On Thursday, March 1st, AJC Chicago is hosting it's second annual Shushan Purim event, celebrating the diversity of the Jewish people. Shushan Purim, the historical day of celebration in the Persian city of Shushan, and Purim itself are the only holidays on the Jewish calendar that originate in the Diaspora. As such, join us for a celebration of the global diversity of the Jewish people and our own robust community here in Chicago.
The program will include a cocktail reception highlighting international Jewish cuisine and a panel discussion on "Jewish Diversity around the Globe," featuring distinguished panelists Gretchen Hammond, Marilyn Diamond, and Nissim Reuben, whose bios are featured below.
The event will take place at a convenient Lincoln Park Art Gallery with free parking. The cost for this evening program is $15 for general admission, and is complimentary for members of AJC's Marshall Society and National Leadership Council. RSVP's are required and space is limited. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Marilyn Diamond serves as the Honorary Consul of Morocco in Chicago. She earned an MA in Political Science from North-east Illinois University and an MA in Jewish Communal Studies from Spertus College of Judaica. She has played an active role at various Universities across Illinois and Chicago, predominantly lecturing in American Politics.
In addition to her diplomatic duties, Honorary Consul Diamond is passionate about working for charitable causes. As a Legislative Coordinator at the American Association of Ethiopian Jews, she established and organized a ‘Famine Relief Coalition’ for Ethiopia. She has also supervised the establishment of 20 schools in rural Ethiopia whilst a Project Manager for The Ann and Robert H Lurie Foundation. Honorary Consul Diamond continues to play an active role in a variety of different forums and councils. She is on the Editing Board for the National Strategy Forum, and she is Co-chair at the Chicago Casablanca Sister Cities International Program. In addition, she is an active member in the Explorers Club since 2002. She is both on the Board of Directors and Executive Board for The Chicago Council of Global Affairs. Furthermore, Honorary Consul Diamond is a successful Public Policy Columnist for The Jackson Hole News.
A native of Manchester England, Gretchen Rachel Hammond arrived in the United States at age 18 as part of a foreign exchange program. Since then, she has since worked as a screenwriter, film critic for FOX 59 and WXNT radios in Indianapolis and as a development officer for theatres, social justice and educational organizations.
Most recently, she spent four years as a senior reporter for Windy City Times in Chicago. Her investigative pieces and features led to three consecutive annual state Lisagor Award nominations and a win in 2015. In 2016, she was honored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) for her investigative piece on LGBT detainees held in Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Outside of her work, Hammond received notoriety last year for donating a kidney to one of Windy City Times' readers.
On June 24, 2017 Hammond broke the news that three women flying Jewish Pride flags festooned with the Star of David were forced by organizers to leave Chicago’s Dyke March—setting off a massive news story and a national conversation about antisemitism on the left.. Two weeks later, Gretchen was reassigned to non-journalistic duties at the paper. In August she was hired as a Contributing Writer for Tablet Magazine under a one-year fellowship.
Nissim B. Reuben, a member of India’s small but vibrant Jewish community, is the Assistant Director of AJC's Asia Pacific Institute (API) and works on building relationships between the U.S., Israel, and Asian countries and between the Jewish and Asian American diaspora communities in the United States. Nissim started working for AJC in 2014 as the in-house India expert, with vast experience working with Indian diplomats, policy experts, congressional staffers and leaders from the Indian-American community.
Nissim is based in Washington, DC, and drawing on his unique personal background of being both Indian/Asian and Jewish, and coupled with his professional commitment and personal passion, organizes unique programs in the DC area and around the country with AJC regional offices. He primarily focuses on networking Indian/Asian and Jewish American leaders, activists and students in the arenas of Capitol Hill, commerce, culture and campuses.
He has coordinated regular AJC co-sponsored programs highlighting U.S.-India-Israel relations on Capitol Hill and cultural forums such as helping the Embassy of India celebrate Indian-Jewish style Hanukkah receptions at the Indian Ambassador’s residence since 2002. Additionally, he has organized the inaugural Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum exhibit in Washington, DC as well as the inaugural screening of the documentary “Survival in Shanghai” where Members of Congress and Israeli and Chinese Deputy Ambassadors had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions.
In India, Nissim worked as Principal Commercial Officer of the British and Israeli diplomatic missions. In early 2001, he played a vital role in the success of the 300 member Israel Defense Forces Field Hospital Mission sent to Bhuj, Gujarat State, India in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. He holds an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and a B.A/M.A. in Economics from St. Xavier's College/Gujarat University in India. He lives in Germantown, MD with his wife and son.