Brit Tzedek Board of Directors Election

 

Dear member of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom,

 

Please exercise your right to vote for new board members who will serve a three-year term, from 2004-2007. You may vote for eight (8) of the following eleven (11) candidates.  Please vote by replying to this email with "Board Vote" in the title and listing only those candidates you for whom you are voting. The candidates’ bios follow, as well as a list of the names, affiliations and locations of the members of the current Board of Directors who are remaining on the Board for a second term. Thank you!

 

        [  ] Aaron Ahuvia, Ann Arbor, MI

        [  ] David Albert, Austin, TX

        [  ] Jeff Albert, Providence, RI

        [  ] Cherie Brown, Silver Spring, MD

        [  ] Elliot Figman, New York, NY

        [  ] Rabbi John Friedman, Durham, NC

        [  ] Nan Fink Gefen, Berkeley, CA 

        [  ] Ivan Handler, Evanston, IL

        [  ] Steve Masters, Philadelphia, PA

        [  ] David Matz, Brookline, MA

        [  ] Donna Spiegelman, Boston, MA
 
Board Members Continuing To Serve In 2004-2005:

 

Officers
Marcia Freedman, President: Former Member of Knesset, Writer and Lecturer, Berkeley, CA  Diane Balser, Vice President: Professor of Women's Studies, Boston University, Boston, MA
Barry Joseph, Secretary: Human Rights and Internet Specialist, Global Kids, Brooklyn, NY 
 

Members
-Rainer Waldman Adkins, Artist and Educator, Art and Design Service, Seattle, WA
Judah Ariel, Staff Assistant for Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Washington, DC
-Tamara Cohen, Jewish Educator, Gainesville, FL.; Program Consultant, Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project of the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan; Spiritual Leader, Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life, Washington, CT
-Janice Fine, Board member of Jewish Fund for Justice and Reconstructionist Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, Boston, MA
-Molly Freeman, Educational Consultant and former Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay, Berkeley, CA
-Jen Goldstein, Research Associate, Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, Hoboken, NJ
-Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Outreach Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago, IL
-Irena Klepfisz, Professor, Barnard College and Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, Brooklyn, NY
-Gil Kulick, Communications Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation, New York, NY
-Carolyn Toll Oppenheim, Journalist and Communications Consultant, Public Purpose Communications, Holyoke, MA
-Alison Pepper, Coordinator, Early Education Accreditation Project, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, New York, NY
-Lara Weitzman, Principal, Organization Development and Dynamics Consulting, New York, NY

 

Board of Directors' Candidate Query

1. Please give a brief biography, emphasizing your connection to Middle East peace and social justice issues.
2. Describe your involvement with Brit Tzedek to date.
3. Describe your potential contribution to Brit Tzedek and its Board of Directors.
4. Describe your vision of Brit Tzedek over the next two-three years.

 

Candidate Statements:


AARON AHUVIA
Ann Arbor, MI

1)  I live in Ann Arbor and work as an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan–Dearborn School of Management. My earliest Jewish activity was with Hashomer Hatzair, but I took a more religious turn after college and became involved with Reconstructionism. While pursuing my PhD at Northwestern, I served as RAD on the board of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation in Evanston and co-founded a Havurah on Chicago’s North side that is still active today. In 1992 my wife and I moved to Ann Arbor where I joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, and together we founded the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Havurah. This Havurah has since grown to become a full service congregation. With the outbreak of the second intifada, my interests became more politically focused and I joined Brit Tzedek.  I have strong links to the Ann Arbor Jewish community where my wife works as the programming director at the local conservative synagogue. I have recently been invited to run for the board of the local Jewish Federation, an invitation I will decline if elected to the Brit Tzedek national board.

2)  I currently serve on the national Membership Committee and am a co-founder and active member of the Ann Arbor Brit Tzedek chapter.

3) I have had a lot of experience building organizations both in the Jewish community and professionally at work. My expertise in marketing is also an asset in building our organization.

4) Of course I would love to see us be successful in promoting a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Barring that, I would like to see Brit Tzedek become the first organization American Jews think of when they are looking for a pro-peace voice within the American Jewish community.


