WBEZ | Skokie http://www.wbez.org/tags/skokie Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bad Jews play explores faith and family http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/bad-jews-play-explores-faith-and-family-112332 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Centre-East-Interior-2009_low-res.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213654507&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Bad Jews play explores faith and family</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Bad Jews tells the story of Daphna Feygenbaum, a 20-something &ldquo;real Jew&rdquo; with an Israeli boyfriend. When Daphna&rsquo;s cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody and declares ownership of their grandfather&rsquo;s Chai necklace, a vicious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. Playwright Joshua Harmon joins Morning Shift to talk about the themes behind his play. We also hear from director Jeremy Wechsler and actress Laura Lapidus who takes on the role of Daphna.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><strong>Guests:</strong> <em>Playwright&nbsp;</em></span><em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Joshua Harmon, director&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Jeremy Wechsler, and lead actress Laura Lapidus</span></em></p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/bad-jews-play-explores-faith-and-family-112332 Jewish emergency response service expands into ambulance transport http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/jewish-emergency-response-service-expands-ambulance-transport-109063 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Hatzalah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A medical emergency response service for Orthodox Jews is expanding into ambulance transport.</p><p>Hatzalah Chicago is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/orthodox-jews-launch-emergency-service-93709">about two years old</a>, and so far has relied on its team of trained volunteers to use their own personal cars to respond to low-level medical emergencies. But now, using donations, the service has purchased two ambulances and it soft-launched the ambulance response service last weekend.</p><p>Simcha Frank, a co-founder of Hatzalah Chicago, was able to respond to WBEZ questions by text message. He said since Hatzalah Chicago started its work, its volunteers saw many cases where patients declined to call 911 for ambulances because they were afraid they would not be taken to the hospitals where their doctors and personal files were.</p><p>&ldquo;The patients were either refusing to go to hospital with local EMS,&rdquo; wrote Frank, &ldquo;And some didn&rsquo;t even call EMS because of that.&rdquo;</p><p>Hatzalah primarily serves people in Skokie, Lincolnwood and Chicago&rsquo;s far North Side.</p><p>Frank said Hatzalah Chicago will take patients to the hospitals they specify, and he anticipates that will mostly be hospitals in the North Shore.</p><p>&ldquo;And that improves anxiety and sometimes patient outcomes,&rdquo; he wrote.</p><p>Hatzalah has about 40 trained emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, and 20 dispatchers. Frank hopes about a dozen of the EMTs will go through advanced training to become paramedics to staff the ambulances.</p><p>Currently, the vehicles, which cost about $150,000 each, are equipped to transport patients that are in stable condition. Frank hopes in about a year some of his volunteers will receive certification in advanced life support to provide transport for more critical cases.</p><p>John J. Stroger Jr. Hospital in Cook County is the service&rsquo;s resource hospital, providing medical direction. According to Frank, Hatzalah service received approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health in mid-October.</p><p>Many other major U.S. cities, especially New York City, already have extensive Hatzalah emergency response services.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 19:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/jewish-emergency-response-service-expands-ambulance-transport-109063 Fireworks: Who’s burning the money? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fireworks-who%E2%80%99s-burning-money-107942 <p><p><strong><em>We&rsquo;ve <a href="#Addendum">updated this</a> story with more information on Navy Pier finances. Thanks to our question-asker, Meg White, who pressed for more reporting. </em></strong></p><p>Colorful explosions will dart across the sky Thursday, emblematic of bombs bursting in air more than two centuries ago. And although many Fourth of July firework displays are free-of-charge to the public, someone is paying for this holiday pastime.</p><p><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/vote/current">Curious City</a> investigated the cost of fireworks after resident Meg White asked:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Does the city of Chicago (i.e.: taxpayers) pay for the biweekly fireworks displays at Navy Pier?</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re not familiar with the &ldquo;biweekly&rdquo; reference here, you should know that <a href="http://www.navypier.com/">Navy Pier</a> hosts a free fireworks show every Wednesday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Since 1995, the Pier has lit up the sky every Independence Day.