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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace



Updates from the Director
October 8, 2002

Dear Members and Supporters,

We have started the new year at a rapid pace. Our accomplishments are many as you will see below. We are clearly on the way to providing a new U.S. Jewish voice for peace in the Middle East.

Leadership Development Training Institute January 31 - February 2, 2003 in Washington DC
We finalized the dates for our first national training for Brit Tzdek v'Shalom members. A more detailed description will be sent out shortly.

Brit Tzedek at the The United Jewish Communities General Assembly (GA) November 20-22, 2002
BTvS will participate in this annual gathering of thousands of representatives of the organized Jewish community to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you are attending the GA and would like to join our Brit Tzedek delegation, please e-mail us at info@btvshalom.org

National Conference May 16-18, 2003, Location TBD
We finalized the dates for our national conference and are currently looking at potential conference sites. Please save the dates.

First National Tour: The Bereaved Families' Forum
We are organizing our first national tour of fourteen cities with the Bereaved Families Forum October 14th-23rd. The Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families' Forum represents 200 Israeli Jewish and 190 Palestinian families who have lost love ones as a result of the violence in the Middle East, yet continue to believe that a political solution is still possible. Founded by Israeli Yitzhak Frankenthal in 1995 after his son was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas, these Arab and Jewish bereaved families are committed to putting an end to the cycles of retribution and creating a climate for tolerance, reconciliation and peace. Board member Donna Spiegelman is coordinating the tour for Brit Tzedek v'Shalom through the Israeli Peace Groups Support Committee. She is working with Betsy Kaptchuk of the Bereaved Families Forum. A detailed schedule is provided at the end of this letter. We encourage all members and supporters to attend these events.

Chapters
We finalized our chapter guidelines with input from our leaders, putting to immediate use our new chapter leaders listserv. We set up this listserv in order to provide closer coordination of chapter activities among our twenty existent and emerging chapter leaders in Albany, Austin, Boulder; Boston, Chicago, Houston, Ithaca, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, Montpelier, New Haven, New York City, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Tucson, Washington, DC, and Western Massachusetts. If you would like to join a chapter or start one in your community, e-mail info@btvshalom.org

Committees
We finalized the guidelines for our eleven standing committees: Campus Outreach, Delegations, Education, Fundraising, Finance, Israeli Peace Groups Support, Media, Membership, Public Policy & Advocacy, Wired, and Training. We held our first committee leadership elections in which Diane Balser was elected as Chair and Steve Masters as co-chair of our Public Policy & Advocacy Committee. If you want to join one of our national committees, e-mail info@btvshalom.org

Mission Statement
After much discussion, the board of directors approved an organizational mission statement.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, is a national organization of American Jews deeply committed to Israel's well-being through the achievement of a negotiated settlement to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We are guided by the mitzvah, or obligation, to pursue peace and justice that is rooted in both secular and religious Jewish traditions. We believe the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians long for an enduring peace and that security for Israel can only be achieved through the establishment of a economically and politically viable Palestinian state, necessitating an end to Israel's occupation of land acquired during the 1967 war.

Brit Tzedek provides a platform for American Jews to articulate their belief that the on-going conflict threatens Israel's security, severely damages its economy, and erodes the values that underlie a democratic society. We believe that many American Jews share this perspective, but are reluctant to express themselves for fear they may bring harm to Israel and the Jewish people.

Through education, advocacy, local chapter activities, and work with the media, we seek to generate greater dialogue within the American Jewish community in order to direct U.S. foreign policy toward the realization of a just peace.

If you have any questions about our activities, your can e-mail us at info@btvshalom.org

Yours,

Marcia Freedman, President
Aliza Becker, Acting Director

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