JUF News Express
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In this Issue:

• JUF's Breakthrough Fund issues a call to innovate

• Congressional update: House takes action for Israel, against Nazis, and more

• Watch: 'The Israel Debate and Anti-Semitism on Campus'

• Apply now for JUF's paid summer internship program

• Students can have a resume-building experience in Israel

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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JUF's Breakthrough Fund issues a call to innovate

The Breakthrough Fund, JUF's initiative to kick start smart growth and innovative ideas throughout Chicago's Jewish community, is looking for proposals for its 2015 round of grants.

The fund will accept Letters of Intent for new concepts and projects through 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

A workshop for prospective applicants is set for 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, at JUF's headquarters, 30 S. Wells St., Chicago, to provide detailed information about the fund, how to apply, and evaluation criteria. To register, contact SarahFollmer@juf.org.

In this latest round, JUF will award up to $750,000 in new grants for innovative programs, capacity-building efforts, research and development initiatives, and new approaches that address the wide array of needs, interests, individuals and identities that reflect the diverse Jewish community in Chicago, in Israel and other countries overseas.

Breakthrough Fund grants will support both established organizations with a legacy of creating and expanding value-added programs and services, and also early-stage organizations and entrepreneurs.

“It’s inspiring to see the impact that our first round of Breakthrough Fund grants already is having in our community, as innovative programs are beginning to grow and develop,” said Bill Silverstein, JUF’s chairman of the board. “I cannot wait to see what’s next.”

Congressional update: House takes action for Israel, against Nazis, and more

Legislation further strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship made it through Congress with overwhelming approval and is on its way to the president.

By unanimous consent, the House on Wednesday passed the Senate version of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. Eighty-one senators consponsored the bill, including Illinois' Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. The entire Illinois House delegation strongly supported it as well.

The bill will dramatically enhance the U.S.-Israel relationship, designating Israel as a “major strategic partner” of the U.S., expanding America’s weapons stockpiles in Israel in case of crisis, and further developing economic cooperation in defense, intelligence, security, energy, science and trade. The final bill includes the Israel QME Enhancement Act, which passed the house 399-0 and was led by Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois.

Closing the loophole providing Social Security for Nazis

On Tuesday, the House passed the No Social Security for Nazis Act, legislation that would terminate Social Security benefits for Nazi persecutors who receive benefits because of a loophole in current law. The bill passed 420-0, which included the entire Illinois delegation. It originally was cosponsored by Illinois Reps Danny Davis and Aaron Schock.

The issue came to light when the Associated Press released a report back in October detailing how Nazis, expelled from the U.S., were receiving millions of dollars in Social Security benefits through a loophole. The legislation was introduced a month after the report was released and passed easily in the House shortly thereafter. Jewish Federations of North America praised the swift, unanimous passage of the bill. The bill now moves to the Senate for final passage, which is expected in the coming weeks.

Federation priority ABLE Act approved

The House passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act Wednesday by a vote of 404 – 17. Cosponsored by more than 80 percent of Congress, the legislation will allow individuals who live with a disability to open tax-free savings accounts. The accounts will allow them to begin saving for their education, housing, transportation and health as it relates to their disability. In addition, the accounts would allow these individuals to continue receiving benefits, while also being able to build up savings. This account is similar to college, health savings, and individual retirement accounts.

The ABLE Act has been a major priority of the disability community, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and Keshet since it was first introduced in 2006. It now will make its way to the Senate where it is expected to be voted on before the end of current legislative term.

Watch: 'The Israel Debate and Anti-Semitism on Campus'

The newest episode of the public-affairs program “Sanctuary” – now available for viewing at JUF.org – probes the rising tide of anti-Israel activism on college campuses, and how legitimate protest is morphing into anti-Semitic taunts and overt attacks.

"We've seen a marked increase in anti-Israel activity and rhetoric; it's especially magnified on urban campuses like we have in Chicago," said Emily Briskman, director of JUF's Israel Education Center. "The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has been shattered."

Briskman and other local and national educators and analysts, as well as students from several Chicago-area campuses, are featured. Cindy Sher hosts.