</p><p>Not to add more wrinkles to Meg&rsquo;s answer, but you should know, too, that the city of Chicago once hosted its own Fourth of July fireworks show. City Hall stopped footing the bill in 2011, so now Navy Pier is the city&rsquo;s only Fourth of July fireworks display.</p><p>To answer Meg&rsquo;s question, then: Navy Pier Inc., a nonprofit that manages the many activities and developments at Navy Pier, pays for the 10-minute biweekly light show.</p><p>But that doesn&rsquo;t really tell the whole story.</p><p>Since it&rsquo;s the season for fireworks, we searched to Fourth of July firework displays in the Chicago area.</p><p>This year, the Illinois State Lottery is paying for the fireworks at Navy Pier, as well as several other firework displays around the state. The state lottery is sponsoring the Navy Pier fireworks at a cost of $20,000, which includes more than just colorful combustible shells.</p><p>The state lottery is also helping sponsor displays in Champaign, Batavia, Rockford and Harvey. The latter couldn&rsquo;t afford a fireworks display a year ago. In total the state lottery is paying $38,000 for fireworks as a marketing strategy to promote their Fourth of July raffle.</p><p>Citing contract agreements, Navy Pier wouldn&rsquo;t tell how much it costs to put on its 15-minute Fourth of July fireworks.</p><p>However, other municipalities and nonprofits hosting firework displays this holiday seasons were happy to share.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s compare Fourth of July fireworks by the numbers:</p><ul><li>Navy Pier: 15 minute show. Costs are unclear, but the recent sponsorship cost $20,000</li><li>Skokie: 20 minute show. Cost: $25,000</li><li>Itasca: 25 minute show. Cost: $70,000</li><li>Crown Point: 40 minute show. Cost: $17,000</li></ul><p>It&rsquo;s worth noting that these displays are paid for by very different means. In north suburban village of Skokie, <a href="http://www.skokieparks.org/special-events">the village&rsquo;s park district</a> pays. It receives some funding from the Village of Skokie, said Michelle Tuft, superintendent of recreation and facilities. The district is not charged for using the property of local schools.</p><p>Notably, Skokie markets its fireworks display as 3-D. If you&rsquo;re asking yourself, &ldquo;Aren&rsquo;t fireworks already in 3-D?&rdquo; &nbsp;Well, you&rsquo;d be correct, but the first 10,000 people to arrive to Niles West High School receive a pair of 3-D glasses, with which you can watch the fireworks for &quot;added effects.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.cpjuly4.com/fireworks.php">Crown Point</a>, Ind., on the other hand, raises mostly private donations to pay for its fireworks display and Fourth of July Parade. Since the 1980s, a group of volunteer citizens have taken on the task of fundraising and organizing the town&rsquo;s Fourth of July festivities. Other than a $5,000 grant from the city, the rest is put up by individuals and corporations. Donations range in all sizes. Some, we&rsquo;re told, are as small as $3.</p><p>In total Crown Point raises around $30,000. This year, one corporate sponsor &mdash; Mike Anderson Chevrolet in Merrillville &mdash; is paying for the entire fireworks display costing $17,000. &nbsp;</p><p>Interestingly, Crown Point was the only place in the Chicago area contacted by Curious City that was not contractracting <a href="http://www.melrosepyro.com/">Melrose</a>, a pyrotechnic company. Crown Point contracts with a firm called <a href="http://www.madbomberfireworks.com/">The Mad Bomber</a>. &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/itasca%20fireworks%20mrpeachum.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="A moment from Itasca's 2008 fireworks display. (Flickr/mrpeachum)" /></p><p>However, few firework displays compare to the size and scope of Itasca&rsquo;s 3,500-shell fireworks extravaganza, which takes four days to build and spans 30 acres. The venue can hold up to 8,500 cars and attracts around 40,0000 people.</p><p><a href="http://www.jamfests.com/itasca.html">Itasca&rsquo;s</a> show is a public-private partnership between the village and Hamilton Partners, a commercial real estate company. Roughly a third of the cost is covered using an Itasca hotel tax, which is earmarked for funding local special events. Around half the cost is offset by charging patrons $20 to park at the show (if that seems steep, organizers point out that the show itself is free). The remainder is paid for through corporate sponsorships.</p><p>Organizer Richard Staback says Itasca&rsquo;s display is one of the largest in the state.</p><p>&ldquo;There are more fireworks in our finale than most firework shows have in their entire show,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><em><a name="Addendum"></a>UPDATE:&nbsp;Last week Meg White wrote she was unsatisfied with Curious City&rsquo;s answer to her question regarding who pays for the semiweekly fireworks displays at Navy Pier. We reported that it&rsquo;s Navy Pier, Inc., but the nonprofit, which incorporated in 2011, declined to give details as to the cost of its individual firework displays. In fact, the pier declined to give any cost figures at all.</em></p><p><em>&quot;We&rsquo;re not required to give that out,&quot; said Navy Pier&rsquo;s Nick Shields. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have to and we don&rsquo;t talk about it. It&rsquo;s our business practice not to give that out.