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Congregation Etz Chaim in west suburban Lombard was vandalized Tuesday. Seven windows were broken, and synagogue officials reported graffiti on the door and damage to the lawn. One suspect was arrested in the act.
Congregation Etz Chaim released a statement condemning “the recent act of vandalism on our congregational building and the apparent bigotry behind it. We applaud the rapid response of the Lombard Police Department in quickly apprehending the suspect on the premises. It is our hope that this act of hatred was isolated and we appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from the surrounding faith community.”
Members of the interfaith community in Lombard and elsewhere in DuPage County condemned the act and voiced support for Etz Chaim. Rabbi Michael Balinsky, president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, added “the outpouring of support from local religious leaders … shows the solidarity of religious communities in the wake of a violence perpetrated against any single faith.”
The synagogue is consulting with authorities and working to ensure the continued safety of its congregants and visitors.
The latest edition of Slingshot, an influential national guide for philanthropists, profiles the Chicago area’s REACH program, a collaborative effort to help local Jewish day schools better meet the needs of the whole child, including their academic, social-emotional and physical health needs.
In its just-released Midwest supplement, Slingshot 2014-15 highlights 21 organizations representing an array of Jewish life in the Midwest. The guide helps funders diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective programs and organizations in North America.
In its profile of REACH, the guide said “Day schools did not have the ability or know-how to serve students with special needs or different learning styles. REACH allows them to accomplish this.”
REACH is a collaborative effort of the Jewish Federation and Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, and is being administered by Jewish Child & Family Services. Read more about REACH and the Slingshot Guide here.
Other Chicago-area organizations included in the guide are Bayit Afterschool, Interfaith Family, Mishkan (all of which received Federation Breakthrough Fund grants this year), Moishe House, SVARA, Jewish Enrichment Center, Jewish Student Connection and Hands of Peace.
Films will screen in the city at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., and in the suburbs at AMC Northbrook Court, 1525 Lake Cook Road.
Wednesday's opening night at AMC will feature “The Wonders,” a thriller about a graffiti artist who finds himself in danger after witnessing the abduction of an esteemed rabbi. Director Avi Nesher will be in attendance.
Other festival highlights include 12-time Ophir-nominated (Israel's Oscars) comedy "Zero Motivation," about female soldiers in the army working in human resources at a remote desert base; time-spanning family drama "A Place in Heaven," about a secular war hero living with the consequences of trading his place in heaven for a plate of shakshuka; and the musical comedy "Cupcakes."
Earlier today, a JUF leadership mission, chaired by 2014 JUF Annual Campaign Chairman Lee Miller, Jeff Aronin and Joe Gutman, concluded a whirlwind four days in Israel. Accompanied by scholar-in-residence and former Ambassador from Israel to the U.S. Michael Oren, the group met with senior IDF officers, philanthropists and CEOs, as well as Deputy National Security Advisor Eran Lehrman, and analysts Miri Eisen and Amos Yadlin.
The group traveled from Jerusalem to Palmachim Air Base, Tel Aviv and the Golan Heights; participants also visited communities impacted by Hamas rocket fire during the summer war.
Miller said being in Israel “is always a treat,” but noted the joy was diminished by the terror attack in Jerusalem Wednesday that killed a baby girl.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to her bereaved parents,” Miller said. “As we stand against terror and pledge our abiding solidarity with the people of Israel, we also pledge our determination to continue sending thousands of Chicagoans – Jews and non-Jews alike – to this safe, vibrant and peace-seeking country.”
Ambassador Oren praised the Chicago Jewish community's commitment to Israel. “From support for Birthright Israel to the social service needs of the country and from sending 3,000 Chicagoans a year to Israel to anything else Israel needs and dreams of, there is no stronger community than Chicago. Thank you.”
Photo: Former Ambassador Michael Oren briefs the JUF leadership mission in a bunker in the Golan Heights.