Apply now for JUF's paid summer internship program

Applications are now available for JUF’s Lewis Summer Intern Program, which provides a wide range of paid internships for Illinois college students in fields such as business development, marketing, social work, accounting, teen programming, grant writing, Jewish communal work and more. This summer also includes select positions with for-profit businesses in the community. 

In addition to hands-on experience, interns also explore their Jewish identities and develop professional skills at weekly seminars and a weekend retreat.

The application deadline for the program is Feb. 6, 2015. All applicants must be Jewish undergraduate students (18-22 years old) who reside (parental residence) or attend school in Illinois. Applicants must have completed at least one year on campus (excluding a freshman year abroad) as of the summer start date, and have at least one semester left on campus after the internship program.

Get more information or apply here.

Students can have a resume-building experience in Israel

Registration is now open for Onward Israel, a program that will send 20 young adults from Illinois campuses to Israel this summer to strengthen their resumes through a custom-designed experience.

Onward Israel is a partnership between JUF’s Israel Education Center and the Jewish Agency for Israel that addresses many of the obstacles preventing larger numbers of young adults from returning for second immersive experiences in Israel, such as cost and students’ need to strengthen their resumes.

The eight-week program places participants in internships based on respective fields of study or areas of interest. They will spend four days a week at placements, with one day set aside for educational content. The Illinois delegation will live in Tel Aviv, but also will spend a weekend in Chicago’s Partnership Together region of Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir.

Preference will be given to students currently attending college in Illinois. Register now.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


Members of Israel’s Knesset voted to dissolve the government Wednesday, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dismissal of ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni earlier in the week. The moves set in motion an early elections process that will lead to an anticipated March 17 vote for Israel’s 20th Knesset. Provided the date is finalized, it will make the current Knesset the second shortest in Israel’s 66-year history.

The United Nations General Assembly approved an Arab-backed resolution 161-5 on Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place its nuclear facilities under international oversight. The U.S. was among the five countries opposing the measure.

The French parliament voted Tuesday to urge its government to recognize Palestine. The move comes after Sweden officially recognized Palestine and parliaments in Spain, Britain and Ireland also held votes backing non-binding resolutions in favor of the same.

A purse and lock boxes were stolen from a car parked at Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School Monday night, following the Chicago Women’s Charity Players production of “The Music Man.” According to the ABC7 Chicago report, Chania Belsky, treasurer of the all-female Orthodox performance group, stopped at the school after the show and left the proceeds – to be donated to Libenu Foundation – in her vehicle. After hearing what happened, a lawyer pledged $3,000 to cover what was stolen.

Ron Prosor, permanent representative of Israel to the U.N., addressed the General Assembly Nov. 24 and accused the international community of hypocrisy (video included at the bottom of the page) and distorting the truth in regards to the issue of Palestine. 

Rabbi Michael Balinsky, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, offered remarks at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s breakfast welcoming new Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich on Nov. 20.

In a piece for eJewish Philanthropy published today, JUF Chief of Staff Jim Rosenberg writes about the need to create experiences of awe in Jewish communal work


JUF and the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest will honor Israel’s newly designated National Day to Commemorate Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries & Iran with a special event at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway. It will feature a presentation and panel with special guests, as well as Sephardic music and cuisine. Tickets are free and available here.

Nominate an outstanding teenager you know for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, which acknowledges up to 15 teens each year for their visionary actions and awards them $36,000 to further their philanthropic work or their education. Apply here by Dec. 14.

The Northwestern University men’s basketball team is hosting Jewish Heritage Day during the team’s game versus Mississippi Valley State at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14. Game tickets are available at NUsports.com using the promo code: NUJHD. Kosher food options will be available.

The latest JUF News blog posts:  

Spertus Institute’s Besty Gomberg recommends several Jewish books that will make excellent Chanukah gifts this year.

When his grandfather died a few years ago, Steven Chaitman discovered the power of gratitude.

Israeli medical marijuana, the “Z” Frank Chevrolet sign and the alleged discovery of America by Muslims – it’s all in Joel Schatz’s latest edition of “Askew.”

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