DAVID ALBERT
Austin, TX

1)  I am an educator, a scholar, an activist, and a religiously-committed Jew.  I have an MA in Middle East Studies and I’m currently finishing my doctoral thesis on US Foreign Policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  For over a decade, I have been engaged in Israel activism, working closely with both Texas Hillel and the local Reform synagogue.  I regularly lecture, write, and organize events.  I've spent two summers studying in Israel.  I recently returned from trip to Israel traveling with an interfaith group throughout the West Bank and meeting with peace activists. For me, this experience served to renew my deep commitment that as Jews, we must love the strangers as ourselves, for we were strangers in the Land of Egypt.

2) I helped to found Brit Tzedek, because I felt that neither of the polarized voices that spoke solely against the Occupation nor for Israel spoke to the just peace that I wanted to see for the good of the Jewish people.  I helped write our founding principles and organize our first conference.  (You can read my Dvar Torah from that conference.) I helped plan our recent national conference where I led or co-led 3 workshops including on responses to anti-Semitism.
 I have chaired our Education Committee since our founding since I believe that education must be a core role of Brit Tzedek.  I have been involved in developing most of our educational materials and programs.  I have also begun a process of building links to the world Jewish educators.  I continue to serve on many of our committees and as the Chair of our Austin chapter.  I have contributed an immense amount of time and energy to transforming this organization from an idea into a reality.   Theodore Herzl said about Israel:  “If you will, it is not a dream.”  This is very much what I felt when we set out to create and build Brit Tzedek.  I am very proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we have a long way to go.

3)   If you honor me by reelecting me the Board of Brit Tzedek, I will continue to contribute my extensive knowledge of the history and politics of the Middle East and America.  I will offer my skills and experience as an activist, organizer, writer, public speaker, scholar, and educator.  I will offer my judgment towards building Brit Tzedek into a major national Jewish voice that advocates for peace in Israel and inclusion of all voices within the American Jewish community.  I will continue my efforts to strengthen the Education Committee and broaden our educational efforts in the Jewish community.  I will also commit to always listen to any member who has a concern or a question about Brit Tzedek.

4)  I strongly believe that Brit Tzedek needs to be an organization that speaks to the mainstream of the Jewish community.  I endorse the views of Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg who has called on American Jews to recognize that “crying out is a moral imperative...[because] we cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world’s only Jewish state - not by means that are human and moral and Jewish.”  I believe we need to strengthen our grassroots chapters by providing them with the tools and training to speak with this sort of a voice.  It seems today that most American Jews are so confused about what is happening in Israel that they can best be described as the descendents of the fourth child in the Passover Seder, "the one who does not know how to ask."  We must help American Jews find their voices to ask the difficult and often painful questions.
 We need to work actively to build alliances with both Jewish and non-Jewish groups that share our agenda of supporting a safe secure Israel as well as opposing the Occupation. We need to expand our staff over the next few years to better support chapter development, outreach, education, campus work, and fundraising.  Most importantly, we need to work to frame our message so that we are speaking in a language that the Jewish community can hear and relate to. 
 Having just returned from Israel, I am very aware of how confusing and frightening these times are.  The temptation to despair of the possibility of achieving a just and lasting peace is very great.  Our work provides me with hope that we can achieve a just peace.  In short, my vision is that Brit Tzedek must work to make Israel and the Jewish people “a light unto the nations” in these very dark and turbulent times.
 Feel free to write to me at dalbert@mail.la.utexas.edu.


