JUF News Express
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In this Issue:

• JUF condemns Jerusalem attack, aids victims' families

• Crain's writer debriefs election with local Jewish leaders

• Next 'Sanctuary' examines anti-Semitism on campus

• Give the gift of warmth this Chanukah

• New-look YLD Big Event expects sell-out crowd

• Jewish youth to gather Dec. 14 for day of service

• From JUFNews.org and around the web

 

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JUF condemns Jerusalem attack, aids victims' families

Israelis, Jews and people of all faiths are mourning the loss of four rabbis and a police officer murdered in a gruesome terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday morning. The two Palestinian assailants murdered dual Israeli and American citizens Rabbis Moshe Twersky, 60, Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, and Kalman Zeev, 55, as well as British immigrant Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68. The police officer, 30-year-old Zidan Saif, was injured during a shootout with the attackers and died later in the day. At least eight others, including another police officer, were injured. Both assailants were killed by police.

The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago issued a statement Tuesday saying, “Chicago’s Jewish community stands together with people of good conscience everywhere to express outrage and disgust at the latest manifestation of religiously and nationalistically motivated violence in Jerusalem…”

“No matter where they occur, beheadings, knifings, and mass killings—whether committed in the name of Islam or of any religion, ideology or cause—have no place in a civilized world,” the statement said.

Among the Illinois elected officials to condemn the attack were Senator Mark Kirk, Representatives Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam and Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Representative-elect Robert Dold. At the state level, the Illinois Senate passed a resolution condemning the attack. Also, in Chicago, Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church wrote a statement supporting Israel and its people in the wake of the tragedy.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the attack on “incitement led by Hamas and Abu Mazen”—the nom de guerre of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas—and the international community for “irresponsibly ignoring” such incitement. The massacre follows a string of vehicle attacks on pedestrians and other acts of violence in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

The widows and orphans of the four rabbis who were slain in the synagogue massacre  today issued a plea for national solidarity and unity. "We ask that every person accept upon himself on this Sabbath Eve (Parshat Toldot, November 20-21, 2014), to set aside the day of Shabbat as a day of unconditional love, a day during which we will refrain from words of disagreement and division, from words of gossip and slander," they said. 

The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for Victims of Terror, which JUF supports, is providing assistance to the families of the victims of the attack.

Photo: Thousands of Israelis mourn at the funeral of three of the victims killed in Tuesday’s attack. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Crain's writer debriefs election with local Jewish leaders

The Government Affairs Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council co-hosted a post-election discussion on Nov. 17 led by Crain’s Chicago Business political staff writer Greg Hinz. Over 70 people were in attendance, with representatives from human service agency partners, Jewish agency and communal leaders, and state government officials.

Hinz focused on the gubernatorial race, and spoke about Governor-elect Bruce Rauner’s strategy and the shift in Chicago voting trends that contributed to his victory over Governor Pat Quinn. Quinn attempted to reach the populist appeal in order to gain the liberalist, he said, and his plan was enough to win in Cook County, but not enough reach voters in nearby suburban counties and gain votes in the rest of the state. Rauner, on the other hand, stayed away from the hot-button issues, such as gun control, and centered his campaign strategy in and around voters’ pocketbooks.

On the political agenda this session, Rauner will be faced with tough issues and some decisions will need to be made quickly. In January, the temporary individual income tax is scheduled to sunset, leaving a $4 billion hole in the state budget; government employees are working with a $100 billion underfunded pension system; and attempts to introduce the idea of service tax to supplement for the loss of the temporary income tax.

Next 'Sanctuary' examines anti-Semitism on campus

When does debate cross the line to hate?

The next episode of the public-affairs program “Sanctuary” – which airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, on ABC7-Channel 7 – probes the rising tide of anti-Israel activism on college campuses, and how legitimate protest is morphing into anti-Semitic taunts and overt attacks.

Students from several Chicago-area campuses are featured, along with local and national educators and analysts. Cindy Sher hosts.

Starting Monday, Dec. 1, the program will be available for viewing on the JUF website, www.juf.org/interactive.

“Sanctuary” is a joint production of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, in cooperation with ABC7-Channel 7.

Give the gift of warmth this Chanukah

Give a meaningful Chanukah gift to a loved one, a gift that helps keep a child in need warm throughout the winter.

By signing up for JUF’s Chanukah Coat Club, you send someone special a Chanukah card that lets them know a donation has been made in their honor to ensure a local child receives a new, warm coat and accessories to brave the cold.

