JUF News Express
Friday, January 09, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• JUF joins global community in condemning Paris violence

• Academic associations push back on anti-Israel motions

• Chicago African-American, Jewish communities join to honor MLK

• Birthright Israel trips to leave from Chicago this summer

• JUF Young Women's Board event to feature 'Orange is the New Black' author

• Chicago Diller Teen Fellows join peers in Israel

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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JUF joins global community in condemning Paris violence

At least four people were killed in two simultaneous hostage situations in Paris today – including one at a kosher supermarket – in the latest in a string of terror attacks in the French capital this week.

Police raids also resulted in the captors' deaths, among them the brothers whom French police named responsible for the deadly shooting at Charlie Hebdo magazine Wednesday morning that claimed 12 lives, including that of Jewish cartoonist Georges Wolinski.

Jewish institutions in and around Paris had increased security measures to the maximum this week following Wednesday’s attack. Today, police shut down shops in a busy Jewish area after shots were fired at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes. The captor, who reportedly took eight to 12 hostages, was identified as the suspect in the death of a Paris police officer yesterday.

JUF issued a statement today saying these acts of  violence "underscore the extreme threat to civilized society posed by terrorists who murder in the name of a distorted interpretation of Islam."

"We stand in solidarity with the French Jewish community, and will continue to work diligently in our own community to defend our cherished freedoms," the statement reads.

Earlier this week, JUF's Jewish Community Relations Council sent a letter to the Consul General of France in Chicago Vincent Floreani expressing condolences for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, and also met with Floreani in person, urging French officials to increase security around synagogues, Jewish businesses and institutions.

Also locally, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago joined several national Muslim organizations in issuing a statement of condemnation.

The Chicago Board of Rabbis today issued a memo noting the number of anti-Semitic attacks in France in recent years and urged rabbis and congregations to both increase awareness of this growing pattern in their communities and to pray for peace.

Academic associations push back on anti-Israel motions

When the American Studies Association adopted a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel last fall, forces in academia hostile to Israel seemed to be gaining momentum. That action, however, was greeted with strong criticism in the higher education community, and steps taken by two other academic associations this week may have established precedents of the opposite sort.

On Sunday, at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in New York, members voted not to pursue two resolutions that, according to opponents, accepted the Hamas versions of events while denouncing actions and policies of the government of Israel. Concurrently, at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association in Vancouver, leadership decided to not consider a resolution supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions

At last year’s MLA meeting in Chicago, the Delegate Assembly supported a resolution sharply critical of Israel that ultimately failed to gain sufficient support to become formally adopted in a referendum of the total membership.

“I believe it is safe to suggest that last year’s ASA and MLA developments demonstrated to many members of these groups how destructive such divisive politicization of their organizations can be,” said JUF Senior Counselor to the President Michael Kotzin, a Member Emeritus of the MLA. “While many university campuses remain centers of polarizing anti-Israel agitation among both faculty members and students, these reversals, spearheaded by faculty members prepared to stand up in opposition to the boycotters, are heartening.”

Chicago African-American, Jewish communities join to honor MLK

For the second straight year, JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council will join the North Lawndale community for a special program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at Stone Temple Baptist Church, 3622 W. Douglas Blvd.

Entitled “Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Strengthening the bonds between the African-American and the Jewish communities, a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” this year’s program will feature, among others, guest speakers Rabbi Wendi Geffen, award-winning jazz percussionist and motivational speaker Taylor Moore, and Maury Fertig, grandson of Rabbi Uri Miller, who spoke at the March on Washington in 1963.

This free event is sponsored by JUF, Stone Temple Baptist Church, The Firehouse Community Arts Center, Sinai Health System and the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society, and is open to the community. For more information, contact JCRC at JCRC1@juf.org or (312) 357-4770.

Birthright Israel trips to leave from Chicago this summer

For the first time, young adults ages 18-26 who sign up for one of this summer's Taglit-Birthright Israel: Shorashim-JUF Chicago community trips will fly out of Chicago.

In years past, Chicago-based participants embarking on their free 10-day trip to Israel were required to book their own domestic flights, most often to New York, to meet with the group before flying to Israel. Now, Shorashim -- JUF’s partner in the Chicago community trips -- will save participants time and money by becoming the first and only trip provider with Chicago departures.

