September 25, 2015

JAC members were out and about across the country this week. Here are a few highlights.
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-21) spoke at Talking Points HP about the Iran deal, attacks on women's rights, separation of religion and state, and what can be done in Congress about gun violence.

A great turnout for Talking Points HP this week in Illinois.

Rep. Ted Deutch, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer and Marcia Melamed

JAC was honored to participate in a round table to address gun violence in Illinois with CT Gov. Dan Malloy and many others, sponsored by former IL Rep. and 2016 Congressional candidate
Brad Schneider.

JAC leadership met with Nathaniel Pendelton, father of slain Chicago teen Haydia Pendelton and advocate for gun violence prevention, during a round table on gun violence prevention in Chicago. (l to r: Marcia Balonick, Nathaniel Pendelton,
Hollis Wein, Dana Gordon) 

Talking Points Highland Park
with special guest 
Gidi Grinstein 
October 28 
Highland Park, IL 
Details to come
Detroit Membership Event 
Details to come

Want to host a JAC event near you? Plea
se contact the JAC office and we will help coordinate.

For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or

Join us for a special event

JAC will be honored by Personal PAC with the
Irving B. Harris Spirit of Choice Award at this year's
Personal PAC Awards Luncheon.
Please come and sit with JAC.

October 26th, 2015
Chicago Hilton Towers
Contact the JAC office to RSVP or for details.

Women for Brad Brunch 
Brad Schneider 
Candidate for IL 10th
September 27
Northbrook, IL  
11:00 - 1:00


An Evening with
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-21) 
September 27 
University of Michigan Hillel
Ann Arbor, MI 
6:00 pm 
Meeting with
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
October 14 
Chicago Area 
Details to follow 

For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or



Is the person shopping next to YOU carrying a concealed gun?
Illinois law alllows concealed carry of firearms.
BUT your store can say NO. *

Ask your merchant to display this sign.
Do your part to keep your community safe.

* Source: (430 ILCS 66/) Firearm Concealed Carry Act. "The ownder of private real property of any type amy prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control. The owner must post a sign in accordance with the cubsection (d) of this Section indicating that firearms are prohibited on the property."
Meet The Members   
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 
Senator Leahy is the longest serving current member of the Senate, completing his 7th term (42 years). The first and only Democratic Senator elected from Vermont, he is currently the most senior member of the Senate, with the title President pro-tempore emeritus. JAC has supported Leahy from the beginning -- he has promoted JAC's issues and we know we can always count on him to stand up for Israel, choice and separation of religion and state. He is also considered one of the top environmental legislators in Congress. About Israel he has said, "I have long supported U.S. aid to ensure Israel's ability to defend itself. I have had many private meetings with Israeli leaders over the years. And I have long supported Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a peace settlement that would help ensure Israel's security." He has long been a defender of women's reproductive rights, including fighting efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

If you will be in the Chicago area on October 14th, please consider joining us for a special chance to meet with Senator Leahy. Details to follow. 
Join with Hillary

If you would like to support Hillary,
please contact the JAC office at
847-433-5999 or

Our combined contributions make our voices stronger.  There IS
Israel & the Middle East
Israel and America After the Iran Deal
Now that congressional Democrats have blocked a Republican effort to kill the Iran nuclear deal, attention is shifting to what America must do to reassure Israel and its American supporters that the agreement will not harm Israel's security. 

"If You Can't Do This Deal...Go Back to Tehran" 
The inside story of the Obama administration's Iran diplomacy
Now that the deal is done, 12 current and former Obama administration officials intimately involved in the negotiations spoke to me last week, revealing new details for the first time. This story of the behind-the-scenes calculations along a seven-year road to a deal is based upon those accounts, as well as on hundreds of hours of reporting on the talks I did as they unfolded in recent years in capitals across three continents.

