Welcome to the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation

Fostering a vibrant Jewish future at home and abroad and assisting broader humanitarian activities since 1929.

News & Events   |    Our news, events, and announcements in CU Jewish Weekly Newsletter, January 22, 2021

Commemorate the Holocaust
January 27 @ 4-5:30pm via Zoom
Tune in on Zoom to hear from Champaign-Urbana community members, Nina Raab, Max Libman, and Linda Bauer, as they each share the stories of their family in the Holocaust.
This program has been kindly cosponsored by: Allan and Karen Zarembski in memory of the Goldberg and Zarembski family members killed in the Holocaust; the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; the Program in Jewish Culture & Society; Sinai Temple; Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation
This program is supported by allocations from CUJF.
"It Never Was You - Jazz by Jewish Composers"
Shabbat Shirah is the Sabbath of Singing. Many congregations highlight this Shabbat by creating services brimming with extraordinary music to celebrate Moses and Miriam leading the Israelites across the Sea of Reeds (The Red Sea) and out of Egypt.
On January 30th at 6:30 pm CMT NYC-based vocalist Hadar, and her all-star NYC-based band of Jewish musicians, are performing a LIVE FULL BAND virtual concert of songs from the Great American Songbook, and the funny, fascinating, and heart wrenching stories of the Jewish composers who wrote the vast majority of it.  
This intimate and innovative evening gives participants from around the country the opportunity to interact live with one another and the artist, as she breathes new life into some of the most iconic songs in history using unique arrangements and cutting edge video technology. After the performance there will also be a Q & A. 
Hadar hails from TLV and since graduating from the Berklee College of Music has gone on to perform for such audiences as Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ehud Barack, to name a few. In December of 2019 Hadar released her album "It Never Was You - Jazz by Jewish composers" to critical acclaim to honor the enormous contribution made by Jewish composers to the distinctly american art form of jazz. To listen to the music and learn more please click HERE.
Grab a bottle of wine, order some takeout and cozy up on your favorite couch for a night you won't soon forget! 
No registration required. A private link to the show will be emailed to everyone on January 28.

Holocaust Education Center of CUJF - What does it do? by Brian Kahn, Center Chairman

The Holocaust Education Center of CUJF brings together a small group of local educators and Jewish community members, whose mission it is to provide resources, speakers, and professional development opportunities for local teachers as they strive to meet the Illinois State Mandate for teaching the Holocaust and contemporary genocide (please click here for full text of the 1990 and revised 2006 mandate). In addition to our Holocaust Trunk Project (free loan of classroom materials for area teachers), we also provide professional development opportunities for all teachers in ROE 9 and 54, including funding for conferences and presentations, online learning experiences, local speakers sharing stories of family involvement during the Holocaust, and opportunities to share student work online and in person. Over the past twenty years, this group has organized and presented numerous workshops in Champaign and Urbana schools utilizing our local experts, as well as inviting national organizations to present including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Partisans Education Foundation (JPEF), and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).
Who's involved?
Presently, the members of the HEC include area teachers Bob Lehmann, Rebecca Lawson, Valerie Prescott along with Jewish community members William Gingold, Robin Goettel, Yael Gertner, Katherine Coyle, and Don Francisco. I have served as the chair for this group since the late 1990’s and am a retired teacher/professor of social studies education. I have recently completed my training to serve as a mentor/facilitator for the ADL’s Echoes and Reflections Holocaust and Genocide education programs. While the lineup of committee members has changed a little over the past twenty years, the group remains committed to providing services to the community that will enhance the quality of meaningful instruction as teachers address the difficult task of teaching and learning about the Holocaust and contemporary genocide.
What are the benefits to our Jewish Community?
Over the years, we have served dozens of area teachers by providing guidance, free use of classroom materials, and numerous opportunities to enhance their own learning by way of online coursework, seminars, and interactive workshops. Currently, one of our members (Bob) organized and is still co-conducting a three-session Zoom conference addressing the needs of meeting the state mandate for teaching the Holocaust and genocide. The Zoom conferences began in August and will conclude later in January. Fifteen area teachers will have spent fifteen hours participating in these sessions, as presenters from Gratz College and USHMM share their expertise. In addition, all participants are required to complete a lesson or unit plan based on their new learning, which will be shared on the HEC website. In this way, the HEC has made resources available to all community members in the hopes of advancing the cause of Holocaust education. Our continued hope is that more members of the Jewish community will use the resources of the HEC to spark their own interests and understanding of the Holocaust. We are currently working to connect the Jewish community with a wide array of resources addressing the current state of antisemitism in the United States and the world at large.
Has Holocaust Education changed over the years?
The initial state mandate (1991) only addressed the teaching of the Holocaust. Few guidelines were given and there was no local or national curriculum to follow. The mandate was expanded in 2006 to include other examples of genocide such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Armenia, and Bosnia. Still, there has been no additional guidance from the state; teachers largely depend on organizations such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, and Yad Vashem for guidance in planning and preparation of meaningful classroom learning experiences. It has been our experience that many teachers are driven by their own passion and resourcefulness as they approach this difficult topic. As stated previously, the primary goal of the HEC continues to be providing resources and guidance for local educators, parents, and students. The knowledge of these events continues to grow as time passes and the real challenge for educators remains to attempt to keep current on new information being published. Today, there is a much greater emphasis on using primary source documents/materials in the classroom, including a vast amount of first-hand accounts available on the USHMM websiteand through the Shoah Foundation’s program I Witness.



Jewish Life and Learning


CUJF engages our dynamic and diverse community with educational resources and community events to appeal to different interests, backgrounds, and ages throughout the life span. This is what we do.


Support for Our Most Vulnerable


As Jews, we have a responsibility to care for the needy in our community, as well as to support our members during their most vulnerable times. CUJF is there with information, referrals, and financial assistance when needed. Contact us.


Community Giving


Together, we are stronger. CUJF serves as a central mechanism for raising and allocating funds to local organizations as well as supporting Jewish organizations and initiatives in Israel and throughout the world. Join us here.


COVID-19: Let Us Know How We Can Help


In these difficult times, CUJF continues to fulfill its mission to Aid, Educate and Celebrate our Jewish culture and community. CUJF's Human Services function is more important than ever. We have been making calls to our seniors and volunteers are picking up grocery orders for those who are unable to go out. If you or someone you know could use a friendly phone call or a delivery of needed items, please email us at cujf@cujf.org or call our office at (217) 367-9872 and leave a message. We are checking email and voicemail regularly.

We've reached out to the kids in our community with an online PJ Library storytime in conjunction with Sinai Temple. CUJF plans to offer more virtual programs, plus continue to provide information about resources from the other Jewish organizations in our community. We are also raising funds in order to assist members of our Jewish Community who may be affected by work closures, unexpected medical bills, and other emergencies. You can support these efforts! Click on “Donate” at the top of the page and type "virus" in the “Earmarks” section.

Together, we'll do a world of good!

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CUJF Publication Deadline


The deadline for CUJF’s weekly email blast is Wednesdays at 3:00 pm for publication on Fridays at noon. Tell us about your services, your events, and your good news! Email us at communications@cujf.org.