JEFF ALBERT
Providence, RI

1)  I am an Israeli-American and Humanist Zionist who has devoted himself professionally and personally to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation for nearly ten years. I am an environmental scientist specializing in water resources, and much of my career has involved research and promotion of sensible water planning and management in the Middle East. I have built strong research connections and friendships with Palestinian scientists, many of which were developed while I worked as an official in the Israeli water bureaucracy.
2)  My involvement with Brit Tzedek dates back to the October conference in Boston. I also produced clear high-quality maps of the proposed Geneva land exchanges for distribution at Brit Tzedek's "Spirit of Geneva" events.
3)  I believe that I could be an asset to Brit Tzedek through two main strengths: 1) my extensive knowledge of the region’s physical and political geography and 2) my perspective as a natural scientist, particularly on water and environment, but also on other matters.
4)  My vision for Brit Tzedek is to provide a strong and serious counterpoint to the right-wing character of the Jewish lobby to Congress. I firmly believe that AIPAC is currently failing to provide a legitimate voice for American Jews. I have faith that most American Jews will support Geneva and other like-minded initiatives if they are provided with an honest and clear picture of the current political situation in the region. Indeed, I am convinced that joining an endeavor such as Brit Tzedek is among the most patriotic options available to American Jews and believers in the root of the Zionist endeavor.
 

CHERIE BROWN
Silver Spring, MD

1)  I was raised in a Conservative Jewish home and have a deep connection to being Jewish---and to Judaism.  I am an active member of Am Kolel--a Havurah in the Washington DC area.  I have been involved in Middle East peace work for over 35 years.  Ever since my first trip to Israel in the summer of 1969, when I first saw the painful affects of the Occupation--on Israeli Jews and the Palestinian people, I have been committed to doing everything I can to work towards a just solution to the conflict. I have been a key founder over the years of many U.S. Jewish Middle East peace groups. I set up the Shalom Network in 1978 and was at the founding conference of Breira in 1979. I was at the founding conference and on the first Board of New Jewish Agenda (1981-83).  Along with Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Mordechai Liebling, I launched the Break the Silence Campaign in 1998 to put ads in the New York Times in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.  I have been a frequent contributor to Tikkun magazine, where I have written about issues related to the Middle East and about anti-Semitism.  And finally, I have done a tremendous amount of work with Jews and have lead hundreds of workshops--on issues of anti-Semitism and Jewish internalized oppression.
 Outside of my Middle East peace work--I direct a non profit organization, based in Washington D.C.----the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) which is a chapter based organization with chapters in 50 cities and on 65 college campuses.  We build leadership resource teams for cities and on campuses to take on prejudice reduction work.

2)  I was one of the founding members of Brit Tzedek and have been a board member since the organization's inception. I also proudly served in our first year as a member of the Executive Committee and as Vice-President.  In addition, I was the chair of the training committee, through which I coordinated our first ever National Training Institute.  I currently chair a new national committee, the Chapter Development Committee, which is responsible for developing strategic planning and training for our chapters.  In addition--I was instrumental in launching the Inclusivity Initiative whose goal is to develop programs for our chapters to do more systematic outreach into the mainstream Jewish Community.  As a part of the Inclusivity Initiative--I worked with a committee to put together the Listening Project--a program whereby chapters can set up ‘listening sessions’ in synagogues and Jewish organizations. The goal of these listening sessions is to open up dialogue in the Jewish community, to encourage the expression of diverse points of view about Israel, and to create a safe place in which Jews can listen and  be listened to by one another.

3) I have a lot I would like to continue to contribute to Brit Tzedek.  I want to work with all of the chapters to develop programs that can reach into the mainstream Jewish community.  I still believe we have untapped resources of many potential members in the Jewish community.  I would like to support chapter leaders in implementing  Listening Projects in synagogues and mainstream Jewish groups.  As a Board member---I have always tried to be a voice that encourages all of us to treat each other with respect--and to create working relationships on the Board where everyone’s thinking is included. I also know that the issue of anti-Semitism has been a key one for Brit Tzedek in the past year and will continue to figure heavily in the programming for our next conference. Based on my extensive professional experience, I have a lot to contribute to our thinking about policies on how Brit Tzedek should deal with the issue of anti-Semitism. 

