JUF News Express
Friday, September 19, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Campuses brace for anti-Israel activity

• House condemns anti-Semitism, Senate names Israel a strategic partner

• Lion Luncheon emphasizes 'now is our moment'

• Travel to Israel on JUF's Chalutzim Mission for adults

• One month left to register for eighth grade Israel trip

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Campuses brace for anti-Israel activity

Campuses accross Illinois and the nation are focal points for anti-Israel activity, with this academic year expected to be particlarly contentious. JUF is in contact with local university administrators to work to assure a safe, secure environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students. To learn more about Jewish campus life in Illinois, visit the Hillels of Illinois webpage. For specific Israel education resources, visit the website of JUF's Israel Education Center.

Meanwhile, JUF Senior Counselor to the President Michael Kotzin wrote an editorial for the Times of Israel this week addressing the application of anti-Semitism to the controversy surrouding Steven Salaita. Salaita’s nomination to become a tenured faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was rejected last week due to the animosity of his Tweets regarding the conflict in Gaza.

“Salaita defenders cast an unfortunate cloud over the issue of anti-Semitism in his writings and over understanding of the nature of anti-Semitism more broadly, particularly in today’s world.” Kotzin writes.

House condemns anti-Semitism, Senate names Israel a strategic partner

Congress unanimously passed H. Res. 707 yesterday, condemning “all forms of anti-Semitism … as an acceptable expression of disapproval or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere.”

The resolution was introduced as a response to the dramatic rise in anti-Semitism this summer. Led by Representatives Peter Roskam of Illinois and Jerrold Nadler of New York, the resolution received bipartisan support and was cosponsored by 138 members of Congress including 13 from Illinois: Representatives Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis, Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster, Luis Gutierrez, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Aaron Schock. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago was an early supporter of the resolution, alongside many other Jewish organizations.

Also yesterday, the Senate passed by unanimous consent the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. Cosponsored by 81 senators including Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk, the bill strengthens ties between Israel and the U.S. through a variety of measures. It designates Israel as a “major strategic partner,” encourages the Department of State to include Israel in the visa waiver program, and expands authority for forward-deployed U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel, among other issues.

In March, the House of Representatives passed a similar bill. Both chambers will need to resolve the differences after the election, when Congress is back in session, before it can be sent to the president. 

Lion Luncheon emphasizes 'now is our moment'

Close to 400 members of JUF's Women’s Division came together Tuesday afternoon for the 2015 JUF Lion Luncheon at The Standard Club. The event featured a moving talk by Linor Abargil, former Miss World, subject of the documentary Brave Miss World and leading global advocate against sexual violence.

Linda Fisher, campaign vice president of the 2015 Women’s Board, also spoke, telling the story of an Auschwitz inmate, who, upon being freed by American soldiers at the end of the war, cried out in anger to his liberators with his last breath: “Ish payt! You’re too late!”

Fisher drew the parallel between the anti-Semitism of the 1930s and the burgeoning crisis faced today by Jews around the globe: “We have received a bittersweet reminder that Jews share one common destiny as a people. We are one family. Now is our moment – we cannot afford to be too late.”

Several other members of the Women’s Division also shared their reasons for becoming Lions of Judah – women who support JUF’s work through annual gifts of $5,000 or more. The luncheon also featured the presentation of the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland award to Edie Cadden for her exceptional leadership and commitment.

Photo: Linor Abargil speaks at the 2015 Lion Luncheon (Photo by Robert F. Kusel)

Travel to Israel on JUF's Chalutzim Mission for adults

Chalutzim is the Hebrew word for pioneer. From Nov. 3-10, JUF will bring a group of adults to Israel for the chance to re-visit or experience for the first time, the magic of the Jewish homeland and its people. The Chalutzim: Adult Mission to Israel will combine the traditional site visits with exclusive speakers and programming available only through JUF.

This week-long “boutique” mission will be led by Harold and Lisa Dembo of Northbrook. The cost of the mission will range from $3,200-3,800. Flights are booked on one’s own and are additional. A minimum gift of $1,000 per person towards the JUF 2015 Campaign is required for participation. If you are interested, please contact JUF Missions Associate Katie Feld at 312.357.4885.

One month left to register for eighth grade Israel trip

Registration is in full swing for Ta’am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education’s eighth-grade Israel experience. More than 160 students are already registered.

This year's trip will take place Feb. 8-16. Participants will experience the Western Wall, Jerusalem on Shabbat, the Old City, Tel Aviv, Masada, the Dead Sea, an archeological dig, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and gatherings with Israeli peers, all with 200 eighth graders from across Chicago.

The deadline to register is Oct. 20. Get more information or register at www.taamyisrael.org or call (312) 673-3268.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

Vice President Joe Biden admitted to making a “poor choice of words” this week when he used the term “Shylocks” to describe lenders who preyed upon military service members.

Israel Minister of the Interior and leading Likud Party member Gideon Saar announced Wednesday that he will “take a break” from politics for personal reasons. Saar has long been rumored to succeed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Five of JUF’s premier programs for teens kicked off last Sunday. Nearly 100 high school students from across the metropolitan area attended five distinct program sessions to learn about volunteering, Jewish identity, research methods, leadership and philanthropy. To learn more about the programs, visit www.juf.org/teens.

Shorashim, JUF’s partner in offering Taglit-Birthright Israel trips to young adults ages 18-26, received two excellence awards last month from Taglit-Birthright Israel in New York City. One award was for overall excellence, encompassing education, itineraries, logistics and staffing; the other was for accomplishments in recruitment and marketing.

Five Chicago area conservative congregations are now participating in the HUGS program, which works to provide a welcoming environment for Jewish observance for families with loved ones who have a disability. The program began at Congregation Beth Shalom, expanded to North Suburban Synagogue Beth El last year and will this year include Moriah Congregation, Amy Yisrael Congregation and Congregation B’nai Tikvah. HUGS is part of the Supported Community Living Initiative of Jewish Child & Family Services.

This weekend’s Chicago South Asian Film Festival will feature two films from Israel making their Chicago debuts. “The Fading Valley” and “Present Continuous” will screen back-to-back at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

The Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema is set to begin Oct. 29. Check out the full list of films and get more information here.

The latest JUF News blog posts:  

Glenbrook North High School Senior Josh Cohen had the opportunity to impart the knowledge he gained as a JUF Write On for Israel fellow to his peers at a recent community program designed to prepare teens to talk about issues around Israel.

Celebrating “chai” years working at JUF, Linda Haase reflects on the many chai-lights of working for a Jewish organization and the colleagues she considers family.

Anita Silvert discusses the importance of the presence of grandparents in our lives by looking back at their influence in her life.

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