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JCRC UPDATE: March 2013

[by Matt Goldberg, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council]

Matanot L’Evyonim
Matanot L’Evyonim, the JCRC’s Purim appeal for gifts to those less fortunate, has been a huge success this year. This money was raised for Blessing in a Backpack, a program that provides food for the weekends for children who qualify for free lunches when they are in school.

Thanks to the generosity of many of you in our community, we raised over $1,000 for this worthy cause.

With hunger issues becoming more and more acute as the economy continues to putter along, charities like this become ever more important. Thank you again for all of your kind generosity.

Apartheid Week on Campus
This past month, there were two events of JCRC interest that have impact on our Jewish community, locally, nationally and internationally.

First, there was Apartheid Week on the campus of the University of Louisville. Apartheid Week, both locally and nationally, consists of local anti-Zionist organizations hosting speakers and having events that demonize the State of Israel, repeating unfortunate canards like accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing or of being an apartheid regime. Members of our local JCRC were at every anti-Israel event held that week to monitor the substantive conversations and how many people attend.

None of these events attracted many people, but we continue to monitor these groups and talks.

We do not claim that Israel is perfect. You can read the Israeli press every day and witness Israelis criticizing their own government, often in harsh rhetoric. However, it is the illegitimate criticism that needs to be responded to, and the half-truths and mischaracterizations promulgated by some of these speakers that do nothing to advance the cause of peace that Israel and most of the world desperately want.

We will continue our activism on behalf of the state of Israel.

JCPA Plenum
Eight Louisvillians attended the annual Jewish Council for Public Affairs Plenum in Washington, DC, March 9-12.

The program included sessions on a variety of topics, including Israel advocacy, Iran, poverty, the environment and same sex marriage in the Jewish community. In addition, we heard from amazing presenters like Rabbi David Saperstein, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

We also participated in an advocacy day, where our group from Louisville were on Capital Hill and went to the offices of our congressional representatives. We had good substantive meetings with Rep. Yarmuth’s office, Sen. McConnell’s office, and Sen. Paul’s office.

While, as a Jewish community, we might not agree on all issues and certainly cannot expect our elected officials to agree with us on every issue, it was relieving to see that our ideas and opinions were warmly received by all three.
Watch for a more detailed report on the Plenum in the next issue of Community.

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