Can YOU help close the insurance gap in NC?

Yes!  You probably know that nearly 500,000 North Carolinians were left out of health insurance coverage when Governor McCrory refused to expand Medicaid. You may not know the state has already refused over 2 billion Medicaid dollars that would have given health insurance to many low income citizens. But the Governor can change his mind and send a bill for Medicaid expansion to the legislature.  Go to to get more information and to read individuals’ stories. If you have a story to share, there is a link on the site.

A Discussion of the Film Selma Had a Near Capacity Audience

image003A near capacity audience filled the auditorium of the YMI Cultural Center in Asheville for a discussion of the film Selma on Sunday, February 22nd.  The program, sponsored by Carolina Jews for Justice/West, was supported by the YMI and YWCA of Asheville.  Sharon West, board chair of the YMI, reminded those present that the YMI has historically been a gathering place, a place for all to come together to share and take action.  She welcomed YMI’s participation in these discussions sponsored by CJJ/West.

CJJ/West Chair Judy Leavitt introduced the panelists, who included Asheville residents who were in the Deep South during the civil rights movement, including:
image001Ellen Clarke grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, during the civil rights era; she remains active in various organizations that address the inequities and racial disparities of our country’s criminal justice system;
Isaac Coleman went to Mississippi in l964 as part of SNCC’s Mississippi Summer Project, worked as SNCC staff member for 5 years, moved to Ashville in 1971, and is recognized for his activism in educational, political, social and environmental areas;
Charles Gershon was born and raised in Atlanta and was a teenager during Freedom Summer, he is a retired MD and author; and
Carol Rogoff Hallstrom went to Mississippi as a Freedom image002Rider and SNCC organizer, became an attorney, and remains an activist

The discussion that followed was moderated by CJJ/West Steering Committee Member Frank Goldsmith.

Watch the WLOS coverage of the event


YMI Cultural Center will host Communities of Color Town Hall Forum focused on Exclusionary Housing, The Unbanked and Underbanked

A Black History Month: Special Event
at the YMI Cultural Center, 39 South Market Street, Asheville NC 28801
February 26, 2015   6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

YMI Cultural Center will host Communities of Color Town Hall Forum focused on Exclusionary Housing, The Unbanked and Underbanked.  This program, in recognition of Black History Month, will emphasize extra territorial jurisdictions – ETJ’s (unbounded lands and communities) that exist throughout the State of North Carolina from its report entitled The Inclusion Project. This report, authored by UNC Chapel Hill’s Civil Rights Center, takes a statewide perspective of areas where ETJ’s exist and are areas where one can commonly find the Unbanked or Underbanked. The Town Hall Forum will place a closer lens on ETJ’s that exist in the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. The panel will also discuss the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) recently adopted by Asheville’s Housing Authority drawing correlates between stable, affordable and reasonable housing as method of promoting self-empowerment, reliance, and making more socially responsible decisions about one’s future in the economic majority. The program is free and open to the public.

For more information.

Statement Regarding the Murders of the Muslim Students

Carolina Jews for Justice is deeply saddened by the brutal and outrageous murders in Chapel Hill of Deah Shaddy Barakat, age 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, age 20; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, age 19.   The loss of these bright, young members of one of our sister faith communities fills our hearts with sorrow.  We stand with their family and friends as they mourn.  We encourage you to consider sending a note of consolation to:

The Islamic Association of Raleigh
808 Atwater Street
Raleigh, NC 27607

Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh knew Deah, Yusor and Razan quite well. Each was active in inter-religious affairs, including an interfaith Habitat for Humanity house.  Farris Barakat, the older brother of Deah Barakat, attended Beth Meyer services and, with the Barakat family, recently opened his home to Beth Meyer congregants to share the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

As Yusor recently said, Growing up in America has been such a blessing.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions – but here, we’re all one.

Rabbi Solomon has established a special line within his discretionary fund to help support the Barakat and Abu-Salha families. After the tzedakah is collected, he will be in contact with the families’ representatives and the fund will either be used to defray the cost of the funerals or be given to the charity of their choice.

If you would like to support this fund, please send a check to Beth Meyer Synagogue, 504 Newton Road, Raleigh, NC 27615, made out to:

Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
Memo: Three Winners

As President Obama stated today, No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.  As Jews dedicated to social justice through our faith’s commitment to tikkun olam, the repair of the world, we pledge to help create a world of peace, justice, and mutual understanding for future generations.

Petition Drive For a Monument to Recognize African-American Heritage in Asheville

At the Darin Waters presentation this past Sunday, Carolina Jews for Justice-West officially kicked off a petition drive directing the governments of Asheville and Buncombe County to work with the local African-American Heritage Commission to put a monument near the Vance monument in downtown Asheville that recognizes the achievements, sacrifices and histories of Western North Carolina’s African Americans. More than 200 people attended.