&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>Regardless, there are figures that give a more complete picture. According to the company&rsquo;s 2011 federal financial disclosure report (known as a &ldquo;990&rdquo;), Navy Pier Inc. paid $473,000 in 2011 to Melrose Pyrotechnics, an Indiana-based pyrotechnic company. It was Navy Pier&rsquo;s third highest-paid independent contractor that year.</em></p><p><em>There is no public data available for 2010 because Navy Pier, Inc., didn&rsquo;t exist before 2011. The 2012 paperwork is not available on reporting sites such as <a href="http://www.guidestar.org/">guidestar.org</a>. According to Shields, the nonprofit has not yet filed its paperwork for 2012.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Some of the semiweekly summer fireworks displays at Navy Pier are sponsored by public or private sponsors. (Such was the case on the Fourth of July when the Illinois Lottery purchased the sponsorship for $20,000.) The money generated through these sponsorships helps offset the cost that Navy Pier pays for fireworks services throughout the year. However, sponsorships don&rsquo;t cover the full amount. Shields didn&rsquo;t know how much of the cost is not covered by sponsorships, he said, as not all of the money Navy Pier receives from its firework-display sponsors goes directly toward shells and mortars. But he did say sponsorships don&rsquo;t cover all of the costs.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>As for taxpayers footing any remaining bill? It&rsquo;s worth noting that Navy Pier, Inc., received about 2.7 million in government grants in 2011, which was about 10 percent of their total revenue that year. The rest is generated from parking fees, amusements, retail and special events.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>To view Navy Pier&rsquo;s public 990 report, please find the attached document at the bottom of this story.&nbsp;</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Chelsi Moy is a Curious City multimedia intern at WBEZ. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/chelsimoy">@chelsimoy</a>.</em></p><p><strong><a name="Audio"></a>Taking a roadtrip for the Fourth or need a soundtrack for making your watermelon salad? Here&#39;s a summer playlist from the Curious City crew:</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F7164086&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fireworks-who%E2%80%99s-burning-money-107942 Skokie stores highlight print's past and future http://www.wbez.org/skokie-stores-highlight-prints-past-and-future-106098 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-03-14%20at%201.18.49%20PM.png" style="height: 383px; width: 620px;" title="Bob Katzman of Bob's Magazine Museum in Skokie. (Tricia Bobeda/WBEZ)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Bob Katzman calls his store a magazine museum, but everything is for sale. The 63-year-old has been in the print business for almost a half century.</p>He started a newsstand as a South Side kid trying to make ends meet so he could keep attending The University of Chicago Lab School.<p>He moved his business to the Northern suburb of Skokie a few years ago. <a href="http://oldzines.com/">Bob&#39;s Magazine Museum</a> is one of 22 new businesses opened since the suburb&#39;s downtown revitalization project started, according to the local chamber of commerce. There&rsquo;s a new Yellow Line CTA station just down the road and the Village is funneling TIF money and other aid into this area.&nbsp;</p>Katzman&#39;s store is not a typical retail experience. But it is an experience. And it&#39;s is one of two businesses on Oakton Street in downtown offering a glimpse into the past -- and possibly the future -- of print publishing.<br /><p>Two claustrophobic columns of shelves holding more than 100,000 magazines shotgun back from the big front windows at that proclaim Katzman&#39;s store as &quot;Where Print Still Lives!&quot;</p><p>&quot;I wish I was valued more,&quot; Katzman said. &quot;Because what&rsquo;s the good of knowing this if people have an indifference. What do you have? You have 100,000 magazines. So what would I want? I&rsquo;d want Chicago to realize they&rsquo;ve got something remarkable.&quot;</p>His oldest publication is from the 1500s - an English publication railing against the Catholics. It hangs high on the wall next to the front page of a newspaper from the day Marilyn Monroe died.<p>Katzman worries that as the Internet gobbles up the world of print, it&#39;s more than just the glossy covers and smell of paper we&#39;ll miss.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that the present generation - which includes my children so obviously I adore them - is going to have an awareness of things that&rsquo;s a mile wide and an inch deep,&quot; he said. &quot;So they&rsquo;ll know who Davy Crockett is but they won&rsquo;t know all the other material. And you could say &lsquo;so what&rsquo;, right? But to me all of that&rsquo;s important. There&rsquo;s a lack of comprehension, a lack of depth and you end up with superficiality.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 1.18.34 PM.png" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Marc Hammond is co-owner of Aw Yeah Comics in Skokie. (Tricia Bobeda/WBEZ)" />Down the street at <a href="http://www.awyeahcomics.com/">Aw Yeah Comics</a>, relationship between print and digital is different.