JUF News Express
Friday, January 24, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Chicago rabbis meet Pope Francis

• Jewish, African-American communities honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

• Birthright expands eligibility for free Israel trips

• Jewish music leaders learn from top Jewish performers

• JUF's 2014 TIP Dinner speakers announced

• YLD is throwing a Bar Mitzvah Bash Feb. 6

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Chicago rabbis meet Pope Francis

Chicago-area rabbis on the annual JUF Rabbinic Action Committee Mission met with Pope Francis in Vatican City on Wednesday, during the weekly papal assembly in St. Peter’s Square. The 19 rabbis -- representing all the streams in Judaism -- were escorted to a special seating section next to the dais of the Pope, who welcomed the delegation at the beginning of his homily.

Afterward, three rabbis had the opportunity to greet the Pope: Rabbi Leonard Matanky, President of the Rabbinical Council of America and Dean at Ida Crown Jewish Academy; Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie; and Rabbi Carl Wolkin, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook.

“I greeted the Pope with a handshake and with the word ‘shalom,’ to which he responded, ‘shalom’ with a big smile,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg presented the Pope with a letter from Cardinal George in Chicago, as well as a copy of the book, "A Legacy of Catholic-Jewish Dialogue: The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lectures" (Liturgy Training Publications, 2012), which chronicles the Catholic-Jewish lecture series that occurs annually in Chicago, symbolic of the relationship between Chicago’s Jewish community and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Matanky gave the Pope an Ida Crown Jewish Academy yarmulke on behalf of the school and its students, along with another book, while Wolkin offered the Pope a blessing.

The JUF Rabbinic Action Committee has organized a mission to a European country and Israel every year since 2003. This year, the trip included relevant Jewish sites in Italy, such as the Ancient Synagogue in Ostia Antica.

Photo, from left: Rabbis Matanky, Weinberg and Wolkin present Pope Francis with a letter from Cardinal George and a book of the Cardinal Bernardin lectures. (Fotografia Felici)

Jewish, African-American communities honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

About 150 members of the city’s Jewish and African-American communities came together at Stone Temple Baptist Church in North Lawndale on Monday morning for a unique tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event, titled Where Do We Go from Here? Strengthening the Bonds between the African-American and Jewish Communities, included reflections on Dr. King’s legacy and the relationship between the two communities, and the singing of songs and spirituals. (Check out videos of the event.)

“The Jewish community has long admired the extraordinary work and legacy of Dr. King, and we marched side-by-side in pursuit of full equality and justice for all humankind,” said Skip Schrayer, Chairman of JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

Speakers included author and Chicago Sun-Times columnist John Fountain, and Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus of B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom synagogue in Homewood, a past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the first female rabbi to be ordained in Illinois.

“We are called to revitalize those partnerships that brought our communities together in common cause. We need to build on our successes and strengthen our coalitions,” Dreyfus said.

Prior to the event, volunteers from both communities prepared and served a hot breakfast to more than 100 people in the Lawndale neighborhood, as part of the JUF Hunger Awareness Project.

The program was co-sponsored by JUF, Stone Temple Baptist Church, The Firehouse Community Arts Center and the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society.

Photo: Cherenity Person, an eighth-grade student at the Herzl School of Excellence, and Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus.

Birthright expands eligibility for free Israel trips

Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides free 10-day trips to Israel for Jews ages 18-26,  has broadened its eligibility guidelines to include young people who went on orgnanized Israel trips while in high school or younger.

The news comes just weeks before summer Birthright trip registration – which includes trips out of Chicago organized by JUF – opens on Feb. 19 for new applicants and Feb. 18 for returning applicants.

Birthright Vice President of International Marketing Noa Bauer told JNS.org that the change had been thought about for years and that it was a matter of funding.

“I think today you see more anti-Israel things on campus, and we realized over the years that people that have been to Israel again have more confidence for talking about Israel, and geopolitics, and anything pertaining to Israel after visiting with Birthright Israel,” he said.

JUF works with Hillel International to run trips for University of Chicago and Northwestern University students, and with Shorashim for JUF’s Chicago Community trips for all other Illinois colleges and post-college young adults.

