community who held UNIX source code licenses on code encumbered with patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret (NDA ) licensing terms. Everyone in the commercial UNIX business had a research and development business and an AT&T source code license. So even their non-derivative works were suddenly susceptible to AT&T claims of theft of trade secret methods and procedures. Scientists or programmers who had accessed the source code suddenly had to be quarantined or firewalled-off from participating in other important development projects – just in case. None of the members of the Open Group could even sell their UNIX derivatives without an AT&T license, so there was really no question of competing against AT&T and Sun on a level field without a large strategic patent pool.

      • oldgeezer
        April 22, 2015, 10:41 am

        @JeffB

        Not sure why you mention VMS as being part of the open source movement as it was always rock solid in the proprietary and closed source camp. You could buy a license to have the source but then you could for MVS as well and no one would consider that open source. DECUS, which was a VMS users group, certainly had an open source mindset for user submitted contributions but with a few exceptions DEC products were closed source. I think they may have open sourced a few programs around the late 80’s or mid 90’s such as datatrieve and they did eventually permit free personal user licenses for some products as well.

      • JeffB
        April 22, 2015, 11:09 am

        @oldgeezer

        VMS itself was closed source. But the open source movement first evolved on VMS and LISP machines. Open Source didn’t start with operating systems it started mostly with academic software for specific applications. Academics were fine with buying their hardware and software but didn’t have ongoing budget (nor a market large enough) for applications. I don’t know of anyone prior to Stallman who thought let’s unify these pieces of open source software together entire an entire full featured operating system. Working to fill in the blanks rather than working to “scratch your own itch” was a major change in philosophy. And it was that shift when you can say that Open Source become mostly a Unix phenomena.

        Just to pick a classic example. TeX is key to open source but it was developed in a PDP-10 running Waits (an grandfather of ITS) not a Unix.

      • Hostage
        April 22, 2015, 12:54 pm

        @ JeffB one of the biggest problems with your analysis so far is your failure to comprehend statutory fair use or the related nominative fair use doctrine and the fact that fair
        use is, by definition, not infringement.

        In the example I outlined above, any University Jewish or Hebrew Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, or Interfaith Religion Department could convene a permanent or recurring “Hillel Seminar”, “Hillel Project”, or “Hillel Symposium” and invite guest speakers, scholars, and students to make presentations or submit papers which discuss the ethics and philosophy of Hillel the Elder, the School of Hillel, and what they might say to inform Jewish or Gentile opinion today about the subject of Palestinian human rights in the Biblical Holy Land. They could do that to their heart’s content, so long as the term is used descriptively with regard to the seminar, symposium, or project’s subject matter, and not used in the sense of a commercial trade mark, or service mark. That would be a classic example of statutory fair use against any claim of infringement by a registered trademark owner. “15 U.S. Code § 1115 (b) Incontestability; defenses (4)” stipulates one of the available statutory defenses is: “That the use of the name, term, or device charged to be an infringement is a use, otherwise than as a mark” and T.M.E.P. § 1202 “Use of Subject Matter as Trademark” says:

        Not everything that a party adopts and uses with the intent that it function as a trademark necessarily achieves this goal or is legally capable of doing so, and not everything that is recognized or associated with a party is necessarily a registrable trademark. As the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals observed in In re Standard Oil Co., 275 F.2d 945, 947, 125 USPQ 227, 229 (C.C.P.A. 1960):

        The Trademark Act is not an act to register words but to register trademarks.

        http://www.bitlaw.com/source/tmep/1202.html

        FYI, in KP Permanent Make-Up, Inc. v. Lasting Impression I, Inc., the Supreme Court said that the possibility of consumer confusion in connection with the descriptive use of some generic registered word marks by a competitor in commerce was completely irrelevant in the case of their statutory fair use:

        The question here is whether a party raising the statutory affirmative defense of fair use to a claim of trademark infringement, 15 U. S. C. §1115(b)(4), has a burden to negate any likelihood that the practice complained of will confuse consumers about the origin of the goods or services affected. We hold it does not

        . https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/543/111

        Similarly, the doctrine of nominative fair use allows the minimum necessary portion of a registered trademark needed to positively identify the genuine product or service to be employed – even in commerce – without the owners permission, whenever it is necessary for purposes of criticism, news reporting or comparison, or as a point of reference. In cases where a nominative fair use defense is raised, the Courts only ask whether (1) the product was “readily identifiable” without use of the mark; (2) defendant used more of the mark than necessary; or (3) defendant falsely suggested he was sponsored or endorsed by the trademark holder.” The Courts have also held that this test is the only one required to evaluate the likelihood of confusion in nominative fair use cases. See for example:
        * Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. v. Tabari http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/07/08/07-55344.pdf
        *New Kids on the Block v. News Am. Pub., Inc., 971 F.2d 302 (9th Cir. 1992) https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/domain/tmcases/newk
        *Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, Plaintiff, Appellee, v. Kenneth G. Wheeler, et al., Defendants, Appellants, 814 F.2d 812 (1st Cir. 1987) http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/814/812/335824/
        * Prestonettes, Inc. v. Coty, 264 U.S. 359 (1924) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=264&invol=359

        Disclaimers, such as: “Hillel is a registered trademark of B’nai B’rith International” and “The following views may not represent those of the trademark owners” are optional, but not legally required. In each of the cases listed above, the Courts ruled that the defendants were allowed to use the trademarked words or names without any logo or emblems in their advertising, website names, or business names. Some of those names included “New Kids on the Block”, “Lexus”, “Volkswagen”, “VW”, and “Coty”. The use was required to positively identify the genuine trademarked items that the defendants either discussed in their newspaper articles and contests or sold, serviced, modified, & etc. The Courts even ruled that it was irrelevant in the case of nominative fair use whether or not the practice lowered the trademark owner or licensees’ profit margins or undermined their territorial exclusivity due to fair competition from the defendants for sales and services in the same marketplace.

        No one can positively identify and criticize Hillel International’s Israel guidelines without, as a minimum, using the trademarked word “Hillel”. The Open Hillel movement does not employ the Hillel emblem or logo on their website, and it should be painfully obvious to any reader that the movement has never falsely suggested or implied for one moment that Hillel International supports or endorses the movement’s views.

        With those preliminary rules explained and out of the way, I can make separate comments on some of the examples you have provided.

      • JeffB
        April 22, 2015, 1:25 pm

        @Hostage

        We aren’t disagreeing on the seminar type issue. I’ve said that multiple times, “you have to engage in trade to violate a trademark”. There is no question that Open Hillel can as long as money doesn’t change hands be fine. And of course the can use the term “Hillel” for criticism. That’s fine. Its when they try and operate a Jewish college social club, i.e. a directly competing product, under the Hillel name that they violate trademark. The Open Hillel website criticizing Hillel is not a trademark violation is not a trademark violation.

        But Open Hillel pizza night where a bunch of Jews get together and and pay $5 to Open Hillel for pizza and soda while discussing Jewish topics like Israel is a trademark violation.

        This is not about studying the the teaching of Rabbi Hillel, they have 0 interest in that.
        This is not about the right to critique Hillel International.
        What Open Hillel claims to want to do is to create a ” vibrant, pluralistic Jewish community on campus” . The problem is they want to do it under an existing brandname for Jewish community centers run on colleges for college students.