</div><p>Co-owner Marc Hammond says technology and social media are transforming the comic book industry.</p><p>Aw Yeah Comics will celebrate its one-year anniversary in April. It&#39;s a collaboration between Marc Hammond, who runs the store, and comic artists Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani.</p><p>&quot;There are a ton of really amazing [comic] shops in Chicago,&quot; Hammond said. &quot;We didn&rsquo;t want to be one of many stores in Chicago. We&rsquo;d rather be the store in Skokie.&quot;</p><p>Baltazar created a couple of characters - Action Cat and Adventure Bug - to be the store&#39;s mascots. They liked the characters enough to keep drawing. But would their customers want to hear about these super friends?</p><p>They took the question to the crowd-source funding platform <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1197720703/aw-yeah-comics">Kickstarter</a>. Their pitch: donate a few bucks and we&#39;ll be able to print the duo&#39;s adventures in comic book form. They set an initial goal of $15,000. The campaign closed last week after banking $47,483.</p><p>Hammond says digital tools like this democratize the publishing process.</p><p>A few dollars each from a lot of fans up front added up to enough to cover the cost of printing 12 issues.</p><p>Hammond said the comic shop and magazine museum refer customers to each other often, since their stock doesn&#39;t overlap. And they&#39;re both optimistic that downtown Skokie can add more traffic without losing its charm.</p><p>Katzman is no slouch when it comes to the digital world. He has a website and a Facebook page. He publishes his poetry online.</p><p>But some days, no one comes into the store.</p><p>&quot;I wish I was valued more,&quot; he said. &quot;Because what&rsquo;s the good of knowing this if people have an indifference. What do you have? You have 100,000 magazines. So what would I want? I&rsquo;d want Chicago to realize they&rsquo;ve got something remarkable.&quot;</p><p>He has no plans to retire and his children aren&#39;t likely take on the family business.</p><p>Katzman hopes someone make his dream come true and turn the magazine collection into a real museum. He&#39;d like to stick around as curator. Sounds like the start of a Kickstarter pitch.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/skokie-stores-highlight-prints-past-and-future-106098 Skokie school bans Halloween celebrations http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/skokie-school-bans-halloween-celebrations-103444 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/halloween_Karina_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>No costumes. No candy. No Halloween parties.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the new rule in District 69, which serves students in the Northern suburbs of Skokie and Morton Grove.</p><p>Superintendent Quintin Shepherd announced the policy change in <a href="http://www.skokie69.net/index.php/info/district-announcements/item/1569-halloween-letter-from-superintendent-shepherd" target="_blank">a letter to parents</a>.</p><p>Shepherd said in the letter that Halloween festivities were canceled to respect a growing number of students who cannot afford costumes or don&rsquo;t celebrate Halloween for religious and cultural reasons.</p><p>Shaun Saville is the parent of a fourth grader in District 69.</p><p>&ldquo;We were disappointed that Halloween was being cancelled and the way we were being told were weren&rsquo;t very happy about,&rdquo; Saville said. &ldquo;I think two hours out of a school day&nbsp; is not a significant amount of time when kids are going to be focusing on Halloween festivities anyway.&rdquo;</p><p>Saville gathered more than four hundred and fifty signatures <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/skokie-school-district-69-reinstate-the-halloween-celebration-at-school?utm_campaign=new_signature&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=signature_receipt" target="_blank">on a petition</a> protesting the ban on the school&rsquo;s Halloween celebrations and took it to a recent school board meeting.</p><p>&ldquo;I think&nbsp; it&rsquo;s a good chance for kids to be creative,&rdquo; Saville said. &ldquo;Maybe make it a learning opportunity about different cultures and diversity at our school.&rdquo;</p><p>But the school board has upheld the superintendent&rsquo;s decision to cut Halloween parties from the school day.</p><p>The district did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.</p></p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/skokie-school-bans-halloween-celebrations-103444 'Not everybody in Springfield ever gets everything they want': Rep. Lou Lang on gambling http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/not-everybody-springfield-ever-gets-everything-they-want-rep-lou-lang-gambling <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6022797489_cfd368c2d2_z.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, IL opened in 2011.(Flickr/Jeff Zoline)" />&ldquo;We have to make sure when you have the subject of gambling and gaming that everything is done right, from the beginning to the end. I think that&rsquo;s the only way to go. It&rsquo;s especially important to have oversight, integrity and protection for the public,&rdquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/quinn-says-pension-fix-must-happen-cool-gambling-expansion-99760"> Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said last week</a> about the ongoing debate in Springfield over whether to expand gambling in Illinois. The Governor has long been vocally skeptical over whether expanding the gaming industry in Illinois is the right move.