GO Build “Friend-Raiser”

Green OpportunitiesWednesday May 18, 2016      5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Asheville JCC 236 Charlotte Street, Asheville, NC 28801

Join Green Opportunities and Carolina Jews for Justice for a presentation on GO Build, a program that promotes economic justice in Asheville by providing certification and on-the-job training in the construction trades to low-income adults.

Attendees will:
– Hear directly from GO Build Graduates about the program’s impact.
– See examples of prior GO Build projects.
– Learn how to engage with GO Build.

Find out how YOU can support GO Build! Builders, contractors, building owners, homeowners and more should attend.

Refreshments will be provided.

Questions? Contact Marilynne Herbert at mherbert1@aol.com

Jewish community stands against HB2

The Jewish community has spoken loudly and clearly that it is opposed to HB2. To add to the call for repeal of this legislation, sign this petition.

Here’s a list of community statements opposing HB2:

45 NC Rabbis sign statement against HB2

CJJ’s statement on HB2

Judea Reform’s statement

Temple Emanuel’s statement 

Durham Chapel Hill Federation’s statement

Beth El Durham’s statement

Congregation Beth Israel’s statement

Beth Meyer synagogue’s statement

Kehillah Synagogue’s statement

Temple of the High Country’s statement

Statement from the desk of Rabbi Eve Eichenholtz

Rabbi Lucy Dinner’s sermon on HB2, Temple Beth Or

Rabbi Stephen Roberts in the Watauga Democrat

Join vsGoliath and ask the NBA to move the All-Star Game if HB2 is not repealed

Did we miss one? Email us at carolinajews@gmail.com and we’ll add it to our growing list.


A Shabbaton for Jewish Justice

by Frank Goldsmith, co-chair CJJ West

During the weekend of March 25-27, 2016, Carolina Jews for Justice held its second annual Shabbaton at Haw River State Park, a state-owned conference facility located in Browns Summit, N.C., north of Greensboro.  Twenty-three Jewish activists from the Triangle and Western North Carolina gathered to get to know each other better, to worship together, to learn about engaging people in the struggle for justice, and to plan our campaigns for the coming year.

We began with an ice-breaker session lead by Debbie Goldstein, President of CJJ.  Then, after welcoming each other, we welcomed Shabbat with the candle-lighting and blessings over the wine and ḥallah.  Following dinner, we held a brief Kabbalat Shabbat service, then shared our paths of involvement in social justice that led us to CJJ and to this event.

On Saturday we held a Shabbat morning service, complete with an inspiring d’var Torah by Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform congregation in Durham.  Rabbi Bach also led a study session on Jewish social justice after lunch.  The Shabbaton included some time for Shabbat rest, of course, and opportunities for walking the trails of the conference center.

But the principal aim of the Shabbaton was to plan action to achieve social justice, and so we did.  On Saturday afternoon and evening, Judy Leavitt led a discussion on how to recruit, engage, and nurture volunteers, and on Sunday morning we gathered to create some specific projects.  Here are some of the campaigns that emerged from our discussions:

  • We will initiate a Legislative Accountability Project that will highlight specific recent legislation implicating Jewish values and will inform Jews about its importance and the positions taken by their local legislators. As a pilot project, we will focus on HB2 and create materials to circulate in Wake, Buncombe, Guilford, and Mecklenburg counties.
  • We will support the Coalition of Immolakee Workers in its Campaign for Fair Food, seeking a penny-per-pound increase in the price of tomatoes by Publix, one of the few grocery chains that has not yet joined Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and even Walmart in this effort. We will do that by circulating and posting materials for Passover about the issue, including proposed letters for customers to send to Publix’ management.
  • We will launch a North Carolina Jewish Living Wage Project, first asking Jewish institutions and small business owners to pledge to pay a living wage; collaborating with local living wage projects and with other partners on legislative efforts and on creating a grassroots strategy; providing materials to use in persuading businesses to pledge to pay living wages; and working in coordination with Bend the Arc in its Fight for Fifteen campaign.
  • We will create a voter guide for high school and college students to circulate through Jewish youth organizations and Hillel.

This is an exciting time for Carolina Jews for Justice.  We are growing and thriving, and we are becoming recognized in our state and nationally as a force for social justice that speaks from a Jewish perspective.  We invite all to join us in our efforts to repair our part of the world.


Ron Katz- Medicaid Reform remarks April 6 hearing in Asheville


My name is Ron Katz, and I am a member of Carolina Jews for Justice, a statewide network of Jewish individuals committed to a just, fair and compassionate North Carolina.  Thank you for this opportunity to share my views.

For the last several years, the NC General Assembly and Governor have talked about the importance of reforming Medicaid.  My understanding was much of the concern had to do with the cost and the lack of predictability in the amount that Medicaid was costing the state. When asked about the possibility of expanding Medicaid, some members of the General Assembly and the Governor stated that expansion could not be addressed until Medicaid reform was enacted.