        As an aside when I was looking at their website for their mission statement even the Open Hillel people don’t buy your argument about the trademark being iffy. They say, “Yes, Hillel would be within its legal rights to be a political organization where only certain views are acceptable — but that’s not what we want to see in our community.” (http://www.openhillel.org/about.php)

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2015, 9:40 pm

        even the Open Hillel people don’t buy your argument about the trademark being iffy. They say, “Yes, Hillel would be within its legal rights to be a political organization where only certain views are acceptable — but that’s not what we want to see in our community.

        I notice you still have reading comprehension problems. There’s no mention of the B’nai B’rith trademark or Hillel International The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life on that page.

        You keep forgetting that these people include, dissatisfied customers, stakeholders, and what the Israel Guideline page called “the Local Hillel”. Those affiliate members are independently funded and are the actual service providers to other Jewish groups on their campus. They quite correctly think of themselves as “Hillel” and can’t be accused of falsely passing themselves off, as such, in any Court until Fingerhut gets off his ass and formally disaffiliates them. You might think it’s cute to conflate a chartered student group name with the name of a service mark, but the Judge would stop you right in your tracks. About a third of the “Local Hillel” affiliates have entity or trade names like “The Vassar Jewish Union”. Adopting a resolution that says they are an “Open Hillel” doesn’t have any relevant legal effects on their charter or affiliation agreement.

        So, you could just as easily interpret that as: “Yes, (our) Hillel would be within its legal rights to be a political organization where only certain views are acceptable — but that’s not what we want to see in our (local) community.

        The “Remaking Hillel” study that I mentioned to Mooser noted that the first CEO of the new Hillel International wanted to borrow a new idea from academia, “accreditation” so that he could use it to fire directors. He assigned the project to a staffer, who reported back that the directors would not accept it, and that it would could only be implemented from the bottom-up. Some Philanthropists donated the money for a consultant and the directors eventually sat down an wrote a watered-down standard themselves. Within a year’s time, the accreditation process was formalized into the “Everett Pilot Program for Excellence”, and eventually a manual was even published.

        Here is the latest Hillel International web page I can find on the bottom-up “accreditation” program that’s dated Jul 25, 2005. http://www.hillel.org/about/news-views/news-views—blog/news-and-views/2005/07/25/striving-for-excellence-hillel-s-accreditation-process It said that after 14 years, only 71 Hillel Foundations in the United States and Canada had received accreditation. So it’s obvious that the 2010 Israel guidelines are not even incorporated in the manual and that its possible that many, if not most, of the 550 Hillels have been unaccredited since the mid-1990s. Here is a relevant statement from another Hillel Official:

        Another point of clarification: Almost all the Hillels are independent organizations with our own tax identification numbers, our own board of directors, our own bylaws and our own tax accountants. Some Hillels are more closely linked with their nearby federations, but the majority are stand-alone, non-for-profit religious organizations. As a result, we are all hired and fired by our local board of directors. While we each have an affiliation agreement with Hillel International, there is nothing in that affiliation agreement to indicate that anybody is going to get fired by the CEO of the organization.

        http://forward.com/opinion/israel/195451/hillel-balances-donors-and-students-on-campus/

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2015, 1:00 am

        Open Source didn’t start with operating systems … I don’t know of anyone prior to Stallman who thought let’s unify these pieces of open source software together entire an entire full featured operating system.

        Just to keep the record straight. The “Educational License” for Research UNIX was free until the late 70s. You were really only paying for the cost of materials , duplication, and shipping of the complete source code tape. It was only licensed for non-commercial, non-competitive educational use, and those licenses required the derivative works to be relicensed for free and redistributed at cost. That’s why you had hundreds of colleges and universities adopting it so quickly and why the original Berkeley license terms were so damned generous. If it had been up to the UC Regents, you’d have never heard of a free license. Stallman only got infuriated because that culture suddenly went away, when the decree was lifted and the cost of a source code license went sky-high. A commercial license was a quarter of a million dollars and hundreds of small businesses just folded-up.

      • Hostage
        April 23, 2015, 1:01 pm

        , if hillel can be trademarked exclusively, why not washington or jesus?

        @Annie, the correct answer is that you can string together preexisting generic words or sprinkle them with a few new ones you’ve coined yourself (“Adventist”), place them on logos, and trademark them together, e.g. “The Standard Oil Company”. You can even sue anyone else who brings that new combination of terms or shapes that you created into disrepute, e.g. “The Seventh Day Adventist Church”. What you cannot do is trademark a single preexisting generic term like “Hillel”, “Jesus”, “Washington”, “Standard”, “Oil”, “Company”, “Seventh”, “Day”, “Church” and try to prevent others from using them in their own unique combinations, e.g. “Open Hillel” or “Independent Hillel Service”. I’ve already explained there is no requirement to obtain the owner’s consent before you use the same unique name in commerce and little or no burden on a defendant to prove the element of confusion is absent in those cases. Here we are taking about a single preexisting generic word or words. For heavens sake, if you could do something like that, why waste your time with Hillel? Just register “The Jewish People” and serve constructive notice to the Zionists that the game is over and its use by others is prohibited.

        Back to reality, From the outset I noted that there aren’t any of the usual supporting documents for the original Hillel Torah Scroll logo application available online in the USPTO TESS database. The applicant would have been required to submit a written list of all known exceptions to its claims of exclusivity – and there were plenty of them. I pointed out that the Hebrew Union Seminary had given one of their rabbinical candidates an assignment to work with the students of the University of Illinois campus at Urbana and how that classic campus ministry evolved into the very first Hillel. It’s no accident that a “Synagogue” is just synonym for a Jewish community center that does all of the things listed as “association services” on the Hillel trademark registrations.

        JeffB incorrectly stated that B’nai B’rith and Hillel International are “churches”, but never explains how they would be able to keep the many other church entities, e.g. a “Temple Beth Hillel”, from coming onto a campus and competing in the marketplace by setting up their own brand named “integral auxiliaries”, just like the Hebrew Union Seminary did in the first place. Ever since the Clinton era, the barriers that kept some of them off of campuses in the past have disappeared under the auspices of “charitable choice” legislation and “faith-based initiative” programs. JeffB seems blissfully unaware of the fact that any attempt to block them by Hillel International could be construed as per se violation of the antitrust statutes.

        So it’s just silly for JeffB to suggest that anyone can use a trademark to prevent that same type of private religious unincorporated association from meeting to eat pizza, and raise money for things, like new jerseys for the Jewish student sporting association, if they also happen to be named something like “The Minyan Beth Hillel” and want to discuss Palestinian human rights. The trademark statues only govern activities that Congress is permitted to regulate under the Commerce clause of the Constitution. The Courts have always ruled that doesn’t include the 14th Amendment right of private association or the 1st Amendment right to practice your religion and exercise free speech on any political issue.

