Early Voting Has Begun

Voter Engagement Coalition members,

A big thank you to all organizations that co-sponsored our Voter Guide and Candidate Survey. Please spread the word as early voting has begun that the online version of the resource is available online at http://votebuncombe.org. The site has been live since Sept 15. The printed version for the general election will be ready the week of October 19.

Greg Borom

Director of Advocacy
Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County
phone: 828-423-0698
twitter: @CFCISAdvocacy


We need your help in growing Carolina Jews for Justice

Dear CJJers,

As we head into the New Year, the CJJ board has been taking stock of how far Carolina Jews for Justice has come. Since all of us came together to start CJJ in early 2013, the organization has grown beyond our imagination.

  • In addition to an active membership in the Triangle, we have a strong group in Western NC, and are part of a national network of Jewish advocacy groups through Bend the Arc.
  • Carolina Jews for Justice has been an outspoken voice on key issues like voting rights, the oppression of LGBTQ rights through the lens of “religious freedom”, racial justice, and Medicaid Expansion. Our members and our Rabbis have signed petitions, written letters, held vigils, and made our presence known at Moral Mondays, in the legislature, and in the news.
  • We registered voters and called voters to go to the polls, reaching over 2200 voters before the 2014 elections.
  • We’ve educated the Jewish community about changes in voting rights, public education funding through local forums with experts, and shared important news about key NC issues in our regular newsletter.
  • CJJ members have met with local legislators, and held a dialogue in Asheville with the African-American community, building relationships and demonstrating Jewish values.

CJJ has also helped us build a vibrant community across the state, celebrating together at social events and a Shabbaton, bringing our voices together, to express our shared Jewish values and influence public policy in NC and the country.

Today, CJJ has over 800 people on its mailing list, even more followers via Facebook, and dozens of regular volunteers and activists helping to keep the organization going statewide.

With your help, we think CJJ can grow even more.

Carolina Jews for Justice is seeking to raise $60,000 to hire our first ever part-time staff person to help us continue to grow. We’ve been extremely successful as an all-volunteer organization, but our volunteers can’t do everything that we dream without staff support.

We are pleased to announce that a donor has provided a $13,000 challenge grant that will match donations dollar for dollar to help us get started. But we need all of you to help us raise the rest.

With your donation, we can hire a staff person that can help:

  • Grow our membership and extend our reach across the state (starting with Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington);
  • Support our advocacy and organizing efforts;
  • Mobilize CJJ members to support social justice initiatives;
  • Meet with CJJ members and help connect them to social justice opportunities;

CJJ will be conducting this fundraising campaign from October through December of 2015, with the goal of hiring a staff person by January 2016.

As you reflect on the New Year and think about your own contribution to the community, please consider making a donation to Carolina Jews for Justice this Fall. Click on the donate button below, or you can mail a check to:

Carolina Jews for Justice
907 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC 27605

L’shana Tova Umetuka,
Debbie, Deborah, Ellen, Frank, Jane, Jim, Judy, Max, and Terry
CJJ Board of Directors

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Keynote Speaker – Center for Diversity Education at UNCA

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, will be the keynote speaker for the commemoration of the UNC Asheville Center for Diversity Education 20th anniversary which will pay tribute to the work of the Asheville Student Committee of Racial Equality from 1960-1965. November 5, 2015 at 7:00 pmThis event is also part of the Real Events Series through the UNC Asheville Cultural and Special Academic Programs.  Seating will begin at 6:00pm and no back packs are permitted.  This event is free and open to the public. Please check the website for admission and updates  as they become available.

Sukkot and Poverty Simulation

Sukkot and Poverty Simulation

In the Jewish tradition, concern for the poor is more important even than building a temple for worship. Sefer Hasidim (a 12th-century legal text) teaches that if a community lacks a place of worship and a shelter for the poor, it is first obligated to build a shelter for the poor. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot commemorates a time when we were homeless and poor, wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt.  Jews are commanded to live in temporary shelters, sukkot, for a week, as a reminder of our plight.  The holiday naturally draws to our minds those who are poor and often live in temporary or no housing all year. It is thus an appropriate time for us to experience the barriers, dilemmas, and degradation suffered by the poor in our community.

