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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace


Updates from the Director

February 25, 2003

Dear Members and Supporters,

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom has grown in only ten months to almost 2,300 members, more than a ten-fold increase! If this growth pattern holds for the coming year, and there is no reason why it shouldn't, we will be more than 20,000 strong.

If you haven't joined yet, please consider becoming a member and visit our website [click here] Thanks for your continued support!

In the first two months of 2003, there have been many highlights.

    Brit Tzedek is very pleased to welcome two new members to the national Board of Directors.
    Nan Fink Gefen, a seasoned Jewish activist, was a co-founding publisher of Tikkun Magazine and previous board president of the Shefa Fund. She currently serves as the president of Chochmat Halev Jewish Meditation Center in the San Francisco Bay area.
    Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater is currently the spiritual leader of Congregation Ahavath Israel in Kingston, New York. Prior to this, he was a Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City.

    On January 26th, Board president Marcia Freedman participated in a national telephone conference call open to all Brit Tzedek members. From Jerusalem, Marcia spoke and responded to questions about the upcoming elections and the mood in Israel just two days before the vote. For a transcript of the Town Hall meeting, see < > The call proved very popular with our members and will become a regular Brit Tzedek event. We welcome your ideas for guest speakers; e-mail them to

    Our Advocacy and Public Policy Committee's January 16th Action Alert raised more than $2500 for ongoing voter education initiatives among Russian immigrant and Israeli Arab citizens of Israel sponsored, respectively, by Yedid: The Association for Community Empowerment in Israel and Mossawa: The Advocacy Center for Arab Palestinian Citizens in Israel.

    Brit Tzedek advocacy efforts to pass a resolution supporting a two-state solution and settlement freeze at the annual plenum of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) made us known to our local Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRC's) whose role includes presenting "the broad spectrum of opinion within the Jewish community by seeking representation from every Jewish organization." One JCRC board member wrote that our Action Alert had favorably influenced her vote and a JCRC director commented that it was the first time the JCRC had heard from an organized dissenting voice. YES!

    Board president Marcia Freedman had two op-ed articles published in the New York Daily News and the New York Jewish Week. Vice president Cherie Brown was featured in an article published by the Christian Science Monitor, [click to read article] and Brit Tzedek was featured in an article syndicated to Jewish newspapers throughout the country. [Click here]

    More than eighty activists from across the country participated in an intense 4-day weekend in suburban Washington, DC for training in advocacy (on Capitol Hill and in home districts), working with local media, community relations, communications skills, and organizational development. On Monday afternoon, they did advocacy work with Jewish members of Congress on Capital Hill. Conference materials, audio highlights, and write-ups of some of the sessions will soon be available on our website [click to view]

    We have added recommended, timely articles [click to read] and public opinion polls related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Educational Resources section of our website [click to read]

    Here are some of the highlights of the many activities of our more than 20 chapters over the past two months. The Sacramento and Boston chapters organized events featuring our Board president Marcia Freedman and vice president Cherie Brown respectively. Marcia's talk on "The Israeli Palestinian Conflict: Is Peace Possible" was attended by many leaders of the Sacramento area Jewish community. Cherie modeled the importance of dialogue with diverse sectors of our community in her talk on "Principles of Dialogue". In the spirit of dialogue, the New Haven and Seattle chapters sponsored talks by Ron Young of the Interreligious Center for Peace in the Middle East [read article]

    In the next two months, the Minnesota and Chicago chapters are planning events with members of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam [click to read more], a village in Israel established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship who are engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples. In addition, the Boston, Chicago, Houston, Madison, and Washington, DC chapters are planning upcoming events with Ishai Menuchin, a major in the Israel Defense Forces and chair of Yesh Gvul [yesh gvul website], the soldiers' movement for selective refusal. To request more information on chapter activities in your community, write to


    Aliza Becker, Acting Director

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