        No matter when the applicant first used the mark in commerce, “constructive use” only starts when it gets filed with the USPTO. Anyone with more “senior” common law rights before that date can have it declared invalid, even after it has been granted “incontestable” status. The statute itself mentions some examples of prior unregistered use that can be employed as an affirmative defense in such cases. Usually common law rights are limited to a particular state or region, but in several cases, a prior user has been able to have the registered mark declared invalid in the entire country. One of the authorities that has been noted by the Supreme Court and cited in a dozen other cases in that connection is Cuban Cigar N.V. v. Upmann International, Inc. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2347551/cuban-cigar-brands-nv-v-upmann-intern-inc/cited-by/

        So for example, if Hillel was a “church” as JeffB suggested, then all of the hundreds of other Temple Beth Hillel’s, or integral parts of a church, like a Hillel seminary, elementary, or high school would have to be listed on B’nai B’rith’s USPTO application as exceptions. The fact that the real trademark owner has never sued another one of those other entities can be explained by the part of the Statute I cited above which explicitly states that waiver, laches, and estoppel are also statutory defenses and grounds for dismissal in the case of alleged infringement of a so-called “incontestable” mark.

        If B’nai B’rith Hillel was a fraternal organization, prior users, like the Texas A&M Hillel Book Club, dozens of academic sporting associations, & etc. should have been listed on the application for registration too. The purpose of the trademark system is to register marks, not words. So all of those others could be employing their own unique registered logos too if USPTO decides there’s no confusion issue. That’s why every town in America can have its own “Baptist”, “Methodist”, “Presbyterian”, or “Mt. Zion” hospital engaged in commerce without a shit storm of trademark lawsuits.

        Contrary to JeffB’s narrative, a simple check of the IRS form 990s indicates that Hillel International, B’nai B’rith, and the Jewish Federations are not “churches” (Jewish, Christian, or Muslim places of worship) or “integrated auxiliaries” (church “schools” or “seminaries”) or “School” organizations for the purposes of the tax code. They are actually part of the $28 billion dollar tax-exempt Jewish Public Charity Industry who report that they earn most of their money from federal community block grant programs and donations from the general public. Like all fraternal organizations or businesses, they can discriminate against applicants for membership in their organizations on the basis of religious creed, but they are prohibited from doing that in connection with any services they provide to the public if those are funded either wholly or in part by a government subsidy or grant. As I noted above, during the Clinton and Bush administrations there was a push for so-called “Charitable Choice” legislation that allows “pervasively sectarian institutions” named Hillel (churches, synagogues, mosques) to begin competing to provide community services on State-owned university campuses for the first time against these more loosely “religious-affiliated” or “nonreligious” (Jewish people) charities. So they are potential competitors in the same service sector. Full stop

        That’s enough for one comment. But it should begin to illustrate why Fingerhut isn’t breaking down any Courthouse doors to enforce his exclusive B’nai B’rith license and why the real owner is still keeping its mouth shut about the whole affair.

  14. JeffB
    April 22, 2015, 10:38 am

    @Annie

    Washington and Jesus are words that people use primarily with respect to the historical figures or in Washington’s case places named in his honor. That’s very different than say Pepsi where the primary association with the word is the brandname. Hillel as a secular figure is primarily associated with a brand of Jewish college clubs. The Rabbi Hillel is not unique in the way that Jesus or Washington are. While he is an influential Rabbi he belongs to a set of 10 very influential Rabbis from his rough time period. He is an important historical figure but he isn’t remotely at Jesus’ level. He isn’t at Paul or Peter’s level. A better comparison (and even this is a stretch) would be someone like Pope Callistus I, an important Pope with key teachings but not a uniquely important figure.

    ___

    Now to compound that. You can trademark Washington and Jesus though as a trademark it is harder to enforce.

    Jesus candles is a registered trademark of Amy’s Country Candles.
    while Jesus energy drink is owned by Jerry Zarnekee

    If you started a Jesus energy drink Mr. Zarnekee would likely sue you and likely win.

    Washington is even more clear cut. Washington is owned by the Washington Bullets if you use it in: Clothing, namely, hosiery, footwear, basketball shoes, basketball sneakers, slippers, T-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, pants, tank tops, jerseys, shorts, pajamas, sport shirts, rugby shirts, sweaters, belts, ties, nightshirts, hats, caps, visors, warm-up suits, warm-up pants, warm-up tops/shooting shirts, jackets, wind resistant jackets, parkas, coats, baby bibs not of paper, head bands, wrist bands, aprons, undergarments, boxer shorts, slacks, ear muffs, gloves, mittens, scarves, woven and knit shirts, jersey dresses, dresses, cheerleading dresses and uniforms, swim wear, bathing suits, swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis, swim trunks, bathing trunks, board shorts, wet suits, beach cover-ups, bathing suit cover-ups, bathing suit wraps, sandals, beach sandals, beach hats, sun visors, swim caps, bathing caps, novelty headwear with attached wigs

    If you had a Washington line of clothing that had nothing to do with Basketball you might be OK. But if you can anywhere hear basketball you are dead meat. Open Hillel is doing the equivalent of producing clothing had having the letter “i” dotted with a basketball design as a “protest” against Washington clothing.

    Similarly there is a Washington Reit and if you tried to run an investment company called Washington that would be a trademark violation.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 22, 2015, 12:12 pm

      That’s very different than say Pepsi

      jeff, can you drop the pepsi coca cola explanations because i am not an idiot. i happen to know the difference between made up brand names like ajax and pepsi and using historical names.

      Similarly there is a Washington Reit and if you tried to run an investment company called Washington that would be a trademark violation.

      funny, i googled “washington investment” and this came up: https://www.fortwashington.com/

      so why isn’t fort washington in trademark violation of washington reit?

      a name like “miller” is as common as washington. if you google “miller” and “real estate” you can see many many variations of “miller” and real estate.

      open hillel is a different name than hillel.

      Hillel as a secular figure is primarily associated with a brand of Jewish college clubs. The Rabbi Hillel is not unique in the way that Jesus or Washington are.

      this sounds unique to me:

      “a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history…associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Renowned within Judaism..founder of the House of Hillel school ”

      and he was “variously called Hillel HaGadol, or Hillel HaZaken, Hillel HaBavli[1] or HaBavli”

      so what about open hillel habvali?

      • JeffB
        April 22, 2015, 1:57 pm

        @Annie

        so why isn’t fort washington in trademark violation of washington reit?

        Well for one thing they aren’t a REIT so it is not a competing product.

        open hillel is a different name than hillel.

        Now that’s a defense. It is a defense to a trademark infringement claim to argue that the names are different enough that confusion couldn’t occur. That would also apply to Fort Washington Investment Advisors, and Washington REIT.

        The problem is that Open Hillel has made statements that the purpose of their name is to create confusion. They refer to Hillel International membership as “our community”. Given those statements against interests. Swarthmore Hillel continued to call itself a Hillel as if this was a change in policy and not a change in affiliation. Those are statements against interest in a trademark infringement lawsuit. I don’t see how you get past them. And there is no doubt that there are going to be men on the street who are confused between Open Hillel and Hillel International as Jewish college clubs. Once those exist, game over.

        this sounds unique to me:

        I’ve given you the information. Look up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugot . He is not a Jewish god. He doesn’t have whole books of the bible named after him. He has about 300 teachings total in the Mishnah. There is no such thing as a Christian who don’t care about Jesus, there is no such thing as a Catholic who doesn’t believe that in some sense Peter was the continuation of the church that Jesus founded. There are plenty of Jews who couldn’t answer basic questions about Hillel. Hillel is important but remove Hillel ever said or did and Judaism is mostly unchanged.

