JUF News Express
Friday, June 06, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Federation 'greatly concerned' at formation of Palestinian unity government

• MLA membership rejects anti-Israel resolution

• No graduation ceremony for students who took part in anti-Semitic bullying

• Former NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks to 1,600 JUF supporters

• Greater Chicago Jewish Festival is this Sunday

• Karen Teitelbaum named president, CEO at Sinai

• Local leader shares reaction in Times of Israel essay

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Federation 'greatly concerned' at formation of Palestinian unity government

In the aftermath of the establishment of a new Palestinian unity government, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago today issued a statement expressing great concern.

“The inclusion of Hamas at any level of a Palestinian government undermines the goal of the United States and Israel for a negotiated settlement to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a goal this Federation has long supported,” the statement reads.  Issued by David T. Brown, Chairman, and Steven B. Nasatir, President, the statement was approved in a unanimous vote of the group's Executive Committee.

The official charter of Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government and many others, still calls for “the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.” Current U.S. law states no taxpayer funds can be provided to a Palestinian government in which Hamas or other terrorist groups participate or have undue influence. Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute, also notes alleged assurances the U.S. made to Israel in the event the Palestinian government was “backed by Hamas.”

Polls show that Palestinians support the inclusion of Hamas, but still want to continue peace talks.

The Federation statement urges Congress to “conduct a thorough review of the new Palestinian unity government to ensure its makeup does not violate, in letter or spirit, current U.S. law, and then to proceed in accordance with that law and longstanding U.S. policy."

U.S. Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Marco Rubio of Florida are calling on the Obama administration to halt and review U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, while U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois released a statement impressing on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that peace can only be achieved through negotiations with Israel.

AIPAC is encouraging calls to US senators asking that they sign the Cardin-Collins letter, a bipartisan letter to President Obama asking that he urge President Abbas to cease any alliance with Hamas and only provide assistance to the PA if the new government “is in full compliance with restrictions contained in current law.”

Photo: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (center) meets with the new Fatah-Hamas unity government in Ramallah on June 2. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

MLA membership rejects anti-Israel resolution

The Modern Language Association announced Wednesday that its membership failed to ratify a resolution criticizing Israel for “denials of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics” traveling to Palestinian universities. The Israel Action Network of the Jewish Federations of North America applauded the membership for “choosing to honor academic freedom and integrity by refusing to ratify this baseless and discriminatory resolution.”

Accusations in the resolution, which called upon the State Department to contest Israel’s alleged “denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities,” not only were problematic and divisive, but also factually inaccurate. In response, over 450 MLA members from around the world signed a petition opposing it. The petition was organized by the MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights, a group that came together to oppose the resolution and other efforts that undermine academic freedom.

“It is extremely important and heartening that, despite the extensive politicking carried out over the past five months by advocates for this high-profile, anti-Israel resolution, in the end the vast majority of members of the MLA chose to not ratify it,” said Michael Kotzin, Senior Counselor to the President of the Federation and an Emeritus Member of the MLA, who played an active role in the opposition efforts of the MLA Members for Scholars Rights. “But as reassuring as this result may be, it is certain that, in this academic association and others as well, the campaign to harm and delegitimize Israel will continue, and continued vigilance remains necessary.”

The resolution was initially passed by the MLA Delegate Assembly following a contentious debate and a narrow vote of 60-53. It was then forwarded to a full membership vote that was conducted over a six-week period.

No graduation ceremony for students who took part in anti-Semitic bullying

At a Local School Council meeting Thursday, a Chicago Public Schools official stated that an investigation into anti-Semitic bullying of one student by other eighth-grade students at Ogden International School “has determined that the boys’ behavior targeted a group that historically has been subjected to discrimination and persecution.” The three boys received one-day out-of-school suspensions; two also received an additional day of in-school suspension, and none of them will be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Over the past 10 days, the Anti-Defamation League has been deeply involved in responding to the anti-Semitic bullying, including communicating with the victim’s family, the administration and CPS, and presenting ADL education programs to the students at Ogden. For a complete overview of the ADL’s involvement, click here. Correction: Last week’s JUF News Express incorrectly stated that reports of the incidents came from the Chicago Public Schools. They originated with the victim's family and concerned community members.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks to 1,600 JUF supporters

David Stern, the recent former commissioner of the NBA, regaled a crowd of 1,600 people Monday at the last of this season's JUF trade dinners, which give professionals a chance to help Jews in need and network within their industries.

At the event for the Lawyers & Government Officials, Foods & Hospitality, and Wholesalers, Retailers & Manufacturers Divisions, Stern -- who stepped down in February after 30 years as commissioner -- addressed the crowd and answered questions posed by Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox. In his remarks, Stern expressed his love for basketball and all sports, saying, "Sports are egalitarian. It doesn't matter where you come from and who you are, only that you have game."

