Jewish Organizations Launch Pro-Israel Campaign
Thousands of information packets were sent in mid-December. The packets contain a Conference of Presidents brochure titled "Bring Them Home," with biographical information on six Israeli soldiers who are missing in action, photographs, special prayers and a call-to-action to mobilize the community, said Carolyn Greene, associate executive director at the Council of Presidents.
One call-to-action asks people to wear a blue ribbon to raise awareness of the plight of Israel's MIAs. The packet also announced the kickoff event of the blue ribbon campaign, a national Shabbat of solidarity on the Sabbath of Hanukkah, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 22-23..
UJC sent packets to 189 Jewish Federations in North America under its umbrella as well as to approximately 800 rabbis and congregations that make up its rabbinical cabinet. The Conference of Presidents sent thousands of packets to synagogues, schools and national Jewish organizations. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs sent more than 100 packets to local community relations councils. An online version of the ribbon is also available at the UJC Web site, www.ujc.org.
The information packet tells rabbis "how to market the campaign," said Glen Rosenkrantz, media director at United Jewish Communities. "It encourages rabbis to underscore the blue ribbon theme of solidarity."
Robert M. Schrayer, chairman of the United Jewish Appeal Federation campaign at United Jewish Communities, noted the timeliness of the launch. "As we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees and the restoration of Jewish rights and worship in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, we will affirm our solidarity with the people of Israel," he said, referring to the celebration of Hanukkah.
Other actions recommended in the kits are sending letters to President Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan; writing to the International Committee of the Red Cross and human rights organizations; and sending letters of support to the families of the missing soldiers, as well as symbolic and religious acts such as reciting prayers and setting aside empty chairs with the names of MIAs at synagogue services.