JUF News Express
Friday, January 10, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Academics challenge anti-Israel panel at MLA convention

• SHALVA and Maot Chitim welcome new executives

• Join JUF in paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

• Free Jewish rock concert to feature Rick Recht and Sheldon Low

• VIDEO: What makes Chicago's relationship to Israel tick?

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Academics challenge anti-Israel panel at MLA convention

During the opening sessions of the Modern Language Association's (MLA) annual convention in Chicago Thursday, distinguished scholars and MLA members hosted an independent panel in response to a one-sided MLA session on adacemic boycotts, in advance of a vote tomorrow on a resolution that would condemn Israel for allegedly denying entry to some American academics.

JUF, in consort with the Jewish Federations of North America's Israel Action Network (IAN), has been working to counter the movement--at the MLA convention and elsewhere--to single Israel out and unfairly impose boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the Jewish state.

Speakers at the alternative panel, titled “Perspectives Against Academic Boycotts” (which IAN helped organize), included Cary Nelson, MLA member and University of Illinois professor as well as past president of the American Association of University Professors; Russell Berman, Stanford University professor and a past president of MLA; Gabriel Brahm, MLA member and professor at Northern Michigan University; and Ilan Troen, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and a professor at Ben-Gurion University.

Troen highlighted the ease with which foreign teachers enter the West Bank, that Israeli-Palestinian and other non-Jewish enrollment at several Israeli universities is increasing and how Palestinian and Israeli institutions are working collaboratively.

“Israeli higher education makes a large and significant contribution to the education of Palestinians,” Troen said. Any boycott "would manifestly injure the very population the MLA panelists claim to represent.”

Nelson and some other MLA members have also written a detailed argument against the resolution regarding entry to the West Bank, which the MLA Delegate Assembly will vote on tomorrow.

The spotlight turned to the MLA convention in large part due to the recent American Studies Association vote calling for an academic boycott of Israeli universities. An editorial by JUF's Michael C. Kotzin places these MLA issues within their larger context.

Listen to the entire alternative panel here.

SHALVA and Maot Chitim welcome new executives

SHALVA, the Jewish domestic abuse agency, and Maot Chitim, which delivers kosher food boxes locally to those in need on Rosh Hashanah and Passover, have each welcomed new leadership in recent weeks.

Carol Ruderman is the new executive director of SHALVA. Ruderman most recently served as regional director at The American Cancer Society, and prior to that was co-studio director for the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Ruderman has also served as vice president on the JUF Young Women’s Board and chairperson for the Parent Council at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park.

Meanwhile, Joellyn Oliff began her tenure as executive director of Maot Chitim on Dec. 2. Oliff spent 15 years in leadership with the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, and also held the position of Director of High School and Transition Programs at Keshet. Most recently, she worked at Lambs Farm in Libertyville as the Community Employment Manager. As the only paid employee, Oliff will oversee all aspects of Maot Chitim. She succeeds Audrey Schiff, executive director for the past 13 years.

Photo: Carol Ruderman (left), now of SHALVA, and Joellyn Oliff (right), now of Maot Chitim.

Join JUF in paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20, JUF will co-host a day of service and tribute to Dr. King titled “Where Do We Go From Here: Strengthening Bonds Between the African-American and Jewish Communities, A Tribute to the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The event will be held at Stone Temple Baptist Church (3622 W. Douglas Boulevard) starting at 11 a.m. The program will feature several notable speakers, including John Fountain of the Chicago Sun-Times and Rabbi Ellyn Dreyfus, reflecting on King's legacy and the relationship between Jewish and African-American communities. 

"Strengthening Bonds" is a collaboration between JUF, Stone Temple Baptist Church, The Firehouse Community Arts Center and the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society.

Questions about the event should be directed to the Jewish Community Relations Council at (312) 357-4770 or JCRC1@juf.org.

Free Jewish rock concert to feature Rick Recht and Sheldon Low

Jewish musicians Rick Recht and Sheldon Low will perform a free concert Monday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield. The concert will also feature the participants of Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC), an intensive two-day conference and music leadership training program taking place Jan. 19 and 20. Eighth grade participants on the forthcoming Ta’am Yisrael trip to Israel in February will also receive a special sendoff at the concert.

Presented by JUF, the concert has been made free by a donation from the Lillian and Maurie Lipsey Endowment Fund for Jewish Community Enhancement. Reservations to guarantee seats are recommended and can be made here.

Photo: Rick Recht (left) and Sheldon Low (right) perform at last year's Songleader Boot Camp at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook.

VIDEO: What makes Chicago's relationship to Israel tick?

From enabling Chicago-area Jews to collaborate with Israelis on helping the disadvantaged, to arranging visits to Israel by Illinois legislators seeking to understand Israel’s security and political situation, to organizing educational programs for special groups, like teachers at local Catholic schools, the Israel Office of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation plays a lead role.

On a visit to Chicago, Ofer Bavly, director general of JUF’s Israel Office, highlighted the reasons for JUF’s strong connection to Israel, and the positive results for both Israelis and Chicagoans arising from their ever-growing bond. Watch the video.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s condition continues to worsen ever since he became critical last week. Sharon, 85, has been in a coma since 2006.

Read editorials on why Palestinians recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will be key to the peace process from Steve Huntley in the Chicago Sun-Times and Martin Raffel in The Jewish Week.

Amiri Baraka, the former New Jersey poet laureate who has long been deemed anti-Semitic, has died.

Caleb Jacoby has been found. The 16-year-old Jewish Boston native, who had been missing since Jan. 6, was found safe in New York City.

IsraAID continues its relief efforts in the Philippines. The organization has repaired three health facilities and is starting to repair damaged schools.

Read some great blogs from young adults currently on Birthright. Two participants on JUF trips had eye-opening experiences at elementary schools in JUF’s Partnership Together regions. Josh Epstein visited Menachem Begin Elementary in Kiryat Gat and Melanie Kaufman was inspired by the kids she met at a school in Lachish.

On Jan. 6, Jewish Child & Family Services and JVS Chicago launched a new toll-free number, 855-INFO-JVS, to allow clients easy access to both organizations’ services.

The Union League Club of Chicago, in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, will present a special program called “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 5:30. Register in advance here. Business casual attire required.

Four-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg will speak at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as part of the launch of the Lenny Krayzelburg JCC Swim Academy.

And in the latest JUF News blog posts:

Steven Chaitman never thought his blog about his second ever trip to Israel would end up like this.

Tzivi reviews Aftermath, a Polish thriller with a connection to World War II.

If you've ever wanted a quick tutorial on Yiddish and Hebrew music terms, Paul Wieder has you covered.

Having a parent move in with your family is becoming more common because of the economy. CJE SeniorLife provides some advice to help with the transition.

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