An Open Letter to the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival

In response to the new policy of the Greater Chicago Jewish Fesival excluding supporters of Boycott Israel (, the Makom Shalom Board chose to write a letter to organizers.    Makom neither advocates for nor against Boycott Israel; however, the Board felt this new policy promotes divisiveness, contrary to the Festival’s goals of embracing the Jewish Community in an all-inclusive way.  The letter sent by our Board is below.  The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation sent a similar letter.

Dear Jewish POCET Steering Committee,

We write representing Makom Shalom, Chicago's  Jewish Renewal synagogue.  We are proud to be a welcoming community, open to all Jews, whomever they are and whatever they believe.  Many of our members enjoy attending your annual festival, focused on celebrating the diversity of Jewish culture.

We are disappointed and surprised that, this year, you have taken a step inconsistent with your stated goals of inclusiveness, representing the broad Jewish community. 

Specifically, we note your new policy of excluding Jews who are part of the Boycott Israel movement.  This is not only at odds with the goals of your organization to embrace the entire Jewish community in honoring Jewish culture, but is divisive and polarizing.

Makom Shalom does not take a political stand on this movement, rather we keep political stance out of our practices and welcome all Jews, whatever their points of view.

We are very disappointed that you would allow political perspective on Israel to compromise your goals.

We encourage you to walk away from your new political exclusionary policy, so that all local Jews can celebrate their diversity of jewishness at your vibrant event.

Thank you in advance for considering our point of view, as we represent part of Chicago’s Jewish community.

The Makom Shalom Board of Directors