JUF News Express
Friday, March 28, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Loyola student president vetoes Israel divestment resolution

• Illinois legislature to address academic boycotts of Israel

• JUF hosts meeting addressing sex trafficking in Chicago

• Illinois strengthens ties with Israeli security counterparts

• Jewish Federation helping legacies take root

• Write On for Israel application deadline extended

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Loyola student president vetoes Israel divestment resolution

The president of Loyola University's United Student Government Association vetoed a resolution Wednesday calling on the university to divest from eight companies that some students allege do business with Israel.

"No matter what viewpoint you hold on the larger issue, this resolution caused harm among the student community," said Pedro Guerrero in a statement to USGA and the Loyola community. 

Guerrero, whose veto came the day after USGA passed the measure for the second time in as many weeks, said he acted because the "diversity of thought on campus was not taken into consideration."

Nine student senators belonging to the group Students for Justice in Palestine introduced the resolution without giving opponents an opportunity to voice their views prior to the first vote on March 18. The measure passed 26-0. In response, USGA invited both opponents and supporters to make statements and field questions before the March 25 vote, in which the measure passed 12-10, with 9 abstentions.

"The point of this resolution is not to inspire a balanced, rational, or informative debate on the Israel/Palestine issue. No, the point is to frame this issue using the question, 'Israel is guilty. How should we punish it?'" said Talia Sobel, a Loyola student and JUF Israel Education Center/Hillel intern who spoke prior to the March 25 vote.

Sobel, a pre-med student who grew up in Los Angeles, made aliyah and served in the Israel Defense Forces, wrote a passionate editorial in Loyola’s student newspaper last Friday demanding the measure be repealed.

USGA senators could override Guerrero's veto with a two-thirds majority, but Loyola's administration has pledged not to adopt the resolution. "This is not the position of Loyola University Chicago and we will not adopt this proposal," the university stated.

Illinois legislature to address academic boycotts of Israel

Following passage of a resolution recommending an academic boycott of Israeli universities by a small association of university professors in December, hundreds of university presidents throughout the U.S. denounced the move as an attack on academic freedom. The list included many in Illinois, representing schools public and private, urban and rural, large and small.

In response, several Illinois state legislators, along with JUF, advanced a joint Senate/House resolution that condemns an academic boycott of Israel, while applauding the strong statements by Illinois university presidents. Resolution SJR 59, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary committee at 4 p.m. next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, boycott proponents have unleashed a campaign against the resolution and its supporters, characterizing the resolution itself as an attack on academic freedom.

JUF urges you to call the offices of the Senate president and members of the Judiciary Committee to support SJR 59 (legislative assistants track the calls), or to sign an electronic witness slip in support of the resolution. Please specify if you personally know the legislator or are a constituent.

Get a list of state senator phone numbers, emails and instructions to sign an electronic witness slip here.

JUF hosts meeting addressing sex trafficking in Chicago

Human trafficking. This multibillion-dollar industry is the modern-day equivalent of slavery, according to  Lynne Johnson, policy and advocacy director, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. In Chicago, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are prostituted every day.

Johnson was among the key presenters for “The Realities of Sex Trafficking in Chicago and Our Community’s Response,” hosted by JUF and co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and the JUF Government Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The event focused on education, solutions and a Jewish communal call to action.

Brenda Myers-Powell, survivor of human trafficking and advocate with the Dreamcatcher Foundation, talked about her personal experience and current fight to help victims.

“Prostitution is not something women want to do – it’s just rape,” she said. “They don’t know any other way out,” she said.

Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney, spoke on legal changes, such as the Illinois Safe Children Act, that shift the criminal blame to sex traffickers and purchasers.

“This is a domestic issue,” she said. “It happens to our kids.”

Photo: Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez at Tuesday’s meeting.

Illinois strengthens ties with Israeli security counterparts

A delegation of senior officers of Israel’s Home Front Command, led by Maj. Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, visited Chicago this week as guests of the Illinois National Guard.

A series of briefings and site visits were designed to expand collaboration between the two partners and with other participating law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Chicago Police Department.