4) One of the things that I think is unique about Brit Tzedek, as distinct from other Jewish Middle East peace efforts in the United States, is our commitment to being a grassroots, chapter based organization that coordinates work on the local level with strong national support.  I envision over the next several years that both national and local leadership will work together through training and resource building to strengthen the infrastructure, programming, outreach and overall efficacy of our chapters. It is my fondest hope that by investing in our grassroots, we will soon have 50 chapters in cities nationwide which will, in turn, enable us to increase our membership by thousands. We must also continue to build strong relationships with other Jewish Middle East peace groups so that we can speak collectively and give true voice to the majority of U.S. Jews who believe that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-peace. I would be honored to serve again on the Brit Tzedek Board of Directors.

 

ELLIOT FIGMAN

New York, NY 

1) I have served as executive director of Poets & Writers since 1981. I have a great deal of experience with managing budgets, fundraising, planning and personnel issues. I am also a published poet-- my first book, Big Spring, was released in spring 2003. I live in Manhattan with my wife. I have a daughter and a step-daughter, both college age.

My work on Middle East peace issues began with my involvement with Brit Tzedek in 2002.

2) I attended Brit Tzedek's founding conference in spring 2002 and was very impressed with the quality of the people I met and with the thoughtful discussion on issues I cared about. After the conference, I volunteered to work on the finance and fundraising committee. Subsequently, I was elected to fill out the term of a Board member who had resigned. I was elected treasurer and have served in that role since. I also am an active member of the executive, fundraising and personnel committees.

3) My contribution will likely continue to be in the areas of finance, fundraising, personnel, and planning.

4) I would like to see Brit Tzedek's membership grow substantially so that it has more clout within the American Jewish community and with our elected officials.  I would also like to see our chapters grow bigger and stronger. And I would like to see increased cooperation with other American Jewish groups working for peace in the Middle East.


RABBI JOHN FRIEDMAN
Durham, NC

1)  I have been the Rabbi of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina for 24 years. I have also served as President of Durham Congregations in Action and was instrumental in founding Genesis Home, a shelter for homeless families.  I am a recipient of the Martin Luther King "Keeper of the Dream" Award, the City of Durham "Better Human Relations" Award, and the Elna Spaulding Medal for Social Justice for my work in race relations. From 1991 to 1995, I was chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbi's Interreligious Affairs and am the immediate past-president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the CCAR.
My involvement in Israel began in 1971 as a first year rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.  Until that time, Israel had barely been on my radar.  I grew up in a Reform congregation in Kansas City, not a bastion of Zionism.  Israel was rarely mentioned in my synagogue until June of 1967 when the whole world was focused on the Middle East. 
 I spent my year in Jerusalem learning Hebrew and Rabbinics and enjoying life in Israel as a 21-year-old. It was a far different Israel than today.  You couldn’t find Chinese food or pizza.  No one I knew owned a washing machine and the oil in the peanut butter jar rose to the top requiring you to homogenize it with a spoon.  Almost no one ate red meat or was heard to say very much critical of Israel or her government.  Yes, it was a far different place than today.  Since then I have visited Israel leading congregational tours and on a rabbinic mission.  During that mission I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.  That was 1997 and there was plenty being said about the Israeli government.
 In the early 1990’s I supported Americans for Peace Now and invited speakers of like politics to my pulpit of 550 families. I am occasionally criticized for my left wing views but none more so than those about Israel.  By the second year of the intifada, 2002, I found myself speaking out on the High Holidays as well as at Shabbat Services about the morality of Israel’s response to Palestinians and suicide bombings.  From the beginning of the intifada, I was critical of both Barak and Sharon’s unwillingness to negotiate under fire as it gave exaggerated power to Hamas and Islamic Jihad to control negotiations.
 I have welcomed to my pulpit left wing academicians like Yaron Ezrachi; Al Gore's Middle East advisor Bruce Jentleson, in addition to an IDF refusenik and a variety of other speakers about the conflict. 

2)  In August 2003 I initiated the formation of a chapter of Brit Tzedek V’Shalom in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. The chapter is facilitated by Donna Kaye and includes academics from Duke and University of North Carolina, as well as other like minded community members.  We have co-sponsored a public lecture, promoted “the Call” in a mailing to our community, conducted a membership drive, promoted Brit Tzedek at a variety of community events, conducted monthly meetings, and put an editorial in the newspaper.  I have managed to follow most of the Brit Tzedek discourse though my e-mails though occasionally I miss a few when the numbers of e-mails becomes overwhelming. 

