August 2004
By Aliza Becker, Executive Director

Please join me in welcoming Carinne Luck who began work as our new Chapter Organizer in August. Her position is funded by a generous grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She will work closely with Brit Tzedek's 30 chapters across the country to strengthen our grassroots voice within the Jewish community. 

Complimenting Carinne's extensive organizing experience is her close, personal  connection to Israel. In addition to being Israeli-born, Carinne is the great great-granddaughter of Zalman David Levontin, who founded Rishon LeZion in 1882 which was among the first Zionist settlements in Israel.  He was also a founding member and General Manager of Bank Leumi, Israel's first bank. Carinne also speaks fluent Hebrew and travels to Israel often to visit her family there. Carinne is extremely excited to have this opportunity to combine her commitment to Israel's well-being with her passion for progressive political organizing.


Jewish Federation Attends Durham/Chapel Hill Chapter Meeting

Our Durham/Chapel Hill chapter recently hosted an unprecedented and very successful meeting with the local Federation President and six members of the Federation's Executive Board. Chapter Leader Rabbi John Friedman reports that this meeting gave rise to a positive dialogue between the two groups on the subject of the potential for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This meeting also produced concrete results including changes in the make-up of the Federation's Community Relations Council and its Israel Education Committee as well additions to its programming.
Portland Chapter Leaders Meet with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Members of our Portland chapter were invited by Congressman Earl Blumenauer to join an exclusive invite-only meeting last week of the district's Jewish leaders. Amidst an illustrious crowd that included the President of the local American Jewish Committee and the Executive Vice-President of the Portland Jewish Federation, Chapter Chair Sandy Polishuk and Sid Lezak, who is a former U.S. attorney, discussed the upcoming "Open Letter to the Next President campaign" and engaged all those present in a lively and primarily positive discussion about the pivotal role of the United States in the Middle East. Congressman Blumenauer was extremely supportive.

Louisville, KY Builds Strong Relationships with Local Rabbis

The considerable time that our Louisville chapter has spent fostering good relationships with the four rabbis of the main synagogues in the city have paid off.  At a Brit Tzedek- sponsored dinner, each of these rabbis offered words of both appreciation and encouragement of Brit Tzedek's work.

In July, Louisville Brit Tzedek hosted a "Party for Israel" at a local art gallery at which a rabbi gave a short speech supporting the work of Brit Tzedek and other American Jewish organizations dedicated to bringing a just peace to the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Brit Tzedek's tour with IDF Pilot Refuser Yonatan Shapira to Washington, DC, Boston, New York City and Vermont was covered extensively in the media. 

  •  "Israeli Pilot: This Fights Not Right" by Jonathan Marks in the The New York Jewish Week on July 23, 2004 [FULL ARTICLE]

  • "Israeli 'Refuser' Speaks Out in Washington" by Beth R. Alexanderin The Washington Times on July 14, 2004 [FULL ARTICLE]

  • "Moral Act or Prelude to Anarchy? Israeli 'Refuser' Hopes His Action Leads to Stronger IDF" by Aaron Leibel in The Washington Jewish  Week on July 15, 2004 [FULL ARTICLE]

  • "Duty and Refusal" on radio show The Connection on WBUR-AM which aired on July 16, 2004. [LISTEN]

  • "Israeli Soldiers Speak of Their War" by Patrick Joy in The Barre Montpelier Times Argus on July 14, 2004 [FULL ARTICLE]

Brit Tzedek's leadership was quoted extensively in the JTA news service's recent five-part series on the changing relationship between US Jews and Israel. These articles were published in Jewish newspapers across the country.


From Marcia Freedman, Board President: "Now you get 10 Jews, one allowed opinion. Everything else is traitorous," she said. "It's intimidating to be told, 'You're threatening Israel by saying that.' If you're told that what you're saying is dangerous, you start being quiet."

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