JUF’s Chanukah Coat Club is in partnership with Jewish Child & Family Services and the Chicago Chesed Fund.

To ensure your special someone receives a Chanukah card on time, sign up no later than Dec. 1.

New-look YLD Big Event expects sell-out crowd

Tickets are going fast for the JUF Young Leadership Division's  seventh annual Big Event Fundraiser -- this year featuring Seth Meyers -- on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Sheraton Chicago, 301 E. North Water St.

The event will also feature a new format this year: Doors will open at 8:15 p.m., with wine, beer and concession-style snacks provided at each table before the program begins at 9 p.m. After the show, attendees will head downstairs for two hours of open bar, late-night food, a DJ and dancing.

Last year’s event was attended by more than 2,100 of Chicago’s Jewish young adults. Register now as tickets are expected to sell out soon.

Contact YLD at 312.357.4880 or yld@juf.org for more information.

Jewish youth to gather Dec. 14 for day of service

Last spring, nearly 300 teens from the Chicago area came together for a day of service and advocacy as part of J-Serve, the official day of Jewish youth service. The next edition of the event will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church St., Skokie.

J-Serve Chicago’s Freedom Fest will bring local teens together for an afternoon focused on advocating against different forms of discrimination. Programs are being developed by the Jewish Teen Alliance of Chicago board. Teens in grades 7-12 are invited to participate.

Find out more about J-Serve and contact teens@juf.org with any questions.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

News

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday condemning the Government of Iran for its gross human rights violations. The bipartisan resolution calls on the government of Iran to abide by its international and domestic obligations regarding human rights and civil liberties. The resolution was a response to Iran passing a bill that allows private citizens to enforce morality laws. This coincides with the recent acid attacks used to terrorize women who test the boundaries of the Islamic dress code.

If the deadline is not extended, Monday is set to be the final day of negotiations for a nuclear deal between Iran and the Western powers; Israel is bracing to prevent the fallout from any potential ‘bad agreement.’

A Palestinian coroner who examined the body of a Palestinian bus driver found hanged last Sunday in Jerusalem said the man committed suicide and there were no indications of foul play, according to an Israel medical examiner. (Subscription required)

A group of Presbyterians took out a full-page ad in The New York Times this week that read, “Presbyterians: We can do better than divestment.” Last summer, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) narrowly approved a measure that divested from the stock of three U.S. companies doing business with Israeli security services in the West Bank.  

Acclaimed film and theatre director Mike Nichols died Wednesday at 83. The Jewish Daily Forward lists his 11 greatest moments, while Tablet has published an excerpt from a book in which Nichols talks openly about being Jewish and its influence in The Graduate, for which he won an Oscar.

The New York Times featured Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel and his unusual collaboration with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré.

Pioneer Local publications this week featured a day in the demanding life of the students who play basketball at Fasman Yeshiva in Skokie.

River North Dance Chicago participated in a 10-day residency in Herzliya, Israel last month. The troupe gave four nearly sold out performances during their stay, which also consisted of dance master classes and community workshops. The trip was sponsored by P.P. Culture Enterprises and the U.S. Embassy, with funding from JUF's Shafton Israel Institute.

Events

The ARK is seeking blenders, blankets, towels, and more for its Chanukah Gift Wishes program, which gives members of the community the opportunity to provide Chanukah gifts or gift cards to ARK clients unable to afford basic necessities, let alone gifts for their families. In 2013, a record-breaking 1,000 clients received gifts through this program, and 1,300 recipients are expected this year.

The University of Chicago Newberger Hillel will host the 68th annual Latke-Hamantash Debate at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25 in Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago. Each year, faculty teams line up in fierce but fun-loving defense of either the latke or the hamantash, attempting to determine which is the better Jewish food. Pre-debate student entertainment includes Le Vorris & Vox and Hillel’s a capella group, Rhythm & Jews. The debate is free and open to the public; the oratory fun will also be steaming live through the UChicago Hillel homepage.

The latest JUF News blog posts:  

As Thanksgiving approaches, Cindy Sher writes how gratitude is an exercise in mindfulness in a personal essay on JTA.org. The piece originally ran in the November issue of JUF News.

Paul Wieder previews a momentous musical weekend happening Dec. 5-6 at Congregation BJBE in Deerfield featuring four influential women in the world of Jewish music.

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