3)  As the rabbi of a mainline Reform congregation, it is my hope that Brit Tzedek may become more and more a fixture of the “normative” Jewish community in the eyes of American Jews.  I would hope to bring the perspective of the synagogue community to the board.  If we are ever going to influence policy, our political positions must increasingly be seen as normative.

4) I would hope that the next three or four years see Brit Tzedek with considerably increased influence in Washington.  I also hope that our focus on “the Call” and its goals will not be diminished but will grow in acceptance in the American Jewish Community.  The Call is what attracted me to Brit Tzedek in the first place.  I know that I am not alone. 


NAN FINK GEFEN
Berkeley, CA

1)  I have been an activist in the Jewish community for twenty years. In 1985 I co-founded Tikkun magazine, and remained its publisher until 1990. Since then, I have been a nonprofit consultant and served on several non-profit boards that address Middle East and social justice issues. I have written two books, Stranger in the Midst, and Discovering Jewish Meditation, and am currently working on a novel. I am the President of Chochmat HaLev, a center of Jewish meditation in Berkeley, CA, where I train Jewish meditation teachers and teach meditation. I live with my husband Jonathan Omer-Man in Berkeley, CA.

2) I became an active member of the Bay Area Brit Tzedek Steering Committee in 2002. In 2003, I was elected to my current position as Chair of the National Fundraising Committee. In this capacity, I coordinate all national fundraising and serve on the Brit Tzedek Executive Committee and Board. As an Executive Committee member, I have been involved in personnel and administrative review, conference organizing, and strategizing for the future.

3) If elected, I will continue to carry out the responsibilities described above.

4)  My vision for Brit Tzedek in the next few years is to concentrate on increasing the number of active local chapters; expand its membership base; develop its funding base; increase its influence and prominence in the Jewish world; and carry its message to increasing numbers of decision-makers, leaders, and Jews.


IVAN HANDLER
Evanston, IL

1) I have been a social justice activist since high school during the civil rights and early anti-war movements. I was introduced to social activism by my rabbis and retain a strong commitment to the principles of social justice rooted in Jewish tradition. Recent highlights of my long political biography:
I was a founder of Networking for Democracy about 14 years ago.  We are involved in multiple social justice issues, and currently are the main player in the Chicago anti-war movement.

I am a board member of Growing Home which is a social enterprise dedicated to providing jobs in urban organic agriculture (fastest growing market in the Midwest) to poor and homeless people.

2)  I have been active in Brit Tzedek since its inception.  I believe that the American Jewish community is a strategic player and that mobilizing this community means that we need to pay careful attention to how Jews in the "mainstream" see the conflict.

I have been a key leader in the Chicago chapter from its inception.  I previously chaired the chapter’s Education Committee and currently am a leader of its House Meeting Committee.  I am also an active member of the national Advocacy and Public Policy Committee. As a computer professional, I am not only an active member of the national Wired Committee, but routinely help the national office with computer issues.  The national conference inspired me to work harder to build our Chicago chapter of Brit Tzedek in the country’s fourth largest Jewish community.

3) I believe that I can help the board in several ways:
Keeping focused  on our mission of winning over the American Jewish community. I am an adept listener and I try to understand not only what people are saying when they speak but why they are saying it and what I need to do to communicate with them. 

I can facilitate the development of a comprehensive, long-term cyber strategy as well as help with requirements, design and implementation of new projects.

I believe that being on a board is an active and a creative role.  Good boards take initiative, not just debate on what has been handed to them.  I welcome this challenge.

4) My vision for Brit over the next period is as follows:
We should continue to build our presence in the American Jewish community.  This means more direct outreach to individuals, more official communications with Jewish groups, and increased presence at important Jewish cultural events. 

