Jan 4, 2009

Jews For Obama to Launch Jewish Grassroots Action Network (JGAN) at


A promising new organization, the Jewish Grassroots Action Network (JGAN) will be launched at a series of events in Washington, DC from 1/16-1/20. In collaboration with several DC area synagogues, JGAN will be hosting a multi-denominational Shabbaton, a Grassroots Workshop, and a Celebratory Dinner (schedule below).

JGAN is a large group of Jewish grassroots supporters of President-Elect Obama who volunteered during the campaign and fought the smears against him - many of which targeted the Jewish community. JGAN is being built on a base of the 100% volunteer "Jews for Obama" group (approximately 4,000 people) that worked together during the campaign. It started as a group on BarackObama.com and grew into having its own website www.Jews4barack.com in March 2008 and went on to produce 17 "Jews for Obama" newsletters. As Jews for Obama, JGAN provided information to thousands of Jewish voters, helped people volunteer with Obama for America, and organized fundraising for the campaign through its group page.

Yocheved Seidman, president of JGAN, explains, "We formed JGAN to give us a vehicle to continue to organize and energize the grassroots in support of the President-Elect's agenda. We will work to involve our members in the grassroots organizational structure David Plouffe is creating, as well as conducting activities that are independent of administration structures. A unique aspect of our group is that we have members from all ends of the Jewish panorama, from unaffiliated to ultra-Orthodox, and we have worked hard to maintain unity across the divisions in our community by focusing on areas of agreement where we can work together to change and heal the country. President-Elect Obama inspired many of us to get involved in politics for the first time, and we are dedicated to his often-stated principle that we can disagree without being disagreeable. We have included in our group people supporting every side of the Israel policy issue and - although we do not intend to lobby on this issue - we do manage to discuss the topic with respect and civility, and we are learning from each other. It is our hope that JGAN will carry this spirit forward and be a place where all Jewish Americans can work together on a wide range of domestic issues using the combined power of our vast community networks. Along the way we will get to know and trust each other and be able to more effectively discuss issues where we do not agree, leading to a greater amount of ahavat Yisrael in the Jewish world in the United States and beyond. Hopefully we will live up to my favorite interpretation of our new acronym, JGAN, and be a Jewish Garden which provides a place for reflection and inspiration as well as the tools needed to nurture our country back to health and grow an America ready for the 21st Century"

JGAN Events Schedule:

If you are interested in attending any or all of the JGAN events or have any questions please contact events@jgan.org

Note: The Jewish Grassroots Action Network Ball will be Monday night from 8PM - 12AM, $40 in advance or $50 at the door. RSVP to events@jgan.org (details below)

Note: All meals will be glatt kosher or there will be a glatt kosher option provided - vegetarian kosher options will also be provided. Attendees will be asked to pay for the cost of their own meals but we will charge per meal and strictly to cover costs.

Multi-denominational Shabbaton: 1/16-1/17
  • Friday Night - Candle lighting (4:52 PM), Minchah & Kabbalat Shabbat Services (4:55 PM), Dinner (6:15 PM), Dinner Speaker - Historian Jerome Renwick Manship Sr. doing a reading of George Washington's letters to the Jewish Community with discussion following (7:30PM). Location: Ohev Sholom National Synagogue at 1600 Jonquil St. NW, Washington DC. Please send reservations to cvaloris@gmail.com Early bird special: $15 a person before Wednesday 1/14 and kids under 12 eat free; after that it is $25 per person over the age of 12.
  • Saturday Morning - Services of your choice in the neighborhood (there are many synagogues in the Shepherd Park area and we will provide a list)
  • Saturday Afternoon - Dairy Lunch (12:30PM - parve items will be available). Panel discussion on "The Roots of Jewish Activism in Judaism" (1:30PM). Tifereth Israel Synagogue at 7701 16th Street, NW Washington, DC. Please send reservations because space is limited to tiadmin@tifereth-israel.org - a $5 donation is requested.
  • Saturday Early Evening - Havdalah (TBA)
  • Saturday evening after Shabbat there are two events and it should be possible to attend both if one wishes to do so:
    --A traditional fabrengen (joyous Jewish gathering) located at the Woodside Synagogue and led by Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz - roughly 8:30PM (final time TBA) - for reservations and information contact events@jgan.org. A donation to cover refreshment costs will be appreciated.
    --A Program at Ohev Shalom in collaboration with the Green Pastures Church to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Dinner (6:30 PM); Reflections and Music by Reverend Roger Hambrick & The Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir (7:30PM). Reservations required. Seats will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Space is limited. To reserve your space, please call (202)882-7225 or email cvaloris@gmail.com Suggested donation for the program: $5 a person.

Sunday, 1/18

  • Sunday morning and afternoon: Workshop "Jewish Grassroots: Lessons Learned from the Obama Campaign and Charting the Road Ahead". Location Tifereth Israel. Detailed workshop schedule will be posted at www.jgan.org. Kosher Breakfast and Lunch will be provided but require a reservation (outside food cannot be brought into the TI facility). Breakfast $7 and Lunch $15 : RSVP to events@jgan.org
  • Sunday Evening after the workshop there will be two events and it should be possible to attend both if one wishes to do so:

  • -- Stories of Jewish Grassroots Activism in honor of "Obama's Rabbi", Rabbi Arnold Wolf z"l (led by his son Jonathan Wolf). Location TI. Bring your stories. Dinner will be provided, $16. RSVP to www.jgan.org
    -- The National Inaugural Jewish Ball, 8PM - 12AM. Sponsored by Ohev Sholom. An evening of networking and celebration-featuring the music of Paul Shapiro's Ribs & Brisket Revue. Free Dessert and Cash Bar. $40 in advance, $50 at the door, $20 for students with valid ID. For further information go to our website: http://www.ostns.org/inaugural.shtml

JGAN Schedule for Monday and Tuesday:

Monday, 1/19

  • Monday morning and afternoon: Workshop wrap up and presentation of JGAN action plan. Location: Tifereth Israel. Detailed workshop schedule will be posted at www.jgan.org. Kosher Breakfast and Lunch will be provided but require a reservation (outside food cannot be brought into the TI facility). Breakfast $7 and Lunch $15 : RSVP to events@jgan.org
  • Monday Evening after the workshop will be the Jewish Grassroots Action Network Ball. 6-10PM. We hope to provide the best ball of the inauguration for truly grassroots prices!
    Family Friendly - 2-4 Speakers TBA - Klezmer Music Band that is being put together especially for this event by local DC area musicians. A highlight of the evening will be Adrianne Greenbaum's original march, "a Yidishe March far di Inauguration", written in honor of the inauguration. A gourmet kosher dinner will be served. Cash wine and beer bar. $40 in advance or $50 at the door (this price includes dinner). RSVP to events@jgan.org Space is limited so reserve your spot soon!

Tuesday, 1/20

JGAN is organizing two options to enjoy the historical inauguration of President Barack Obama:
  • Remote Inauguration Viewing Option: Swearing-In Ceremony on Large Screen TV. Bagels Brunch served - $15 11AM - 3PM . RSVP to events@jgan.org
  • On-site Inauguration Experience! Travel to the site early and meet up with other Jewish grassroots volunteers (location TBA - people will have JGAN hats to help find each other). After event - walk to Eli's Deli at 1253 20th St. NW, Washington, DC. Please RSVP asap for this specific event as we have to expand the reservation at Eli's if there is adequate demand to take over the entire restaurant. Send RSVP to events@jgan.org

Note on Meals: All meals will be glatt kosher or have a glatt kosher option (parve and meat options will be available).

Chag Sukkot Sameach, dear friends.