Lynne Honickman Grants $100,000 for Matching Donations to CeaseFirePA

Honickman donation to CeaseFirePA announced at City Hall

Honickman donation to CeaseFirePA announced.

With a $100,000 challenge grant to CeaseFirePA, Lynne Honickman, founder and president of The Honickman Foundation and a board member of CeaseFirePA, is supporting communities calling for an end to gun violence. The foundation’s grant was publicly announced at a ceremony at City Hall attended by Honickman, Governor Ed Rendell, Councilman Darrell Clarke and executive director of CeaseFirePA, Shira Goodman. [Read more…]

Standing With Las Vegas

A vigil is being held to remember those lost, injured and impacted by the tragedy in Las Vegas. Mayor Kenney as well as other elected officials and faith leaders will call for unity against hate and gun violence.

For more information, contact Adam Kessler, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, at 215-832-0651 or at akessler@jewishphilly.org.

Panel on Gun Violence Prevention

CeaseFirePA and Old York Road Temple Beth Am are hosting a panel discussion about gun violence and gun violence prevention, focusing on how citizens can get involved in this critical work.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro will offer the opening remarks, followed by the keynote speech, which will be presented by CeaseFirePA’s Shira Goodman. There will be a panel discussion with the following panel members: State Sen. Art Haywood, State Rep. Madeleine Dean, former Abington Police Chief Bill Kelly, and Dorothy Johnson-Speight of Mothers in Charge.

Obama Takes Action On Gun Violence

Obama announced a package of Executive Actions aimed at fighting gun violence by strengthening and expanding the background check system to cover more sales, ensuring the the system has good records, and implementing new regulations and procedures to curtail trafficking and the illegal gun trade.

Complete transcript follows the video below.
[Read more…]

Eliminating Background Checks Puts Guns in Wrong Hands

handgun_sales[1](CeasefirePA) Last April, State Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) introduced legislation that would eliminate the state background check system.

Do you know what happened with the Charleston shooter’s background check? Did he pass it? Did he fail?

This is what happened: The background check was never completed. Most background checks take just minutes for an approval or denial to register. But some take a bit longer, and under federal law, if a clear answer does not come back in three days, the seller can sell the gun.

Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) allows extra time for a background check to be completed. The default is to protect safety, not to let a sale go through in the absence of a completed check.

PICS and the federal system work in tandem to keep Pennsylvania safe. We are fortunate to have this system in Pennsylvania. But the gun lobby does not like it, and is pushing a bill that would eliminate it.

Moving forward with this means putting guns in the hands of people who are dangerous. As we saw with the tragedy in Charleston, allowing sales to go forward without a completed check can be a death sentence for mothers, fathers and children.

Woman One Honors Philanthropist Lynne Honickman

This year's Woman One award-winner is the philanthropist and crusader Lynne Honickman.

Lynn Yeakel, director of Drexel’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership; Lynne Honickman, and Dr. Daniel Schidlow, Dean of the Drexel College of Medicine.

For the thirteenth year, Drexel University’s College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership bestowed its Woman One award on a community leader recently at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. This year’s Woman One award-winner is the philanthropist and crusader Lynne Honickman, who, with her husband Harold Honickman and The Honickman Foundation and its affiliate, The Honickman Charitable Trust, are dedicated to supporting projects that promote the arts, education, health, social change and heritage. Lynne Honickman was recognized for her dedication to Project H.O.M.E. and its Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Labs; for her founding of Moms Against Guns and her merger with CeaseFire PA, working to end violence; for her dedication to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including the Honickman Photography Gallery, and myriad other projects supported by Lynne and her foundation.

Dianne Semingson, Laurada Byers, Stephanie Naidoff and (seated) Suzanne Roberts. photo by Bonnie Squires

Several of the former Woman One award-winners were present to welcome Lynne Honickman to their ranks. Seen here are Dianne Semingson, Laurada Byers, Stephanie Naidoff and (seated) Suzanne Roberts.