        But that’s not important. As I’ve said before (April 20, 2015, 7:28 am post) your Open Hillel people couldn’t find the Hillel quote on a page of Talmud if I gave a page with Hillel on it to them. If they get on the stand and Hillel International asks them about Hillel’s teachings on candle lighting they won’t know them. If they try the defense that Hillel is so central to their faith that a they should have a religious exemption on the use of Hillel they will lose and they should lose. They don’t care about religious Judaism at all, much less the minutia that Hillel is responsible for.

        so what about open hillel habvali?

        That’s got the name Hillel in it and they would have to justify why they had to pick that particular Rabbi and that form of the name if not to cause brand confusion. The problem they have is they want to cause brand confusion. They are protesting. Trademark law isn’t designed to err on the side of permitting being cute.

        If they want Hillel for religious reasons just “HaBavli” is available. Those names are in English distinct enough. Otherwise there are 100 equally important rabbis and hundreds of thousands of other names of stuff to choose from.

  15. JeffB
    April 22, 2015, 7:29 pm

    @Hostage

    . Licenses also happen to be the only real leverage that Fingerhut might posses.

    Do you mean the trademark or the affiliation license? Assuming you mean trademark, I think that’s the core of it. But there is nothing unusual there. Coca-Cola’s only leverage over me preventing me from selling a soda called Coca-Cola is their trademark.

    As for fair usage you keep missing the same point over and over:

    1) Fair usage entitles me to use Coca-Cola in a critique of Coca-Cola
    2) Fair usage entitles me to use the term “coca” with reference to the coca plant
    3) Fair usage does not entitle me to use Coke, Coca-Cola… to sell a brand of soda.

    Similarly

    1) Fair usage entitles Open Hillel to use the term Hillel a critique of Hillel International
    2) Fair usage entitles Open Hillel to use the term Hillel in reference to Rabbi Hillel directly
    3) Fair usage does not entitle Open Hillel me to use Open Hillel, Hillel… . to sell services and goods associated with a college community center aimed at Jewish college students.

    Your court cases were all about fair usage in senses (1) and (2). For example K.P. Permanent Make-Up used the term “micro-colors” in the generic sense (i.e. case 2).

    Open Hillel is not a critique they are a competing product. By their own admission, and by obvious examination of their content they are using the term Hillel in reference to the product not the dead Rabbi.

    I think its time you apply the Coca-cola standard to your arguments. Take any argument you are going to raise and substitute Coke for Hillel. If it ends up allowing you to sell soda under the Coca-Cola brandname you are misreading the law.

    • Hostage
      April 28, 2015, 1:02 am

      Do you mean the trademark or the affiliation license? Assuming you mean trademark, I think that’s the core of it. But there is nothing unusual there. Coca-Cola’s only leverage over me preventing me from selling a soda called Coca-Cola is their trademark.

      I think you need to adjust your medication and stop talking nonsense about Coca Cola products. I meant that Hillel can’t ask the College to discriminate against Jewish students on the basis of their Anti-Zionist creed if he doesn’t have a license agreement with each of them.

      Hillel is a service mark, not a trade mark. You might want to read my comments above about the fact that a service is only an activity that you do for others, not for your own members or affiliates. Read the USPTO Examiner’s manual entries from 1301 to 1301(a)(ii): http://tmep.uspto.gov/RDMS/detail/manual/TMEP/Oct2012/TMEP-1300d1e30.xml#/manual/TMEP/Oct2012/TMEP-1300d1e10.xml

      It appears now that Fingerhut’s only leverage at Swarthmore was the affiliation agreement. If he doesn’t have one with the new campus Kehillah umbrella organization, nothing would prevent it and the College from having a subordinate Hillel Club. If that Club only provides activities for its own members and obtains all of its funding from the College through Kehillah, then the name wouldn’t be used as a service or trademark anyway, i.e. it’s neither a source of a product nor a service. It’s just a private unincorporated association meeting in the College-owned Interfaith facility.

      FYI, Swarthmore does accept federal funding and it’s non-discrimination policy complies with both federal and state laws. The latter prohibits the College from discriminating against students on the basis of religion or their Anti-Zionist creed, i.e. the Dean of Students could file a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission and have Hillel banned from campuses statewide, until it changes its Israel Guidelines

      • Hostage
        April 28, 2015, 1:16 am

        P.S. It appears that the Jewish Federation and Hillel of Greater Philadelphia Area have accepted Homeland Security grants to upgrade their facilities. The grants were obtained from the US Department of Homeland Security through the State Homeland Security Administering Authority. The grant applications say that the recipients and their contractors have to comply with state and federal civil rights statutes. So it’s a lively question whether they can legally discriminate against anyone on the basis of their creed or religion. The Federations and Hillels just about everywhere else are in the same boat. FYI, there are similar civil, criminal, and administrative prohibitions against those forms of discrimination in CA, NY, MA, OH, IL, and many other states I’ve checked.

  16. JeffB
    April 28, 2015, 11:13 pm

    @Hostage

    Bunch of quick points.

    1) If a Jewish student group doesn’t claim to be Hillel brand Jewish student group obviously they aren’t violating the Hillel trademark.

    2) Of course Hillel International would have to disaffiliate groups before a trademark claim can be made against them. That’s not a point of dispute. If an independent group endorses BDS most likely Hillel International will tell them they need to stop. If they continue they get kicked out of Hillel International. If they continue to call themselves a Hillel then B’nai B’rith enforces a trademark claim.

    3) Organizations affiliated with churches can expel heretics or apostates, that is established law. Churches / denominations (and thus synagogues / denomination) can define heresy and apostasy as they see fit. Hillel advertises itself as providing services to Jewish students not all students. I’d be surprised if they took money which compelled them to provide services to Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu and Buddhist students. But if they did then Hillel is going to need to change that behavior if they are going to enforce standards. I don’t have the background to know what money from the Federal and State government does in terms of rights but I strongly suspect they aren’t as broad as you claim.

    4) Moreover I’m not sure this is going to matter. I don’t see how rules pertaining to local organization X which gets money and has strong ties to Hillel International would have impact on organization Y which is just a group of students hijacking the Hillel name. Groups with strong institutional ties are unlikely to be taken over by BDSers. The groups that are taken over by BDSers are unlikely to be getting government grants.

    5) In terms of the local groups being run by colleges that makes things far better for Hillel not worse. If college X is funding an independent Open Hillel then when B’nai B’rith sends them a cease and desist letter it is going to be directed at the college misleading students by fraudulently claiming to be providing Hillel brand Jewish social clubs while in reality college X is running the club themselves … College X is not going to want that fight they are going to force a change in name. There is no way a Vassar or a Swarthmore is going to tolerate a group of students creating a trademark and potentially fraud liability for them. Being able to move the debate away from students and to the administration is a plus not a minus.

    6) A servicemark is a type of trademark. While there are some specifics that change mostly the same rules apply.

    The claim is that Hillel is a brand like Pepsi. Any argument that allows a bunch of students to sell a soda and call it Pepsi is obviously not going to be supported by the courts. That hasn’t changed. The most obvious thing in the world for the courts to find is that BDS brand Jewish social clubs can exist but have no right to use the trademark. That means they won’t be able to call themselves Hillel. Hillel is not a generic term he is one of very many Jewish historical figures. They are using the term so as to create brand confusion. Which is exactly what trademark law is designed to prevent.

