JUF News Express
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In this Issue:

• Chicagoans mark 70 years since Auschwitz liberation

• Chicago students fight BDS at DePaul, Northwestern

• Government Affairs Committee forecasts 2015 challenges

• Ellen B. Carmell to lead Jewish Women's Foundation

• Inaugural 'Sue Pinsky Award' to honor outstanding teachers

• Register for Birthright Israel starting Monday

• Be a camp counselor this summer - in Israel

• From JUFNews.org and around the web

Chicagoans mark 70 years since Auschwitz liberation

Chicagoans joined communities all over the world this week for the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance, which commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945.

JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council sponsored two events honoring victims and survivors of Nazi terror. On Sunday, Jan. 25, over 350 people gathered at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie to hear testimonials during “A Conversation with Survivors of Auschwitz.” The program opened with remarks from Consul General Roey Gilad of Israel and Consul General Herbert Quelle of Germany.

On Tuesday, Jan.27, the Lycee Francais Chicago held a program for its high school students, who heard survivor testimonials from Nicole Terry and Judith Strauss. Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy Maya Karmely provided opening remarks and Consul General Vincent Floreani of France also spoke.

Also on Tuesday, Auschwitz survivor and Illinois Holocaust Museum President Fritzie Fritzshall shared her story with WGN Morning News.

Photo: Holocaust survivors Nicole Terry and Judith Strauss share their stories with students at Lycee Francais Chicago on Jan. 27.

Chicago students fight BDS at DePaul, Northwestern

Pro-Israel students in the Chicago area and around the country are fighting a coordinated and sophisticated campaign mounted by Israel’s detractors.

DePaul students experienced a victory against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement this week when the school’s Fair Business Practices Committee rejected a divestment proposal. Metro Chicago Hillel and JUF Israel Education Center interns said, “We urge DePaul – and all other universities – to uphold the principles of nondiscrimination that are at the core of university life. We will continue to work with DePaul to promote the understanding that Israel is invested in peace, continues to work towards peaceful compromise and works to promote educational and economic opportunities for all of its citizens and residents.”

Meanwhile, Northwestern University students, through the newly formed Northwestern Coalition for Peace, continue to actively work against the NU Divest effort that launched on the campus last week. NU's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine intends to introduce a resolution to the Student Government calling on the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel and is circulating a petition online.

Also, during a visit to Northwestern on Monday, New York Times best-selling author Ari Shavit thanked a group of student leaders for their dedication to fighting BDS.

JUF’s Israel Education Center and Hillel continue to stand strongly with students as they stand up for Israel. For more information, contact JUF’s Israel Education Center.

Government Affairs Committee forecasts 2015 challenges

The Jewish Federation’s Government Affairs Committee met Tuesday to discuss the new congressional climate, Federation’s federal policy agenda and state budget predictions.  

David Goldenberg, committee member and federal vice-chair, laid out the federal agenda, which covers vast issues including funding for health and human services, tax policies on charitable giving, Homeland Security grants, Israel and issues affecting Jews throughout the world.

From the Federation's Washington, D.C., office, Senior Legislative Associate Eric Goode reported on line items of importance, particularly the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which provides funding to Federation-supported adult care programs, and the reallocation of funds to Social Security Disability Insurance money, which currently only has enough funds to cover 80 percent of participants as of late 2016. These are important income sources for those served at CJE SeniorLife, Keshet, JCFS and JVS.

Also, Laurel Harbridge, assistant political science professor at Northwestern University, outlined the history of partisanship in Congress over the last 40 years and predicted which issues would most likely gain bipartisan support this congressional session.

Closing the lunch hour, Associate Vice President of Government and Community Partnerships Suzanne Strassberger brought the conversation back to Illinois. With the state budget scheduled for release on Feb. 18, state leaders will be considering changes to revenues, mostly through tax reform and spending reductions. Recipients of state funds can expect 13-15 percent cuts across the board and rate cuts in everything, including Medicaid.

Ellen B. Carmell to lead Jewish Women's Foundation

Ellen B. Carmell has been named Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, one of the largest and oldest philanthropic bodies of its kind and an independent program of JUF.

“Ellen is a wonderful match for JWF, which has grown into one of the preeminent Jewish women’s foundations in the country,” said foundation board chair Gerri Kahnweiler. “She has a long commitment to a wide range of Jewish communal efforts, and a strong focus on advocacy to further social change and strengthen families and communities.”

Carmell previously headed the American Jewish Committee’s Bridging America Project, a national initiative to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and advance immigration reform. She also has served for many years as a lay leader at Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization that uses study of the Holocaust to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice and anti-Semitism.

