JUF News Express
Friday, March 06, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• NU community protests anti-Israel vote

• Netanyahu's speech to Congress garners local reaction

• Online voter registration deadline for Chicagoans is Tuesday

• Some 16,000 gather for AIPAC Policy Conference

• Danish Jews thank Chicago Jewish Community for outreach

• Registration opens for summer teen volunteer programs

• Plan on a mitzvah or two this spring

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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NU community protests anti-Israel vote

Alumni of Northwestern University have launched a petition drive to protest the vote last month by the university’s student government, which approved a non-binding resolution calling for the school to divest from six companies doing business with Israel.

“This resolution was proposed…at the behest of the Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel movement (BDS). While the resolution in itself does not reflect official NU policy, it does send an unhealthy and dangerous signal that the NU community supports the larger goals of BDS,” say Scott Shay and Samantha Stankowicz, organizers of the drive. “Those goals demonize the State of Israel without any context as to the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... BDS is forthright in its attempts to suppress discourse and impose an outcome. BDS seeks to boycott academic exchanges with Israeli universities and all commerce with Israel.”  

They are asking those connected to the Northwestern community to sign on to the letter.

Netanyahu's speech to Congress garners local reaction

Following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress arguing against a prospective nuclear deal with Iran, JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath spoke with local news outlets about Netanyahu’s remarks and the controversy surrounding them.

Tcath reflected on the speech and on broader Middle East issues in a television segment interview with WGN-TV and in an interview on WBEZ World View. (Listen to the WBEZ interview here).

Endorsing the content of Netanyahu's address was Faisal J. Abbas, editor-in-chief of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya English media outlet. "In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region," Abbas wrote on Tuesday.

Online voter registration deadline for Chicagoans is Tuesday

Only registered voters in the City of Chicago are eligible to vote in the April 7 mayoral and select aldermanic run-off elections.

By state law, election-day registration is not offered.  So if you are not already registered and want to do it online, you MUST do so by this coming Tuesday, March 10.  Do it here.  From March 11 through April 4 in person registration will be available at select locations. If you recently moved or are unsure of your status, check it here

Once registered, you can avoid the long lines and vote early from March 23 through April 4.  You can also vote by mail on or before April 6 (you do not need a reason to vote by mail). 

Read reflections about the importance of voting as the American and Jewish thing to do in a 2007 essay by then JCRC Chair Midge Perlman Shafton and former JCRC Executive DirectorJay Tcath.

For other questions, visit www.JUF.org/voting

Some 16,000 gather for AIPAC Policy Conference

About 16,000 Israel supporters, including 760 Chicagoans, gathered in Washington, D.C. for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference from March 1-3, an annual showcase of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The conference focused on the threat of a nuclear Iran and the rise of radical Islamic terrorism and anti-Semitism around the world. The gathering culminated with meetings with hundreds of elected officials to ensure that Israel continue to receive strong, bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

The day before the Prime Minister’s speech to Congress, Netanyahu stressed that more is at stake for Israel than America. “America worries about the security of their country, he said. “Israel worries about the survival of our country.”

Other headliners at the AIPAC conference included Susan Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor, and Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 2015 AIPAC conference on March 2.

Danish Jews thank Chicago Jewish Community for outreach

In response to the terrorist attacks last month in Copenhagen, which left two people dead including Dan Uzan, a Jewish man who was part of a security patrol guarding a synagogue, Chicago’s JCRC reached out to the Danish Jewish community in a show of solidary

JUF pledged its support in denouncing the accelerating rise in global anti-Semitic activity and its violent manifestations in Europe, and called for all world leaders to take immediate action to avert terrorist attacks on Jewish individuals, communities and institutions.

Earlier this week, the Chicago Jewish community received a response from Dan Rosenberg Asmussen and Rabbi Jair Melchior, expressing their community’s deep gratitude and appreciation. Although shaken by the recent tragedy, the community is committed to building “a vibrant Jewish life in Denmark” and ensuring that Dan’s memory continues to serve as a reminder of “justice, human kindness and hope for the entire country.”

Registration opens for summer teen volunteer programs

Teens interested in hands-on volunteering need look no further than Mini Camp TOV and Camp TOV.

These tikkun olam and gemilut chasadim-focused JUF programs are day camps “on wheels” that take teens entering grades 7-12 to numerous agencies all over greater Chicago for exciting volunteer opportunities. Each day, campers learn about a different key issue facing society, such as poverty, hunger, environmental projection, care of the elderly and more. 

Mini Camp TOV will take place June 10-11, and two sessions of Camp TOV are being offered on Aug. 3-7 and Aug. 10-14. Sign up for Mini Camp TOV here and for Camp TOV here, or get more information on all teen volunteer opportunities here

Plan on a mitzvah or two this spring

Spring into social action with JUF's Tikkun Olam Volunteer Network's Spring Mitzvah Mania.

Projects begin March 22 and include volunteer opportunities at The ArkBernie's Book Bank, the JUF Uptown Cafe and more, all the way through May 10. Get more information on the different opportunities and sign up here.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


On behalf of JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Chairman Skip Schrayer expressed “shock to learn of yet another terrorist attack this morning in Jerusalem causing injury to five people. Our hearts go out to those wounded and we pray for their speedy recovery.” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded to the attack: "We will not let terror disrupt our daily lives and we will continue to fight it without compromise.”

In blogs for The Times of Israel, former Congressman Brad Schneider draws a connection between the Purim story and what’s happening with Iran’s nuclear program and asks who will be today’s Esther and Mordecai? And JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath shared his and Chairman Bill Silverstein’s 10 chilling observations of Paris in winter.

Secretary of State John Kerry called out anti-Israel bias in the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

An op-ed in The New York Times last week highlighted the response of Danish Jews to last month’s tragic killing of a volunteer synagogue watchman in Copenhagen and its effect on the Danish-Jewish narrative.

In its March newsletter, Chicago Volunteer Legal Service highlighted the work of JUF’s Jewish Community Legal Services clinic and chair Sima Blue, along with a story about clinic volunteer attorney Lisa Green, who helped a man with a mental disability fight the court’s decision to give his guardianship to the Office of Public Guardian.

Deerfield teen Brody Criz is quickly becoming the latest viral bar mitzvah boy with his video invitation parodying Pharrell’s “Happy,” Lorde’s “Royals” and even Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” 


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.

JUF’s Young Leadership Division is hosting its second annual LGBTQ Happy Hour from 6-8 p.m. Monday, March 9, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St., for LGBTQ and allied supporters interested in learning more about JUF and YLD. Registration is $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and includes one drink ticket.

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. 

JUF’s Young Women’s City Council introduces its inaugural Pinnacle event featuring author Rebecca Alexander of “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found”  at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at The James Hotel, 55 E. Ontario St. The event celebrates women who give an individual gift of $1,000 to the 2015 JUF Annual Campaign. Register at www.juf.org/ywcpinnacle and email YWCCouncil@juf.org for more information.

And the latest JUF News blogs

Paul Wieder rounds up the Jewish musicians and concerts to see this spring in and around Chicago.

Abigail Seitz, Israel Education Center and Hillel Israel intern at Columbia College, shares what she learned after putting on an event featuring Israeli hip-hop

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