JUF News Express
Friday, December 12, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Judy Baar Topinka, strong friend of Israel, Jewish community

• Endowment strengthens JUF federal policy internship

• NU Hillel director receives Hillel's highest honor

• Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran honored this Sunday

• Day of Jewish youth service is Sunday

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Judy Baar Topinka, strong friend of Israel, Jewish community

Illinois state comptroller and former treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, who died Wednesday from complications from a stroke, is being remembered with much love by many in the Jewish community. "She was a great friend," said JUF President Steven B. Nasatir.

Topinka often told audiences she quickly “fell in love” with Israel on her first trip with the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation in 1994 and later returned on her own. In fact, she felt so strongly about showing her support for Israel that, in spite of difficulty walking due to recent surgery at the time, she spoke at the JUF Chicago Community Rally on Nov. 20, 2012. (Watch a video of Topinka's speech.)

Topinka, who was to be inaugurated next month for her second term as comptroller, began her political career in the Illinois House in 1980, when it was rare to see a female state legislator. In 1984, she moved to the Illinois Senate, where she served until she was elected state treasurer 10 years later. She was a trailblazer for women politicians, becoming, among other things, the first Republican woman nominated for governor.

Topinka received honors from the Anti-Defamation League, American Committee of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital, among other Jewish organizations.

Photo: Judy Baar Topinka, at the Nov. 20, 2012, community rally for Israel.

Endowment strengthens JUF federal policy internship

JUF has announced permanent funding for its Washington, D.C., internship program.

Through JUF’s Centennial Campaign, Odessa Dubinsky made provisions in her will to fund the federal policy internship, which works in conjunction with JUF professionals based in the nation’s capital. The position focuses on government relations, regulation of non-profit organizations, and other domestic and international policy issues, especially those involving Israel. The intern gains exposure to Capitol Hill and Executive Branch agencies, works with Jewish Federation agencies and other Jewish and social welfare groups in D.C., and enjoys a first-hand look inside the Jewish communal organizational world.

“Odessa Dubinsky’s generosity will benefit not only individual college students seeking to gain educational workplace experience," JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath said, "but in the process also will advance JUF’s task of helping 300,000 Chicagoans of all faiths and over 2 million Jews worldwide.”

The Odessa Dubinsky Internship is a part-time position (flexible but consistent 15- to 20-hour work week) that will run from January through early May. College credit for the internship is sometimes awarded. The internship is open to current college sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Interested candidates should send their resume and a cover letter, writing sample, and any questions to gov@juf.org. For more on JUF’s Government Affairs program, visit www.juf.org/gov.

NU Hillel director receives Hillel's highest honor
Michael Simon, executive director of Fiedler Hillel Center at Northwestern Uniersity, was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award at Hillel International’s Global Assembly in Orlando, Fla., this week. The award is the international organization’s highest honor for professionals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to their campus Hillel.

Simon was nominated by various colleagues, current and former students, and Hillel board members, as well as Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. (Read quotes from their nomination letters.)

“Michael Simon is as good as it gets,” Schapiro said. “He is entrepreneurial, personable, and tireless in both fostering a welcoming Jewish community, and in his outreach outside that community. He is at every campus event and represents us beautifully.”

Fiedler Hillel is a division of The Hillels of Illinois, a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish United Fund.

Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran honored this Sunday

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 free special event at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway.

The refugees will be honored with a reception featuing Sephardic cuisine, a screening of the documentary “Forgotten Refugees,” and a musical performance by flutist Hadar Noiberg and oudist Amos Hoffman. The evening also will include a guest panel of refugee experts, moderated by Consul General Roey Gilad.

The event is open to the public; advance registration is required. Get tickets here.

Day of Jewish youth service is Sunday

J-Serve, the official day of Jewish youth service, will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. this Sunday 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.

Sign up for J-Serve or contact teens@juf.org for more information.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


A 22-year-old Israeli rabbinical student is recovering after being stabbed in the neck and head while praying at Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn Tuesday, allegedly by a man said to have entered the building shouting his intentions to kill Jews.

A Palestinian man reportedly threw acid at a Jewish family of five today near a checkpoint in the West Bank.

The Nov. 5 vehicle terror strike at a Jerusalem light rail station has claimed a third life. A 60-year-old Palestinian man died Sunday from wounds suffered in the attack.

Ben-Gurion University has developed a new test that detects early brain damage in football players and could lead to better evaluations of when athletes should return to action following “unreported” trauma or mild concussions.

Four unidentified individuals on motorcycles opened fire on the Israeli embassy in Athens early this morning, according to police. No damage or injuries were reported.

Poland’s Constitutional Court has deemed a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals unconstitutional. The initial ban had been in place since January 2013.

Dr. Richard D. Zelin reviews the book On the Front Lines in a Changing Jewish World, the new collection of writings from JUF’s Michael C. Kotzin chronicling the major issues faced by the Jewish community the last 25 years.

One of the season’s first viral Chanukah videos comes from Chicago’s Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra, who performed a Chanukah song mashup and dance number in Daley Plaza.


JVS Chicago’s Jewish Employment Network (JEN) is launching NEXJEN, a career development and job search strategy program for young professionals and recent graduates, with “Network Around the Dreidel,” a free networking event and Chanukah party at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 9599 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Advanced registration required; email SandraSaltzman@jvschicago.org.

The latest JUF News blog posts:  

Suzanne Strassberger previews the possible battle in Springfield between Governor-elect Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan and the issues that await them come Jan. 13.

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko discusses how technology has changed the way people communicate about personal issues such as illness and death.

Paul Wieder presents his annual Chanukah wrap-up of the best Jewish music albums produced this year that are ideal for gift-giving.

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