JUF News Express
Friday, February 13, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Chicagoans join national solidarity mission to Paris

• Jewish center hit by rockets amidst Ukraine-Russia violence

• African-American/Jewish relations focus of local TV program

• jBaby Chicago expands to suburbs

• PJ Library family event caters to children with disabilities

• Israeli army documentary returns to Chicago

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Chicagoans join national solidarity mission to Paris

Jewish leaders representing 18 communities throughout North America, including nine participants from Chicago, traveled on the JFNA Solidarity Mission to France on Feb. 8-9 chaired by immediate past JUF Chairman David T. Brown.

On Sunday, they visited the historic Victoire Synagogue and the Hyper Cacher Market, where four Jews were killed in a terrorist attack Jan. 9. The group met with two survivors of the attack, and later with France's Chief Rabbi. They also received briefings from security experts and the French Jewish community leadership. On Monday, the group met with civic and government leaders to share their concerns about the rise in violent attacks against Jews. (View photos from the mission.)

Brown, who currently serves as chair of Jewish Federations of North America's global operations: Israel and overseas council, narrated two videos featuring highlights from Day 1 and Day 2 of the mission.

Brown was joined by current JUF Chairman Bill Silverstein, JUF Board members Caryn Adelman, Gita Berk, and Marc Sacks, community leaders Rich Biller and former Congressman Brad Schneider as well as JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath.

Schneider, a former Illinois congressman, wrote a personal reflection on his experience for The Times of Israel.

Photo: Former JUF Chairman David T. Brown stands outside the Hyper Cacher supermarket in France, where four French Jews were killed on Jan. 9.

Jewish center hit by rockets amidst Ukraine-Russia violence

After more than 5,350 deaths – 130 in January alone – Ukraine and Russia agreed to a cease-fire this week that aims to end 10 months of violent clashes between Ukrainians and pro-Russian separatists along the countries’ border.

The news, which Ukraine’s Jewish leaders are greeting with cautious optimism, comes just a day after the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Hesed Jewish Center in Kramatorsk was hit by rocket fire. The rockets did not explode and no one was injured; the rockets were part of a barrage on the city center that reportedly killed 5 people and wounded 26.

JDC, one of JUF’s partners in Ukraine, serves 4,600 Jews embroiled in conflict zones and 2,400 displaced Jews. This winter, JDC increased its budget and efforts in Ukraine seven-fold to combat inflation, unrest and the growing needs of those displaced from their homes.

Since December 2013, JUF has allocated an additional $431,450 in emergency funds to its partners helping those in danger on the ground, including JDC, the Jewish Agency for Israel, National Conference on Soviet Jewry and World ORT. This is in addition to the support JUF provides every year through its Annual Campaign.

For more information on JUF’s efforts in Ukraine and to support the 2015 JUF Annual Campaign, visit www.juf.org/Ukraine.  

Photo courtesy JDC

African-American/Jewish relations focus of local TV program

For much of the past century, Jews and African-Americans shared a strong and supportive relationship, based on common histories and driven by a thirst for social justice. Then came what some call a hiatus. Now, growing efforts are afoot to restore that bond and build on it.


“Rebuilding Bridges: African-American/Jewish Relations Today,” the next episode of the public-affairs program “Sanctuary,” will air at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, on ABC7-Channel 7. The episode explores the past, present and future of this relationship through the eyes of a rabbi and a black pastor who have made reinvigorating relations between their communities a personal mission.


Featured are Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Lakeview and Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville. The program also will visit a West Side Baptist church, housed in a former synagogue that once served a thriving Jewish community, for highlights of a joint celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy.


Starting Monday, Feb. 16, the program will be available for viewing on the Jewish United Fund website, www.juf.org/interactive

jBaby Chicago expands to suburbs

jBaby Chicago, the JUF’s outreach arm to new and expectant families, has officially hit the suburbs. The expansion kicked off Sunday, Feb. 8, with a launch party attended by over 200 families at new Evanston kids’ spot Little Beans Cafe.

