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defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

About JewsOnFirst.org

We launched JewsOnFirst.org in October 2005 because we wanted to oppose the growing strength of the Christian right and the accelerating pace of its theocratic agenda. (To see our original home page, click here.)

We knew there had to be thousands of Jews around the country who were already working hard to protect the First Amendment or were seeking a way to get involved in stopping theocracy. And we surmised that many of those who were engaged in resistance to Christianization, or were offended enough to get engaged in it, were looking for encouragement, for resources and for a supportive community.

So we started a website, started assembling resources, and started reaching out to let people know that we're here. Now, we're hoping that you'll let us know that you're out there and, if it will help, let us tell your story. After a while, we hope, we'll know people all over the country who are defending the First Amendment and we can start building a network that can enhance all our efforts. That's our vision for JewsOnFirst. We're looking forward to working with you.

About our funding. So far, we've been too busy building the website to write funding proposals or do fundraising. Instead, we're relying on you, our visitors and community members, to keep the project going by giving multiples of $18, which is "Chai," the Jewish word for life. Please click here to make a secure credit card donation. JewsOnFirst is a project of HaMifgash, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization; your donations are tax deductible. Thank you.

About the founders of JewsOnFirst,, Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak and Jane Hunter. We are veterans of political work in the Jewish and general community. Rabbi Beliak has been involved with social justice activism throughout his 30 years as a campus and congregational rabbi. He has served as vice chairperson of the American Rabbinic Network for Ethiopian Jews, and is currently a member of the board of the Progressive Jewish Alliance. Jane Hunter, a lifelong political activist on both foreign and domestic policy issues, has worked as a journalist and currently works as a researcher for a labor union.

Together we are co-directors of the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem, www.StopMoskowitz.org, which works to stop Irving Moskowitz's use of gambling profits from Hawaiian Gardens, California to undermine efforts at Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Contact us: Please email us at catcher@JewsOnFirst.org or send an email from our website (click here). Or, if you prefer, write us (or send a check). The address is:

JewsOnFirst
P.O. Box 2283
Rockville MD 20847

JewsOnFirst in the news

Growing Acceptance Seen Of Fiery Pastor
Jewish mainstream rushing to embrace Hagee and his controversial brand of pro-Israel activism.

James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, May 4, 2007 This report quotes JewsOnFirst.org co-director Haim Dov Beliak

Rabbi Jack Moline is a Jewish centrist in almost every respect. He is leader in the Conservative movement, a crusader against intermarriage and a fierce opponent of the religious right’s growing influence on American life.

And the Washington-area rabbi is on the board of the Interfaith Alliance, a relatively new group that has taken the lead in holding the line on church-state questions. Continue.

Christian video game creates a stir
'Left Behind,' a virtual battle for the souls of unbelievers, draws criticism for its 'us vs. them' view of the world.

By Jane Lampman, The Christian Science Monitor, December 21, 2006

Lampman reports on a range of critics of the game, including CrossWalk America and JewsOnFirst. She interviewed Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst's co-director:

Some Jews are also troubled by the game. "Jews are often instrumental in rapture theology - war in Israel, Jews converting to Christianity, all other Jews disappearing in the third act of a four-act play," says Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, of Jews On First, a First Amendment watchdog group. "What happens if no rapture or Second Coming occurs? The classical response in history has been to blame the Jews for somehow foiling everybody's hopes and plans." Jews On First has created a petition opposing the game on its website for people of all faiths to sign; some 500 have done so in the first few days, the rabbi says.

Please click here for the report.

JewsOnFirst.org Continues Fight Against Aggressive Christian Activities

by Naomi Pfefferman, Jewish Journal (Los Angeles), September 8, 2006

Several months ago, activist Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak learned of a Jewish family allegedly forced to flee its Delaware town after protesting aggressive Christian activities in the public schools.

The Los Angeles rabbi is co-founder of JewsOnFirst.org, perhaps the only Web site exclusively devoted to the Jewish take on separation of church and state (and a counterpart to Christian efforts such as Leftcross.com). Its mission, according to the site: "Defending the First Amendment against the Christian Right, because if Jews don't speak up, they'll think we don't care."

One goal is to champion cases largely ignored by the mainstream press.

Thus Beliak zeroed in on the Delaware family -- Mona and Marco Dobrich and their two children -- who had filed a lawsuit along with a family known only as the "Does" about a year ago. Their complaint alleges that teachers preached Christianity, that Bible Club students received special privileges, and that a local minister prayed for one of the children to accept Jesus at her high school graduation, among other charges. The Dobrichs moved to Wilmington, Del., when the suit allegedly made them "the focus of hostilities from neighbors and local media," Beliak said. Continue

Jews rip Kline for re-election 'church efforts'

By Rick Hellman, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, September 29, 2006

The Chronicle quotes extensively from JewsOnFirst's report on Attorney General Phill Kline's memo specifying how his campaign would create political operations in Kansas churches. It also quotes Rabbi Scott White of Congregation Ohev Sholom criticizing the partisanship of what Kline says in his memo that churches should do for his reelection campaign. Please click here.

IRSD prayer suit draws plenty of attention

By Jonathan Starkey, Coastal Point (Sussex County, Delaware), July 21, 2006 Staff Reporter

Nearly two years after the Jewish Dobrich family complained about Indian River School District’s religiously “exclusive” environment, bloggers, civil rights organizations and discussion forums on the Internet have cast a national spotlight on the First Amendment case the Dobriches filed in federal court in early 2005.

A civil-rights Web site called jewsonfirst.org first posted a story about the Dobriches’ situation on June 29, which has sparked the national interest that at least one school board member finds puzzling. Continue

(Click here for our June 28th report on the school district's persecution of the Dobrich and "Doe" families. Click here for our July follow-up report.)

Church-state debate on-line
Local activist co-founds First Amendment Web site

by Paula Amann, News Editor, Washington Jewish Week, July 19, 2006

Off the radar of major news media, a Jewish family in rural Delaware sues a local school board over alleged preference given to Christian prayer, texts and youth clubs in the schools.

In the aftermath, local hostility forces Marco and Mona Dobrich and their two children to leave the Indian River area for Wilmington.

Enter Jews on First.

This Web site with a First Amendment focus has picked up on local news coverage of the unfolding legal case and championed the Dobrich family. Continue

Considering the First Amendment on the Fourth of July

by Lila Hanft, Cleveland Jewish News, July 3, 2006

Lila Hanft writes that JewsOnFirst.org "provides dozens of reminders of why Jews — more than other Americans — should care about what happens to [our] basic freedoms. And she interviews JewsOnFirst co-director Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, who says that, as a religious Jew, “while we are a people in exile, we have to be vigilant about the protection of not only our rights but the rights of other minorities. It’s an important part of being a Diaspora Jew.” Please click here to read the article.

Activists Prepare for New Church-State Battles

By E.J. Kessler, the Forward via AStandForJustice.org, March 17, 2006

..."JewsonFirst — the left-wing Web site — was launched precisely to expose and counter the people who will be appearing at the Vision America conference. The site is the work of Jane Hunter, a one-time Pacifica Radio journalist and longtime leftist organizer, and Rabbi Chaim Dov Beliak, rabbi of Temple Beth El of Whittier, Calif. " Click here

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