JUF News Express
Friday, February 27, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Local experts discuss Israel on college campuses

• Federation watches key aldermanic races in Chicago

• Government Affairs Committee meets with new state legislators

• Advocates gather in D.C. to discuss disability rights

• Travel to Israel with YLD

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Local experts discuss Israel on college campuses

On Feb. 23, JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council hosted a panel of experts to address the pressing topic of Israel on college campuses.

Moderated by Josh Rinkov, chair of Metro Chicago Hillel, the program featured Emily Briskman, executive director of JUF’s Israel Education Center; Nicole Constantine, IEC Israel Intern and a student at Loyola University; Lonnie Nasatir, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League; and Michael Simon, executive director, Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University.

The conversation covered current trends on college campuses to delegitimize Israel, key lessons learned from working with students to combat these harmful and divisive efforts, and exploring where we as a community need to go from here.

“Each speaker has intimate knowledge on this issue, and presented a unique perspective on the challenges faced by Jewish students on our local campuses,” said JCRC Chair Skip Schrayer. “This conversation could not have come at a more critical time for our community.”

Many Jewish organizations, including JUF and member organizations of the JCRC, are working diligently to combat these efforts. In an upcoming issue of JUF News, Briskman writes candidly about what students are experiencing on campus and about the strategies IEC and Hillel are implementing to keep students connected to and supportive of Israel.

Federation watches key aldermanic races in Chicago

The mayoral runoff on April 7 is not the only undecided race in Chicago. Runoff elections also will be held in 19 wards to determine aldermanic races that are of particular interest to the Jewish community.

In the new 2nd Ward, which now encompasses parts of Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village and pieces of the Gold Coast, there will be a runoff between Alyx Pattision, a lawyer, and Brian Hopkins, chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner John Daley.

In the 43rd Ward, Ald. Michele Smith, a former federal prosecutor and one of the City Council's two Jews, is in a run-off against Caroline Vickrey, a 20-year resident of the ward and a former lawyer turned community volunteer. This will be Smith’s third runoff.

In the 46th, incumbent James Cappleman faces a runoff with Amy Crawford. There was 100 percent voter turnout in the 46th Ward (which encompasses EZRA and Anshe Emet Synagogue). Crawford, a partner at Kirkland and Ellis, is a longtime Uptown resident and a board member of the Northside Federal Credit Union.

Jewish Ald. Debra Silverstein won the 50th Ward with 64 percent of the vote. Silverstein's ward is home to 19 Federation agencies -- the largest concentration in the city -- including several Associate Talmud Torah programs, Jewish Child & Family Services, and CJE SeniorLife. 

Government Affairs Committee meets with new state legislators

Last week, the day before Gov. Bruce Rauner announced his proposed budget, State Sen. Chris Nybo and State Rep.Will Guzzardi joined the Jewish Federation’s Government Affairs Committee to talk about their first few weeks in office, priorities for this legislative session, and overall goals while in office.

Although in his first full Senate term, Nybo previously served in the Illinois House from 2011-2013. Guzzardi, 28, is not only the youngest member of the General Assembly, but also the newest member of the Jewish caucus. Both legislators encouraged members to reach out to and work with them to create positive change for Illinois, particularly when it comes to creating new revenue.

Also, Laura Prohov, vice president of community services at CJE SeniorLife, spoke to the committee on the potential impact on agency employees if the Illinois Department of Human Services were to run out of child care funds this March.

Closing the discussion, Prohov spoke on the impending lack of funding for child care needs. Although CJE SeniorLife serves older adults, more than 450 of its employees qualify for state child care funding. If those funds were to disappear, many could be forced to stay home because they could no longer afford child care. The state needs $1.5 billion to sustain the program.

Advocates gather in D.C. to discuss disability rights

In honor of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, 93 advocates came to Washington, D.C., Feb. 25 for the annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, discussing disability policy with their members of Congress.