The annual reception and award ceremony raises funds for scholarships for women medical school students.

Lynn Yeakel, director of Drexel’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership, announced that $500,000 had been raised for the scholarship fund at this Woman One event. Among the beneficiaries of Honickman’s expertise and generosity who spoke about her amazing efforts were Dr. Daniel Schidlow, Dean of the Drexel College of Medicine; Sister Mary Scullion, founder of Project H.O.M.E., and Shira Goodman,executive director of CeaseFire PA.

A number of medical school women students were presented, all of whom receive scholarships through the Woman One program.

All photos by Bonnie Squires.

Adele Schaeffer and Carol Fitzgerald

Attending the Woman One award ceremony in support of their friend and honoree Lynne Honickman were Adele Schaeffer and Carol Fitzgerald.

The Honorable Constance Williams and Judge Marjorie O. Rendell  know how important is Lynne Honickman's support for the arts in the region.

The Honorable Constance Williams and Judge Marjorie O. Rendell know how important is Lynne Honickman’s support for the arts in the region.

David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, and his wife Rhonda.

David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, and his wife Rhonda were among the attendees.

Steve Shller, Esq., and his wife Sandy Shellter, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.

Among those gathered to congratulate Mrs. Honickman were Steve Sheller, Esq., and his wife Sandy Sheller, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.

Margie Honickman and Lisa Vetri Furman

Margie Honickman and Lisa Vetri Furman.

 Dean Schidlow congratulates Lynne Honickman and her husband Harold Honickman.

Dean Schidlow congratulates Lynne Honickman and her husband Harold Honickman.

Kansas City Shooting Should Get Everyone Worried


Violence strikes Village Shalom: The Helzberg Campus for Jewish Living in Kansas City suburb Leawood, KS.

— by Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA

This week will add a new tragedy to its list of anniversaries: Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Kansas City.  

But the targeted locations, a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish Retirement Home; and an attack fueled by racism and anti-semitism, do not mean that only some of us need worry: Two of the victims were not Jewish — just folks who came to participate in an activity at a place open to and serving an entire community.

Already it is clear that at least two major forces were at play in Kansas City: the shooter was filled with hate, and he had access to guns despite a serious criminal history involving hate crimes, firearms and other weapons.  

More after the jump.


Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.

None of us are safe until all of us are safe.

We all have the right to go to school, to the store, or to the movies, free from the threats of violence and danger. We must work together to protect that right and to restore our freedom to live in safety and peace.

Passover and Easter mark transformative moments of hope, renewal and awakening. They tell stories of people building into movements and nations.  

As you celebrate with your family, please commit to help rebuild our nation — into a land where we can live, work, play and pray in freedom and safety.

From Frustration to Inspiration: Events Against Gun Violence in Pa.

— by Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA

Two weeks ago, two teenagers were shot at the Delaware Valley Charter High School in Philadelphia. On the same day’s night, two gun murders occurred in Southwest Philadelphia, blocks and minutes apart.

And you may not have even heard about those incidents, because as a society, we are becoming numb. It is just “more of the same.” But for the victims and their loved ones, this is far from normal, acceptable or routine.

Three days later, I had the honor of joining City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and more than 100 residents of Southwest Philadelphia in a march against gun violence between the sites of the two murders.

As we took back those streets and, in the words of one of the pastors who addressed the crowd, “made the ground and atmosphere holy with our lives and will to live,” I was inspired.  

Even the mothers of the two most recent victims came to stand with their neighbors and proclaim that “enough is enough.” Their strength and the determination of their neighbors is shared by people all over Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh, a similar rally was held two days earlier to call for justice for a baby who was shot late last spring.  

More after the jump.
The recurring incidents must not dampen our resolve. We are right to keep fighting, especially to keep guns off our college and school campuses.

We are on the right path, and we will succeed.


See more US News from ABC|ABC World News

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual campaign that was begun in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to connect battered-women’s advocates who were working to end violence against women and children.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has scheduled a series of special events this month across the state.

