JUF News Express
Friday, February 20, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Combating BDS at Northwestern and beyond

• JUF reaches out to Danish Jews following deadly attacks

• Largest ever Ta'am Yisrael trip returns

• Chicago Jewish leaders reflect on experience in Paris

• Bill containing permanent IRA charitable rollover passes House

• Israel Solidarity Day and Walk with Israel set for May 3

• New exhibit features WWII photos taken by Soviet Jews

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Combating BDS at Northwestern and beyond

During the past few years, the pro-Israel community throughout the U.S. and beyond has faced a disturbing and advancing development: the concerted, global strategy to marginalize mainstream Jews and pro-Israel supporters and delegitimize the State of Israel.

This week saw the most recent local manifestation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, as Northwestern University’s student government narrowly approved a non-binding resolution promulgated by NU Divest, calling for the school to divest from six companies doing business with Israel.

JUF, through its Israel Education Center and The Hillels of Illinois, works with students and community partners to counter this attempt to hijack the campus environment for the sake of delegitimizing Jewish sovereignty and identity. Pro-Israel students, working closely and with strong support from NU’s Fiedler Hillel staff and JUF, unified to oppose the divestment campaign through the NU Coalition for Peace. The coalition launched a counter campaign to fight for the moral and intellectual integrity of the university and to urge student senators to vote against the resolution. Although their efforts did not end in defeat of the resolution, the coalition denied the pro-BDS campaign the sweeping mandate it desired.

JUF is ramping up efforts to counter the delegitimization phenomenon while also working to ensure that Northwestern and other campuses remain safe and secure places for Jewish students. Underscoring the magnitude of that task are the powerful words of one NU sophomore who says he is “a person who felt objectified, boxed-in and discriminated against by the dialogue.”

JUF reaches out to Danish Jews following deadly attacks

JUF released a statement Sunday condemning two attacks in Denmark last week, one of them outside a Copenhagen synagogue that resulted in the death of a Jewish man.

In the first attack, one person was killed and three police officers were wounded at an event celebrating free speech. Hours later, a Jewish man, Dan Uzan, was killed and two police officers were wounded in an attack in front of Krystalgade synagogue. Uzan was part of a security patrol guarding the synagogue while a bat mitzvah took place inside.

The JUF statement extended sympathies to the victims’ families and urged for more action on the part of world leaders. “It is long past time for global leaders -- political, diplomatic, law enforcement and religious -- to take strong, unequivocal action against the sources and inspirations of this deadly anti-Semitism,” the statement reads.

JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council also sent a note of condolence and solidarity to Danish Jewry and has been in contact with the local Danish Consul General and with Israel's Ambassador to Denmark, Barukh Binah, who was a former Consul General in Chicago.

The JUF-funded Jewish Agency for Israel has sent $75,000 to help secure Jewish facilities in Denmark. JUF also has shared alerts from the Jewish Federations of North America's Secure Community Network with Jewish schools, communal agencies, synagogues and JCRC group leaders.

Photo: Dan Uzan was killed last weekend outside of a Copenhagen synagogue.

Largest ever Ta'am Yisrael trip returns

Ta'am Yisrael, the eighth-grade Israel experience trip offered through JUF’s Community Foundation for Jewish Education, recently returned from a week of learning and touring in Israel.

Two hundred and fourteen students from 33 synagogue schools in the Chicago area and Chicago Jewish Day School, along with 50 staff members, participated in the program, making it the largest ever in the trip’s 16-year history.

Students spent time in and around Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea, and participated in hands-on social service and tzedakah experiences at programs such as “Save a Child's Heart” and Schneider Children's Hospital.

The group also attended a mifgash (meeting) with teens from JUF's Partnership Together region in Kiryat Gat, organized by JUF’s Israel-based staff. Students broke into small groups to get to know one another and enjoy a dance party.

Other unique highlights of the 2015 program included an impromptu talk by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, an Illinois native, and a Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game against ALBA Berlin in the Euroleague playoffs. 

For information on Ta’am Yisrael 2016, email taamyisrael@cfje.org.

Chicago Jewish leaders reflect on experience in Paris

Chicago participants on the national Solidarity Mission to France last week continue to reflect on their experience.

JUF Chairman Bill Silverstein and Executive Vice President Jay Tcath listed 10 observations from the mission, while Gita Berk, a member of the JUF Board, shared her observations and also a powerful account of the Hyper Cacher attack from one of its survivors.