This past session, the General Assembly and Governor passed Medicaid Reform.  It is now time to hold the General Assembly and Governor at their word that they will look at expanding Medicaid.

Expanding Medicaid will save lives, reduce health care costs, and boost the NC economy. Over a year ago, over 120 of CJJ members signed a petition urging Governor McCrory and the NC General Assembly to immediately accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in the state of North Carolina.

NC’s elected officials have the opportunity to provide affordable health insurance to up to 500,000 adults who are stuck in the health insurance coverage gap.  Closing the coverage gap will have a positive impact on our whole state, especially children. Some of things we know about closing the gap include:

  • When parents are insured, their children are more likely to be insured, and they are better able to care for their children.
  • Closing the health insurance gap will provide better economic security for more families, and therefore better economic security for our state.
  • Making health care available to the up to 500,000 eligible working adults in NC will also create jobs and reduce the cost of emergency or catastrophic care that is provided when preventative care could have been more cost-effective.
  • Expansion is critical for containing costs in Medicaid, which is a key goal of North Carolina’s Medicaid Reform. Without expanding health coverage to people in the gap that oftentimes have many unmet medical needs, those people will receive inconsistent and more costly health care.
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will struggle to maintain access for Medicaid patients as the health care infrastructure erodes, especially in vulnerable rural areas, as a result of refusing to close the coverage gap. Clinic and hospital closings will only accelerate in the future if we do not access additional federal funds.
  • The federal government is unlikely to believe that our state is truly innovative and takes its commitment to improving the lives of low-income citizens seriously when we are refusing federal funds to extend insurance coverage to the up to 500,000 people who are in the coverage gap.

From a faith-perspective, the members of Carolina Jews for Justice urge the state expand Medicaid to the up to 500,000 people that could benefit.  We believe we have already waited too long to fulfill our obligation to the members of our community who could benefit from Medicaid Expansion. The federal government has set aside funds for this purpose, and North Carolina is not taking advantage of those funds; we urge you to seek to expand Medicaid as part of Medicaid reform proposals and urge you to act quickly.  We also ask the Federal government, in its consideration of Medicaid reform, that expanding Medicaid in some form be a requirement in their acceptance of the Medicaid reform proposal from our state.


Ron Katz



Comments of Marlene Jacoby at Medicaid Reform hearings 4/6/2016

Thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns regarding the Medicaid Reform Bill. My name is Marlene Jacoby, and I am a member of Carolina Jews for Justice-West as well as a volunteer navigator for the ACA  over  the past three years.  I have lived in North Carolina for 45 years.  Between 1969 and 1977, my first husband suffered from a disease that required numerous surgeries and hospitalizations. In 1977, at the age of 33, he died leaving me with two children, a five year old and a one year old.  His medical bills were astronomical even then. Without health insurance we would have been left in paralyzing debt. Our insurance allowed me, instead, to care for my children, return to work full time and become a North Carolina tax payer. For 30 years, I taught Biology in several places in North Carolina, and both of my children have gone on to successful careers, one as as a physician and the other as a translator of Japanese.  Things would not have turned out this way if we had no health insurance.  Our experience is why I care so deeply about this issue. Health insurance can be the difference between life and death, between health and illness, between sanity and desperation, between success and failure.

In my volunteer navigator work, there have been too many times when a hopeful person has come in thinking he is finally going to get health insurance only to find out that his income is too LOW to get any assistance with premium payments nor does he qualify for Medicaid in NC.  You have heard all the numbers about why we should expand Medicaid, but perhaps you have not come face to face with the people our state has left in the lurch, the Medicaid gap.

Last week it was an about to be 26 year old who is no longer eligible to stay on her parents’ insurance plan and who is moving so she is in between jobs. No income, so no advance premium tax credits and NO Medicaid. Then there was the middle age man who was a laborer with back issues that needed surgical intervention—unable to work very much, his income did not reach the Federal poverty level, so no tax credits for him and no Medicaid either.   Particularly troubling was the young mother with two children who was working as much as she could at a fast food restaurant but did earn enough to meet the Federal poverty level for a family of three. Again she got no advance premium tax credits and no Medicaid.  These people are completely baffled when they are told they do not earn enough money to get help nor do they qualify for Medicaid. I am baffled too.  It is clearly wrong that we have the opportunity to help these folks in our state, but instead our tax dollars are being used by other states that expanded Medicaid for their citizens.  It is senseless; it is unethical; it is shameful that we are denying our fellow North Carolinians help. Now is the perfect time to look again at Medicaid expansion and do the right thing.  Every time one of these people who has no other way to get health insurance leaves the office, I am left thinking:  “There but for the grace of G-d, go I.”  None of us knows what awaits around the corner, do we?

