December 18, 2012
For the past few months JCUA has been in conversation with partnering faith organizations in an effort to create a unique model of inter-religious collaboration in times of crisis. These conversations have led to the creation of the Chicagoland Inter-Religious Rapid Response Network (CIRRN).
In a final planning meeting on December 7th, hosted by JCUA and facilitated by Asaf Bar-Tura – JCUA’s director of programs – Network partner organizations met to finalize the goals and guidelines for the newly formed CIRRN.
The CIRRN states its purpose as “to streamline communication dedicated to mobilizing multi-faith responses to acts of hate and discrimination targeting faith communities in Chicago and its collar counties.”
As explained by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the Network aims to provide solace to the victims, and to make a stand against all faith-based hate crimes and discrimination by standing strong and providing a united front regardless of religious background. CIRRN plans to achieve this through a listserve that connects between the leading religious organizations in Chicago to promote communication, provide up-to-date information, and present opportunities for engagement in the aftermath of any incident targeting a faith-based community. This will allow the various faiths to remain informed on incidents of any kind, and will facilitate a rapid response from all representatives.
This network is the first of its kind in Chicago, and a model to be learned from and implemented across the nation.
For more information please contact Asaf Bar-Tura at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 28, 2010
JCUA’s Asaf Bar-Tura, coordinator of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI), recently spoke at a conference of the Muslim community about Islamophobia and anti-Semtism. This is an excerpt of some of his thoughts on the conference (Read more below):
The moderator mentioned a survey that showed people with Islamophobic dispositions were also more prone to have anti-Semitic dispositions. He then asked me how I approach these findings. My response was that Martin Luther King was right when, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, he wrote that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
This is a profound understanding that must guide how we align ourselves. It is in this profound sense that we must partner with the Muslim community. We do it because it’s the right thing to do; we do it because it is the Jewish thing to do; and, this cannot be stressed enough, we do it because it is in our self-interest.
The Jewish people have known horrendous and tragic oppression over many centuries. We continue to be affected by anti-Semitism today. This reality must guide us to seek out justice through an unyielding commitment to rooting out oppression and combating it in all its forms.
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July 14, 2010
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, addresses guests at reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured in background).
Jewish leaders from across the country gathered July 13 to honor Hannah Rosenthal, special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at a reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State. Jane Ramsey, executive director of JCUA; Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.); Betsy Brill, president of Strategic Philanthropy; and Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of The Jewish Federations of North America, were amongst the some 300 at the event.
Betsy Brill (from left), Lois Lipton, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Susan Winer, Jane Ramsey
Prior to her appointment as special envoy, Rosenthal headed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and also spent time as executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women. Since her appointment Rosenthal has participated in various events across the country and overseas in an effort to raise awareness of anti-Semitism as well as remind people of the urgency involved in combating the issue—something which also happens to be a core part of JCUA’s mission. Rosenthal’s enthusiasm for her work, said Ramsey, was evident during her speech at the reception.
“What was inspiring to me was the passion she reflected regarding the meaningfulness and importance of the Jewish community speaking out and building strong relationships across culture and faith, and the significance these actions and the relevance of that core principle in the work of JCUA,” said Ramsey.
(Learn more about JCUA’s work in human rights.)