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

Bill containing permanent IRA charitable rollover passes House

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock’s Fighting Hunger Incentive Act by a vote of 279 to 137.

The bill includes provisions to make permanent the IRA charitable rollover program that allows Americans ages 70-1/2 and older to donate up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts to charity without incurring taxes. The program, which has helped the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago collect more than $11 million in eight years, expired on Jan. 1. (Watch Rep. Schock discuss the bill on the House floor.)

The bill now will be sent to the Senate for a vote. President Obama has issued a veto threat on the legislation because the provisions funding is not offset.

Israel Solidarity Day and Walk with Israel set for May 3

Celebrations of Israel’s 67th birthday once again will culminate in one big, festive event filled with Israeli spirit.

This year’s Israel Solidarity Day will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. The event will include the Walk with Israel – a 3-mile demonstration of community solidarity in which participants raise funds to support services for vulnerable Israeli children.

Entertainment at this year’s festival includes The Maccabeats, Israeli hip-hop/rock/funk group Hadag Nachash, and Jamman Drum Circle. At 11 a.m., Jewish rock musician Rick Recht will perform a concert for young families.

Food will be available for purchase and activities provided for all ages. Participant and volunteer registration will open online in early March at www.juf.org/ISD

New exhibit features WWII photos taken by Soviet Jews

On Sunday, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will open Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust, a photographic exhibition that reveals World War II through the lenses of the most important Soviet Jewish photojournalists.

Based on the book “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes” by curator David Schneer, the exhibition presents more than 60 photographs that span the Nazi-Soviet war. The photographs range from large-scale, dramatic prints to intimate-scaled vintage prints.

To reach the Chicago area's large Russian-speaking community, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, in partnership with JUF's Russian Jewish Division, will be the first museum in the world to present the entire exhibit with Russian translation. 

The opening event and book signing with Schneer will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the museum, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie. The event is free with museum admission, but reservations are required.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


More than half the tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France were vandalized last weekend. French police detained five teenage boys Monday, who reports say did not initially know the cemetery was Jewish.

The director of the Danish branch of Chabad Lubavitch wrote a eulogy of Dan Uzan, who was killed outside the Copenhagen synagogue last weekend, for The Times of Israel.

JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council sent a letter to the Consul General of Egypt in Chicago Monday expressing outrage at the slaughter of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya at the hands of Islamic State extremists.

Italy is making security and defense plans following threats from ISIS, whose presence continues to grow in Libya, which is about 300 miles from Sicily.

More than 10 inches of snow blanketed Jerusalem since yesterday, with some snowfall even reaching the desert.

The Jewish singer of the hit “It’s My Party,” Lesley Gore, has died at 68 after a long battle with lung cancer.


JUF’s Women’s Board will hold its Grand Event, featuring bestselling author Jonathan Tropper (“This Is Where I Leave You”), at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at Bryn Mawr Country Club, 6606 N. Crawford Ave., Lincolnwood. A minimum $1,000 women’s individual gift to the JUF 2015 Annual Campaign is required to attend. Register at www.juf.org/GrandEvent or call (312) 444-2860.

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership presents a lecture featuring Dr. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies at Northwestern University and author of the Pulitzer-nominated book “The Golden-Age Shtetl,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, 610 S. Michigan Ave. Get tickets here.

The documentary film “Beneath the Helmet,” which tells the stories of several young soldiers and officers in the Israel Defense Forces,  will be shown at 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, at AMC Northbrook Court, 1525 Lake Cook Road, Northbrook. First Lt. Eden Adler and co-producer David Coleman will be in attendance. Tickets are $10 if purchased online by Sunday, Feb. 22 and $20 at the door. 

JCC Chicago Theatre will present “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a play based on the writings of the 15,000 children who passed through the Terezin concentration camp, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church St., Skokie. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with local Holocaust survivors. Additional performances will take place Sunday March 1 and March 8. Get more information and tickets here.

To raise awareness of Rare Disease Day, the Center for Jewish Genetics is hosting an online Rare Disease Day Tweet Chat at noon Thursday, Feb. 26. Twitter users will hear from experts and patients and can tweet questions by following @jewishgenetics and using #RareDiseaseChat.

And the latest JUF News blogs

In a column picked up by JNS.org, Cindy Sher reflects on her love of movies and the notion of what makes a movie Jewish, in anticipation of Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Elderly parents caring for adult children with disabilities face a number of challenges. CJE SeniorLife explains how its Linkages program helps families navigate them.

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