Olivieri to receive award at Jewish Community Relations Council meeting | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Olivieri to receive award at Jewish Community Relations Council meeting


The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation will honor a local community leader and welcome Israel expert Martin Raffel at its annual meeting on Thursday, June 15.

The ticketed luncheon event, held at the Ovation Jewish Home – Rubenstein Pavilion in Milwaukee, will also feature the election of members to a newly-expanded JCRC board and to the organization’s Community Council. The program highlights a core JCRC focus, “Pursuing Peace & Justice.”

Attorney José A. Olivieri will receive the 2017 Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award for his outstanding leadership in the Latino community and in the community at large. A partner with Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Olivieri has provided extensive pro bono legal services to immigrants and people living in poverty, and encourages others to take active roles in policy-making to ensure that the Latino community is not overlooked.

Jose A. Olivieri


Created in 2014 by the JCRC, the Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award is named for the late Milwaukee attorney and activist who served as president of the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations, the JCRC precursor. The annual award recognizes individuals – regardless of religious background – who work to build a more just Milwaukee.

The June 15 program coincides with the 50th anniversary of a tumultuous summer both at home and in the global Jewish community. In 1967, while Milwaukeeans were marching in the streets to demand fair housing, Israelis were dancing in the streets to celebrate an unlikely victory in the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.

Those events still resonate today, according to JCRC Director Elana Kahn. “Milwaukee is the number-one most racially segregated city in the U.S.,” she says. “We’re still living in a community that is struggling for justice and equality, and with a lack of opportunity and access. Part of how the JCRC addresses that is to recognize our social justice leaders.”

Israel is still struggling for peace, the subject of a discussion to be led by keynote speaker Martin J. Raffel. A national thought leader in Jewish public affairs, Raffel is the former longtime senior vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, where he conceptualized and directed the Israel Action Network. He writes extensively on Israel-related issues, including a regular column in the New Jersey Jewish News.

“Martin is one of the people I look to for perspective and insight about how we as American Jews can be supportive of Israel while also thinking about the bigger questions and challenges that Israel faces,” Kahn says.

Event sponsors at the $720 level will be invited to a pre-event meet-and-greet with Raffel and a sneak peek at Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s new exhibit, “Moments & Markers: An Adolph Rosenblatt Retrospective.”

Even the table decorations will advance the cause of social justice, with unique “action-pieces” featuring information on efforts like the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, a new initiative in support of constructive endeavors between the two peoples to create a healthy shared society.

“From Jewish texts and from history, we know that peace and justice go together,” Kahn says. “The JCRC believes that everybody has the agency to build the kind of world we want to live in. We each have the power to decide how we’re going to behave toward our children, our families, our neighbors, and the community around us, and what kind of global citizens we want to be.”

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How to go

What: Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation 2017 Annual Meeting: “Pursuing Peace & Justice”

When: Thursday, June 15, 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Where: Ovation Jewish Home – Rubenstein Pavilion, 1410 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee

Tickets: $40. RSVP by June 5: MilwaukeeJewish.org/JCRC / 414-390-5781