The one-day fly-in included meetings with 36 congressional offices, a brief history of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and briefings on current disability policy issues. Advocates heard from Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who spoke passionately about her experience in the disability community and her legislative priorities. This year, advocates focused on ensuring the solvency of Social Security Disability Insurance and increasing funding for transportation programs for persons with disabilities.

In addition, staff from Keshet and JUF’s Washington, D.C., office met with Rep. Jan Schakowsky and staff from the offices of Reps. Duckworth, Bob Dold and Dan Lipinski.

“It was incredible being surrounded by so many fellow advocates, celebrating the passage of the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act and pushing to fund important mobility programs,” said Abbie Weisberg, CEO and executive director of Keshet. 

Travel to Israel with YLD

JUF’s Young Leadership Division will travel to Israel June 27-July 3, and interested participants can attend a free informational happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Old Town Social, 455 W. North Ave.

This boutique trip is planned by JUF’s Missions Department for 30 Chicago-area young adults. The trip will include a combination of exclusive access, tradition, community and first-class accommodations. Learn more about the trip and register for the happy hour (registration required) by emailing KatieFeld@juf.org

From JUFNews.org and around the web


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled March 3 speech to Congress about Iran continues to create a clamor among supporters and critics of both Bibi and President Obama, according to an article in TabletMagazine.

A judge has dismissed the case against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for allegedly shielding Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center. The criminal complaint was brought by murdered prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

A new Gallup poll reveals that 7 in 10 Americans continue to view Israel favorably.

When an ultra-Orthodox man was stabbed in the stomach by a Palestinian terrorist last weekend, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and one of his bodyguards – who happened to be at the scene – tackled the terrorist and held him down until police arrived.

JCRC and the Chicago Board of Rabbis offered their support and solidarity to Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos and members of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago in response to the vandalism at the Greek Orthodox seminary in Jerusalem Thursday morning.  

A Jewish German leader has advised Jews not to wear yarmulkes in areas with large Muslim populations. Also, Jewish German magazine Judisches Berlin announced this week it will now deliver copies to subscribers in blank envelopes to reduce the risk to its subscribers.

More than 1,000 people, many of them Muslim, formed a “ring of peace” around the main synagogue in Oslo, Norway, last weekend. The event drew criticism, however, because one of the organizers has a history of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments.

With Polish Holocaust film “Ida” winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar last weekend, 20 of the 23 Holocaust-themed films that have been nominated over the years have won their respective awards.

Jewish actor and "Star Trek" star Leonard Nimoy died today at age 83.

Singer and pop star Katy Perry visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp Wednesday, the day after her performance in Krakow, Poland.

Kosher pot? Medical marijuana manufacturers are looking to get the Orthodox Union’s seal of approval.

Illinois Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs announced Monday a $10 million investment in Israel bonds.


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 noon and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at Mayer Kaplan JCC, 5050 Church St., Skokie. The March 8 performance will be followed by a Q&A with Kurt Gutfreund, a Holocaust survivor. Tickets are $11 and can be purchased here.

The Center for Jewish Genetics is hosting Family Fitness Day, a free day of health and fitness tips, from kosher recipes to exercises, at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 8, at Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center, 3145 W. Pratt Blvd. Participants are asked to bring an in-kind donation of a child’s toothbrush/toothpaste or a healthy food item for the ARK.

The Chicago Board of Rabbis invites you to a special screening of “Selma,” presented by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Pickwick Theater, 5 South Prospect Ave., Park Ridge. Participants in the Selma march will be present. Get tickets and more information here.

Deidre Berger, director of the AJC office in Berlin and an expert on European security affairs and issues of extremism, will speak on “The Upsurge of Antisemitism and the Future of Jewish Life in Europe” at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Ave. 

And the latest JUF News blogs

Tzivi reviews “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” Israel’s submission to this year’s Academy Awards, now playing in Chicago

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