Join the League of Women Voters Chicago, the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park for a forum to learn more about the candidates for Illinois’ 8th State Senate District.
Building bridges with other groups that call West Rogers Park home has had a twofold payoff for us. It has amplified our voice, thus allowing our Alderman, Debra Silverstein to make a more compelling case for needed public improvements, which together with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials she has brought to fruition. And it has helped us to establish meaningful relationships with those with whom we share our neighborhood. In unity there is strength.
Working beyond the “borders” within WRP has been a key to our success.
We also have benefited from looking outward, working beyond our neighborhood and political borders. Engaging in collective action with the Peterson Park Improvement Association. Meeting with the past and current mayors of Lincolnwood, Jerry Turry and Barry Bass and other Village officials. Connecting with key leadership in Skokie, including Chief of Police Anthony Scarpelli.
Mariyana Spyropoulos, President, and David St Pierre, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have been invaluable partners in enabling us to overcome roadblocks to neighborhood improvement. Kurt Summers, Treasurer of the City of Chicago, with his priority of visiting every neighborhood, helped us during his time in WRP to extend our reach into the community.
And this is only a sampling of the other city, state and national elected and appointed officials with whom we have engaged.
Borders can either be barriers to collaborative action, or they can provide a new vantage point for broadening perspective and enhancing cooperation.
While the name Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park may convey to some that we work in isolation as a Jewish organization that is constrained by our location within the city of Chicago, we have demonstrated that achieving our full potential requires breaking down the barriers that divide us.
Let us know what’s on your mind by responding to this email or giving me a call. Feedback is always appreciated.
Friends and Neighbors,
Every year, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago runs a summer internship program for local students who are captivated by Jewish community building and are interested in developing their own professional portfolio. The students who are selected to participate after a highly competitive application process are assigned to work with agencies and organizations affiliated with JUF. For the first time, the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park was partnered with a Lewis summer intern, Chani Morgenstern.
The Annual Meeting of the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park will take place on:
Monday, July 17, 2017
7:30 PM at the Bernard Horwich JCC
3003 W Touhy Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
We have invited Alderman Debra Silverstein to report to us on her priorities for the coming year. We also will be hearing a report from Edin Seferovic, the Executive Director of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce on the Chamber’s economic development agenda in our neighborhood.
Finally we will hear a report from our Nominating Committee on recommendations for Board membership and officers for the coming year as well as reports from our Executive Director, Shalom Klein and myself.
An annual report is always an occasion for stock-taking. A look back to the previous year and an articulation of plans for the future.
We should feel satisfaction at last year’s accomplishments. A new park that is under construction at Devon & McCormick that will transform a once squalid site into a new gem for our community.
Implementation plans for a new facility for the Northtown Library scheduled to open in December, 2018.
The Magenta Sister Stores prospering at the corner of Pratt & Kedzie.
We had a positive role in all of those steps forward.
Nevertheless, the key to success is not to dwell unnecessarily on past achievements but, rather to envision what comes next and to establish new goals for the future.
I believe that our agenda going forward must include a redoubled effort to fill additional empty storefronts and to improve existing businesses. With the proven Magenta model, we should attempt to find other home-based businesses whose owners might see the wisdom of following in their footsteps. Working with Alderman Silverstein and the Chamber we can address zoning code violations, thus making the neighborhood more attractive to new businesses.
Finally, while most of us are personally invested in WRP, maintaining our residences, shuls and communal agencies, we need to come together as a community to better utilize the public spaces that are available to us. Lerner Park’s new playground that the Alderman advocated for and has brought to fruition is a magnet for families with children, but the rest of the park is empty most of the time. There are not even enough comfortable benches for people to gather. What about programming and improvements comparable to what exists at other parks? One look at Indian Boundary Park, Peterson Park and others will make it clear what Lerner Park lacks. A fully developed park is a magnet for community building. Lerner Park can and should be that magnet.
I am sure that many of you have additional ideas for us. Let me know what’s on your priority list.
The West Ridge Chamber of Commerce has announced the selection of Edin Seferovic as its new Executive Director. Edin will fill the vacancy that Barb Singal left when she stepped down this past fall to focus on her business consultancy, Ease the Day. The selection was made after a search and selection process that was conducted by the Chamber board of directors, which I am honored to serve on. Barb continues to serve on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park and her insight, perspective and contributions have made a substantial impact on our neighborhood.
Edin’s background includes having run his own market entry consultancy, which focuses on establishing investments and trade between the United States and Southeast Europe. He spent five years as Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Montenegro, where he developed that organization into the largest and most influential foreign business association in Montenegro. Prior to moving to Montenegro he was Director of Marketing and Business Development for Prairie Management & Development, a Chicago-based real estate holding company. His resume also includes time as an Aide to Alderman Mary Ann Smith of Chicago’s 48th Ward.
Since his hire, Edin and I have met several times and have continued working on several projects that are of shared interest to the Chamber of Commerce and JCCWRP.
Welcome aboard, Edin! We look forward to working with you.
ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL; THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW – Shabbat Message from JCCWRP President, Howard M. Rieger
Late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill could have been looking at the opportunity for impact we currently have in West Rogers Park when he coined the now-famous dictum: “All politics is local.”
Just this past Monday, Alderman Debra Silverstein convened a well-attended community meeting to introduce plans for the new state-of-the-art public library with 30 senior housing apartments to be built on the northwest corner of Pratt and Western. West Rogers Park is one of three city neighborhoods slated to receive a new library through a Chicago Public Library-Chicago Housing Authority co-venture, and WRP is the first of the three slated for actual development.
Ald. Silverstein acknowledged the important role played by the members of the community who collected more than 2000 signatures on a petition in support of a new library. JCCWRP is proud to be a founding member of the LEARN coalition that coordinated this effort.
As the project moves forward, many issues need to be resolved: provision for adequate parking; criteria for resident selection; nearby commercial development to accommodate residents; design, safety and environmental concerns for the new structure, and design and programming for the library itself.
We will remain an active member of LEARN to ensure that the needs of our community are met.
Can one voice affect such an outcome? Doubtful. Can many speaking out collectively make an impact? Undeniable.
Ald. Silverstein emphasized that future community meetings will be called to solicit input. Your attendance is crucial. Bring your friends, relatives and colleagues with you.
In the long run, becoming activists on behalf of our community is the most important voter turnout all.
As the Cubs brilliantly demonstrated — in addition to mazal — winning takes teamwork.
Cubs President Theo Epstein said yesterday: “If you have people trying to grab credit, people trying to deflect blame, it’s usually not going to work too well over the long haul.”
While there can be no final victory to our mission, we should feel gratified that our ability to coalesce a significant part of the community has backed up Alderman Debra Silverstein’s efforts to bring a beautiful park, with a bridge linking the recreation trails on the west and east side of the North Shore Channel, to Devon & McCormick in 2017, and a new Chicago Public Library to Pratt and Western.
Shalom Klein and I met with the Alderman last week and reiterated our commitment to work with her on park improvements and library planning and to assist in any other way we can to be a force for ongoing neighborhood improvement.
Teamwork will ensure that the longest-standing Jewish community in Chicago will be here for decades to come.