Girls Achieve Grapeness

Jewish Women International (JWI), the leading Jewish organization working to end domestic violence and empower women and girls, worked with OPI to create the limited-edition nail polish ─ which is purple, the color of the movement against domestic violence ─ to support its programs that empower girls and women to be safe and independent. OPI manufactured and donated 10,000 bottles of the custom nail color, and the sorority Sigma Delta Tau will distribute the polish through its 65 chapters on college campuses across the country including the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State and Rutgers (New Brunswick and Camden).

More after the jump.
“Girls Achieve Grapeness is a statement color – and that statement is that girls can and will achieve great things. At the same time, it’s helping to fund JWI projects that give girls the resources to do just that,” said Lori Weinstein, executive director of JWI. “We are excited to be working with OPI and SDT, both longstanding partners of JWI, to provide a beautiful, high-quality product with such a noble mission.”

“OPI is excited to be a part of this winning partnership. Thousands of women and girls across the country will be wearing an OPI color that stands for the greatness that girls can achieve when they are given the tools for self-sufficiency and self-esteem,” said Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice-president and artistic director of OPI Products, Inc. “People use nail color to express who they are; this color makes the statement that girls can be anyone, and accomplish anything.”

“I am very proud of Sigma Delta Tau’s partnership with Jewish Women International. Girls Achieve Grapeness is a fabulous way for college women to make a visible statement against domestic violence,” said National Sigma Delta Tau President Michelle Carlson. “JWI continues to provide relevant programming and opportunities for young women to have an active role in raising awareness on key issues affecting the lives of women everywhere, furthering SDT’s mission of empowering women.”  

In addition to SDT’s distribution on college campuses, the polish will be available at JWI events throughout the month of October.  

CeaseFirePA Executive Director Speaks to JSPAN Board


Last September, Sami Rahamim’s father was killed in a mass shooting in Minneapolis. Now, he’s doing everything he can to reduce gun violence and keep our communities safer.

He’s hoping his story will help inspire action from Congress — and from people like you.

Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA, addressed the JSPAN Board of Directors at its February monthly meeting.

JSPAN Vice President Burt Siegel, who also chairs the organization’s Gun Control Policy Center, introduced the guest speaker. JSPAN is currently working in coalition with CeaseFirePA and other organizations to press our legislators to adopt better gun controls.

Goodman, an attorney, assumed the position of CeaseFirePA Executive Director in October 2012, after serving for three years as Deputy Director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. During his introduction, Siegel referred to a recent piece in The Jewish Daily Forward reporting that the National Rifle Association had compiled a list of its “enemies,” and that the list “reads like a Jewish Who’s Who” and included individuals, organizations, media outlets and corporations that have provided support to anti-gun organizations, including the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith and Hadassah.

More after the jump.
Goodman began her presentation with a brief overview of CeaseFirePA’s mission, but quickly focused on immediate policy prescriptions including what’s “doable.” She stressed the importance of contacting representatives at both state and federal levels. Goodman reported that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane had recently announced that she had successfully negotiated and signed an agreement with the state of Florida to close the “Florida loophole,” which has allowed Pennsylvania gun owners to obtain nonresident permits from Florida to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania.

Goodman also told the Board how important it is that the background check system for buying guns be improved. She stated that Pennsylvania is ahead of the curve in this regard because it is now sharing the names of people with a history of mental illness with the national background-check system that would prevent them from purchasing guns. However, she also noted that the state has failed to participate fully in the national background-check system. Goodman stated that it should also be mandatory that all lost and stolen guns be reported and that CeaseFirePA had been advocating for the passage of state legislation on lost-and-stolen guns for several years.

Goodman said that several pieces of legislation intended to reduce gun violence will be introduced shortly both in Washington and Harrisburg and that she would make sure that JSPAN is kept informed about these developments. She reminded the board that the vast majority of Americans support background checks and ways to limit easy access to firearms, and that it is important that JSPAN and other organizations as well as individuals tell elected officials to take steps to reduce gun violence.