Carolina Jews for Justice/West, together with the Asheville Jewish Business Forum invite you to participate in a thought-provoking and illuminating simulation of what it is like to live as a poor person in Asheville today. The program will be provided by the local non-profit organization Just Economics and will take place on Tuesday, September 29, from 4-6 p.m. at the Edington Center, 133 Livingston Street. The cost is $10 and participation will be limited to the first 45 registrants.  To register, please pay through the following link – click here

Do you think you could live on $7.25 an hour or less and support a family in Asheville?

Do you think you could live on $7.25 an hour or less and support a family in Asheville? That’s the current minimum wage for workers in this county and state.

If you feel that’s feasible – then take a look at the following chart prepared by Just Economics and Green Opportunities (GO), two Asheville non-profit groups committed to educating, advocating and organizing for a just and sustainable economy in Western North Carolina. Together we can expand the movement to create a living wage for all who work here. 

Creating a Just & Sustainable 

Local Economy Together

Take Action

As an Individual

As a Business

Contribute Support the efforts of Just Economics and Green Opportunities through your financial contributions Become a Business Sponsor for Green Opportunities

Sponsor Just Economics’ Events

Use GO Kitchen Ready to cater your next event

Act Support responsible public policy that leads to a sustainable local economy

Shop Living Wage Certified

Become Living Wage Certified

Hire GO graduates or become a host organization for student work experience

Purchase business supplies and services from Living Wage Certified Employers and Social Enterprises

Connect Host a GO Meet & Greet to help spread the word

Attend Just Economics’ Bi-monthly meetings

Join our e-mail lists & follow us on social media

Learn more—attend an upcoming poverty simulation 

Join GO’s Employer Resource Council and help to shape our curriculum

Spread the word about Living Wages as part of the largest network of Living Wage Certified Employers in the nation


Measures of Poverty in 2015

Federal Poverty Line (FPL) 200% of  FPL Living Income Standard (2014) JE’s Living Wage
Single Person $11,170 $22,340 $26,000
Family of 2 $15,930 $31,860 $32,931
Family of 3 $20,090 $40,180 $44,200
Family of 4 $24,250 $48,500 $51,391

Federal Poverty Line – This is the definition of poverty used by the U.S. government developed in 1963 by multiplying the Department of Agriculture’s economy food plan for different family sizes and multiplying it by a factor of 3.  It was estimated that food costs accounted for one-third of a family’s budget.  Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adjusts the original number for inflation to get the annual FPL.

200% of the Federal Poverty Line – This is generally considered the threshold for “low-income” families.  Many benefits are determined by this number.

Living Income Standards – The Living Income Standards were developed by the NC Justice Center to more accurately reflect basic needs of working families.  They calculate the costs of 7 basic expenses: housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, other necessities, and taxes and index these costs based on location and family size.  This number was last updated in 2014.

Just Economics’ Living Wage – Just Economics (JE) has calculated a living wage for a single person living in Buncombe County.  We use the Universal Living Wage formula to figure this number.

Sample Monthly Budget:

The following is the Living Income Standards monthly budget for 1 adult/1 child in Buncombe County.

Take the Challenge:  What would you leave out of this budget if you worked full time for minimum wage ($1,256 monthly, before taxes)?

Take the Challenge:

Housing: _____

Food: _____

Childcare: _____

Health Care: _____

Transportation: _____

Other Necessities _____

Taxes: _____

Total:             $1,256

Sample Monthly Budget

Housing: $777

Food: $256

Childcare: $604

Health Care: $240

Transportation: $377

Other Necessities: $264

Taxes: $303

Total:         $2,821

Join the NAACP’s Journey for Justice


America’s Journey for Justice, a march across the South to Washington, DC, will pass through North Carolina at the end of this month. Led by our partners at the NAACP, the march takes on a different theme as it passes through each state. We are proud that many rabbis and members of the NC Jewish community will join marchers for our state theme of voting rights.

More volunteer marchers are needed! To sign up as a volunteer, visit the NAACP’s site. You can march for a single day, multiple days, or the entire length of the North Carolina leg. You can also RSVP to the Facebook event.

If you plan to march, let us know!