We need to improve fundraising which means meeting and recruiting wealthy Jews who share our concerns.  This is not my area of expertise, but I recognize its importance and want to help any way I can.

I would like to expand our current advocacy work in Congress into a structured program where we would attempt to engage every member of Congress that we can with an annual or semi-annual meeting.  We explain our positions to them each time, show how we have grown, remind them of colleagues who are doing positive things, and ask them to support us.  I would like to help set up a central clearing house that demonstrates the impact of our visits. 

I believe we need to continue to build up relations with national and local media. 

Finally I would like us to start to develop an outreach program to non-Jewish peace and religious forces to develop a set of allies outside the Jewish community.  I believe that our major task is to show them that working within the Jewish community is legitimate and strategic for those who want peace. 


STEVE MASTERS
Philadelphia, PA

1) Leadership positions within the Israeli peace camp:
After law school I spent a year working as a volunteer American attorney with the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. I also founded the Jerusalem Chapter of Israelis Against Apartheid, lectured on Zionism and Middle East peace issues for the Moshe Sharrett Institute of the World Labor Zionist Movement and actively supported Israel’s then fledgling peace camp.

Leadership positions within the American Jewish community:
 I have held leadership positions in New Jewish Agenda, Jewish Labor Committee, American Jewish Congress, Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council and Congregation Mishkan Shalom.
In September 2001 I co-founded the Progressive Zionist Alliance, the Philadelphia affiliate of Brit Tzedek and am also a national board member of MeretzUSA, which supports the Progressive Zionist Israeli political party Meretz
 I was one of a handful of American Jews who traveled to Geneva Switzerland to witness the public commitment ceremony for Israeli and Palestinian architects of the Geneva initiative on December 1, 2003.
 I worked for two years as the Associate Director of the Jewish Peace Lobby in Silver Spring Maryland. During my tenure there, I significantly increased membership and funding for JPL and created both a grassroots rabbinic and lobbying network.
 In 1990 I co-produced the first Israeli film festival in Philadelphia, which included five Philadelphia premieres.

2)  In 2002 I was one of the 16 co-founders of Brit Tzedek. I am currently a national spokesperson and board member for Brit Tzedek and as well as Brit Tzedek’s National Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy. In 2003, I was the principal drafter of the "Call to Bring the Settlers Home to Israel" and have authored and contributed to many of Brit Tzedek’s publications.
 I have spoken in synagogues and other venues for Brit Tzedek in Chicago, Madison, Brooklyn, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I helped organize and lead Brit Tzedek’s first National Training Institute and moderated the opening night and presented two workshops at Brit Tzedek’s second annual conference in Boston.
From July 2002 through November 2003, I served on Brit Tzedek’s Executive Committee.
 Until recently I was one of the core leaders of Brit Tzedek’s Philadelphia affiliate. In November 2003 I almost single-handedly organized Amram Mitzna’s successful visit to Philadelphia, where Mitzna spoke before 400 Jews in one of Philadelphia’s largest synagogues and had a breakfast hosted by the Board of Rabbis, the Union for Reform Judaism and American Jewish Committee.

3)  I would like to continue my active involvement with Brit Tzedek including leadership of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee and actively contributing to the national work of Brit Tzedek. I plan to continue to serve on the Chapter Development Committee, Policy Advisory Council and National Media Committee.

4)  We should all be incredibly proud of how much we have grown and accomplished in such a brief period of time. In the next few years, I see Brit Tzedek continuing to grow, both in stature and in numbers, attracting increasing numbers of politically savvy Jews to lead us on the national level and in strong and vibrant chapters throughout the country.


