Jewish Educational Loan Fund visits CJJ

Last week, CJJ was pleased to meet the folks from the Jewish Educational Loan Fund, which grants interest-free loans to Jewish students from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia for post-secondary study at accredited institutions. If you have a student who is interested in applying, the next deadline is March 1. Here’s more info from JELF:

JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) is an organization that grants interest-free loans for higher education in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Lending is JELF’s sole mission and the loan processing, disbursement and repayment are all well-developed practices implemented by trained, experienced staff and volunteers. JELF’s loans are “last dollar” — they supply the final funds that a student needs to attend school.

JELF’s mission is to ensure that every Jewish person has the opportunity to obtain the education he or she needs to be successful in life, regardless of financial situation. JELF’s singular focus helps to provide a direct impact because we enable students to gain the tools they need to maximize their potential and become contributing members of society.
In 2015, JELF granted $800,000 in loans to 219 Jewish students across its five-state region. JELF’s loan program has been an effective and powerful change agent across our five-state region for many decades and the organization is well positioned to continue on this trajectory. Since 1985, JELF has granted almost $1.6 million in these interest-free loans to more than 550 students in North Carolina alone.
We invite you to learn about our organization and the application process by visiting our website:

Carolina Jews for Justice to Preview New Documentary “Faces of Poverty” Followed by Panel Discussion


 Carolina Jews for Justice to Preview New Documentary “Faces of Poverty” Followed by Panel Discussion – February 24th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Carolina Jews for Justice/West will preview a new documentary produced by the Asheville nonprofit, Just Economics, entitled “Faces of Poverty,” on Wednesday, February 24th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Congregation Beth Israel, 229 Murdock Street in Asheville. The film focuses on the lives of five Buncombe County residents. (Please note, this event was previously scheduled for Thursday, February 18th; it will now take place on Wednesday, February 24th).

“At the core of its vision of a just society, Judaism demands compassion for the economically less fortunate: You shall open your hand to your brother, to the poor and needy in your land. Deut.15:11. Other passages of Torah require that the worker’s wages be sufficient to sustain life. Our ethical mandate does not permit us to turn aside from our obligation to help those in need,” says Judy Leavitt, Chair, Steering Committee, Carolina Jews for Justice/West.

Panelists will include: Vicki Meath, Executive Director of Just Economics; Bella Jackson, co-owner of Ujamaa Freedom Market, member of the Asheville Transit Committee, and Chair of the Just Economics Board; and Anthony Thomas, Employment Services Manager of Green Opportunities. The panelists will share their personal experiences of living in poverty here in Buncombe County and ideas about what to do about it. Jackson is profiled in the film, “Faces of Poverty.” Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel will give welcoming remarks, including a brief teaching about the connection between Jewish values and economic justice.

“To act in a way that makes a difference, we must understand the condition of those who need our assistance and advocacy,” Leavitt added.

For more information about Carolina Jews for Justice events and projects go to and sign up to get regular e-blasts.

In the event of inclement weather, please call Congregation Beth Israel at 252-8860 for news of a cancellation.

A Free Forum at UNC-A About the Use of Police Body Cameras

Carolina Jews for Justice/West invites you to attend a free forum on Monday, February 8th at the University of North Carolina at Asheville on the use of police body cameras.  This event offers the opportunity for further dialogue between law enforcement and the public about police force directed disproportionately at minorities, said Judy Leavitt, Chair of the CJJ/West Steering Committee.  It continues the conversation we brought to the public with our showing of the documentary film on Ferguson and the panel discussion that followed that screening.  Frank Goldsmith, a member of the CJJ/West Steering Committee as well as CJJ state board member, will be on the panel.


Asheville–The Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office will hold a joint meeting on their respective agencies use of body-worn cameras.  The meeting will be held Monday, February, 8th from 6-7:00 pm in Highsmith Auditorium in room 159 on the Campus of UNC-Asheville.   Both Chief Tammy Hooper and Sheriff Van Duncan will participate in the session, as well as local civil rights attorney Frank Goldsmith, who will provide an overview of the privacy issues associated with the use of body-worn cameras.

“The Asheville Police Department is moving forward with the implementation of a Body Worn Camera Program by summer of 2016. Recent national events have demonstrated the importance of having first hand accounts of police and community interactions. We look forward to running a strong program aimed at improving legitimacy and community trust,” Chief Tammy Hooper of the Asheville Police Department stated.

Local Civil Rights attorney Frank Goldsmith stated, “The evolution of technology brings extraordinary benefits, but also the potential for abuse.  Police body cameras have great value both as a check on the abuse of power by police officers and as a safeguard against unfounded claims of excessive force.  But the existence of the recordings also raises civil liberties concerns:  Should the cameras record continuously during an officer’s shift?  Can the recordings be edited?”

Who may view them?  How long will they be retained? What if the camera captures innocent behavior?  Is it too intrusive to wear such a camera inside a private home?   Such concerns call for careful policies designed to protect both officers and the public without becoming another system for routine surveillance of the public.”

“We are looking forward to discussing with the public the complex issue around the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement,” Sheriff Van  Duncan stated.

The meeting is free and open to the public.  For more information please contact Natalie Bailey at (828) 250-4469, or Christina Hallingse at (828) 259-5881.

Hood Huggers Party – February 5th

Carolina Jews for Justice/West invites you to join us in a fun event sponsored by one of our partners in the struggle for economic and racial justice, Hood Huggers International.  The founder of Hood Huggers, DeWayne Barton, is a member of our Black-Jewish Dialogue Group, and several of our members recently took his tour of Asheville’s historically Black neighborhoods as part of our observance of Martin Luther King Day.  Please consider signing up to attend the party!

Tickets $20 per person

Space is limited, click here to reserve your ticket today!

Hood Huggers

Forum on Western North Carolina’s Future Energy Needs

Carolina Jews for Justice/West will be sponsoring a program featuring Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer, Councilwoman Julie Mayfield, and a representative from Duke Energy Progress on Sunday, March 13, in Dave Hall at Congregation Beth HaTephila, 43 North Liberty Street, Asheville, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To prepare for that event, you may wish to consider coming to the forum on Western North Carolina’s future energy needs on Wednesday morning, February 3, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., hosted by the Sustainability Office of UNC-A and Leadership Asheville.  Representatives from Duke Energy Progress will be on the panel and available to answer questions.  Here’s a link to the program:

March with CJJ/West for Racial Justice

March with CJJ for Racial Justice! 

Please join with other folks of Carolina Jews for Justice/West this Monday, January 18, to march for racial justice as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., annual celebration.  We will gather at St. James AME Church, 44 Hildebrand St. (just off MLK Boulevard) at 11:30 a.m.

For more information about the MLK eventsSee what Rabbis Without Borders has to say about a Jewish commitment to honoring the legacy of Dr. King

Show Your Support for Our Muslim Neighbors – Join Today’s Vigil at the Islamic Center of Asheville.

Please join other members of CJJ/West and the Jewish Community in an interfaith show of support for our local Muslim community by participating in a vigil tomorrow, December 18th, at the Islamic Center of Asheville from 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm The Center is located at 941 Old Fairview Road in Asheville, near Home Depot and the Democratic Party headquarters.
Our Jewish tradition is to love our neighbors, even the strangers among us, and to welcome them with hospitality. We stand against intolerance and bigotry. Please show your support for these principles by joining us tomorrow afternoon.