</p><p>But does Illinois even need more gambling? And is it the best way to generate revenue? House Representative and sponsor of the bill&nbsp;Lou Lang (D-Skokie) strongly believes so.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve been working on this a long time and despite the fact that many think it&#39;s about revenue, for me, it&#39;s about many other things,&quot; said Lang. Mainly, adding jobs and not allowing the horse racing industry to die. It&#39;s about &quot;helping a legal industry...grow,&quot; Lang said on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>. &quot;It could just as easily be the widget industry.&quot;</p><p>Despite the fact that this legislative session has been crowded with issues to resolve, Lang doesn&#39;t think that means gambling expansion is less important.</p><p>&quot;Yes, the Medicaid problem was severe. The pension discussion had to continue. We had to balance a state budget and hurt as few people as possible....but nevertheless, that does not mean we shouldn&#39;t work on a piece of legislation,&quot; said Lang, who&#39;s been advocating for gambling for some time. &quot;The opportunity to put people to work is a very important one.&quot;</p><p>Responding to Governor Quinn&#39;s concerns, Lang pointed out that a version of the bill passed last week had <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-suggests-he-wont-sign-gambling-expansion-99752">concessions on eight of 12 areas</a> the Governor had pointed out as problems.</p><p>That said, &quot;Not everybody in Springfield ever gets everything they want,&quot; said Lang.</p><p>&quot;A lot of people talk about saturation and cannibalization, but my job as a legislator is...to worry about the bottom line,&quot; he continued, arguing that it&#39;s a matter of free markets. &quot;We wouldn&#39;t pass a law limiting McDonalds or Burger Kings.&quot;</p><p>There&#39;s still room for debate over how many jobs gambling expansion would bring the state. Lang says he&#39;s heard numbers as low as 25,000 and as high as 100,000. But he&#39;s interested in growth in &quot;peripheral industries&quot;, like hospitality, and argues that the &quot;upfront fees are not estimates,&quot; citing money from backers that could bring $1 billion a year to the state.</p><p>&quot;This is just one other way to put people to work, one other way to create opportunities for people, and that&#39;s how I&#39;ve always looked at it,&quot; Lang said.</p><p>While the Governor will likely veto the bill, Lang said he still thinks there&#39;s an opportunity to work it out. And if not, he&#39;s prepared to win this victory during veto session, even if it takes longer.</p></p> Mon, 04 Jun 2012 08:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/not-everybody-springfield-ever-gets-everything-they-want-rep-lou-lang-gambling Skokie and the Nazis http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-04/skokie-and-nazis-98448 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP7707041203.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 620px;" title="Members of the Jewish Defense League donned helmets as they arrived in Skokie, Ill. on July 4, 1977 to demonstrate against the Nazis, who called off their march when they failed to get a permit. (AP/CEK) "></div><p>Thirty-five years ago today, Skokie officials were in court. They were trying to prevent Nazis from holding a rally in their village.</p><p>The National Socialist Party of America was a tiny group of perhaps a hundred people. They were led by a man named Frank Collin. The party had headquarters in the Marquette Park area of Chicago, where they’d been protesting African-American presence in the neighborhood.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/04-27--Nazi%20Headquarters--Rockwell%20Hall.jpg" title="Nazi headquarters in Marquette Park, 1977"></div><div><p>In the spring of 1977, Chicago officials banned the Nazis from speaking in the park. Looking for publicity, the party then announced it would hold a rally in Skokie on May 1. More than half of the suburb’s 80,000 residents were Jewish. Many of these people were Holocaust survivors, or relatives of Hitler’s victims.</p></div><p>Now a lawsuit was being filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Skokie alleged that the proposed demonstration was “a deliberate and willful attempt to exacerbate the sensitivities of the Jewish population.” The event would incite racial and religious hatred in the village.</p><p>The next day, Judge Joseph M. Wosik granted an injunction to halt the rally. Jewish groups were already organizing counter-demonstrations against the Nazis. The judge said he was acting to prevent possible violence.</p><div><p>Nazi leader Collin did not like the ruling. He said his free speech rights were being violated. He threatened to lead a march through Skokie, regardless of any court action.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/04-27--Skokie%20today.JPG" title="Downtown Skokie today"></div></div><div><p>The Skokie lawsuit was only the beginning of the legal maneuvers. The village next passed a series of ordinances designed to limit hate groups. The Nazis responded by going to court with their own suit.