Jewish music leaders learn from top Jewish performers

JUF sponsored the second straight year of Songleader Boot Camp in Chicago, a two-day leadership immersion program led by nationally renowned Jewish rock stars Rick Recht and Sheldon Low. The program took place at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield on Sunday and Monday, and culminated in a free community concert attended by more than 300 people. 

SLBC brought together an eclectic group of 25 Jewish educators who explored the physiology, psychology, strategy and execution behind explosive Jewish teaching and songleading. The group represented a snapshot of the Jewish community. Clergy, teens, camping staff, as well as veteran and new songleaders all participated.

Participants were featured in Monday night’s concert, which was made possible by a generous grant from the Lillian and Maurie Lipsey Endowment Fund for Jewish Community Enhancement. The show also served as a send-off for 180 eighth-graders embarking for Israel on the Ta’am Yisrael trip from Feb. 3 to 11. 

Photo: Rick Recht, left, and Sheldon Low perform with members of Songleader Boot Camp.

JUF's 2014 TIP Dinner speakers announced

JUF’s Trades, Industries & Professions  division has announced the slate of guest speakers for this year’s Dinner Season.

The Educators and Medical Professionals Division dinner will kick off the season on May 19 with David Gergen, Senior Political Analyst for CNN. On May 29, the High Tech, Financial Services, Marketing & Media and Real Estate & Building Trades Division dinner will feature Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Lastly, outgoing National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern will speak at the Foods & Hospitality, Lawyers & Government Agencies, and Wholesalers, Retailers & Manufacturers Division dinner on June 2.

The 2014 Trade Dinner Season will benefit the 2014 JUF Annual Campaign, and a meaningful gift is required to attend. Contact TIP at TIP@juf.org with any questions.

YLD is throwing a Bar Mitzvah Bash Feb. 6

Get out your scrubs and fake sunglasses – JUF’s Young Leadership Division and the Back from Birthright Israel community are throwing a Bar Mitzvah Bash for Chicago’s 20- and 30-somethings at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at The Underground, 56 W. Illinois St.

Registration is $20 and includes two featured Bacardi drinks, snacks, a photobooth and more. The event will celebrate 14 years of Birthright Israel trips and anyone who became bar or bat mitzvah in Israel.

For more information, contact yld@juf.org.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Jewish leaders in Ukraine have canceled the annual Holocaust remembrance event in Kiev due to the escalating clashes between police and demonstrators during protests. Last week, Orthodox Jews were the targets of two separate attacks in the capital.

A pair of rockets were fired at Eilat from Sinai on Tuesday. The Sinai-based terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis took credit for the attack.

Former Israeli education minister and leader of the Meretz party, Shulamit Aloni, has died at 86.

Artizone, an Israeli-owned artisanal food delivery service, is aspiring to change the way Chicagoans order their groceries.

The former Solomon Schechter Day School building at 9301 Gross Point Road in Skokie will become a new site for the Muslim Community Center Full-Time School.

In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago is hosting an event featuring sisters and survivors Gitta Horowitz Fajerstein and Chaya Horowitz Roth, who took refuge in Rome during the war and eventually came to Chicago. The program is at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at the Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1450).

Three Israeli-born classical musicians -- pianist Alon Golstein, cellist Amit Peled and clarinetist Alex Fiterstein -- will perform on the University of Chicago campus at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31. at Mandel Hall on the U of C campus (1131 E. 57th Street). The concert will be preceded by a lecture from U of C professor Philip Bohlman.

Four years after earthquakes devastated Haiti, the American Jewish World Service is hosting “Aid, Activism and Aftershocks,” a lecture and conversation about the current state of relief efforts. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Kasbeer Hall in Loyola University’s Corboy Law Center (25 E. Pearson Street - 15th floor). Reservations required.

And in the latest JUF News blog posts:

What a brutal winter it's been. Stefanie Bregman suggests some ways you can cope with the wintertime blues and make the most of this seemingly endless season.

Suzanne Strassberger beautifully remembers her mother, who chose to enter hospice care when her health took a turn. 

New Spertus book blogger Brian Zimmerman discusses a new book from a Jewish neuroscientist that will change the way you think about your brain.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month is coming up, so Keshet encourages us to think carefully about how we speak about disabilities.

JVS Chicago offers advice to job seekers 55 and older on how to overcome negative stereotypes about older workers in the workplace.

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