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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Updates from the Director
November 20, 2002

Dear Members and Supporters,

The last month, October, was a very busy time. We have now reached our first 1,200 members and another 4,000 of you are on our mailing list but haven't yet joined. We are launching a major membership campaign during the eight days of Hanukah. We are on our way, and with a little luck and your very important help, we'll reach our goal of becoming the mass membership organization envisioned for Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom kicked off the month of October with a 14-city, nationwide tour of the Bereaved Families Forum. The Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum represents 200 Jewish Israeli and 200 Palestinian families who have lost close relatives as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have joined together to give a human face to the conflict and build foundations for a strong and respectful partnership for peace. The delegates came to the U.S. to tell their personal stories of bereavement, to demonstrate that the cycle of hatred and revenge can be ended, and to seek international support for their cause.

The tour was a great success. More than 1,200 people attended the 14 events, which were held in Armonk (NY), Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Haven (CT), New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, Washington, DC, and West Palm Beach (FL). Memberships and donations rose dramatically during and after the tour's two-week run. There was extensive media coverage including an hour-long interview on the Philadelphia National Public Radio affiliate with Forum members and our very own Steve Masters, co-chair of the Advocacy/Public Policy Committee and member of the Executive Committee. To read the print media coverage, click here.

Local chapters of Brit Tzedek successfully collaborated with Jewish community leaders at JCRCs, synagogues, Hillels, and other organizations. We are particularly pleased that we were able to bring the Bereaved Parents to San Francisco State University to model Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation and trust on campus. Hillel co-sponsored the event at this campus where there previously had been strife between Jewish and Arab students.

We now have organizational and policy "FAQs" (Frequently Asked Questions) on our website under "About Us." We've tried to answer most of the questions that you have been asking over the past six months. Please take a look; you may find this information useful in your own efforts to explain your political positions on the Middle East and to recruit your family, friends, and colleagues to Brit Tzedek. (You have been recruiting, haven't you?) If you have feedback for us about the FAQ's, questions or answers, we want to hear from you, so please e-mail us at

We are very fortunate to have Bruce Ente join our central office staff. Bruce previously worked as the director of Learning and Development for the nation's largest alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and has long been active in his Evanston (IL) synagogue, Beth Emet, the Free Synagogue, where he has served as Vice President and chair of the strategic planning committee.

Our three-day training conference, January 31- February 2, 2003, in Alexandria, Virginia (Washington, DC suburb), aims to strengthen the leadership skills of chapter leaders and other members, and thereby help build the organization at both the national and local levels. We recently sent out an invitation to our National Leadership Development Institute by email. If you are interested in attending, register early to guarantee your participation. At $250 per person, we have kept the costs as low as possible (for example, all the professional trainers are donating their time), and we are working on getting funding to subsidize all those who need assistance. If you need financial assistance, please include on your registration form information on your financial needs. If you are an active member who wants training in advocacy, media relations, community relations, fundraising, listening skills, and membership recruitment, we urge you to attend. For more information, see link to this page

Thanks to the Ford Foundation, Brit Tzedek will have a very visible presence at the GA, and we intend to get our message across-that there is more than one way to be pro-Israel, and that Brit Tzedek v'Shalom has a different vision. One of the vehicles for delivering this message is an ad in the Philadelphia Exponent, which will be included in all delegates' packets. click here To see the ad on our website.

On Wednesday, November 20, 5 to 8 PM, Brit Tzedek will host a reception for all GA delegates and members of the press at our hospitality suite 662 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, 1201 Market Street. Board President Marcia Freedman and Vice President Cherie Brown will be the event's guest speakers. Our hospitality suite will also be open on Wednesday afternoon, November 20 and all day on Thursday, November 21.

The press release we issued for the conference is also available on the website. Thanks to the talented and hard-working members of the Media Committee for the many weeks of effort they have put into making our participation in the 2002 General Assembly such a success.

The Brit Tzedek Wired Committee is looking for an Email Commitee/Chapter Gatekeeper. This person will be responsible for "triaging" emails from volunteers and redirecting them to the appropriate committees. The gatekeeper will also receive inquiries from members who want to connect with their local chapter. Some questions will require replying to the sender, but most will entail simply redirecting requests to the appropriate committee or chapter. The gatekeeper will play a crucial role in communicating with members and keeping inappropriate, spam, and misdirected mail from cluttering up the In-boxes and schedules of our committee and chapter heads. The individual needs to be familiar with the Internet and be online frequently enough to handle e-mail within three days of receipt. If interested, please contact the Wired Committee Chair, Barry Joseph, at

If you have any questions about our activities, your can e-mail us at
Thanks for your continued support!


Aliza Becker, Acting Director

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