The delegation visited the Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communication, and Rush University Medical Center, among other stops. The visit concluded with a dinner hosted by JUF, at which commanders of the participating agencies expressed their mutual commitment to deepen ties between Israel and Illinois.

“The relationship with the Illinois National Guard is of strategic importance to Israel,” Eizenberg said. “The ILNG has expertise in specific areas which can benefit Israel’s security.”

Speaking for the Illinois National Guard, Brig. Gen. Richard Hayes said, “Israel has practical experience in emergency response to armed aggression which the National Guard can learn from. Israel is the United States’ most important strategic partner.”

JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath applauded the “collegial spirit and the tachliss [brass tacks] work” that characterizes the security cooperation of the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel and America are actively sharing best practices, strategies and intelligence in several spheres, and this partnership is thriving in Illinois in particular,” he said at the closing event.

Jewish Federation helping legacies take root

Starting this month, 15 Chicago-area Jewish organizations will get the help they need building endowments that will help sustain them for years to come, thanks to the newly launched Create a Jewish Legacy-Chicago.

The Chicago program, which joins similar efforts in cities around the country, is fully funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and an anonymous donor, and is managed by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Through the program, organizational leaders and staff will learn the ins and outs of structuring, operating and securing gifts for endowments that will provide a steady and potentially growing stream of funding.

 “As we have seen in the wake of the recent economic downturn, the ability to maintain the scope of services in our schools, synagogues, organizations and agencies has become that much more challenging,” Chair Jane Cadden Lederman said. “Building strong endowments creates an ongoing, reliable source of funds to sustain our Jewish community for future generations.”

Find out which programs were chosen for Create a Jewish Legacy here.

Write On for Israel application deadline extended

Write On for Israel, Chicago's leading Israel education and advocacy training program for high school students, is accepting applications for its new cohort of Fellows until April 17.

A program of JUF’s Israel Education Center, Write On for Israel combines study and skills-building workshops with hands-on, behind-the-scenes trips to Israel and Washington, D.C., in order to prepare the next generation of pro-Israel students and community leaders. 

Write On for Israel is open to students who will be juniors in fall 2014. Suitable candidates will be invited for a personal interview following the April 17 deadline. Go here for more information and to apply.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Vadim Rabinovich, a Ukrainian Jewish businessman, announced plans to run for president of Ukraine this week in the forthcoming May elections.

With elections in Hungary a week away, the ultranationalist Jobbik party appears to be influencing its political rivals. JTA reports that Fidesz, the more moderate ruling party, has been adopting some of Jobbik’s anti-Semitic rhetoric in order to woo voters.

Harvard University students on a Jewish organization-sponsored Israel trip caused a stir when an image of the group posing alongside former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s grave emerged on social media.

The German National Tourist Board has released an “e-brochure” entitled “Germany for the Jewish Traveler,” the first of its kind to help Jewish visitors find Jewish history in Germany.

An Israeli woman has won the Women’s World Thai-Boxing Championship in Thailand.

The Rolling Stones will perform their first concert in Israel on June 4 at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.

Young professionals interested in visiting Israel this summer with Chicago’s Young Leadership Division and peers from across the country can attend an informational happy hour from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday at Little Market, 10 E. Delaware St.

Prof. Ofer Shiff, director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the study of Israel and Zionism and University of Illinois-Chicago’s 2013-14 Israel Studies scholar, will lecture on “The Legacy of the Holocaust in Israeli Society” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at University Hall, 601 S. Morgan. The event is sponsored by JUF and the UIC Jewish Studies department.

Maot Chitim seeks volunteers to deliver boxes for its annual Passover food box distribution on Sunday, April 6.

The 69th annual Holocaust Memorial Service will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue, 8825 East Prairie Road, Skokie. Regine Schlesinger and JUF Board Chair David T. Brown will be featured speakers.

In honor of its fifth anniversary, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center will offer half-price admission to Skokie and Morton Grove residents during April.

And in the latest JUF News blog posts:

Anita Silvert went to the opening of Disney’s new Aladdin musical on Broadway to see a family friend make his big debut. She reflects on what it means to perform.

Why risk-taking is a hallmark of great Jewish leadership, from Dr. Hal Lewis at Spertus Institute.

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