Sinai Health System received a financial boost this month for its plan to expand and improve its health-care operation on Chicago’s West and South sides. On Oct. 8, the Chicago City Council voted to approve $31 million in tax increment financing funds to support the system’s $100 million redevelopment initiative.
The project includes adding on to and renovating outpatient care facilities, a new behavioral health unit for inpatient and outpatient treatment, the improvement of patient rooms at Mount Sinai Hospital (an affiliate agency receiving support from the Jewish Federation) and more.
“Our redevelopment plans are an investment in our community as well as our facilities,” said Karen Teitelbaum, president and CEO of Sinai Health System. “From top-notch clinical labs to new mental health services to modern patient rooms, this effort will enable us to continue to offer the very best health care to our communities, and do so in modern, comfortable facilities.”
TIF funding will be provided in annual installments over the next nine years, based on the completion of certain construction milestones. The project is expected to create 250 construction jobs and 54 permanent jobs on the West and South sides, as well as preserve 2,500 permanent jobs.
The Deerfield High School orchestra will host a concert this Tuesday evening to benefit and build excitement for “Midwest goes Mideast,” the first U.S. public high school orchestra performance tour in Israel.
While there, students will serve as cultural ambassadors from Illinois and the U.S. and share American music with Israeli audiences. They also will seek to learn about and experience authentic Middle Eastern culture through exchanges with local music schools, clinics with local musicians, and visits to important historic sites.
The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday Oct. 28, at DHS, 1959 N. Waukegan Road, and feature DHS Orchestra alumni guest artists violinist Adam DeGraff (’92) and Anne Clark Kolb (’92), along with conductor emeritus Charles Emmons Jr. The Chicago Salaam Shalom Music Project, an interfaith ensemble dedicated to celebrating diversity through authentic Middle Eastern music, also will perform.
November 9, 1938 – Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass – marked the beginning of the Holocaust. Thousands of Jewish homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed in Germany and Austria. More than 30,000 Jews were forced into concentration camps. Countless others were beaten or killed.
A new video featuring Chicago-area Holocaust survivors, scholars, religious leaders and WBBM Newsradio's Regine Schlesinger recalls the heinous crimes of that night, and the lessons to be learned from it. View it at www.juf.org/11-9-1938.
A baby girl was killed in a terrorist attack Wednesday when a known Hamas activist from east Jerusalem drove a vehicle into a light rail station and struck eight people, including 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, daughter of two U.S. citizens.
On Oct. 19, nearly 65 Jewish educators from throughout the Midwest attended the second annual JEDcamp at Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation, JEDcamp is a conference at which sessions are determined by participants choosing what they would like to discuss, or offering to share their skills on the spot. Topics ranging from intergenerational social-action education to helping students feel more emotionally connected to Israel were discussed by formal and informal Jewish educators and lay leaders from day schools, religious schools, supplemental programs, universities and more.
JCC is looking for new Fellows for the 2015 cohort of JCC PresenTense Chicago, a social entrepreneurship program fostering local innovation. Fellows work with volunteer mentors and coaches and attend monthly seminars and workshops to build their skills and grow their ideas. Apply here through Nov. 6.
JUF’s Young Leadership Division Ben Gurion Society will show donors the strong connection between Chicago and Mexico City through two upcoming events. First is Machers in Mexico City, a rare glimpse into the economic and cultural relationships Chicago has with Mexico City, at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3, at the Mexican Consulate, 204 S. Ashland Ave. Then, travel with young leaders from around the country on Jewish Federations of North America’s BGS Mission to Mexico City, Jan. 14-20, which will provide JUF donors an incredible travel experience and a chance to see firsthand Federation’s work in the region.
The mission of JUF News Express is to provide timely information about issues and events in Israel and the wider Jewish world. JUF News Express connects members of the Chicago Jewish community to these issues and mobilizes them to take action. JUF News Express is a product of JUF's Jewish Community Relations Council and JUF News, and is published as a service to the community by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
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