JUF News Express
Friday, April 17, 2015Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• Archbishop Cupich meets Chicago Jewish leaders

• Local orchestra students take historic Israel trip

• Chicago-area teens, parents learn about state of Jewish life on campus

• JUF continues to help struggling Ukrainian Jews

• Members of Congress urge restoration of Nonprofit Security Grant funds

• 70th annual Holocaust memorial service is Sunday

• Hadag Nachash, Maccabeats headline Israel Solidarity Day on May 3

• From JUFNews.org and around the web


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Archbishop Cupich meets Chicago Jewish leaders

“We need to continue the healing process,” was one of the strong messages leaders of Chicago’s Jewish community received from Archbishop Blase Joseph Cupich when he visited the Jewish United Fund this week.

Cupich, who was installed as Archbishop of Chicago last November, met with Jewish lay and professional leaders for a discussion convened by JUF. Heads of JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Rabbinic Action Committee, Chicago Board of Rabbis, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and members of the Catholic Jewish Scholars Dialogue participated. 

“We sometimes get naïve and think that the effort of education, and speaking against anti-Semitism, is kind of a done deal, and it isn’t,” Cupich said, while applauding the efforts of the Chicago Archdiocese and Jewish organizations to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations.

He called on Catholics and Jews to build on their great record of cooperation in Chicago. “We have a joint responsibility to be servants within the public realm,” he said. For more, read Cupich’s opening remarks at the annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture, held in March.

Photo: (from left) JUF Chairman Bill Silverstein, Archbishop Blase Cupich and JUF President Steven B. Nasatir.

Local orchestra students take historic Israel trip

The Deerfield High School and Barrington Youth orchestras spent their spring break embarking on the first-ever U.S. public high school orchestra performance tour in Israel.

Funded in part by JUF, the trip gave the students a chance to serve as cultural ambassadors and share American music with Israeli audiences. They explored Middle Eastern music at local schools, participated in clinics with local musicians, visited historic sites and experienced Israeli culture.

The students visited Jerusalem – where they performed at the Tower of David – Akko, Caesarea, the Dead Sea and more. Read all about each day and experience of the trip and view pictures on the trip blog.

Photo: Students prepare for a concert at an ancient Roman amphitheater in Beit She’an.

Chicago-area teens, parents learn about state of Jewish life on campus

Some 230 parents and high school students got a glimpse of the challenges and opportunities facing Jewish college students today during a Tuesday evening program at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Deerfield. The gathering was an invitation for families to talk to each other about the college experience and prepare for the future.

“As these students prepare to enter their next phase in life, it is important for the entire family to engage in discussions about Israel and understand the landscape of Jewish life on campus,” said Emily Briskman, executive director of JUF's Israel Education Center.

Freshmen and sophomores heard from fellow teens participating in JUF's Write On for Israel program, where they are learning both leadership and advocacy skills. Sophomores and juniors heard from a panel of current campus activists who discussed some of the real-world implications of the movement to delegitimize Israel.

“Most Chicagoland teens are blessed to have not grown up in that type of toxic environment, which is why their introduction to terms such as BDS, SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), and apartheid should be in a familiar, supportive and educational setting,” said Rabbi Nate Crane of B’nai Tikvah.

JUF’s IEC and Campus Affairs professionals answered parents’ questions about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, what their children can do to advocate for Israel, and how the parents can be effective advocates themselves.

Photo: Write On for Israel Senior Fellows Marisa Flignor, Jonathan Schrag and Toby Klein speak at Tuesday’s program.

JUF continues to help struggling Ukrainian Jews

For more than a year, pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, turning cities into combat zones. Jews in Donetsk, Lugansk and the surrounding areas either have fled the region or remain trapped, cut off from the rest of the country. For the first time since World War II, Jews in Europe are displaced.  

For the past 16 years, JUF has had a hand in strengthening the Jewish communities of Ukraine through its Kyiv Kehillah Project, and that effort is now working harder than ever.

When the initial crisis in Kyiv broke out in November 2013, the Chicago community and JUF responded immediately. JUF provided emergency assistance through its overseas partners, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel, supporting basic human services as well as meeting additional security needs at Jewish sites and schools.

While praying for better days ahead, JUF is prepared for an ongoing crisis. Moving forward, there will be additional needs, and while no one could have predicted that this crisis would last as long as it has, Chicago’s commitment to its brothers and sisters living in Ukraine remains strong.

JUF urges donors to make an increased pledge to the 2015 Annual Campaign, which is the funding source for all these efforts.

