JUF News Express
Friday, April 18, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Forged anti-Semitic fliers target Ukraine Jews

• JUF speaks to safety concerns following Kansas shootings

• Celebrate Israel in Daley Plaza this Yom Ha'atzmaut

• JUF teen mentor vying to be 'America's Best Cook'

• Chicago Diller Teen Fellows get a visit from Israeli peers

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Forged anti-Semitic fliers target Ukraine Jews

Fliers circulated near a Donetsk synagogue in eastern Ukraine, ordering Jews to register with the People’s Republic of Donetsk or face loss of citizenship and expulsion, have been denounced and determined to be forgeries.

Pro-Russian separatists denied any connection to the documents, which reportedly were distributed by unidentified masked men carrying a flag of the Russian Federation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the act as “grotesque.”

“It is beyond unacceptable, and any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities -- from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of -- there is no place for that,” Kerry said.

News of this development spread quickly following publication in USA Today.  JUF’s partner agency, NCSJ (which advocates on behalf of Jews in the republics of the former Soviet Union), has been in constant communication with Ukrainian Jewish leaders separating myth from fact in this troubling episode.

Julia Ioffe of New Republic notes the role that accusations of fascism and anti-Semitism have played in the conflict between the Russian government and the new Ukrainian government, and suggests it might have been a play to make one side look more fascist than the other.

JUF, through its partner agencies, is providing increased assistance to Ukraine’s Jewish community and is monitoring all acts of anti-Semitism and other local developments.

Meanwhile, the Jews of Ukraine celebrated Passover this week despite the growing conflict. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, one of JUF’s partners overseas, distributed 53,000 boxes of matzah and coordinated several community Seders throughout the country.

The forged flyer (Photo from The Coordination Forum on Countering Antisemitism).

JUF speaks to safety concerns following Kansas shootings

The day before Passover, shootings at a JCC and a Jewish assisted-living facility in suburban Kansas City shook the nation. Jews across the country and the world voiced their prayers and support for the Overland Park and Leawood communities, and gave condolences to the families of the three victims, who were allegedly killed by a known, active white supremacist.

Now, a piece of the national dialogue has turned to addressing issues of safety for synagogues and Jewish institutions. JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath, in interviews with both CBS 2 Chicago and WBEZ’s Morning Shift stressed the need to accomplish two sometimes conflicting goals:  proviidng secure facilities that remain open, inviting and welcoming. 

The JCC in Overland Park hosted an “Interfaith Service of Unity and Hope” on Thursday to remember the victims. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was present and spoke to the need for tikkun olam (repairing the world) in his remarks.

“There are times when the world seems fractured, beyond repair,” he said. “But we are here as a testament to the limitless desire for healing, passion and peace.”

Celebrate Israel in Daley Plaza this Yom Ha'atzmaut

On Tuesday, May 6, celebrate Israel’s Independence Day right in the heart of Chicago.

Bring your Israeli flags, wear blue and white, and join JUF from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. in Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., for an afternoon featuring Israeli food, a performance by Israeli singing sensation Mika Karni, a flag-raising ceremony, and exhibits highlighting Israeli technical innovation and tourism.

The Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities kick off Israfest, a month-long celebration of Israel’s 66th anniversary benefiting Israel Children’s Zone, a JUF initiative working to transform the educational system in our partner region of Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir. Support Israel Children’s Zone today.

JUF teen mentor vying to be 'America's Best Cook'

When Stephanie Goldfarb, senior associate of JUF's teen initiatives, isn't getting teens excited about philanthropy and making the world better, she loves to cook. And according to the Food Network, when it comes to cooking, she's one of the best.

This past Sunday, Goldfarb debuted as one of 16 home chefs competing on Food Network's new series, “America’s Best Cook.” Contestants, each representing a geographic region of the United States (North, South, East and West), compete for the distinction of the show’s title. Each team is mentored by a famous Food Network chef.

Goldfarb, who classified herself as “a recovering vegetarian,” had 30 minutes to cook a steak for chef Michael Symon. As a side dish, she went with something she knew how to make really well – latkes. (See her at -32:06 in this clip.)

“America’s Best Cook” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Food Network.

Chicago Diller Teen Fellows get a visit from Israeli peers

For many young American Jews, a trip to Israel – whether via youth group, study abroad, or Taglit-Birthright Israel – has become nearly as much a rite of passage as a bar or bat mitzvah.

But as 19 Israeli high school students learned last week during a 12-day visit to Chicago through JUF’s Diller Teen Fellows program, cultural exchange doesn’t go in just one direction.

“America is so different than Israel in so many ways,” said Israeli Nur Lev, age 15. “Being here, and hearing new opinions… it opens your mind.”

These Israeli students are the peer counterparts to a cohort of 17 Chicago-area Jewish teens participating in the 15-month Diller program, which will send the American teens to Israel this summer for an additional joint seminar.

Photo: Chicago and Israeli Diller Teen Fellows.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Calls to free Alan Gross, a U.S. prisoner in Cuba since 2009, ratcheted up this week when Gross announced he had gone on a hunger strike. Gross has been trying to get the attention of President Obama in hopes the U.S. will negotiate to release him from his 15-year sentence.

A professor at a Palestinian university took 27 Palestinian college students on a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Upon his return, the university disowned the trip and fellow Palestinians have called the professor a traitor.

One of two alleged Hezbollah terrorists apprehended in Thailand reportedly admitted to a planned attack on Israeli tourists in Bangkok that was set to take place on Passover.

Spider-Man is Jewish – at least according to actor Andrew Garfield, the actor who portrays Peter Parker in Sony Pictures’ “The Amazing Spider-Man” series. Garfield, who was raised Jewish and whose father is Jewish, told Time Out, “he hems and haws about his future because he’s neurotic. He’s Jewish."

The Center for Jewish Genetics and the Newberger Hillel at the University of Chicago present a free morning of lectures on Jewish genetics and medical ethics at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 27 at UChicago Hillel, 5715 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Dr. Robert Neimeyer, author, professor and expert on death, grief, loss and suicide prevention, will be the featured speaker at two events next month sponsored by Jewish Child & Family Services, the Jewish Healing Network of Chicago and the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss.  Register here.

And the latest JUF News blog posts:  

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko writes about how the Kansas murders reveal an uplifting truth about America

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