JUF News Express
Thursday, February 04, 2010Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Local efforts provide medical care, crisis services to Haitian evacuees

• Israeli film & 3 Jewish-themed movies up for Oscars

• Israel intercepts explosive barrels launched from Gaza into sea

• Americans chase internships in Israel as a gateway to work

• JUF internships for college students; Genetic testing offered May 5; Festival looking for talent

• Jewish studies courses thrive at UIC

• Israeli academic: 'Re-thinking the two-state solution'

• German firms slowly pulling out of business with Iran


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Local efforts provide medical care, crisis services to Haitian evacuees

As relief efforts continue in Haiti, here in Chicago, JUF along with its Jewish Community Emergency Resiliency Team (JCERT) and Sinai Health System worked with the city, the American Red Cross, United Way and other organizations to provide crisis mental health services and medical care to Haitian evacuees, who briefly used Chicago as a transit point last weekend before continuing to other destinations in the United States.

Meanwhile, Chicago's Jewish community has kept up its generous flow of resources to devastated Haiti by contributing more than $634,000 to the Jewish Federation's Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund in about three weeks.

JUF President Steven B. Nasatir writes in an op-ed in The Chicago Sun-Times that the call to tikkun olam (to repair the world) is one "Jewish Chicagoans answer time and again for people in need, regardless of their religion."

The Federation is helping fund on-the-ground efforts by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and IsraAID, a coalition of Jewish and Israeli rescue and relief organizations. Along with other groups, JDC and IsraAID are providing food, water, shelter and medicine to survivors. IsraAID partnered with actor Sean Penn and Israeli-born actress Moran Atias in its efforts in some of the hardest hit areas of Port-au-Prince, including providing medical care and post-trauma support to some 50,000 people now living in a make-shift camp outside the U.S. ambassador's residence, reports the JTA.

While Jewish and Israeli relief workers were among the first to arrive in Haiti following the devastating quake, they have remained on the island to begin planning rebuilding efforts. As reported earlier, the IDF emergency medical and rescue team completed its mission in Haiti and returned to Israel last week.

In related news, when 17-year-old Paul Carisma's high school in Haiti was turned into a hospital following the earthquake, he came to Chicago to complete his schooling. But he’s also helping others while he is here, including volunteering at JUF Uptown Cafe. He was there with JUF Board Chairman David Sherman and Carisma’s host in Chicago, Laura Hartman, co-coordinator of DePaul University’s response to the disaster in Haiti.

Israeli film & 3 Jewish-themed movies up for Oscars

Three Jewish-themed films and an Israeli film are in the running for Academy Awards, reports the JTA.

“Inglourious Basterds” won nominations for best picture, directing and writing for Quentin Tarantino, best supporting actor for Christoph Waltz, and best cinematography for Robert Richardson.

The two other Jewish-themed pictures that received best picture nominations -- "An Education," from Britain, and "A Serious Man" -- have won high critical acclaim for their artistry. "A Serious Man" also was awarded writing and directing nominations for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

Meanwhile, “Ajami” became the third Israeli entry in consecutive years to be nominated as top foreign-language film. The film paints an unsparing picture of Arab-Jewish and intra-Arab tensions in a mixed quarter of Jaffa. Its co-directors are two young Israelis, Scandar Copti, a Christian Arab, and Yaron Shani, who is Jewish.

Read what Israelis think about the film in Jan Lisa Huttner's latest special column for JUF News.

Israel intercepts explosive barrels launched from Gaza into sea

Israel closed a stretch of beaches north of the Gaza Strip after explosive-laden barrels washed ashore and Palestinian militants promised more, in revenge for what some in Hamas said was Israeli's assassination of a top Hamas leader last month, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Maritime authorities warned civilian vessels to be alert to possible dangers in the Mediterranean after the military linked the barrels to two explosions at sea Friday. At the same time, police deployed helicopters and mounted units to comb the length of Israel's coastline to the Lebanon border in search of additional explosive devices.

The third 'barrel bomb' washed ashore south of Tel Aviv Wednesday, and was destroyed by police. Two more are believed to have exploded on the shores of the Gaza Strip.

