What’s Nu, February 2022 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

What’s Nu, February 2022


Jewish Insider examines Pocan on Israel 

Jewish Insider, a political site, published a Jan. 13, 4000-word article on Rep. Mark Pocan and Israel: Pocan pokes Israel — but where are his constituents?”  

The site talked with people from the Wisconsin Jewish community expressing different views on the Madison Democrat, who has been critical of Israel.  

Jewish Insider noted that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Pocan were lead sponsors of a measure to block a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons to Israel, as reported by Reuters. 

Pocan has repeatedly been critical of Israel on Twitter. The site referred to a 2021 tweet by Pocan that said he was at a Palestinian village “to discuss Israeli settler violence …. We will be watching to make sure no violence occurs this weekend or anytime.” 

But Pocan also voted in favor of a $1 billion boost for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. Eight other Democrats voted against it. 

“Such gestures have indicated that Pocan is carving out a path for himself that has at times been distinct from his allies on the progressive left as he balances relationships with a diverse cross-section of Jewish groups,” the article said. 

Teen Philanthropy seeks proposals 

The Milwaukee Jewish Teen Philanthropy Board is seeking proposals for funding, which will be disbursed in May 2022. 

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation program is to award a total of 4-8 grants of up to $4,500 each. 

The Board is seeking to fund the following areas: poverty/homelessness; antisemitism; domestic violence/mental health; environmental sustainability; and disability rights/inclusion. 

The program seeks to engage Jewish teens from across the Jewish community in a communal giving and learning effort to achieve the goal of tikkun olam (repairing the world). The Milwaukee Jewish Teen Philanthropy Board responds to those in need by offering grants that directly benefit the local Milwaukee community, according to Teen Philanthropy Coordinator Jennifer Saber.  

Funding may be used for new or existing programs or projects. Acceptable uses for grant funding include staff, administrative and direct service expenses associated with the program/project. Milwaukee Jewish Teen Philanthropy does not support capital improvements, debt reduction, individual people or fundraising events. 

The deadline for submission is Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Contact Jennifer Saber at JenniferS@MilwaukeeJewish.org for more information.  

Nicolet junior to represent nationally 

Milwaukee Teen Philanthropy Board member Talia Bernstein has been chosen to represent the board nationally as a Youth Ambassador on the Jewish Teen Funders Network Youth Ambassador Council. 

The Council is a group of youth philanthropists from across North America with the goal of connecting the Jewish Teen Funders Network directly with youth philanthropists in the field. Meeting virtually throughout the school year, the Council allows participants to share their thoughts, insights and stories on philanthropy. 

Bernstein is currently a junior at Nicolet High School and is a member of Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun.  

–Sofia Rubinson 

Chabad Waukesha’s McGeen assists evacuees  

Diane McGeen, who is part of the Chabad Waukesha faith community, has started a GoFundMe to help her mother and others who had to race out of a condominium building that was deemed unsafe and could fall down. 

On Dec. 2, 48 families were given 15 minutes’ notice to evacuate the six-story building, according to media reports. The building is unstable and needs to be demolished, according to McGeen, who is an administrative assistant for Rabbi Levi Brook.  

Families were given limited time to complete their evacuation and empty their homes, but now many are left scrambling for a place to live. McGeen said that these families received no financial assistance and are still responsible for a mortgage in the condominium and rent at their new residences. 

Funds gathered from the GoFundMe will be used to offset common expenses and legal fees and to compensate individual families for their financial losses. The link to donate is at this article online. 

–Sofia Rubinson 

Illinois divests amid Ben & Jerry’s dustup 

The Illinois Investment Policy Board decided Dec. 22 to divest state pension funds from Unilever amid controversy with its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s.  

In July, Ben & Jerry’s halted the sale of their products in the West Bank to remove their company from “occupied Palestinian territory.” The state of Illinois prohibits government investments in companies that boycott Israel.  

“Israel has always claimed that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be reached through direct, bilateral negotiations between the two sides,” said Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Yinam Cohen. The Illinois Investment Policy Board found Unilever’s decision counterproductive to solving the conflict, according to Cohen. 

–Sofia Rubinson 

CNH Industrial signs agreement with Israel  

CNH Industrial, with offices in Racine, signed an agreement that will facilitate collaboration between the company and a set of Israeli technology startups.   

The Israel Innovation Authority, which is responsible for Israel’s innovation policy, will help CNH Industrial connect with Israeli technology. 

“This opportunity with the Israel Innovation Authority gives us access to fresh concepts which challenge how we work, and in turn we can make a difference by opening up new channels to these up-and-coming realities,” said Vice President of Advanced Technologies & Innovations at CNH Industrial Selin Tur.  

CNH Industrial has more than 64,000 employees worldwide, including multiple branches in Wisconsin. “This agreement between CNH Industrial and the Israel Innovation Authority is a vote of confidence in the Israeli startup ecosystem and its ability to provide cutting edge solutions to meet the various challenges of our time,” said Chairperson of the Israel Innovation Authority Dr. Ami Applebaum. 

–Sofia Rubinson 

Andrew Franklin runs for Nicolet School Board 

Andew Franklin, lifelong resident of the North Shore of the Milwaukee area, is running for the Nicolet School Board in the upcoming April 5 election.  

Franklin has been a member of the Glendale-River Hills School Board for more than 12 years, serving as the president of the Board for the last four years. He is a contract manager in the Office of General Counsel for Rockwell Automation, having earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  

Franklin is also a Nicolet High School alum, and currently has two children in the school district. His family belongs to Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun. 

–Sofia Rubinson 

Illinois Holocaust Museum offers virtual reality 

The first ever virtual reality Holocaust education exhibit, “The Journey Back,” opened to the public Jan. 27 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, according to the museum.   

The exhibit uses VR technology to engage visitors in present day and historic Auschwitz through two award-winning films narrated by Holocaust survivors Fritzie Fritzshall and George Brent.  

Participants have the ability to control their own 360-degree experience as the survivors guide them around the modern-day preserved concentration camps and share what they endured during the Holocaust. 

“We need to learn all we can from Holocaust survivors while they are still here,” said museum CEO Susan Abrams. “And there is truly no better way to learn than to virtually tour the Holocaust sites today with a survivor to see them from their point of view.” 

To learn more, visit ilHolocaustMuseum.org or call 847-967-4800. 

–Sofia Rubinson 

RUACH to host quartet virtually 

RUACH, a Milwaukee-based Jewish arts and music nonprofit organization, is hosting “A Journey Through Jewish Music with the Amernet String Quartet,” which will be available on-demand to the public for free through Sunday, Feb. 27. 

The program will feature an 83-minute concert sampling of a spectrum of Jewish-related works and composers over the last 150 years. It will highlight the connections between the European Jewish experience with that of the Americas.  

The concert includes the works of Schulhoff, Gershwin, Krein and Osvaldo Golijov’s “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.” 

The Amernet String Quartet has garnered recognition from The New York Times for their “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” performance. They are the Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami. 

The Armernet won the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition and were named first prize winners of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. The quartet has been engaged in tours throughout Europe and Latin America, as well as throughout the United States and Israel. 

This program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, United Performing Arts Fund, Harri Hoffmann Family Foundation, Clarice S. Turer Charitable Fund, von Briesen & Roper, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Milwaukee Arts Board, CAMPAC, Ralph Evinrude Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Wisconsin Arts Board. 

To register for the program and to learn more, visit bit.ly/amernet. 

–Sofia Rubinson