    I think we are going in circles. You are presenting interesting arguments but you are not dealing with the central question of how your arguments if they were accepted wouldn’t completely undermine trademarks in almost all situations.

    • Hostage
      April 29, 2015, 3:51 pm

      Organizations affiliated with churches can expel heretics or apostates, that is established law.

      No, you can’t use the commerce clause when it suits you and escape its clutches when it doesn’t. I’ve already explained that these are not Churches or integral auxiliary organizations and that their primary source of income is federal and state grants and donations from the general public. So for instance, the Department of Homeland Security FAQ says that when “Only part of my organization receives DHS assistance. How broad is the reach of Title VI?”:

      Since 1987, the Title VI definition of “program or activity” has included all the operations of any entity, any part of which is extended financial assistance. Therefore, Title VI and its prohibition against discrimination are not limited to the aspect of the recipient’s operations that specifically received the federal financial assistance, but rather apply to all operations of the recipient.

      — Title VI Overview for Recipients of DHS Financial Assistance http://www.dhs.gov/title-vi-overview-recipients-dhs-financial-assistance#5

      You can only apply for DHS assistance under programs, like the Urban Areas Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program through a State government Homeland Administering Authority. http://www.fema.gov/urban-areas-security-initiative-nonprofit-security-grant-program

      Those state governments in-turn require applicants to comply with both state and federal human rights or civil rights statutes. In many, if not the majority of cases, those state codes add religion and creed to the list of legally protected characteristics.

      In several instances, when we talk about violations of the Hillel guidelines, we may actually be discussing federally funded seminars on interfaith social issues held in federally-subsidized Hillel facilities, where it would be improper or illegal for government agencies, such as the University Regents, Department of Homeland Security, and the Homeland Security State Administering Authorities to provide Hillel with grants to supply a public forum and secure public accommodations and then permit it to censor substantive content of speech on the basis of its own private religious creed. You’re ignoring the fact that so-called Anti-Zionism is a perfectly acceptable and honorable Jewish religious creed that’s reflected in the Talmudic literature regarding the “Three Oaths” and in historical doctrinal statements, like the Pittsburgh Platform. In addition the Balfour Declaration/Palestine Mandate safeguarding clause regarding the rights and political status of Non-Zionist and Anti-Zionist Jews in this country was an integral part of the quid pro quo agreement by which you Zionist sycophants obtained government acquiescence for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. See the Anglo-American Palestine Mandate Convention (1924), 44 Stat.2184; Treaty Series 728.

      FYI, it was only after B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Federations, and the local Hillel’s, including the Philly area and Boston area Hillels, started applying for millions of dollars in Community Block Grants and Department of Homeland Security Grants to upgrade the security of their so-called non-denominational “community centers” and other “public accommodations” at taxpayer expense under the Urban NGO Security Program, or DHS programs to conduct multi-year, multi-campus Hillel-sponsored seminars to “Build Interfaith Bridges” that the Jewish Taliban in the community started shreying about the Anti-Zionist views of some of the participants involved. See for example: Grant Helps Campuses Build Interfaith Bridges, Hillel News |Mar 11, 2008 http://www.hillel.org/about/news-views/news-views—blog/news-and-views/2008/03/11/grant-helps-campuses-build-interfaith-bridges and pages of Lori Lowenthal Marcus’ “Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation” http://www.jewishpress.com/news/hillel-explains-when-open-hillel-will-result-in-disaffiliation/2014/02/20/

      They demanded the immediate adoption of post hoc Israel guidelines that could be used to magically exclude non-Zionist or Anti-Zionist Jews and Palestinian Muslims or Christians who support BDS from participating in these stage-managed Pro-Israel taxpayer funded events on the basis of their creeds. But that is a violation of the Department of Homeland Security and the individual State Administering Authority’s legal guidelines.

      There have always been Arab Christian and Muslim groups that have Anti-Zionist (and even Supersessioinist) religious creeds too. Let me clue you in, there were a pair of Supreme Court rulings which allowed both Jews and Arabs to file civil rights complaints as racial groups that also happen to have some religious characteristics:
      * St. Francis College v. Al-Khazraji, link to supreme.justia.com
      * Shaare-Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, link to supreme.justia.com

      The whole Campus Anti-Zionism=Anti-Semitism crusade falls apart once you understand that the same law prohibits you guys from harassing Jewish and Arab Anti-Zionists and explicitly excludes their religious creeds from the DOE’s legal definition of Anti-Semitism:

      In late 2004, OCR [the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights] finally determined that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits anti-Semitic harassment at federally funded public and private universities, except to the extent that the harassment is exclusively based on tenets of the student’s religious faith. In other words, OCR policy now treats anti-Semitic harassment as prohibited racial or ethnic harassment except when it is clearly limited to religious belief rather than ancestral heritage. — page 3 — In 2004, OCR issued a series of policy statements announcing that it would assert, for the first time, jurisdiction to pursue claims alleging harassment of Jewish students. These statements were issued as part of broader guidance concerning “complaints of race or national origin harassment commingled with aspects of religious discrimination against Arab Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish students.”‘ They were issued, interestingly, in the course of determining an appropriate disposition for a case alleging harassment against a Sikh student. At the same time, they were issued in the belief that a uniform policy should apply to members of all groups exhibiting both religious and ethnic or racial characteristics — page 23

      — Kenneth L. Marcus, Anti-Zionism as Racism: Campus Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 15 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 837 (2007), http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmborj/vol15/iss3/4

      FYI, there are many state universities that only allow private organizations to operate on campus if they agree in advance that they will not discriminate against others on the basis of legally protected characteristics such as race, religion, creed, or national origin. For example, Fingerhut is one of the Ohio University Regents. The Ohio Constitution explicitly prohibits the government from granting a preference to any “religious society”. The Ohio University Community Standards Code makes it a Class A offense to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of their religion, creed, or nationality. https://www.ohio.edu/communitystandards/code/codeA.cfm After mentioning that the original Hillel was founded at the State University of Illinois, author Deborah D. Moore points out that:

      By the time of Frankel’s sudden death at the age of thirty in 1927, three new Hillel units had been added at the Universities of Ohio State, Michigan, and California. These schools were all publicly supported institutions, prohibited by law from teaching religion.

      — B’nai B’rith and the Challenge of Ethnic Leadership, pages 142-143 https://books.google.com/books?id=tRN5AAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA143&ots=b_ctTtUEQ-&pg=PA142#v=onepage&q&f=false

      She goes on to say that within a few years those same state universities, together with, Alabama, Iowa, Connecticut, Northwestern, and Oklahoma were offering Jewish and Christian students Hillel courses for academic credit. Situations like that would make it almost impossible for college administrators to exclude Non-Zionist or Anti-Zionist students and groups from subsidized Hillel activities and facilities without violating explicit Supreme Court holdings on the subject, including Gary E. Widmar et al., Petitioners v. Clark Vincent et al. No. 80-689 and Ronald W. Rosenberger, et al., Petitioners v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, et al. 515 U.S. 819 (1995) Fingerhut must also be aware of the fact that he can’t use bogus trademark claims against state university administrators. They enjoy sovereign immunity from intellectual property lawsuits in the federal courts. e.g. See “State Sovereign Immunity and Protection of Intellectual Property”, http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat72700.html

    • Hostage
      May 3, 2015, 1:10 pm

      The claim is that Hillel is a brand like Pepsi

      That’s preposterous. You keep citing Coca Cola and Pepsi, but there is simply no parallel to the Hillel word-type service mark in those product names. Neither of those words was a generic term or the name of an ancient Jewish religious school that had fallen into the public domain and become popular in that same connection with synagogues and scores of other Jewish educational institutions engaged in commerce, before one of “the many” using the word finally registered it with the USPTO. The name Hillel appeared in English texts like Rodkison’s Talmud, The JPS Tanakh Book of Judges, and the Jewish Encyclopedia “Hillel”, “School of Hillel”, & etc. entries. By then, it had even been mentioned and discussed at length in older English Christian works authored by scholars, like Alfred Edersheim.