Americans chase internships in Israel as a gateway to work

Adi Clerman, who now works as an admissions representative at Harrington College of Design in Chicago, was laid off in August 2008. Unable to find a job, she grabbed a five-month internship in Tel Aviv, Israel, at an American marketing firm through MASA Israel's Career Israel program, a partnership with the Israeli government that sends young people to the country for work experiences. It filled a huge gap on her resume.

The number of people traveling abroad for internships from 2000 through 2008 doubled, from 6,950 to 13,658, based on a survey of about 1,500 educational institutions, according to the Institute of International Education, writes Julie Wernau in The Chicago Tribune.

MASA Israel Journey is a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel and is supported by JUF. To find out more, visit MASA online.

JUF internships for college students; Genetic testing offered May 5; Festival looking for talent

JUF offers internships for college students

Undergrads residing (parental residence) or attending school in Illinois are invited to apply online for the Lewis Family Summer Intern Program 2010 offering 26 paid internships in agencies and departments of the Jewish Federation. Contact The Hillels of Illinois via e-mail or call (312) 444-2868 to schedule a winter break interview in Chicago.

Application deadline is Feb. 26, 2010. Interview deadline is March 19, 2010.

Genetic education & screening program May 5
Registration is now open for the upcoming Genetic Education and Screening Program for Young Jewish Adults! These tests usually cost over $3,000! Join the Center on May 5 for a subsidized screening program ($90 per person, $36 for students), which includes an educational presentation, dinner and screening. Pre-registration is required. Contact Taryn Brickman to learn more or visit the Center's website at www.jewishgenetics.org.

Jewish festival group looking for talent
The Greater Chicago Jewish Folk Arts Festival is looking for outstanding local performers. "Jewish Chicago's Got Talent," a public audition for the festival's four stages, will be held in March. Performers selected for the public audition will be invited to bring friends and fans who will participate in voting and selecting some of this year's Festival acts.

The Festival will mark its 30th anniversary June 13, 2010, three stages of music, dance and storytelling; a family stage; a kosher food fair; an art fair and an organization fair.

Jewish studies courses thrive at UIC

UIC Professor Isaac Hoffman teaches all four parts of a Hebrew language sequence that spans two years and covers reading, writing, comprehension, and speaking as well as cultural and historical topics about Israel, reports Fae Rabin for the Chicago Flame, the UIC campus newspaper.

"We have all kinds of students who take Hebrew. We have Jewish students, Israeli natives, non-Jewish students who take it because they are curious, and they want to know more. Some want the ability to read the Bible in the original language, and for some it just fits into their schedule, which is okay, too," Hoffman said.

Just one year after teaching at UIC, Professor Hoffman proposed an idea for a new class to add to the Jewish Studies Department course offerings: "Aspects of Israeli Film," which sheds light on Israeli culture, history, and society - all via film. Since the course opened for registration, it has been filled to capacity with an accompanying waiting list.

Israeli academic: 'Re-thinking the two-state solution'

Is a regional settlement possible to the Israel-Palestinian conflict? In this podcast recorded at a meeting at JUF headquarters, professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, provides insights into Middle Eastern political dynamics that impact the conflict, and calls for a reassessment of the role of the United States and Arab countries in determining the future map of the region. He also addresses possible scenarios for dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the shifting role of Turkey, and their impact on Israeli national security policy.

German firms slowly pulling out of business with Iran

German companies, long Iran’s biggest trading partners in Europe, are finding it increasingly difficult to do business there as the United States, Israel and others campaign for tougher United Nations sanctions in response to the country’s nuclear program.

In related news, the prime minister of France indicated his country will seek a new United Nations resolution with tough new sanctions against Iran over its unwillingness to take up appeals for dialogue over its nuclear program, reports AP.

Meanwhile, AP reports that Australia recently blocked several export shipments to Iran because of concern the cargo may have been destined for Tehran's nuclear weapons programs, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Thursday.

In addition, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Herzliya Conference on Wednesday that "Iran can still be stopped."

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