Blog: AJC NJ Day to Day

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11th Annual Interfaith Holocaust Trip
Kathy Ales, AJC Central New Jersey Board Member

Every year for the past 11 years the AJC Central New Jersey Region brings a group of Princeton Theological Seminary Students on a day trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.  This year’s trip included 23 amazing students from all over the world including Canada, France, Malaysia, Uganda and Liberia, many of whom shared later that this was their first in depth exposure to the Holocaust. 

Even as we struggle with "Holocaust fatigue", we are confronted by what we hoped would never again show its ugly head.  Anti-Semitism should have burned itself out long ago, but increasingly, the winds have stirred the embers.  Bringing the Jewish experience of the Holocaust directly to Princeton Theological Seminary students opens their minds and hearts to the realities of what it means to be a Jew in today's world.  It provides the intellectual space for the students to ask, "Where was the church when this was unfolding?"   It forces penetrating self-cross examination, wondering, "Where would I have been?"  And more importantly, it leads to the central question, "Where do I stand now?"  It is around this last question that meaningful dialogue can begin.

The bus ride home often gives rise to difficult questions.  For instance, one student, not wanting to be labeled an anti-Semite, and struggling to give voice to the question, observed that Jewish power and influence appeared to be disproportionate in the USA.  While the areas of Wall Street, Hollywood, the media and government were mentioned, the omission of the sciences and medicine, provided an opening to share what is at the core of being a Jew.  In essence, we are each commanded to be the best that we can be given our unique endowments, to make the most of ourselves, to make a difference, and to contribute to society and civilization.

Leading this trip each year, and participating in the interfaith discussions which follow it,  offer me the opportunity to make a difference, and to deepen understanding not only of the Holocaust but of what it is to be Jewish.

 

 
Date: 3/31/2015
Making a Difference--AJC Legislative Advocacy
Arthur Dubroff, AJC Metro New Jersey, co-Chair of Legislative Advocacy Committee
As Co-Chair of AJC New Jersey’s Legislative Advocacy Committee, I am extremely pleased to share the successful launch of our 2015 advocacy agenda.  In January, we reached out to the AJC New Jersey members from our Metro, Central and Bergen regions and formed a statewide Legislative Advocacy Committee. This Committee holds a monthly conference call led by AJC New Jersey and/or AJC National staff to discuss the latest legislative matters of concern to us as AJC Members and the specific positions and activities of New Jersey’s legislators regarding those matters.   We have been charged with building relationships with our New Jersey federal representatives to benefit AJC’s three 2015 priority issues:  to combat global anti-Semitism, to promote Israel’s place in the world and to prevent a nuclear Iran.
To this end, our AJC New Jersey Legislative Advocacy Committee participated in the AJC National Advocacy Marathon that was held during the week of March 9th.  I was among the Legislative Advocacy Committee Members who volunteered as Team Captains and Team Members to reach out to New Jersey’s Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen to schedule meetings for that week. We were able to schedule four meetings with our Congressional representatives and/or the Directors of their staff. In addition to meeting with members of Congress during Marathon Week, several Congressional representatives who were unavailable that week will be scheduling meetings with us during the upcoming months.
During our meetings with New Jersey’s Congressional representatives, we discussed several key topics: combating anti-Semitism; supporting Israel; joining the Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance (CHIA); based on the outcome of negotiations with Iran, legislating for increased sanctions; and, sponsoring a 2015 bill to tighten financial controls cutting off the availability of funds to Terrorist Organizations. Our discussions were very successful. Several Congressmen agreed to join the Bipartisan Taskforce on Anti-Semitism, join the CHIA caucus and/or co-sponsor the upcoming bills which we emphasized are so important.
AJC has a very significant role to play in Legislative Advocacy. We promote bipartisan support on matters of utmost importance to worldwide Jewry and bring to our legislators the perspective of an extremely active, global organization. I get great personal satisfaction and gratification from participating in these initiatives and encourage others to experience the impact of these meetings first-hand. I urge you to join us in our Legislative Advocacy activities. Please email me (arthur.dubroff@gmail.com) indicating your interest and I will be in touch with you. You can MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Date: 3/24/2015
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