When Israeli volunteers help Syrian, Iraqi and Pakistani refugees
While IsraAID has plenty of experience in disaster relief and assistance in 31 countries - from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa - this mission presents a unique challenge: The beneficiaries come from countries that are traditionally hostile, or even officially still at war, with Israel. 
An Israeli physician taking a Syrian child from a dinghy that arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos. (Credit: Boaz Arad/IsraAID)
Violence has spiked in Jerusalem -- here's why  
For Israelis, the Ten Days of Repentance from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur have turned into days of violence. Unrest has swelled in Jerusalem following an Israeli ban on a protest group at the Temple Mount, the holy site known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif. The clashes have left one Israeli dead and dozens of Israelis and Palestinians injured.   
Read Full Article

Russia, Israel, Syria, and the US  
A meeting of potentially great importance occurred between Vladimir Putin and Benyamin Netanyahu, together with the head of the IDF, the chief of military intelligence, and their Russian counterparts.
Read Full Article
Chicago Station Wishes Jews a Happy Yom Kippur with Nazi Emblem
A Chicago television news station made a truly unfortunate art choice to accompany a segment on the Jewish High Holidays on Wednesday: the yellow Star of David that Jews were legally required to wear during the Holocaust.
Reproductive Rights
Senate rejects effort to strip funding from Planned Parenthood
The Senate on Thursday rejected a short-term spending bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, thwarting the opening move by Republican leaders to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Senators voted 47-52 on ending debate on the short-term continuing resolution, well short of the 60 votes needed. The legislation would have funded the government through Dec. 11.
Democrats block 20-week abortion ban
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a Republican bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The measure failed to advance in a 54-42 vote, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed.
CBO: Defunding Planned Parenthood increases government spending
Permanently defunding Planned Parenthood would end up increasing government spending by $130 million over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 
Which States Restrict Abortion After a Certain Point in Pregnancy
Senate Republicans on Tuesday failed to advance a bill on legislation outlawing abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization, which is 22 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period. The legislation is based on the idea, rejected by mainstream medical groups, that a fetus feels pain then. Currently, 10 states have similar bans and two states have even stricter laws. Thirty-one other states have also enacted restrictions on abortions at different stages of pregnancy

Separation of Religion & State
Jesus Town
Just as GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson announced that Muslims should be barred from the American presidency, and Donald Trump has continued to splash merrily through the Obama conspiracy theories, the city council of Coolidge, Arizona, took a little time off from governance to endorse a policy of Christian-only prayers..

How Hobby Lobby Launched a Right-Wing Crusade
Since Hobby Lobby landed with a thump in the summer of 2014, cries of religious liberty have proliferated across the country. Civil rights are now officially on a collision course with religious liberty, and the Court primed the pump in Hobby Lobby by finding not only that corporations are more people-ish than people, and that religious convictions must always be deemed sincere, but also that the interests of third parties can be disregarded entirely.

Ben Carson: Big Bang a Fairy Tale, Theory of Evolution Encouraged by the Devil
In a speech delivered in 2012, Ben Carson said the big bang theory was part of the "fairy tales" pushed by "highfalutin scientists" as a story of creation. Similarly, Carson, a noted creationist, said he believed the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.
Beyond the Core
How Automatic Voter Registration Can Transform American Politics
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and National Voter Registration Act of 1993 enfranchised millions of new voters. After passage of the VRA, for example, the number of black registered voters in the South increased from 31 percent to 73 percent. Despite these landmark laws, 51 million Americans-1 in 4 eligible voters-are still not registered to vote. Automatic voter registration would change that.

Read more here:
Read Full Article

Mass shootings since Sandy Hook, in one map
 Source: (click image for more information)

In First U.S. Address, Pope Spends Most of It Talking About Climate Change
Speaking before a massive crowd outside the White House Wednesday morning, Pope Francis began his talk by referencing his immigrant heritage, noting, "As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families." He then offered an aside praising the merits of religious liberty, asking the U.S. government to pay heed to the beliefs of American Catholics and "respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty." But just three paragraphs into his prepared remarks, Francis pivoted sharply to the another issue near to his heart - the environment.
Calling All Students!

