JUF News Express
Friday, June 20, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Chicago vigil for kidnapped Israeli teens set for Monday

• In Israel, the search continues

• JUF/Federation allocations keep services strong while looking to future

• JUF awards $1 million in grants to innovative programs

• Write On for Israel teens in Israel at historic, poignant moment

• Teens get taste of Jewish volunteerism at Mini Camp TOV

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Chicago vigil for kidnapped Israeli teens set for Monday

A vigil in solidarity with Israel and the families of the three kidnapped teens will be held at noon this Monday, June 23, in downtown Chicago.

The event, organized by the Jewish United Fund, will rally the Jewish community and other friends of Israel at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. Chicagoans will show their support and pray for the return of the captive teens.

Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, were abducted a week ago while hitchhiking home.

Those wishing to attend can RSVP to the event on Facebook and are encouraged to invite others in their social networks.

In support of the kidnapped teens and the Chicago vigil, members of the Illinois congressional delegation – Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis, Dan Lipinski, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Aaron Schock – have issued statements.

Also, read JUF Vice President of Communications Aaron Cohen’s blog for JUF News about why Chicago Jews are praying for the kidnapped teens.

In Israel, the search continues

Israel launched numerous search operations to locate and return kidnapped teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel to their families this week, detaining some 280 Palestinians, including 200 Hamas operatives, in the process.

Condemnations of the kidnappings have not been in short supply, ranging from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said Palestinian security forces also are looking for the teens.

Locally, JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council released a statement saying, “the abduction of children is an abhorrent crime and we stand in solidarity with the people of Israel, and pray for the swift return of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali.”

Also in response to the kidnapping, a social media initiative -- Bring Back Our Boys (#BringBackOurBoys) -- was created as a forum for concerned citizens to voice their support for the victims and their families, as well as demand action to ensure the boys’ return. Jewish Federations of North America also has written a letter to the families that can be signed online.

Photo: Israeli soldiers patrol at Birzeit University in the West Bank during a search operation on June 19. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)

JUF/Federation allocations keep services strong while looking to future

How do you create a dynamic future for Chicago’s Jewish community, while still maintaining the essential services that keep it vibrant today?

For the hundreds of community leaders who collectively spent thousands of hours crafting the plan for how the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago will allocate $150.5 million over the next year, that mission was the essence of their efforts.

“We set that as our challenge,” said David T. Brown, chairman of the JUF/Federation Board. “The broad web of social service agencies and programs JUF supports does an amazing job caring for those in need, and the future of those services needed to be assured. But we also must be alert to emerging and future needs, and create effective responses to them. That’s what this budget is all about.”

JUF awards $1 million in grants to innovative programs

The JUF/Jewish Federation is breaking new ground in Chicago’s Jewish community this summer, awarding $1 million in grants to 17 local initiatives through its forward-looking Breakthrough Fund.

Encouraging smart growth and innovation in the Jewish nonprofit sector are the goals of the Breakthrough Fund, which launched last fall by awarding $5,000 mini-grants to 10 local programs.

“The Breakthrough Fund reminds us that innovation is taking place right here in Chicago's Jewish community,” said David Sherman, chairman of the Breakthrough Fund review committee. “The passion and vision of this community is inspiring, and we are so proud and grateful to award grants to these 17 initiatives so they can take necessary and strategic risks that will ultimately impact Chicago’s Jewish future in remarkable ways.”

View the list of Breakthrough Fund grant recipients here.

Write On for Israel teens in Israel at historic, poignant moment

Twenty-eight Chicago-area teens, part of the JUF Israel Education Center's Write On for Israel program, found themselves immersed in Israel's response to the kidnapped boys this week.

The Chicago high school students landed in Israel last Thursday, just hours before news of the three kidnapped students broke. The Chicagoans were there as part of an intensive two-year training that prepares them to lead Israel advocacy efforts when they get to college.