He also spoke about the impact basketball had on perceptions of AIDS, referring to Magic Johnson’s announcement, and race, with Michael Jordan becoming one of the first great commerical spokespeople of color. On the other hand, he said, sports still suffer from racism and anti-Semitism. He cited the anti-Semitic comments on Twitter after Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Euroleague championship a couple weeks ago.

Photo: JUF Lawyers Division dinner chairman Bruce Braun (left) with former NBA Commissioner David Stern. (Photo by Robert Kusel)

Greater Chicago Jewish Festival is this Sunday

Join thousands of Chicagoans at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Sunday at St. Paul Woods, 6500 Oakton, Morton Grove. 

New this year is Israel Fusion, a program of JUF’s IsraFest, featuring Israeli food, performances, art and community singing. Young children will be entertained at JUF’s Young Family tent with Shalom Sesame characters, face painting, arts and crafts, an inflatable slide and obstacle course, and a PJ Library/Sifriyat Pijama reading corner.

Karen Teitelbaum named president, CEO at Sinai

Karen Teitelbaum has been named the new president and CEO of Sinai Health System, effective July 1. Teitelbaum takes the helm at the 695-bed hospital group following a decade of leadership from Alan Channing, who announced his retirement this spring.

Teitelbaum has been Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Sinai for nearly seven years, focusing on strengthened operations, quality, safety, and business development for the health system, which includes Mount Sinai Hospital, Sinai Children’s Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Community Institute, and Sinai Medical Group.

During her tenure, Sinai has received national and statewide recognition for clinical excellence, as well as for its innovative urban health programs, which translate research in social, economic and health disparities into holistic prevention and wellness programs that improve health as well as quality of life.

“We are very fortunate to have a proven leader in Karen, already profoundly invested in Sinai and the community,” said Gary Niederpruem, chairman of the Board of Sinai Health System. “Her strong health care experience and business acumen, coupled with a deep passion for making a difference in the communities we serve, make her the right person to lead Sinai forward during this dynamic period of change and transformation in health care delivery. As health care in the United States begins to more closely resemble the type of care Sinai has always delivered, Karen is uniquely qualified to guide our organization forward to continue changing lives for the better.”

Local leader shares reaction in Times of Israel essay

What was otherwise an uplifting trip to Israel for JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath ended with a poignant reminder of one of many tragedies Israel has faced. “Yes, a week in Israel can and should be almost idyllic,” Tcath wrote in a Times of Israel commentary, “But it can’t and shouldn’t be only that.”

Photo: The memorial to the 21 young Israelis killed by a suicide bomber at Tel Aviv's Dolphinarium disco.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Israel’s Housing and Construction Ministry approved 1,500 West Bank and East Jerusalem homes on Wednesday, in part as a response to formation of the Palestinian unity government. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro criticized the plan, saying the U.S. opposes settlement construction regardless of the circumstances with the new Palestinian government.

Israel President Shimon Peres accepted an invitation from Pope Francis to travel to the Vatican on Sunday for an interfaith peace prayer. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders also are set to attend.

Save the date for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Annual Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 11, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The 10 a.m. business meeting will be followed by a noon luncheon featuring a keynote address by Francis Cardinal George and the presentation of the Federation's highest honor, the Julius Rosenwald Memorial Award, to Max (Skip) R. Schrayer.

Members of the Rolling Stones visited the Western Wall and other parts of Israel Tuesday before Wednesday night’s concert in Tel Aviv, the band’s first ever in Israel. During the concert, lead singer Mick Jagger showed off his Hebrew skills.

CJE SeniorLife in Chicago was featured in a national story from JNS.org about the growth of in-home services for seniors and the Jewish Federation’s priority to allow seniors to “age in place.”

Parents of incoming eighth graders can learn more about Ta’am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel, a JUF-supported Israel experience for hundreds of eighth grade students from the Chicago area, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12, at Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 W. Church St., Skokie. RSVP here. The 2015 Ta’am Yisrael experience will take place Sunday, Feb. 8, through Monday, Feb. 16. A possible second trip also is being explored.

JCC PresenTense Chicago presents Launch Night 2014, a showcase of 15 innovative business ventures, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12, at the Mayne Stage, 1330 W. Morse Ave., Chicago. Hear the PresenTense Fellows' pitches, learn about their ventures, and enjoy appetizers and networking opportunities. Register here.

The Chicago Jewish Film Festival, presented by JCC Chicago, has officially set the schedule of films for its first festival, which runs June 19-29. 

And the latest JUF News blog posts:  

Fighting cancer is difficult, whether you’re a survivor, caretaker, or even a supporter of cancer research, like Steven Chaitman. He shares his experience and challenges fighting back.

With summer upon us, that summer vacation circled on your calendar is getting closer. Cindy Sher wonders if you can handle the anticipation.  

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