</p></div><p>The Nazi case was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization had a large Jewish membership, and their lawyer handling the Nazi case was Jewish. Still, the ACLU saw the matter as an important free speech issue.</p><div><p>After a year of various hearings, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the Skokie ordinances unconstitutional. The village was ordered to allow the Nazi demonstration. Collin said his group would rally in front of the Skokie Village Hall on June 25, 1978.</p></div><div><p>And then, at the last minute, the Nazis called off the Skokie rally. The City of Chicago had decided to let the party march in the Loop. That event proved to be a bust, lasting all of 10 minutes.</p></div><p>The Nazi controversy was dramatized in a 1981 TV-movie titled “Skokie.” Nazi leader Frank Collin himself was later forced out of the party–when it was discovered that he was Jewish.</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-04/skokie-and-nazis-98448 Orthodox Jews launch emergency service http://www.wbez.org/story/orthodox-jews-launch-emergency-service-93709 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/ambulance_Flickr_Alex C. Balla.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Starting later this month, residents of Chicago’s far North Side, Skokie, and Lincolnwood will be able to get help in addition to 911 for medical emergencies. A team of local Orthodox Jews is launching a new emergency response service called Hatzalah Chicago to augment services in the areas where high concentrations Orthodox Jews live. Members hope the service will help resolve some unique religious tensions that can come up in emergency situations.</p><p>Imagine, say, that it’s Friday night and you start feeling chest pain. Most non-Jews wouldn’t think twice about it; they’d just pick up the phone and dial 911. But the calculation’s not so simple for Orthodox Jews because Friday night is the Sabbath, and they’re not supposed to use electricity.</p><p>“We have obviously a lot of doctors in the community, and I remember one of the doctors told me a story where somebody literally walked over to his house, I don’t remember, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, literally in pain, cardiac pain,” recounted Rivka Kompel, one of Hatzalah Chicago’s board members. “[He] thought he was possibly having a heart attack, and he still walked to the person’s house 20 or 30 minutes because it was the Sabbath."</p><p>In Hebrew, Hatzalah means “rescue.” Hatzalah Chicago is a non-profit organization funded through private donations and staffed by unpaid volunteers. Kompel says the mission is to prevent more stories like the example she gave. Kompel says Jewish law allows people to break the Sabbath in life-or-death situations, but problems arise because, sometimes, people can’t tell the difference between what’s serious and what’s not.</p><p>Hatzalah’s emergency medical technicians are trained in both medicine and religious law. Kompel hopes they’ll help people make smarter decisions when it comes to the intersection of religious law and medical urgency.</p><p>Simcha Frank has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting to get Hatzalah off the ground. The team’s dispatch center is just a small, windowless room in a Skokie office park. But while the group has been setting up, they’ve used the room for equipment storage. The day he showed the facillty to me, the phone rang.</p><p>“That’s weird,” Frank said, after hanging up. “So there’s this organization nationwide that keeps track of all the Hatzalahs. They wanted to see if we’re operational.”</p><p>Lots of other cities have Hatzalahs. Frank, a Jewish funeral home director, says his baby nephew was saved by Hatzalah Brooklyn. He got advice from Hatzalah Baltimore.</p><p>Here’s how the service will work: If someone in the service area experiences a medical emergency, they still need to call 911. But Frank hopes they’ll also call another number for Hatzalah. Hatzalah’s dispatch center will radio its 40-or-so EMTs.</p><p>Each EMT has gone through standard training at Malcolm X College or Vista Health Systems, a hospital in Waukegan, Ill. They carry emergency medical equipment in their cars at all times — things like oxygen tanks, defibrillators, and first aid supplies. That helps them stabilize a patient in the first minutes after a call’s put out.</p><p>But once the fire department or an ambulance comes on scene, Hatzalah backs off. That’s part of Frank’s agreements with Chicago, Skokie and Lincolnwood.</p><p>But there are other things that Hatzalah can do that are unique to this religious community, things that other emergency response services may not consider — particularly on the Sabbath.</p><p>“So let’s say now Chicago Fire Department comes to the house on a Friday night, (and) they say we’re going to call your mother so they could come watch your kids,” said Frank. “You could call your mother from today ‘til tomorrow, they won’t answer the phone. So you actually have to physically go to the house, knock on the door, because they won’t answer the phone.”</p><p>Hatzalah responders can also make sure that if someone goes to the hospital on the Sabbath, they bring along a couple of bags of grape juice, a pack that’s something like a goodie bag. This allows the patients to observe Kiddush, the Jewish ceremony of praying over wine to start the Sabbath.