The group has heard insights and analysis about the developing story from a diverse array of speakers and guests, including former spokeswoman for the prime minister, Miri Eisen; Dr. Rachel Feder of Tel Aviv University; Times of Israel opinion editor Miriam Herschlag; JUF’s Israel office Director General Ofer Bavly; and others.

They will spend Shabbat in Jerusalem, and then have meetings with officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Knesset, as well as with Palestinian teenagers and a host of other journalists and experts, before returning home next Tuesday.

For more information, read this blog post of WOFI Fellow Joshua Hoffman.

Photo: The 2014 Write On for Israel fellows at Israel’s Independence Hall.

Teens get taste of Jewish volunteerism at Mini Camp TOV

Fifteen teens got hands-on experience with volunteering last week as part of Mini Camp TOV, a JUF program for middle school and high school students.

On June 12 and 13, the teens visited the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Park City and packed over 500 boxes of food items to be donated, and processed hundreds of book donations that will go to at-risk youth through Bernie’s Book Bank. They also weeded, planted flowers and painted at Sarah’s Inn, an organization that supports those affected by domestic violence. Check out pictures from the program here.

For teens interested in a more intensive hands-on volunteering experience, Camp TOV, a week-long version of the program, takes place in August. Each day, campers learn about a different key issue facing society, such as poverty, hunger, environmental protection, care of the elderly and more, with emphasis on the Jewish values of tikkun olam and gemilut chasadim. Two sessions of Camp TOV are being offered, Aug. 4-8 and Aug. 11-15.  Register or get more information about Camp TOV.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, along with his wife, Avital, visited the families of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, the three kidnapped Israeli teens, to offer the support and prayers of world Jewry. Separately, Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife, made a similar visit.

Due to outreach efforts, New York’s Metropolitan Opera has canceled a simulcast transmission of the anti-Israel opera “The Death of Klinghoffer.” However, the Met still will go ahead with eight live performances of the opera, based on the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship that included the murder of a Jewish passenger at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

David Blatt, head coach of European basketball champions Maccabi Tel Aviv, has been hired as the new head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor is attempting to back out of a concert in Israel scheduled for September because she was unaware of the boycott movement against Israel.

The first ever Chicago Jewish Film Festival opened yesterday. Films will screen at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago and CineMark/Century Theatre in Evanston. See the full schedule of films and read Tzivi’s overview of the festival for JUF News.

The Jewish Women’s Archive, dedicated to making known the stories, struggles and achievements of Jewish women, has launched its newly redesigned website.

Spertus Institute is hosting “Coffee Klatch and Cookbooks,” a free event featuring Chicago chefs Ina Pinkney and Laura Frankel, from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, 610 S. Michigan Ave. The chefs will sign cookbooks, answer questions and share stories and tips.

Volunteer this summer through the JUF TOV Network’s Summer Mitzvah Mania. There are a limited number of one-time volunteer opportunities that include family-friendly and inter-generational options. Space is limited. To sign up for a project, call TOV at (312) 357-4762 or register online.

JUF’s 2014 Lewis Summer Intern Program for college students has begun. Find out what this year’s cohort has learned so far.

JUF’s Young Leadership Division has announced that its annual Big Event fundraiser, held this year on Dec. 13, will feature a former “Saturday Night Live” star as the headliner. But to find out who it is, you'll have to watch this video.

The Jewish Women’s Foundation and the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest are screening the documentary “Brave Miss World,” about the brutal rape of former Miss World Linor Abargil. The screening is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

And the latest JUF News blog posts:  

Aaron Cohen explains why Chicago Jews and Jews all over the world are praying for the kidnapped Israeli teens.

Highland Park High School senior Joshua Hoffman’s first two trips to Israel were “magical,” but while visiting as a 2014 Fellow in JUF’s Write On for Israel program during the search for the kidnapped Israeli teens, his experience has been much different.

Tzivi provides an overview of the Chicago Jewish Film Festival, which began last night.

Christine Lupella is a big fan of – fans. She breezily waxes on the nostalgia of fans and summertime.

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