DAVID MATZ
Brookline, MA

1)  I am director of the Dispute Resolution Graduate Programs at the University of Massachusetts/ Boston, and a partner in The Mediation Group, a firm providing mediation, training, and arbitration services.
 I have been working in Israel since the 1980's helping to introduce mediation into the courts and the commercial world. I have done many training sessions there and have worked with the Ministry of Justice and the High Court on the policy and politics of altering Israeli attitudes toward litigation and conflict.
 Since 1982 I have been a member of the Board of Directors (including President and now Treasurer) of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/ Wahat al-Salaam, an intentional Arab-Jewish village between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I have done dispute resolution trainings and mediations within the village, and have done the full range of board chores here. I am also a consultant to other Arab-Jewish groups in the region, mainly the Middle East Children's Alliance.
 I have written articles for academic journals on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, as well as pieces for Haaretz on the same topic.
 I am a founding, though now not very active, member of an alliance of American Jews and Arabs focused on urging the American government to become more actively involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2)  I am a member of Brit Tzedek but have not yet been active.

3)  My work with the Brit Tzedek board will depend of course on what the board wants and needs. I am prepared to devote time to the many issues that arise in the internal development of the organization, and to the political strategy of the organization regarding US foreign policy. I will be ready to use writing and dispute resolution skills as they may be useful.

4)  In the hope that after January 2005 the US President will be prepared to consider a stronger role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I would hope that Brit Tzedek will represent a strong Jewish voice supporting such a role, helping to focus it on tasks that have a real chance of moving the parties toward an agreement.


DONNA SPIEGELMAN
Cambridge, MA

1)  I live with my family in Cambridge, MA, where my two daughters attend public school and Hebrew school at Kesher, Cambridge's wonderful community Hebrew School/Afterschool. I am a Professor of Epidemiologic Methods in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

2) As a founding member of Brit Tzedek, I was one of a small group from around the country who convened the initial Brit Tzedek organizing committee. I have been partially responsible for recruiting many of our current and past board members to the organization. I made our initial contacts with the Bereaved Families Forum and played a leading role in our early 14-city tour of Bereaved Families around the U.S. I made some of our initial connections with prominent Israelis, as well as with leaders in other Jewish peace organizations with whom we are building increasingly strong relationships.
 I have organized or co-organized two national fundraisers held in the Boston area, mostly recently one at which Member of Knesset and Former General Amram Mitzna was our featured speaker. Many thousands of dollars have been raised for the organization as a result of these and other fundraising efforts that I have spearheaded. I am a founding member of the Steering Committee and Chair of the Membership Committee of the Boston chapter, our largest chapter and one of our most active. On May 20, our chapter is proud to be hosting a talk by Former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Naomi Chazan at a large Reform synagogue in our community, co-sponsored by our Jewish Community Relations Council and a number of other synagogues. I have given many talks about Brit Tzedek and our views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past two years, and led quite a few Brit Tzedek v’Shalom Spirit of Geneva house parties. My perspective on all aspects of the organization’s work is heavily informed by my experiences of engaging in our grassroots efforts within the Boston Jewish community.
 I am the chair of our national Membership Committee, and in that capacity I have played a leading role in our growth over the first two years -- from 200 in May, 2002, to a current community of members and supporters of over 16,000, with over 30 chapters around the country. Using a combination of internet outreach and grassroots organizing strategies, I will be playing a leading role in implementing a plan to grow considerably larger, with all of your help. As chair of the national Membership Committee, I sit on the Executive Committee of the national Board, and thus play a role in the ongoing, day to day management and leadership of the organization.

3)  As a chapter-based grassroots organization, I will continue to seek ways to empower and strengthen our chapters, and support the increasing involvement of chapter leaders at the highest levels of the organization. I wish to join all of you to make this organization as welcoming as possible to all American Jews who share our vision of peace -- affiliated and unaffiliated, religious and secular, young and old, those in our major population centers and those all over the country, long-term activists and the newly active. Fostering representation of each of these vital constituencies in the leadership of the organization at a local and national level is a critical piece of this.

4)  In three years, based on the activities we are putting into place now, I expect that we will have over 100,000 members and supporters. I expect that we will have at least 50 chapters, including strong bases of grassroots activism in the critical American Jewish population centers -- New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. I expect that through our advocacy and public policy programs we will have ongoing, influential relationships with most of our Senators and many of our Representatives. We will be working closely with the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, and will have developed ties to the other major movements in American Judaism as well.
Maybe, we will have even played a key role in bringing peace to Israel!

 


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