</p><p>As for the EMTs, if they respond to something on the Sabbath, you might ask -- aren’t they violating the Sabbath by working? Frank says Hatzalah Chicago has a rabbinical board to think through those things.</p><p>“That’s where the Rabbinical Board comes in and says you guys need to do this in order to be a good responder,” said Frank. “You won’t be good to your community if your car is under two feet of snow. You won’t be good to your community if you don’t have an oxygen tank. You won’t be good to your community if you don’t have a radio to talk on.”</p><p>Barry Liss, Skokie’s deputy fire chief, says he’s never seen a small group start up a volunteer emergency service in Skokie. Liss says when Hatzalah first approached him to tell him what they were building, he was surprised.</p><p>“We weren’t certain that there was a need,” said Liss. “We want to know if there’s something we are missing, because we want to provide that need. That’s what society relies on. They rely on their emergency services to provide their emergency services to them.”</p><p>Liss is concerned that residents might stop calling 911 just because Hatzalah’s around. Hatzalah officials say they don’t want that to happen either. They say if someone who needs care doesn’t call 911, Hatzalah will. That’s partly because Hatzalah itself needs the fire department; as of now, and for the immediate future, Hatzalah doesn’t have the ability to transport patients to the hospital.</p><p>Liss says it’s good to have more boots on the ground, but he stopped short of praising the operation.</p><p>“We don’t know how it will work. Nor do they,” said Liss. “Just because you initiate something, you need to give it time to evaluate it. And that’s what we ask them to do.”</p><p>Liss says it’ll take a couple of years to know whether Hatzalah is making a difference, and Simcha Frank agrees. Frank says he has no idea how many calls Hatzalah will get, and he won’t know until it goes live. Still, he may do his own evaluation sooner. In 18 months Frank plans to revisit whether or not Hatzalah should buy ambulances and start transporting patients on its own.</p></div></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 12:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/orthodox-jews-launch-emergency-service-93709 Suburbs take on challenge of welcoming new refugees http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-take-challenge-welcoming-new-refugees-90619 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/Asian-Family.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Uptown neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side is an established hub for refugee resettlement. There are many agencies there, and refugees opt to live nearby. But recently more refugees bypass Chicago altogether and head to the north and northwest suburbs instead. Those communities are discovering these new populations in their schools, and suburban educators are having to adjust to meet the unique needs of their newest arrivals.</p><p>Go into Niles North High School at 10am any weekday this summer and you’ll see a stunningly diverse flood of teens crowd the lobby for a brief mid-morning break. Some take summer classes for extra credits; some are retaking classes they failed. But a good number are here to improve their English, so they can keep up in the fall. And of those students, more and more are refugees.</p><p>MURPHY: unfortunately a lot of them have been in refugee camps. And if they were in, for example, Jordan, they may not have been allowed to go to school.</p><p>This is Edmund Murphy. He’s principal of District 219’s Summer School, for students from Niles, Skokie, Lincolnwood and Morton Grove. During the school year he also runs the program for foreign languages and English as a second language. Murphy says the district’s handled large waves of immigrants before. But this is its first big influx of refugees and there are different challenges in helping them.</p><p>MURPHY: Some of them have been through some very traumatic experiences, they’ve lost parents, they’ve lost loved ones, especially in Iraq. It’s awful. And that’s always going to follow them. So we’re just trying to teach them how to deal with those issues in a healthy way, a positive way.</p><p>Murphy says this has forced schools into a comprehensive social service role. School social workers and psychologists are on hand, but sometimes they have to coax parents to allow their children to get that help.</p><p>Cultural biases may make parents fear that their child is “broken” if she needs counseling. And there’s another challenge: a lot of the kids who languished in refugee camps either don’t remember what it’s like to <em>be </em>&nbsp;in school or the schools were just really different.</p><p>MURPHY: When kids perhaps misbehave, if you ask them what would happen to you in your other school, they’d say well, we’d get beat, or we’d get hit, you know, it’s so different. So they get here and sometimes it’s like “wooh, look at this - nothing happens to me.” So it is a challenge to get them assimilated to the American school system.