      In terms of the local groups being run by colleges that makes things far better for Hillel not worse. If college X is funding an independent Open Hillel then when B’nai B’rith sends them a cease and desist letter it is going to be directed at the college misleading students by fraudulently claiming to be providing Hillel brand Jewish social clubs while in reality college X is running the club themselves – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/swarthmore-resigns-restrictions#comments

      For reasons of standing and joinder, B’nai B’rith would inevitably get dragged into court as a result of any lawsuit filed by its licensees against a third party. So I would be amazed if it didn’t retain the right to waive Hillel International’s claims in exactly the same fashion that Novell finally stepped-in and waived SCO’s claims against IBM in the decade-long UNIX open source code case I mentioned above. FYI, Neither B’nai B’rith nor Hillel International provided services to Swarthmore College, but that didn’t stop Hillel International from soliciting charitable donations from the public as if it did. The College chartered the student group, funded it, and provided it with facilities. That means the College was the normal everyday “source” or “origin” of the campus Hillel brand “service”. The Supreme Court ruled in the Daystar case that the Lanham trademark Act cannot be used to prevent unattributed use by others of any material that has fallen into the public domain and that the trademark act cannot be used to sustain a “passing-off” claim against other independent sources or points of origin in such cases. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/539/23/case.html

      Hillel was just another campus ministry back in 1923 and there were already other Jewish community centers with study halls or dedicated integral auxiliaries, e.g. Beth Hillel synagogues with integral Beth Midrash and/or: seminaries; elementary schools; high schools; academies; yeshivas; and university book clubs – all doing business as “Hillel’s” and promoting the same forms of Jewish religious or cultural education. That situation rules out the only conclusive statutory ground used to establish that a word mark has acquired a secondary meaning, i.e. five years of exclusive or nearly exclusive use in commerce. I’ve already provided a link to 15 USC 1052 here is a link to the USPTO Examiner’s manual discussion of its criteria for acquired secondary meaning: http://tmep.uspto.gov/RDMS/mashup/html/page/manual/TMEP/Oct2012/TMEP-1200d1e10316.xml

      I’ve already discussed the fact that either a more “senior” mark or long-term, unchallenged common law use of junior marks by others (through “waiver”, “laches”, and “estoppel”) are explicitly mentioned as statutory defenses against a claim of infringement involving a so-called “incontestable mark”. In fact, the Daystar decision notes with irony that infringement of an unregistered trademark can even provide the basis of a claim that would result in a federal case against the USPTO-registered owner.

      Anyone can use a generic word for an exclusive trademark, but not if it’s merely descriptive of the service or product subject matter. For example, people in the apple orchard business have to disclaim exclusive rights to the word “Apple” in their trademarks. Entities in non-related fields, like the computer or record industries, have been permitted to use the same generic, word “Apple” in their “exclusive” non-orchard related trademarks – precisely because it is unintuitive and non-descriptive. By 1963, any use of the term Hillel in the field of Jewish religious or cultural education was no longer exclusive, original, unintuitive, or non-descriptive of the subject matter.

      In regard to your example, the “Coca Cola” and “Pepsi” web sites explain that those are trademarks owned by their companies. There are pages providing legal notices about that fact: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/the-coca-cola-company-terms-of-use https://www.pepsicobeveragefacts.com/home/LegalNotices and timelines or histories of the companies trademarked brands http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coke-lore-trademark-chronology http://www.pepsistore.com/index.asp

      Neither B’nai B’rith nor Hillel International have legal notices on their web sites to inform the public that “Hillel” is a registered trademark. In fact, the Hillel.org web page for “Small Campus Hillels” advises students how to become “Hillel Student Organizations (HSO’s): Affiliated Hillel’s without professional staff that exist as student groups and are overseen by an advisor.” The page description repeatedly uses the term “Hillel” and the step-by-step instructions amount to an implied license for any group of students to use that same name when applying with their Dean of Students to become a registered student group on their campus, as a necessary preliminary step, before they can even approach Hillel to apply for an affiliation or trademark license agreement (much less agree in writing to accept its Israel guidelines):

      If your school does not belong to our network of Hillels with smaller Jewish populations, and your Jewish student group would like to join the Hillel network, follow these simple steps:

      *Become a registered student organization on your campus
      *Recruit students interested in helping to build a Jewish community on campus
      *Find an advisor on campus who can provide counsel and guidance
      *Complete the application
      A Hillel Campus Services representative will contact you when we receive your application.”

      http://www.hillel.org/about/what-is-a-hillel/small-campus-hillels

      There’s obviously nothing remotely like that on any Pepsico or Coca Cola company web page.

      6) A servicemark is a type of trademark. While there are some specifics that change mostly the same rules apply.

      A service mark is supposed to identify the “source” or “origin” of a service. It actually used to do that when B’nai B’rith Foundation was the national sponsor, proprietor, and trademark owner. The Remaking of Hillel Case Study I cited elsewhere explained that the Foundation bylaws even prohibited local chapters from doing their own fund raising back in those days.

      When B’nai B’rith spun-off Hillel, it retained the trademark and merely licensed it to Hillel International and signed over the other property rights to the local foundations. In some cases it actually sold them-off to third parties. Hillel International reports that the 550 local Hillels are actually “independently funded” and the Forward reported that individual universities even provide the staff Rabbis in many cases. There is obviously no mention of the Israel guidelines in the accreditation manual and that program itself doesn’t seem to be urgent or mandatory. All of that has led to situations where the actual service provider is neither B’nai B’rith nor Hillel International, i.e. one of the statutory “defenses” or “defects” that can be raised against an “incontestable trademark” is: “That the registered mark is being used by or with the permission of the registrant or a person in privity with the registrant, so as to misrepresent the source of the goods or services on or in connection with which the mark is used” https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1115

      For example, there was another unusual case in the headlines a few years ago regarding the Chicago Metro Jewish Federation’s surprise mass firing of the entire University of Chicago Hillel Board and its announcement that it had purchased all the Hillel’s in the State of Illinois when B’nai B’rith spun-off the organizations. That funding/ownership/management situation even came as something of a surprise to people and groups who thought they were familiar with the Chicago Federation and the Chicago Campus Hillel. See “Looking Beneath the Surface in Chicago” http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/looking-beneath-the-surface-in-chicago/

      I think we are going in circles. You are presenting interesting arguments but you are not dealing with the central question of how your arguments if they were accepted wouldn’t completely undermine trademarks in almost all situations.

