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

In this Issue:

• BDS campaign relaunches at Loyola

• Governor appoints members to Illinois Holocaust Commission

• Homeland security bill includes funds for nonprofit security, hunger programs

• CJHS takes first at Model U.N. championship

• Local convicted terrorist sentenced to prison, faces deportation

• Don't forget to register to vote for the April 7 city elections

• Join TeamJUF for the 2015 Chicago Marathon

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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BDS campaign relaunches at Loyola

Last Sunday, Students for Justice in Palestine at Loyola University announced a new Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, demanding the university divest from companies that do business with Israel and reigniting a campaign that failed last year.

SJP introduced its arguments for divestment at a student government meeting Tuesday, and will propose specific divestment legislation March 17. The legislation will be voted on by Loyola’s student government on March 24.

Prepared to combat another divestment campaign, Loyola students immediately took action and formed the Loyola-Israel Student Alliance. The alliance made comments at Tuesday’s student government meeting and is meeting with senate members, as well as preparing presentations for the March 17 meeting.

“BDS is on the agenda of Loyola’s student government because the student government includes a number of BDS activists,” explained Rabbi Seth Winberg, executive director of Metro Chicago Hillel, in a statement released today.

Winberg said Hillel is confident that, regardless of the vote, the university will not divest from Israel due to lack of institutional support. Loyola President the Rev. Michael Garanzini has said previously “[Loyola] would not be interested in taking up this issue.”

Meanwhile, alumni of Northwestern University continue their petition to protest the NU student government’s vote to approve a non-binding divestment resolution. They are asking those connected to the Northwestern community to sign on to the letter.

Governor appoints members to Illinois Holocaust Commission

This morning, Gov. Bruce Rauner named the members of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission, including its two new co-chairs: Michael Bauer, member of JUF's Government Affairs Committee and LGBT rights activist who is the son of Holocaust survivors, and Keith Shapiro, a JUF Board member and vice-chair of the Anti-Defamation League of Greater Chicago.

Other commission members include Goldie Langer, daughter of Holocaust survivors; Kelly Szany, director of education for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center; Fritzie Fritzshall, Holocaust survivor and president of IHMEC; Alison Pure-Slovin, Midwest director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Susan Abrams, CEO of IHMEC; Danny Cohen, assistant professor at Northwestern University specializing in human rights and Holocaust education; Rick Hirschhaut, founding executive director of IHMEC; Sanja Drnovsek, director of the Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center; Sean Tenner, executive director of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation; and Maria Korkatsch-Groszko, professor emerita at Northeastern Illinois University.

Homeland security bill includes funds for nonprofit security, hunger programs

After months of debate, Congress avoided a partial government shutdown and sent the Department of Homeland Security FY2015 funding bill to President Obama, who signed it into law.

The $39 billion bill includes two programs critical to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago: the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

Since FY2005, Chicago has secured approximately $13 million through the NSGP program, making it one of the largest recipient communities of those grants. Of this total, the Federation and its agency partners have received $11.5 million across 78 Jewish sites. Through this program, nonprofit organizations can acquire and install physical security equipment and enhancements, and provide security-related training to staff.

“Such efforts are critical to our community’s ability to participate in prevention and response strategies aimed at enhancing our community’s safety,” said David Golder, chair of the Federation’s Government Affairs Committee.

EFSP also maintained its funding level this year at $120 million. This program, which has provided funding to JUF agencies such as EZRA Multi-Service Center, funds hunger and homelessness prevention services, including groceries and served meals, bill payment assistance, and minimal repairs to food banks and shelters to ensure that they are up to code.

CJHS takes first at Model U.N. championship

Chicagoland Jewish High School finished first out of 155 schools at the National High School Model United Nations last week in New York City.

The 26 CJHS students were among 3,800 teens from across the U.S. and 21 other countries at the competition, which concluded March 7 at the actual U.N. building with a ceremony featuring five members of the Deerfield school’s contingent.

“This team is really all about supporting and helping each other,” CJHS history teacher and Model U.N. coach Joseph Eskin told the Chicago Tribune. “We emphasize being a ‘mensch.’ ”

Model U.N. involves schools roleplaying as different nations that, through competitive cooperation, try to pass resolutions addressing global issues. The New York conference is CJHS’s only Model U.N. event of the school year.

Photo: Six members of the CJHS contingent at the Model U.N. conference. The students were acting as delegates from the Republic of Korea.

Local convicted terrorist sentenced to prison, faces deportation

Chicago resident Rasmieh Odeh, a Palestinian immigrant who failed to report on her U.S. naturalization application that she had been convicted of a 1969 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem that killed two people, was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by deportation.

Earlier today, JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath published an op-ed in The Times of Israel highlighting the cynical way Odeh’s lawyers and supporters have tried to depict this convicted terrorist as if she was an innocent victim.

Several weeks ago, in response to a fundraising event on Odeh’s behalf at DePaul University, the executive director of JUF’s Metro Chicago Hillel spoke out forcefully in the Chicago Sun-Times and organized an especially meaningful, student-led response.

Photo: DePaul students gather and light candles to remember the victims of the 1969 terrorism attack that Odeh helped perpetrate.

Don't forget to register to vote for the April 7 city elections

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. In-person registration will be available from through April 4 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 also can 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-Jewish Community Relations Council Chair Midge Perlman Shafton and former JCRC Executive Director Jay Tcath.

Many other Chicago area municipalities are also holding elections April 7. For more information, visit www.JUF.org/voting

Join TeamJUF for the 2015 Chicago Marathon

Registration for the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon opened Tuesday and again will be decided by lottery, butrunners who join TeamJUF will guarantee their spot and receive free marathon registration. 

TeamJUF members have the opportunity to make a difference in Chicago and the world by raising money in support of the 2015 JUF Annual Campaign. In addition, TeamJUF members receive discounted and fully supported marathon training with the Chicago Area Runners Association, help with fundraising, and get to participate in various team social events, fun runs and a pre-race day dinner.

Get more information about TeamJUF here, or register now.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


The Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris, where four Jews were killed in a January attack, has been renovated and will open next week. Meanwhile, two Jewish French teens were robbed and assaulted Tuesday after leaving synagogue in Marseilles.

The major world powers of the U.N. Security Council have begun discussing a resolution that would lift U.N. sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is reached.

More than 25,000 people representing 60 countries participated in this year’s Jerusalem Marathon, which closed down many streets this morning in Israel’s capital.

Jewish community leaders in West Rogers Park are trying to turn the long-vacated Cineplex Odeon Cinemas at 6385 N. McCormick Road into a new storage facility.

The Water Research Initiative, a partnership between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Argonne National Laboratory and the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, has added a sixth clean water research project to the five that received funding last year.

The Chicago Tribune published a feature on JUF's jBaby Chicago program, which expanded to the suburbs last month. 

Applications for several JUF teen programs are now available. Teens interested in volunteering, learning about philanthropy, developing leadership skills, exploring Jewish identity, and more can explore the program options here. Programs include Camp TOV, Diller Teen Fellows, Mini Camp TOV, Research Training Internship, Voices: Jewish Teen Foundation and Write on for Israel.

And the latest JUF News blogs

Aaron Cohen has a strong message for supporters of BDS.

Anita Silvert explains why she has so much trouble picking favorites.

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