CJJ @ The Hard Lox Festival!

On May 1st (May Day!), many CJJniks and other Jews from across the South gathered at Asheville's legendary Hard Lox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival - hosted by Congregation Beth HaTephila.  The Festival was an incredible opportunity for Southern Jews "from the hills and hollers" to come together after a long hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.  The energy was celebratory coupled with a desire to take action to defend and expand our multiracial democracy!

Lisa sharing about CJJ, engaging new members

CJJ Statewide Organizer, Lisa Forehand, engaged many folks in our work in the West, recruiting full sheets of new members!  Stay tuned for upcoming Orientation events and CJJ-West programming!

Three CJJ leaders big smiles

CJJ-West Leaders Marilynne Herbert and Judy Leavitt sandwich CJJ Interim Executive Director, and long distance pastrami-seeker, Abby Lublin, beaming from the food and in person conversations!


CJJ leaders and staff spoke with countless people who were eager for information about how to vote. Ron Katz - CJJ Board Member and Voting Rights Team leader - single-handedly defended democracy by answering election questions from an endless line of festival-goers.

Marilynne Herbert met this wonderful young man who arrived in Asheville two weeks ago from Odessa, Ukraine.  He was very moved to connect with Jewish community.  The feelings were mutual, as we shed some tears while he blew the shofar. Please introduce yourself if you see him around town, wearing his new CJJ blue t-shirt. 

We met people from all over WNC and beyond, and were inspired by their eagerness to engage in the Jewish tradition of enacting greater justice for all.  CJJ is thrilled to have such a positive response.  We shared hard-copy voter guides (you can access another guide via the League of Women Voters website), as well as a list of upcoming CJJ-West events.  It was amazing to be together again, and we look forward to more!

Statewide Study - The Wilmington Coup of 1898

If you had a similar reaction to us in January of 2020, you were completely glued to your phone or computer as you watched an organized white nationalist formation take over the US Capitol building - intent on inspiring fear, violence, and stopping democratic process.  

Here is the thing: it is of vital importance to remember that we’ve seen this before. In this country. In our state. As Black and Brown progressive political power is built, there is a violent white political reaction. We know this from post-Reconstruction America. Look no further than our own state for one of the most violent white supremacist coups of that time, Wilmington, NC in 1898.

Led by board member Ray Katz and organizer Brandon Mond, our statewide community gathered on January 19th - the day before Inauguration Day - for a political education program on the Wilmington Coup of 1898. You can read more about this day in Black history at this link or by watching the recording of our virtual gathering below. 

CJJ’s response to January 6th, aside from continuing to take action to defend our democracy, was to call our membership into a collective study of this history. We must take a hard look at the past in order to move strategically now, and build a better tomorrow with our Black and Brown siblings.


CJJ-Triad Leaders Celebrate Their First Chapter Meeting

Member leaders met this past week to get to know each other, learn from our community partners about the campaign to stop the eviction of the Hiatt Street residents and how we can get involved, and made plans for CJJ-Triad's activity in 2022.

Want to get involved? Sign up for an upcoming new member orientation or chapter event at this link


Meet Our Interim Executive Director

This email from Interim Executive Director Abby Lublin went out to our entire email list on January 25, 2022.

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Moving together after synagogue attack

We Keep Us Safe

This email from Rabbi Salem Pearce and Abby Lublin went out to our entire email list on January 18, 2022.

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ED Transition

CJJ Board President Meredith Cohen (she/her) made the following announcement on January 12. 2022.

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How We Respond to Antisemitism

The following message was sent out to Triad-based participants of the Antisemitism Listening Project from members of CJJ-Triad. We believe strongly in this powerful message in response to blatant antisemitism. It has been lightly edited by staff for context. 

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Ocho Candelikas: A Special Musical Performance

Last week during Chanukkah, the CJJ members of the Durham-Orange County Chapter celebrated the winter holiday with a performance of the Ladino language song "Ocho Candelikas". You can enjoy the song performed by chapter members Susan Cohen and Peter Goldberg below.

"Ocho Kandelikas" ('Eight Little Candles') celebrates the holiday of Chanukkah and was written by the Bosnian-born composer Flory Jagoda in 1983. The song is sung in Ladino, a language derived from Old Spanish, and describes a child's joy of lighting the candles on the menorah. 

Lyrics for the song can be viewed at this link

Reflections on the American tradition known as Thanksgiving

During this week of the American federal holiday known as “Thanksgiving” I spent time heeding the call of Indigenous community connection and - yes, even Indigenous content creators - to seek out truth telling of their people and the history of this land. My conclusion of the truth is that genocide and mass displacement happened here.

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Thank You Judy and Frank

You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.
Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot 2:21

Carolina Jews for Justice’s founders Judy Leavitt and Frank Goldsmith have shepherded the organization from its humble beginnings in 2013 to the robust state organization it is now. We are enormously grateful to them for their vision and leadership, as they have worked tirelessly to establish a Jewish grassroots network working towards a just, fair, and compassionate North Carolina. As they step back from their leadership now and transition to new revised roles, they share their wisdom about CJJ.

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