      No, you are arguing in circles and trying to redefine statutory terms and employ the normal consumer confusion standard to statutory and nominative fair use situations, where the Courts have explicitly ruled that test simply doesn’t apply.

      • Hostage
        May 3, 2015, 1:41 pm

        P.S. the Pepsistore.com link above was an example of one type of third party fair use in commerce that I intended to cite. The Pepsi Co. brand history timeline link should have been: http://www.pepsico.com/Company/Our-History

        An example of the same type of statutory third party fair use of the Coca Cola mark would be the Collectors Club http://www.cocacolaclub.org/

      • JeffB
        May 4, 2015, 6:45 am

        @Hostage

        and scores of other Jewish educational institutions engaged in commerce, before one of “the many” using the word finally registered it with the USPTO

        Again your problem is that the defendant here isn’t using Hillel in reference to the ancient Jewish rabbi but rather the the modern Jewish social club. I’m not disagreeing Hillel is a semi-common word in Jewish literature. “Open Hillel” is a critique of the closed nature of Hillel the social club not Hillel the Rabbi. So the existence of some ancient Jewish meaning isn’t going to matter.

        Your own example Apple is excellent to disprove this.
        Nike was a Greek god for thousands of years prior to the shoes. That doesn’t entitle anyone to make Nike brand shoes.
        Visa was a common word for hundreds of years prior to the credit card company that doesn’t allow anyone to make Visa brand credit cards.

        etc… The ancient Jewish would have mattered if there were in the throughout time a variety of brands of Jewish social clubs called Hillels. But there weren’t. There has been a unified governing organization throughout recent American history. The courts are going to tell them to pick another rabbi. That’s what trademark law is for. Open Hillel is not going to have to prove a reason for picking that particular rabbi other than trademark confusion and they aren’t going to be able to because the whole point is trademark confusion.

        Now on the point about how Hillel as currently structured with no money or licensing agreements between chapters might not be able to defend a trademark… there I agree. B’nai B’rith is likely going to have to be stricter with many unassociated branches to defend against BDS infiltration. But what that means is that B’nai B’rith might have to demand the 550 independent Hillels either affiliate or stop using the term it does not mean that BDS organizations get to use the Hillel brand to create social clubs whose purpose is antithetical to the main brand.

        The Chicago example is a good one in that it appears pretty clearly that Foundation owned Hillel at UChicago. B’nai B’rith would need to create if they didn’t already exist explicit licensing agreements with Chicago Federation. But do you think B’nai B’rith is going to have any problem getting those agreements? Nothing unifies like a common enemy. Chicago Federation you can be sure would assert in an Open Hillel trial that they had been in violation of B’nai B’rith’s trademark and had gotten into compliance recently….

        trying to redefine statutory terms and employ the normal consumer confusion standard to statutory and nominative fair use situations

        We have discussed fair use. Fair use is when you can use someone else’s trademark for issues like critique, or comparison. JVP is perfectly free to use the word Hillel in attacks against Hillel. There is no fair use what-so-ever in using a brandname for a competing product. Sorry but again irrelevant. Open Hillel by its own admission is supposed to be a replacement for Hillel not a critique of Hillel. Fair use is never going to fly.

        I don’t know that there were scores of disconnected institutions. You would have to find places like your Texas example that would agree they are disconnected. And you and I both know they wouldn’t. Which means that even if historically there was some disconnection for decades there hasn’t been. I think the court would find Hillel is a brand of Jewish social club because:

        a) It is used that way
        b) It is used that way even by the defendant. Their whole reason for choosing Hillel is not the ancient Jew

        ___

        You are doing good research and all I’m doing is repeating myself. Trademark law exists to prevent exactly what you are trying to do. This is not a complicated case. This is just a bunch of people who want to commit counterfeiting and fraud because they have a “good cause”. The courts are not going to side with counterfeiters even if it was an equal fight. But it isn’t.
        B’nai B’rith has way better lawyers
        B’nai B’rith is going to have better political connections
        B’nai B’rith is not going to be politically controversial
        ….
        Easy case.

        And not only is it an easy case. But college administrations are going to be cautious about getting themselves caught up in counterfeiting. Once they get a cease and desist letter they are going to tell the Open Hillel to change their name otherwise they can’t:
        a) Draw on student funds
        b) Meet on campus
        c) Organize for off campus meetings on campus
        ….

        What is the upside for a college in fighting this? You think a college wants to spend 100k of dollars on a cause that will infuriate donors and likely result in a drop in tuition?

        I’ve asked you a 1/2 dozen times to apply your reasoning to companies. You are refusing to because you know it would demonstrate how much this argument falls apart. You are a bright guy, you are doing research. You are just playing a terrible hand and in the end the worse cards are what is going to matter.

        Kehilah exists because the name “Open Hillel” is at best a tort and at worst a crime.

        If X figures out some way to kill Y in a way that is semi-am

      • Hostage
        May 5, 2015, 1:49 am

        Again your problem is that the defendant here isn’t using Hillel in reference to the ancient Jewish rabbi but rather the the modern Jewish social club. I’m not disagreeing Hillel is a semi-common word in Jewish literature. “Open Hillel” is a critique of the closed nature of Hillel the social club not Hillel the Rabbi. So the existence of some ancient Jewish meaning isn’t going to matter.

        Your studied ignorance is duly noted once again. There’s nothing on the trademark applications about any social club. From the outset, I cited an Encyclodedia Judaica article which explained that Rabbi Frankel chose the name Hillel because of the things it already “symbolized” to Jews, i.e. it had an acquired a secondary meaning in our culture before he appropriated it for use in commerce. It symbolizes the life-long pursuit of a Jewish education, including the study and teaching of the rules that regulate nearly every aspect of Jewish religious life and culture in accordance with the Law, the Prophets, the Writings, and the related Talmudic literature. The same article explains that it was a classic example of a Jewish campus ministry. So it’s no accident at all that synagogues and their integral auxiliaries (schools, academies, yeshivas, and seminaries) do exactly the same things in the same way. Even in the Temple era, synagogues were a network of Jewish community centers with spaces devoted to Torah study, communal worship, and prayer. There is evidence that many of them also served ritual, communal Sabbath meals, established or operated communal mikvahs, etc. The primary role of a Rabbi was that of a teacher or educator, although some served in related judicial roles or incidental priestly roles.

        The disciples or students (talmidim) of Hillel were described in the ancient Jewish literature as the “House of Hillel” or “School of Hillel” – long before there was any such thing as the Academy established on a campus (Latin cognate for the word “field”) in either the Roman Emperor’s private estate at Yavneh or in Urbana Illinois. There is nothing comparable or analogous to that any of your inapposite Nike, Visa, or Apple illustrations.

        The ancient Jewish would have mattered if there were in the throughout time a variety of brands of Jewish social clubs called Hillels. But there weren’t.

        No, I’ve explained that an applicant for the mark has to establish exclusive use of the word in commerce for the prior five years in order to claim the mark has acquired a proprietary secondary meaning and that there were always other businesses or organizations employing the same Hillel name during the 20th Century that would have prevented B’nai Brith International (BBI) from ever doing that. I’ve mentioned that there are many older Hillel synagogues, an older College Hillel Club in Texas, and an older Hillel House at Cambridge University in England. Those examples are probably sufficient enough to establish the fact that the ancient concept was still a fixture of 20th century global Jewish thinking: http://www.perse.co.uk/2014/06/book-offers-lessons-tolerance-perse-history/ But even if none of those existed at all, there were still dozens of contemporary “Hillel” Jewish schools and synagogues that were openly using the name in commerce by the time of the 1963 BBI registration. Many of those are located near campuses and some are even affiliates of the same Jewish federations as a local campus Hillel. So it’s something of a mystery that such a crowded Jewish religious-cultural education market place has never produced a single claim of trademark infringement or consumer confusion until now.

