JUF News Express
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In this Issue:

• Celebrate Israel at 66 Tuesday in Daley Plaza

• Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival begins this week

• Chicago Jewish leaders advocate in Springfield

• State, U.S. government leaders honor Yom HaShoah

• Chicago commemorates Yom HaZikaron this Sunday

• Chicago-area Catholic teachers learn about Israel

• Solomon Schechter and TOV team up for Mitzvah Week

• From JUFNews.org and around the web

 

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Celebrate Israel at 66 Tuesday in Daley Plaza

Join JUF in downtown Chicago this Tuesday to celebrate Israel Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzamut).

Bring your blue and white to Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for an afternoon of Israeli food, music and culture. Local favorites Naf Naf Grill and Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed will offer lunch for sale, while performances by Israeli singing sensation Mika Karni and the Jaman drummer circle bring the atmosphere of Israel to the heart of the Loop. The celebration also will include the singing of "HaTikvah" and a flag-raising ceremony.

The celebration marks the start of 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.

Israfest's first week continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday with the Young Leadership Division's Blue & White Bar Night at The Godfrey Hotel Urban Roofscape; four more shows from the Israeli Jazz & World Music Festival (see details below); and an Israel lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bernard Weinger JCC, 300 Revere Drive, Northbrook. That event, "Connecting to Israel: The Changing Narrative," features Jewish education consultant Dr. Rachel Korazim, who will present stories, poems and songs from Israel's best writers. The $10 admission supports Israel Children's Zone. Register here.

Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival begins this week

May 6 also marks the start of the Israeli Jazz & World Music Festival, part of JUF’s Israfest organized by the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest.

Running through May 17, the festival kicks off in Daley Plaza (see above) with a live performance by Mika Karni, who also will perform a free concert Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington Street.

Singer-songwriter Keren Ann comes to City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, and renowned jazz flutist Mattan Klein performs a free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at Beth Shalom B’Nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, 6601 S. Kedzie Ave. Klein also will play for Shabbat services at 6:15 p.m. Friday, May 9, at Temple Sholom, 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive.

The second week of the festival includes trumpeter Avishai Cohen; trombonist Reut Regev with her band, R*time; the Hadar Noiberg Trio; and Israel pop and world music sensation Idan Raichel Project. The festival concludes with clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen performing on May 16 and 17 at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Jazz Club.

Get information about the artists, shows and tickets.

Chicago Jewish leaders advocate in Springfield

Thirty-nine Chicago Jewish community leaders and professionals boarded a bus early Wednesday morning for a two-day advocacy mission in Springfield organized by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.  

Chief among the issues addressed with state legislators was funding for health and human services. There were 18 meetings held with legislators including Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

“We talked about the critical need to fully fund health and human services and the imperative of understanding the short and long-term consequences of failing to do so,” said JUF Chairman of the Board David T. Brown.

Deep cuts in various areas are being proposed for the 2015 state budget in the event that the temporary tax increase, scheduled to expire in January, is not renewed. JUF agencies receive over $300 million a year in government funding, most of which comes through the state.

“I have a far greater appreciation for the role that government funding plays in supporting the critical work done by our agencies,” said Andy Hochberg, chair of the Government Affairs Committee. “I was very glad to have the opportunity to talk with our state officials, who grant extraordinary access to our mission participants.”

That evening, the group enjoyed cocktails and dinner at a Governor’s Mansion reception, and on Thursday, attended the State of Illinois Holocaust Memorial Observance at the Old State Capitol.

State, U.S. government leaders honor Yom HaShoah

State government officials and Jewish community leaders from across Illinois gathered for the 33rd annual State of Illinois Holocaust Memorial Observance on Thursday.

Keynoted by Gov. Pat Quinn, the event included words from Andy Hochberg, chair of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Government Affairs Committee, State Rep. Laura Fine, Holocaust survivor Doris Fogel, and rabbis and other religious leaders from throughout the state.

"It's important that we never forget the Holocaust, and that we keep our eye on persecuted individuals around the world," Hochberg said. "Today, there’s still situations all over the world where individuals are persecuted based on their religion, ethnic background, race, etc. Yom HaShoah is an opportunity not only to remember the past, but to be vigilant about the future."

On Capitol Hill. Rep. Mike Quigley and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the record on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Reps Brad Schneider and Rodney Davis posted to Facebook and Rep. Jan Schakowsky released a statement marking "one of the darkest chapters of human history.”