Submitted by

Marlene Jacoby

Asheville, NC


Triangle Rabbis issue statement calling for repeal of HB2

For immediate release: Statement from Triangle Rabbis Against HB-2

We, the undersigned Rabbis of the Triangle, express our deep dismay in the recent passage of the law known as H.B. 2. As leaders of a faith community which has repeatedly suffered from state-sponsored discrimination and citizen-based prejudice, we will not stand idly by as our North Carolina legislature weakens the legal protections of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender brothers and sisters. The Torah teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God and imbued with infinite value. In that spirit, we declare that our state should, under no circumstance, desecrate the holiness and dignity of any citizen. We, therefore, demand that H.B. 2 be repealed. Furthermore, we urge North Carolina residents to contact their local elected officials and express their concerns. Our prayers are with the thousands of North Carolinians whose humanity is under attack. We stand with them, and against those who would strip them of their legal guarantees under the law.

Organizers: Rabbi Eric Solomon Beth Meyer Synagogue
Rabbi Larry Bach Judea Reform Congregation

Rabbi Leah Citrin, Temple Beth Or
Rabbi Susan Cowchuck, MD
Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Temple Beth Or
Rabbi Ariel Edery, Beth Shalom
Rabbi Jen Feldman, Kehillah Synagogue
Rabbi Frank A. Fischer
Rabbi Elana Friedman, Freeman Center for Jewish Life at Duke University
Rabbi John Friedman, Rabbi Emeritus, Judea Reform Congregation
Rabbi Daniel Greyber, Beth El Synagogue
Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community
Rabbi Steven Kirschner
(Prof.) Rabbi Laura Lieber, Duke University
Rabbi Ariel Naveh, University of North Carolina Hillel
Rabbi Steven Sager, Director of Sicha
Rabbi Jennifer Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue

CJJ is hiring

Carolina Jews for Justice Seeks Part-Time Organizer/Volunteer Coordinator

Carolina Jews for Justice (CJJ) is seeking candidates for a part-time position of Organizer/Volunteer coordinator (20 hours/week). CJJ is a Jewish, grassroots network committed to creating a just, fair and compassionate North Carolina. We combine advocacy and education to organize a non-partisan Jewish voice in North Carolina. CJJ works to influence policy at the local and state levels and encourage individuals and Jewish institutions to take a stand on important issues in our community. We are currently engaged in topics that are of strong interest to our community, including voting rights, Medicaid Expansion, income inequality and poverty, racial injustice, immigration and the environment. We have active chapters in the West (Asheville and surrounding areas), the Triangle (Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties), and are interested in expanding our presence in Charlotte, Greensboro, and elsewhere in the state.

The Organizer/Volunteer coordinator will be CJJ’s first employee and will play a critical role in helping Carolina Jews for Justice to conduct advocacy and continue to grow our organization. The ideal candidate will work to engage and grow our volunteer base by meeting one on one with interested members of our network, and helping to support local chapters in their organizing. In addition, the candidate will help volunteers network with potential allies and policymakers, in order to enable CJJ to work in partnership with larger coalitions on issues that are important to us. The role will also include administrative support of CJJ operations, including managing a database, supporting meeting and event planning, and handling some tasks related to fundraising and financial management.

The Organizer/Volunteer coordinator will be based in the Triangle, but will travel across the state regularly to meet and engage our activists to be leaders on issues that are important to CJJ.


  • Work with CJJ board leadership and local steering committees to develop workplan for the year and keep CJJ’s agenda moving;
  • Develop relationships with and grow our base of volunteers, including building an understanding of volunteer opportunities and coordination of ad hoc campaign teams, governance of local chapters, connecting volunteers to opportunities, and training volunteers to become leaders in CJJ and in advocacy;
  • Manage a database of volunteers and their interests;
  • Support ongoing CJJ advocacy in coordination with CJJ volunteers and leadership, such as assisting to promote events, setting up appointments, attending coalition meetings on behalf of CJJ, drafting talking points;
  • Attend CJJ meetings and events;
  • Manage administrative support for CJJ, including database entry, assisting with fundraising letters and thank-yous, logistics for events, etc.;
  • Support CJJ communications volunteer committee, including helping with maintaining CJJ website, email blasts, event promotion, and social media as needed; and
  • Identify new funding opportunities.


The ideal candidate will have at least one year of community, issue, or political organizing, excellent organizational skills, strong written and oral communication skills, and must work well in a team. The position requires a skill for working with volunteers, reliable transportation, and a willingness to work some evening and weekend hours. The position will be based in the Triangle, and will also be expected to include regular travel across NC (average of twice a month).  

Salary / Compensation

Salary, Benefits, and Start Date: CJJ will offer a competitive salary for up to 20 hours/week, with the possibility of expanding to full-time in the future if needed and if fundraising is successful. Carolina Jews for Justice is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.

To Apply: Deadline to apply is April 22nd. Attach both a resume and cover letter (email only) describing your qualifications and experience to Debbie Goldstein at carolinajews@gmail.com

with the subject “Attn: CJJ Organizer.”