        B’nai B’rith is likely going to have to be stricter with many unassociated branches to defend against BDS infiltration. But what that means is that B’nai B’rith might have to demand the 550 independent Hillels either affiliate or stop using the term it does not mean that BDS organizations get to use the Hillel brand to create social clubs whose purpose is antithetical to the main brand.

        Huh? Other than the possibility that it’s still collecting a hefty trademark licensing fee from Hillel International, BBI is out of the Hillel licensing business altogether these days. The last authoritative word from BBI on the subject was a 1948 policy letter which advised local foundations that Anti-Zionist groups, like the JRC, were perfectly welcome to participate in programs operated under its proprietary Hillel Foundation umbrella.

        Like Hillel International, BBI is a registered public charity. About 40 states have adopted model legislation governing Internet, email, telephone, or in-person solicitation of charitable contributions. Many of them require organizations to forward copies of their IRS form 990 so that they can exercise oversight and prevent fraudulent solicitations. BBI reports that it receives a substantial part of its income from the government or from donations made by the general public. It also reports that “B’nai B’rith International, The Jewish Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is a Jewish Humanitarian, Human Rights, and Advocacy Organization. Since 1843 BBI worked for Jewish Unity, Security, Continuity, and Tolerance. BBI’s Reach extends to 50 countries around the World.”

        In many of those countries and states discrimination on the basis of religious creed is not legal. BBI is also one of the oldest insurance companies in America; one of the largest providers of federally-subsidized senior housing, and a provider of services under many other state and federal community block grant programs. It’s highly unlikely that it would be caught dead getting involved in a communal squabble over access to government-subsidized public accommodations or government-subsidized interfaith bridge-building programs on the basis of discrimination against a Jewish group over its creed. If it ever does that, it would destroy its own raison d’etre and I’d buy a ticket to watch the spectacle and write about it.

        The Chicago example is a good one in that it appears pretty clearly that Foundation owned Hillel at UChicago.

        It looks like the trademark owner and a party in privity with it were misleading the public about the actual source of the services (an example of reverse passing-off). It wasn’t obvious to anyone that the Metro Chicago Jewish Federation had purchased all of the campus Hillels in the State of Illinois, including the original BBI Hillel in Urbana. I doubt that Hillel International even has the necessary standing to threaten them with a trademark infringement lawsuit under the terms of the BBI break-up agreement. But even if they do, I’d still bet the odds would be even that they’d lose a counterclaim lawsuit over misappropriation of Urbana Hillel’s intellectual property.

        We have discussed fair use. Fair use is when you can use someone else’s trademark for issues like critique, or comparison.

        No, I’ve cited and provided you with links to the relevant controlling authorities on the subject, including Supreme Court cases, which explicitly said the classic doctrine permitted the use of registered word marks in commerce by others and that, in the case of value added products, the defendants don’t even have a burden to prove the absence of confusion. The only test allowed in nominative fair use cases is whether or not the defendant falsely suggested he or she was sponsored or endorsed by the trademark holder. In several of those cases, the defendants were even using the Volkswagen or Lexus word marks to provide independent sales or services that violated the terms of the owner’s contractual guarantees to authorized affiliates regarding their rights to regional market exclusivity. The Courts ruled in those cases that lost profits were not unfair competition or infringement, so long as there was no suggestion of the trademark owner’s endorsement.

        But you’ve never explained how you could keep all these existing Hillel synagogues from operating their own student associations on college campuses as their own integral auxiliaries. After all, many of them do have Hillel schools. The Hillel Book Club in College Station Texas was established by a Dallas Rabbi. The Urbana Hillel acquired by BBI was established by Rabbi Frankel after he had been assigned the task of working with campus students by the Hebrew Union College in another state. When BBI setup the second Hillel chapter in Wisconsin in 1924, another Jewish community was setting up a Hillel synagogue in Kenosha. There has been a Hillel synagogue in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, ever since the 1950s. If you declare Anti-Zionist students to be heretics, what keeps one of them from having their own “Open Hillel: an independent service organization of Beth Hillel Congregation” seeing as Open Hillel isn’t a trademark in the first place?

      • JeffB
        May 4, 2015, 8:02 am

        @Hostage

        I forgot to respond to your Apple example. Your history is a little off there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer

        The courts agreed that the word Apple could be trademarked. There was a settlement in line with trademark law:

        Apple music couldn’t be in the computer business
        Apple computer couldn’t be in the music business

        Which is fine. A record company and a computer are unlikely to be confused. In 1986 when Apple computer got close to the music business they were sued by Apple records and they lost. In 1991 the settlement was expanded to give Apple computer a bit more latitude…

        1) The word “apple” predated both Apple records and Apple computer by centuries. It is a commonly used term and the main association with apple is a type of fruit.

        2) It was trademarked twice and both trademarks were enforceable by courts.

        3) Companies that violated the trademarks had to pay substantial damages

        The point about Apple is it shows precisely the opposite of what you are claiming would be the case with Hillel. It shows an even more common word and yet the courts did not turn it into a free for all but as much as possible enforced the trademark.

      • Hostage
        May 4, 2015, 8:37 pm

        @Hostage I forgot to respond to your Apple example. Your history is a little off there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v_Apple_Computer The courts agreed that the word Apple could be trademarked. There was a settlement in line with trademark law

        As usual you’re suffering from reading comprehension problems and missed the point entirely. I never said that people in the apple orchard business couldn’t register trademarks. I literally said they would have to disclaim exclusive rights to the use of the word “Apple” in their trademark registrations. I’ve repeatedly pointed out that the original B’nai B’rith Hillel registration contained exactly that sort of disclaimer explaining that there was no implied claim of exclusivity with regard to depictions of a Torah scroll on a competitor’s logo. I also pointed out that the documentary record of B’nai Brith’s prosecution of the application are not available online in the TESS-TSDR databases, so we can’t see what, if any, objections were raised in connection with the use of the word Hillel by others.

        I also pointed out in other comments that it really doesn’t matter if the registrations are in a different international category code, if the description of the goods or services is similar. The original Apple lawsuit had no legal legs and was settled out of court. Years later, they actually had become competitors, due to digital convergence of the computing and music industry markets. But the unofficial details of the confidential out of court settlement that have been disclosed so far, don’t support the proposition that the law would have conferred exclusive rights on either party or that either of them have ever agreed to stop doing business under the Apple name in order to avoid the potential for consumer confusion about the true source of one another’s products. There is certainly nothing illegal about the fact that both Apple companies are still doing business, as such, and selling products in the same market sector without any of the alleged confusion. So, it’s hard to see how the outcome helps support your rationale about the rights to use the name Hillel.

      • just
        May 4, 2015, 9:19 pm

        I must thank you for the immense wealth that you’ve shared on this subject, Hostage.

        (I remain in awe of your seemingly infinite patience, too.)

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