“I'm particularly drawn to this unique model of social-change philanthropy as a means to positively impact the lives of Jewish women and girls,” Carmell said.

Carmell takes over from Emily Muskovitz Sweet, who is the new Executive Director of JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Government Affairs.

Inaugural 'Sue Pinsky Award' to honor outstanding teachers

JUF has announced the creation of the Sue Pinsky Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, a cash prize to be awarded annually to a Chicago area congregational or JCC teacher of children ages 3-12.

The award, which will be administered by JUF’s Community Foundation for Jewish Education, was established in honor of Sue Pinsky, a long-time Jewish educator who was instrumental in the founding of the North Suburban JCC.

“My mother devoted her career to Jewish education, with a focus on young children,” said Sue’s son, Mark Pinsky, who – along with his wife, Lisa – established an endowment fund to ensure the award in perpetuity. “Over her 50 years as an educator, she taught countless children how to braid a challah, sing ‘Shabbat Shalom’ or make their first menorah. Generations of children in the Chicago area benefited from her enthusiasm, creativity and profound gift for building joy in Jewish identity.”

Nominations for the inaugural award will begin in March. For more information, contact Scott Aaron at ScottAaron@cfje.org.

Register for Birthright Israel starting Monday

Jewish young adults ages 18-26 can experience Israel this summer alongside Israeli peers through Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim-JUF Chicago Community Trips.

This summer, Shorashim trips will be the only ones to fly out of Chicago, making it easier and more convenient than ever for Chicagoans to take advantage of the gift of a free trip to Israel.

Spread the word to eligible friends and family members by referring them to Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim. Check our Summer 2015 dates and mark your calendars: registration opens 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, for returning applicants and 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, for new applicants. Sign up at israelwithisraelis.com.

Questions? Contact Shorashim at info@shorashim.org or (312) 267-0677.

Be a camp counselor this summer - in Israel

Do you know a college student from Chicago looking for a way to get back to Israel this summer? Applications are open for JUF’s Kefiada, an English-speaking summer day camp located in JUF’s Partnership Region of Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir.

Swimming, sports, games and songs all are a part of this American-style camp where counselors gain leadership skills and have fun (kef means fun in Hebrew). There also is Kefiada-dati, the same camp fun with separate groups for boys and girls. 

Counselors, who are college students from the Chicago area or who go to school in Illinois, live with a host family and become a real part of Israeli life. No Hebrew is necessary and flight stipends are provided for all counselors.

This summer’s program runs from June 24 through July 24. For more information or to apply, email Partnership@juf.org.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

News

Two Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday when a Hezbollah missile struck their patrol vehicle at the northern border. Funerals for Staff Sgt. Dor Chaim Nini, 20, and Maj. Yochai Kalangel, 25, were held yesterday.

Senate Democrats decided Tuesday to allow President Obama two more months to reach a deal on nuclear negotiations with Iran before they will vote on any new sanctions legislation.

Europe is facing a new Jewish exodus, according to European Jewish Congress leader Moshe Kantor, who at a Holocaust forum in Prague this week called for a special envoy on anti-Semitism in Europe.

Following an artillery attack on civilian centers in Mariupol, Ukraine, last weekend, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a partner of JUF overseas, has increased its efforts to help Ukraine’s most vulnerable Jews.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said that she plans to dissolve Argentina’s intelligence agency following the mysterious death of state prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Last night, 114 women attended JUF Young Women’s Board Valor at the Art Center in Highland Park to hear Piper Kerman, New York Times bestselling author of "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison."

From Bamba to Krembo, the Buzzfeed staff’s latest video is “Americans Try Israeli Snacks.”

State Rep. David Harris spoke of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives this week. Watch a video of his speech.

The Center for Jewish Genetics has released a statement in response to recent studies that suggest that women over the age of 30 should get tested for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which increase the risk for female breast and ovarian cancer.

Events

Metro Chicago Hillel is hosting a special Shabbaton celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma. The event will feature Rabbi Saul Berman, who was imprisoned in Selma for participating in the Civil Rights movement. Get more information about the Shabbat  dinner and lunch programs and register here.

The Chicago premiere of “Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholem Aleichem,” will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8, at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Ave. and will be followed by a Q&A with Bikel. Find Tzivi’s review of the film in the JUF News blog section below.

And the latest JUF News blogs

The time is ripe for Jewish education and Jewish Federations to work together to innovate and improve Jewish educational practice, writes Rabbi Scott Aaron of the Community Foundation for Jewish Education

Linda Haase explains why having a “bucket list” isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.

Tzivi reviews the documentary “Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholem Aleichem” from the National Center for Jewish Film.

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