Community Briefs: NMAJH, Maccabi, Einstein and More

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Rabbi Elyse Wechterman (Courtesy of AJWS)

Local Rabbi Visits Guatemala

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, was among 14 Jewish leaders who visited Guatemala for a week as part of the Global Justice Fellowship run by American Jewish World Service.

AJWS supports human rights and efforts to fight poverty in developing countries.

Wechterman, who returned to the United States on Feb. 2, met with leaders of nonprofit groups working to advance human rights in Guatemala.

“One of the plagues of the modern era is separation of people, on an individual and communal basis,” Wechterman said. “But the more we learn about people’s stories, the more we recognize ourselves in them.”

Wechterman will advocate for human rights while visiting members of Congress and other officials in Washington, D.C., in March as part of the fellowship. Aside from the Guatemala trip, Wechterman will participate in six months of human rights education and action, including training with AJWS staff in the U.S.

Movement to Free Soviet Jews Returns to NMAJH

The traveling exhibition “Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews,” which was originally created at the National Museum of American Jewish History, has returned to the museum.

The exhibit is on display at NMAJH through March 15 and is a part of the ongoing free admission.

The panel exhibition showcases Americans’ efforts in the late 1960s through 1990 to free refuseniks — Jews who lived in the Soviet Union and were denied the rights to live freely, practice Judaism or leave the country due to their religion.

“The successful movement to free Soviet Jews has compelling connections to modern-day advocacy, highlighting how grassroots efforts can have an enormous impact. This exhibition serves as a reminder of how individuals can help preserve, protect and expand America’s unique promise of religious freedom, even for individuals on the other side of the world,” said Josh Perelman, NMAJH chief curator and director of exhibitions and interpretation.

Among other things, “The Movement to Free Soviet Jews” walks visitors through the human rights campaign that took place on behalf of Soviet Jews.

It also highlights stories of everyday Americans who helped Soviet Jews, including Philadelphians Elaine and David Ravich, who smuggled out tape recordings of conversations during their 1978 visit to the Soviet Union, and Constance and Joseph Smukler, who helped several well-known Soviet Jews win their freedom.

Katz JCC to Host Mid-Atlantic Mini and Junior Maccabi Games

The Katz JCC announced that it will host the Mid-Atlantic Mini and Junior Maccabi Games —
a sporting event for Jewish athletes ages 9-12 — on May 3.

Delegations from across the Mid-Atlantic region from as far as Baltimore and Albany, New York, will travel to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to participate in an opening ceremony and soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming and tennis competitions.

“The Mid-Atlantic Junior Maccabi Games are a great introduction to the JCC Maccabi Games program,” said Bryan Lentine, JCC sports and leagues director. “Our mini and junior athletes find the Mid-Atlantic Games to be an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Einstein Joins Healthcare Anchor Network

Einstein Healthcare Network announced that it has joined the Healthcare Anchor Network, which is a collaborative of nearly 50 mission-based, progressive hospitals and health systems around the nation.

The network is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the local communities it serves.

Network members pledge to align and leverage key resources to address the socioeconomic issues that create barriers to health and thriving for people and communities.

“For Einstein to fully deliver on our mission and thrive as an institution, our communities must thrive as well,” said Dixie James, president and chief operating officer for Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. “Through our membership with the Healthcare Anchor Network, we can better advance our work by learning from each other as we collectively address social determinants of health and strengthen our ability to solve the many challenges facing our communities.”

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Christiana Care and Trinity Health (Mercy, Nazareth hospitals) are other area members of the collaborative.

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