Let eligible friends and family members know by referring them to Birthright Israel-Shorashim. Registration for summer Birthright Israel trips opens Tuesday, Feb. 3 for new applicants, and Feb. 2 for those who have applied before.

JUF Young Women's Board event to feature 'Orange is the New Black' author

JUF’s Young Women’s Board will honor Jewish women of valor at its annual Valor event on Thursday, Jan. 29. The evening will feature guest speaker Piper Kerman, bestselling author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, on which the popular Netflix series is based.

The event will be held at the Highland Park Art Center, 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. Registration will begin at 7 p.m. with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The program starts at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a dessert reception.

Covert is $70; a $750 minimum individual women’s gift to the 2015 JUF Annual Campaign is required to attend. Register here, or contact Lindsay Gordon at (312) 444-2860 or LindsayGordon@juf.org for more information.

Chicago Diller Teen Fellows join peers in Israel

This winter break, 15 members of Chicago's first Diller Teen Fellows cohort participated in the International Diller Israel Winter Experience, along with over 300 Fellows from 18 partnership communities in North America and Israel.

The Fellows spent two weeks exploring Israel's famous landmarks and gaining insight into issues ranging from gay youth movements in Tel Aviv to Israel's Black Panther Party in the 1970s. The Fellows also spent a week in JUF’s Partnership Together region of Kiryat Gat, Lachish and Shafir with their Israeli counterparts, learning about the partnership and the community.

To hear more about the trip from the teens' perspectives, visit their blog. To learn more about the Diller Teen Fellows program, visit www.juf.org/diller.

Photo: Chicago Diller Teen Fellows connect with other North American teens at Kibbutz Sde Boker, Israel.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


JUF leaders wrote a letter to former local Congressman Brad Schneider, whose term ended Monday, thanking him for his work on behalf of the Jewish community and Israel.

The Israel Law Center, Shurat HaDin, filed lawsuits at the International Criminal Court Monday against three Palestinian Authority leaders for alleged war crimes. The move came after PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a request to join the court last week with the intention of prosecuting Israel. Consequently, the United States is reportedly reviewing its annual $440 million aid package to the Palestinians.

According to Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, approximately 50,000 French Jews asked for information about aliyah in 2014 -- prior to this week's terrorist attacks.

Police in Berlin are investigating an attack on an Israeli citizen who was allegedly beaten, spit on and slurred by a group of men on New Year’s Eve after he asked them to stop singing anti-Semitic songs.

The Pew Research Center released a report this week on the religious composition of the 114th Congress, which was sworn in on Tuesday.

Bess Myerson, the only Jewish Miss America -- she won the crown in 1945, just days after World War II ended -- died last month at the age of 90.

Tabloid starlets the Kardashians might soon have a home in Israel. Reports say the three sisters are in talks to spend $30 million on two apartments in a Tel Aviv beachfront property.

Dr. Hal M. Lewis of Spertus Institute poses “Four Questions For The New Year About The Way We Do Business” to the Jewish community.


Join the Spertus Institute for its program, “Sex Trafficking: The Jewish Community Takes a Stand,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, at 610 S. Michigan Ave. The film “DEMAND” will be shown, and Kaethe Morris Hoffer of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation will moderate a panel discussion on the issue. Buy tickets here.

Meet the 15 young entrepreneurs in the 2015 JCC PresenTense Chicago Fellowship Cohort at a free public kick-off event from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway. The evening includes free dinner, whiskey tasting from Koval Distillery, and a keynote address from Lisa Nigro, founder of Inspiration Corporation.

Looking to meet other Jewish 20- and 30-somethings in Chicago? JUF’s Young Leadership Division is hosting a Meet and Mingle from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, at Henry's Swing Club, 18 W. Hubbard St., for new YLD participants (up to one prior event) interested in learning about opportunities to get involved in the community. Cost is $15; singles and couples welcome.

In recognition of the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is hosting a discussion with Auschwitz survivors at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, at the museum, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie. The event is free, but reservations are required at holocaustsurvivors.eventbrite.com.

The latest JUF News blog posts:  

Spertus Institute book maven Betsy Gomberg previews five highly anticipated Jewish books due out in 2015.

Steven Chaitman looks at the problems raised by Facebook’s “Year in Review.”

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