By Thomas A. Nagy Part 15 of a Series
Previously in this series this writer suggested that it’s prudent to “follow the money” when dissecting any case of injustice. This applies to every politician in America, but especially to those within the City of Las Vegas. Another writer, an Israeli woman, Shannon Snow, has been writing a blog on this case also. Her writing is found at: http://jrshenkertrust.
blogspot.com. In a recent post, one of about two dozen on the blog page, Snow brings up money and the biological father of the murder victim, Jason Ryan Turner-Shenker. A reference is made to the Shenker Academy in Summerlin. A photo caption calls the Shenker Academy “A disgrace to Judaism” because it has been funded by M. Arthur Shenker, Jr., who was Jason’s father. The essential claim is this: According to Cynthia Turner, Arthur Shenker told her immediately after their son’s death that he had no money to contribute to funeral expenses for his son. Yet, about thirty days after Jason’s death on September 27, 2005, Shenker money was spent on substantial expansion of the Shenker Academy in Summerlin. This school purports to be a non-denominational preschool, although its property is recorded with the Clark County Recorder’s Office as being owned by Temple Sinai Las Vegas. Other reviewers list the school as religious and Jewish. This academy is not registered with the State of Nevada Secretary of State as a foreign or domestic business. However, it charges a pricey tuition for preschoolers; the cost for a 2-year-old to attend is $9,940 for a year of five-day weeks of full day care. A parent can opt to pay $940 each month. Additional fees are required to register, and for $1.00 per minute your child can stay over the usual pick-up time. The question is, who benefits from these fees? In researching the school I came across this information: “Posted on Sep 26, 2014 — Today, while dropping off my child at school, I saw a Shenker teacher being handcuffed. It makes me wonder the type of teachers and the kind of staff they have there. –Submitted by a parent.” Clearly, the tuition does not go towards hiring the best available teachers, unless those are the best available teachers that Las Vegas, Nevada has to offer. Exactly six months earlier another parent wrote: “Do not place your child in this school! You’ll be lucky if your teacher makes it through the entire year without quitting or getting fired.” Some answers might be found in the related edifice at the same address, Temple Sinai Las Vegas. This temple is a “30-year-old” organization that was formerly known as Temple Beth Am. But this is very odd. Temple Beth Am came into existence October 17, 2007, according to Nevada corporate records. Temple Sinai Las Vegas was incorporated long before, on April 24, 1992. After a “name change,” the property at 9001 Hillpointe Road in Summerlin passed through a Nevada company called Nevada Senior Services, Inc. from Temple Beth Am to Temple Sinai. Only Nevada Senior Services, Inc. is thirty years old. Temple Sinai runs the Shenker Academy on the same property that houses its temple and religious school. In 2007 a ten-thousand square foot expansion building opened at Temple Sinai. The temple had been operating from and in temporary trailers since its inception. This new investment allowed services to be held in a fixed building, which was an improvement over prior conditions. More space was needed for permanent classrooms and congregation space for services. Another six million dollars ($6,600,000) had been raised, allowing Temple Sinai to construct another new building. Ground was broken for construction in September 2013, and its opening planned for July this year. Temple Sinai will have doubled its permanent space to near 40,000 square feet when that project is complete. Classrooms do not teach. Educators teach. Putting money into schools does not improve education unless students and teachers alike focus on curriculum and apply themselves to absorption. People build fancy malls, like the new Summerlin Downtown, but glamorous buildings do not sell products. Salespeople sell. Buildings attract people to marvel and gawk, but that’s about it. Education within Temple Sinai and Shenker Academy classrooms will only be as good as its teachers, and the operational philosophy that is actually applied in its classrooms. My paternal grandmother’s grandfather was an educator in Hungary. In a way, he is still teaching in Israel. His name was Rabbi David Kaufman, and he was a professor in a Jewish University in Hungary. He wrote two “important” textbooks before he died almost twelve decades ago. Those textbooks, I’ve been given to understand, have recently been in use in Israel Yeshivas, still and continuously after that many decades. It’s the content that matters. Those who have contributed that substantial amount of $6.6 million, and much more, to Temple Sinai and Shenker Academy have no doubt not been informed regarding who Arthur Shenker was. It is unlikely that they would have freely donated enough money for a temporary trailer, let alone a sanctified space, had they known the “real” Artie Shenker. In another venue, someone asked a pertinent question: to what extent was Jason Turner-Shenker’s father an ‘alienated parent?’ This strikes at the heart of the matter. Artie Shenker was indeed an alienated father. It has been told to me that Jason would sit in front of his house week after week as a boy of four, five and six years old waiting for his father to go pick him up. Week after week, Arthur Shenker would not show. He left his son sitting in this Mojave Desert heat for hours, only to disappoint him week after week, each time with a different excuse. It got old after a while. It didn’t take any persuasion from Jason’s mother to “alienate” Jason and his father, Arthur; the parent needed no help achieving that himself. Years later, when Jason was almost nine and again when he was twelve, visits to see his father were opportunities to see Artie Shenker high on cocaine. It seems there were always lines laid out ready to snort. Surely this was no secret within the influential community of Clark County. Those lines of coke were available to anyone who dropped by Artie’s place on Viking Road. during those years he lived there, in a house he purchased for $380,000 and conveniently sold less than three years later, in a good market, to an elderly California couple for $100,000. “Follow the money” off glass tabletops and portable mirrors and into hungry nostrils. Mayor Carolyn Goodman was present at the groundbreaking of the Temple Sinai expansion last year. Her husband, Oscar Goodman, the former mayor, was, as previously mentioned, Morris Shenker’s protégé in law decades earlier. It must have been through Morris Shenker’s influence that Goodman became president of the national Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1981, while he was Shenker’s attorney. This tells this writer, and I suspect others, that some financial contributors to the Shenker Academy at Temple Sinai have known the real Artie Shenker for years and chose to look the other way. Shannon Snow might be right: The Shenker Academy might truly be a disgrace to Judaism. Thomas A. Nagy is the author of Cannabis Consumer Handbook available at Amazon.com, and the blog ReGeneration at blogspot.com. Email direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org.