</p><p>Now, Murphy’s summer intro ESL course includes instruction on how to behave in class, how to raise your hand and how to respect the teacher’s authority. Murphy keeps on top of how well these kids are doing partly through his team of volunteers. He’s found a bunch that are fluent in Arabic and Assyrian, to call parents at home. They communicate what’s going on at the school, and relay parents’ concerns back to the district. Murphy says it’s lucky that District 219 has the resources to help these students.</p><p>But it’s still challenging. Often, the district’s trying to get kids up to grade level in English when they’re not even literate in their own native languages. While Murphy was starting to recognize the growth in refugees at his schools, refugee resettlement agencies were noticing changes, too.</p><p>WANGERIN: We were seeing fewer and fewer Iraqis actually come to our office and avail of our services.</p><p>Greg Wangerin is with RefugeeONE, in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. He started to notice the difference in 2007, when the number of Iraqi refugees spiked. Now, Iraqis are the largest group of refugees coming to the Chicago area.</p><p>WANGERIN: We began to examine why, and we noticed that this was the circumstance, again because they were coming to reunite with relatives up in that area.</p><p>Chicago’s suburbs are home to established Iraqi populations. They came as a result of the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s, and Operation Desert Storm in the 90s. Wangerin says there are other reasons Iraqi refugees are heading to suburbs.</p><p>WANGERIN: &nbsp;They often will come in with a bit more resource financially, at least in the initial stages, and may therefore have access to vehicles, or ways to purchase a car, and therefore enabling them to go a little bit further to the north and to the west.</p><p>But that push to Chicago’s fringes and beyond has meant that RefugeeONE had to adapt. It can’t afford to open new offices in the ‘burbs, so Wangerin says he’s hired a full-time suburban outreach employee to keep in constant touch with the schools and families. He’s also formed ad-hoc partnerships with suburban religious groups to offer ESL classes close to where refugees live. Partnerships are the way suburban governments are responding to the new demands, too.</p><p>The English Language Learning, or ELL, Center is the joint effort of eight north suburban school districts.</p><p>ENG: Today at 2 o’clock, the Bookmobile is coming. Anyone know what’s the Bookmobile?</p><p>A room full of women sit at round tables crowded into the reception area of a school district building in Skokie. A substitute teacher is starting a lesson on reading skills...</p><p>ENG: Because you get to check out a book...</p><p>The women’s children watch a film in another room. But this place is primarily for parents.</p><p>WALLACE: What we really emphasize here is the role of parents in the American school system, which is very different than some other cultures. American schools really expect parents to be involved and come in, and we talk about that.</p><p>Corie Wallace runs the ELL Center. She says in the three years it’s been open, the Center has seen foot traffic grow from 200 people to more than 700. It’s not clear how many are refugees, but Wallace says that number is almost certainly growing. And those parents need the same help as other immigrants in navigating American schools.</p><p>WALLACE: We do family field trips where we do school by school teaching parents about the culture of their school, how to sign up for parent-teacher conferences, why that’s important.</p><p>This program for refugee parents and changes at the schools do cost money, but it’s money that these suburbs seem to have. And nobody’s complaining. Many, like Wallace, see it as an investment. She hopes there’ll be a return, as refugees eventually become full participants in the local civic life.</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburbs-take-challenge-welcoming-new-refugees-90619 Immigrants bypass city for suburbs http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/immigrants-bypass-city-suburbs <p><p>More immigrants to the area are bypassing the City of Chicago completely and moving directly to the northern suburbs, according to a new <a href="http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/voorheesctr/Publications/Open_to_All.pdf">study</a> by the Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago.&nbsp;The report finds that the foreign-born population in 16 north shore communities increased by nearly 20 percent between 2000 and 2008. Meanwhile, the native-born population shrank by roughly 3 percent.</p> <div>&ldquo;The suburbs became sort of the Ellis Island, if you will, of the Chicago region,&rdquo; said Janet Smith of the Voorhees Center, &ldquo;with a lot more people just moving directly to the suburbs.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Smith says the foreign-born now account for 27% of the population in the northern suburbs, with Mexicans, Polish, and Indians constituting the largest groups.&nbsp;Smith says immigrants appear to be heading directly for the suburbs because of abundant work opportunities, particularly in construction, and cheap housing. She says it is still not clear how the collapse of the construction industry may have affected that.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The study was done for the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs.</div></p> Tue, 15 Feb 2011 00:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/immigrants-bypass-city-suburbs