Photo: Holocaust survivor Doris Fogel joined Federation's Andy Hochberg, right, and other speakers at the annual Illinois Holocaust memorial observance. (Photo by Randy J. Squires)

Chicago commemorates Yom HaZikaron this Sunday

Remember and honor Israel’s fallen with a community observance of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s remembrance day, at 7 p.m. this Sunday at Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette.

The ceremony, hosted by JUF, the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, Friends of the IDF and Israeli House, will be conducted in Hebrew and English. An evening of Israeli Yom HaZikaron songs will follow.

Chicago-area Catholic teachers learn about Israel

Twenty teachers from Chicago-area Catholic high schools gathered Tuesday for a symposium focused on bringing a Modern Israel curriculum into their classrooms.

This joint program between JUF’s Israel Education Center and the Archdiocese of Chicago is now in its seventh year, and 25 schools have joined the initiative. Some aspect of a Modern Israel curriculum currently is being taught in 34 classes, ranging from ethics to environmental science to literature and more.

In July, nine teachers will join JUF Campus Affairs Associate Vice President Lisa Klein on an 8-day trip to Israel to explore the curriculum firsthand. On their return, the Israel Education Center will work with them on imparting their knowledge of Israel to their students.

“As a Christian Catholic, I will do anything I can to help people understand how important Israel is,” said Michael Dolan, social studies chair at Brother Rice High School. “As future leaders, it is necessary that they [our students] should be aware of how the United States can learn valuable lessons by studying how Israel has justly flourished, even in the midst of its enemies.”

This program is funded by the Crown Family Foundation, the Martin and Mary Boyer Foundation, and the Shafton Israel Institute.

Photo: Chicago Catholic teachers on a previous summer trip to Israel.

Solomon Schechter and TOV team up for Mitzvah Week

All this past week, Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago and JUF’s Tikkun Olam Volunteer Network partnered for Mitzvah Week. The first collaboration of its kind, Mitzvah Week engaged students in volunteer projects throughout the city and suburbs, with the goal of bringing the school’s Jewish values-based curriculum to life.

Each grade participated in its own mitzvah project during the week. Grades K-2 learned about sustainability with Pushing the Envelope Farm and planted almost 300 fruit and nut trees, whose produce will be donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. They also made more than 250 birthday bags for seniors at CJE SeniorLife; Grades 3 and 4 made over 300 sandwiches for local shelters and decorated cookies and cards for Temple Sholom’s Monday Meal program; Grades, 5, 6 and 8 packaged a combined 28,050 meals at the food bank, and Grade 7 built and painted benches with Jewish themes for use at JCC Camp Chi.

Families also were engaged during Mitzvah Week through collection drives benefiting JUF-affiliated agencies.

Photo: Solomon Schechter students package meals at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations voted Wednesday not to grant membership to J Street.

Secretary of State John Kerry apologized on Monday for his comment last weekend that, without a two-state solution in the Middle East, Israel could become an “apartheid state.”

The Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of former Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer to the Federal Reserve board on Tuesday. He will become the U.S. central bank’s No. 2 official following confirmation from the full Senate.

Hennady Kernes, the Jewish mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine, who was shot Monday in a suspected assassination attempt while he was cycling, is being treated at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa.

Intel has announced plans to invest $6 billion into its plant in Kiryat Gat, Israel, which would provide 1,000 new jobs.

An Israeli startup has developed an app called Cups, which, for a flat monthly fee, gets users all the coffee or tea they can drink at participating New York City cafes.

Have a kid or two who won’t stop singing Disney’s Frozen soundtrack? Challenge them to learn the hit songs in Hebrew with these movie clips featuring Israeli vocalists.

A JTA story reveals the little-known and apparently fading history of young Orthodox men working as vendors at Wrigley Field.

Ring in Yom Ha’atzmaut on Monday, May 5, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway, with a special event hosted by the Jewish National Fund. The evening includes a Declaration of Independence megillah reading, words from local rabbis honoring Israel’s 66th anniversary, and a music and dessert reception. Registration and Israeli hors d’oeuvres start at 6:15 p.m.

Dancing in Jaffa, which opens today at the Music Box Theatre, is a documentary about ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, who brings his dance program to Jaffa, his city of birth. Read Tzivi's review.

And the latest JUF News blog posts:  

How does a leader become trusted? Spertus Institute CEO Dr. Hal L. Lewis explains what Judaism has to say about trust in terms of leadership.

Dancing in Jaffa, which opens today at the Music Box Theatre, is a documentary about ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, who brings his dance program to Jaffa, his city of birth. Read Tzivi's review.

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