Join the National Day of Action October 2nd 
on campuses around the country to call for action on climate change. Know Tomorrow is a growing organization of students who demand action on the climate.

Political Byte
John Boehner To Resign From Congress At End Of October
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will resign from Congress at the end of October, his office announced Friday. In a statement, Boehner's office said that he had only planned to serve in Congress until the end of last year, but changed his plans when former Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) lost his seat.
How Funny or Die is Changing Politics
If you're getting the sense that this election-which has been largely overtaken by a flamboyant reality-TV personality who can't seem to stop talking about how fantastic, tough, and sexually alluring he is-is starting to feel like a joke, then perhaps it's fitting to get your political advertising from a comedy website. "In 2008, and 2012, the election was decided by young people.... And there's no better way to engage young people and get them excited and interested [in politics] than comedy."
Read Full Article

Brilliant Parady App "Hinder" Highlights Politicians who are Hostile to Reproductive Rights
Hinder was created by Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead and her nonprofit Lady Parts Justice, a collective of comedians and writers who aim to increase access to reproductive rights nationwide. In a promotional video for the app, Winstead describes Hinder as an innovation that "is going to give you access to all of the people who want access to you, from your sex life to your medical decisions." With Hinder, you may find out that Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich's views on reproductive rights are a major turn-off, for example:
Planned Parenthood: 'Fiorina is lying'
Planned Parenthood is hitting back against GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina over controversial comments she made about undercover anti-abortion-rights videos targeting the group. "There is no polite way to say this: Carly Fiorina is lying," Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood, wrote in a statement on Wednesday.
Trump rally incident, Carson anti-Muslim remarks spur civility call by 2 Jewish groups
Two Jewish groups pleaded for greater civility in political discourse after the loyalty of American Muslims was called into question during the Republican presidential campaign. The Anti-Defamation League in a statement Monday cited an interview with Ben Carson, a physician and candidate for the nomination, who said in an interview that a Muslim should not be president. The ADL also noted that Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP race, failed to condemn a man at a rally who disparaged Muslims.
Everything Jews need to know about Pope Francis' U.S. visit
On his first-ever trip to the United States, Pope Francis will arrive at the beginning of Yom Kippur and will not visit any synagogues. Nevertheless, many American Jews will welcome his arrival (though they are probably less ecstatic about the traffic his presence will bring to the Northeast). After all, Francis has made clear that he is a friend of the Jews.
Combating violence against women: Jewish frat ZBT to fundraise for cause
A historically Jewish fraternity will use its philanthropy for a Jewish group that aims to combat violence against women. Zeta Beta Tau said in a statement Thursday said Jewish Women International would be its third official philanthropy along with its own foundation and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Ancient wisdom for a hyper-partisan time: An educator's perspective
The nuclear deal with Iran set off a furious debate within the Jewish community with troubling name calling and offensive language. At the same time, political discourse in general seems to reach new lows as candidates and elected officials hurl personal insults and employ hyperbolic and offensive characterizations of their opponents' positions. The tone set by our political and community leaders creates a hostile and problematic environment for the future of democratic countries and the climate within the Jewish community. Educators are positioned to provide a counterweight to the poor example our political leaders are exhibiting.

Our members count on JACPAC to provide information on current events, candidates, and elections.  JACPAC depends on membership support to make this possible.


If you have not renewed your membership, please consider doing so today, to help us pursue a strong US-Israel relationship, reproductive rights, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!



Janna Berk, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director 

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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a national network committed to the special relationship between the US and Israel and a social agenda that includes reproductive rights and separation of religion and state.  JACPAC supported US Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda and maintains ongoing dialogue with those it helps elect.  In addition, JACPAC serves as a political resource for the Jewish community, furnishing information about candidates, elections and issues.