“We are thrilled to broaden our Jewish, family-focused programming to the suburbs of Chicago,” said Deborah Cooper, JUF assistant vice president of young family engagement. “Our city programs have been so successful; we are excited to engage Jewish and interfaith suburban families as well.”

jBaby Chicago connects families with children under the age of 2 to other Jewish and interfaith families. These connections can help develop a community where new families can share valuable parenting resources and advice on topics such as preschools, raising children, local events and activities, how to incorporate Judaism into daily life, and much more.

For more information, visit juf.org/jBabyChicago

PJ Library family event caters to children with disabilities

As part of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, PJ Library Chicago will host a hands-on volunteer experience for families with young children with intellectual/developmental disabilities at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe.

“PJ Shares: Helping Our Community” reflects a renewed commitment to expand the menu of programming available to families within the Jewish community. Families will make mishloach manot (Purim gift) packages, tzedakah boxes and more. The National Lekotek Center will facilitate sensory storytime and adaptive play. 

The event is presented in partnership with Encompass, Keshet, Jewish Child & Family Services and JUF’s Tikkun Olam Volunteer Network.

The event costs $10 per family to help offset supply costs. Register online by Thursday, Feb. 19, at www.juf.org/pjshares. For more information, contact Deborah Shub at deborahshub@juf.org or by calling (312) 444-2844.

Israeli army documentary returns to Chicago

The documentary film “Beneath the Helmet”  returns to Chicago this month for three special screenings. Produced by Jerusalem U, the film tells the stories of several young soldiers and officers in the Israel Defense Forces.

The first screening will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway, Chicago, and the other two will be at 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, at AMC Northbrook Court, 1525 Lake Cook Road, Northbrook. Taahe film's star, First Lt. Eden Adler, and co-producer David Coleman will be in attendance.

Read Steven Chaitman's review of "Beneath the Helmet" on OyChicago.com.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the door. Get more information and purchase tickets here.

From JUFNews.org and around the web

For the Jews of Saint-Mandé, France, where last month’s attack at the Hyper Cacher supermarket took place, the question is not whether they will leave France, but when, according to an article in The Washington Post.

In upcoming full-page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Elie Wiesel will endorse Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress on the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program.

The Senate voted 93-5 to confirm Ashton Carter as the next secretary of defense. Carter has been described as a champion of Israel’s defense and a hawk on Iran. 

An Argentine federal prosecutor plans to investigate President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and others for allegedly covering up Iran's involvement in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Apple CEO Tim Cook will travel to Israel next week to open the company’s new 800-employee headquarters in Herzliya Pituach.

"The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart announced this week he will leave the show later this year. The Jewish Daily Forward shares Stewart's 18 most Jewish moments, while JUF News' Cindy Sher recalls one of the comedian's performances at Northwestern Hillel in February 2001.

Fifty-three men traveled on JUF’s 13th annual Nachshon mission last week, visiting Israel as well as Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Read Nachshon 13 Co-Chair Andy Poticha’s reflections on the trip.

Listen to Chicago Catholic school teachers talk about their experience on JUF’s Modern Israel: Holy Land and Jewish State program. In partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago, participants traveled to Israel in December and will bring their experiences back to their classrooms.

University of Chicago students Joshua Benadiva and Danielle Plung have joined the Board of UChicago’s Newberger Hillel.

The first cohort of Diller Teen Fellows in Chicago graduated last Sunday. During their 15-month program, they developed leadership skills and explored their Jewish identities and connections to Israel through workshops, retreats, a peer exchange with their Israeli partners from JUF’s Partnership Together region of Kiryat Gat, Lachish, and Shafir, and a 12-day trip to Israel over winter break. Recruitment for the third cohort will start in early spring. Visit www.juf.org/diller or email diller@juf.org for more information.

Beginning this Sunday, Feb. 15, through March 15, JCC Chicago will host tryouts for this year’s national JCC Maccabi Games, being held this August in Milwaukee and Ft. Lauderdale. Jewish teen athletes and artists ages 13-16 are invited to try out. Get more information about tryout dates and locations at www.gomaccabi.org.  

And the latest JUF News blogs

Spertus Institute’s Betsy Gomberg shares a list of books inspired and/or influenced by “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

For Valentine’s Day, Cindy Sher writes special notes to the many Valentines in her life.

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