Photo: A Ukrainian woman standing in front of a complex that was hit during fighting in Kramatorsk. (Photo courtesy JDC)

Members of Congress urge restoration of Nonprofit Security Grant funds

Illinois Reps. Danny Davis, Tammy Duckworth and Jan Schakowsky joined 33 members of Congress signing a March 20 letter asking the leadership of the Appropriations Committee to include $25 million in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

The program, which has historically been funded at $25 million, has been reduced to $13 million over the past several years. It has provided grants to JUF and its agencies since 2005. Sen. Mark Kirk also included NSGP as a priority in his appropriations request.

70th annual Holocaust memorial service is Sunday

The Chicago area’s 70th annual collective Holocaust memorial observance will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19, at the Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue, 8825 East Prairie Road, Skokie.

“Seventy years after the liberation of the concentration camps, we face a world of hatred and injustice against the Jewish people,” said Charles Lipshitz, president of Sheérit HaPleitah of Metropolitan Chicago, the umbrella organization for the area’s Holocaust survivor groups and sponsor of the memorial service. JUF cosponsors the event.

Speakers will include the Roey Gilad, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest; Mayor George Van Dusen of Skokie; Prof. Shlomo H. Resnikoff of the DePaul College of Law; and JUF Chairman Bill Silverstein. The traditional candle-lighting ceremony commemrating the 6 million will be conducted by Sherry Rubinstein Warso of Dor L’Dor, the young leadership division of Sheérit HaPleitah.

Hadag Nachash, Maccabeats headline Israel Solidarity Day on May 3

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park will be rocking with Israeli spirit on Sunday, May 3, for Israel Solidarity Day.

Featured musical acts for this year's celebration of Israel's Independence Day include a cappella sensations The Maccabeats, who will perform at noon, and Israeli hip-hop/rock/funk group Hadag Nachash, who will perform at 3 p.m. To begin the day, Jewish rocker Rick Recht will perform a young family concert at 11 a.m.

In addition to music, activities for children of all ages, including teens, will be offered throughout the afternoon. The event also includes the Walk with Israel – a 3-mile demonstration of community solidarity in which participants raise funds to support services for vulnerable Israeli children.

Kosher food will be available for purchase. Register now at www.juf.org/ISD

Interested in volunteering at the festival? Check out the many opportunities being offered through JUF's TOV volunteer network.

Israel Solidarity Day is supported by a growing list of corporate and organizational sponsors.

From JUFNews.org and around the web


Police at Northwestern University are investigating anti-Semitic and racist graffiti discovered in a men’s restroom at a library on the Evanston campus. NU President Morton Schapiro condemned the vandalism, while NU Hillel Executive Director Michael Simon added, “Particularly at a moment when we are marking Yom HaShoah and when African-Americans are reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma, actions like this demonstrate that we still have much work to do in combating hatred and bigotry.”

President Obama met with Jewish American leaders Monday to convey his concern about the safety of Israel and the threat of Iran, and to build support for the nuclear framework deal. Meanwhile, Israel has voiced its support for the Senate bill requiring Congress to review any nuclear agreement with Iran.

Joel Sprayregen, past chair of JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council, wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times (scroll to the bottom) critiquing the newspaper's editorial on criticism directed at President Obama.

The newly formed U.S. Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism met for the first time Tuesday and spoke with ambassadors to the U.S. from France, Britain and Germany.

Stanford University’s Students of Color Coalition is facing allegations of anti-Semitism following a claim from a Jewish student government candidate that the group asked her in an interview how her Jewish identity would impact her vote on divestment.

Local Holocaust survivor Aaron Elster, vice president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, reflects on his personal story and emphasizes the need for younger generations to continue to tell these stories.

Last chance to guarantee your spot in the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon by signing up with TeamJUF. Team members get free registration, which closes April 21.


Join the UChicago Hillel community for the annual Rabbi Daniel I. Leifer Memorial Lecture featuring Rabbi Rachel Beit-Halachmi discussing “The Other in the Land of Israel: Are There Limits to our Responsibility?” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 19. Advanced RSVPs are appreciated. Call (773) 752-1127 for more information.

A local Yom Hazikaron ceremony honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror will be held (in English and Hebrew) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. Among the speakers will be JUF President Steven B. Nasatir.

Celebrate Israel’s independence at a free community Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway, featuring a reading of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, remarks by Jewish community leaders, food and dancing.

Continue celebrating Israel the following week with a special downtown event at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 27, at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., featuring a flag-raising ceremony and music from Mediterranean folk band Baladino.

And the latest JUF News blogs

Paul Wieder takes a closer look at the music acts performing at this year’s Israel Solidarity Day on May 3 at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park.

In a JUF News blog revised for The Huffington Post, Linda Haase describes how the grief the Holocaust inflicted on her family followed her for much of her life.

At a trying time for Jews around the world, Steven Chaitman reflects on his Israel education and considers what can be done to help more Jews to feel confident standing up for Israel. 

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