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Strategic Directions for Jewish Life: A Call to Action

Marking the 2nd anniversary of the release of the 2013 Pew Research Center's Portrait of Jewish Americans, a highly ...

Marking the 2nd anniversary of the release of the 2013 Pew Research Center's Portrait of Jewish Americans, a highly diverse group of thought leaders from all around the United States has framed a "Statement on Jewish Vitality," advocating strategic responses to respond to the challenges to the Jewish future. American Jewry now stands at a crossroads. Our choices are stark: we either accept as inevitable the declining numbers of engaged Jews, or we work to expand the community and improve the quality of Jewish life going forward. Learn more here.

Strategic Directions for Jewish Life:  A Call to Action, October 1, 2015, eJP

Innovation and the Jewish Family Services Network

The Journal of Jewish Communal Service published their Winter/Spring 2013 edition recently and featured "Innovat...

The Journal of Jewish Communal Service published their Winter/Spring 2013 edition recently and featured "Innovation and the Jewish Family Services Network" by AJFCA's Lee Sherman and Lisa Budlow. Member agencies should recieve a copy of the journal. Please share your feedback once you've read the article.

The Love And Fear In A Mother's Hug

"Your soul is pure - it has already earned its place in heaven," the mother said, and then followed her wor...

"Your soul is pure - it has already earned its place in heaven," the mother said, and then followed her words with a long, still hug - two souls grasping on to each other - not wanting to let go.

A powerful, meaningful moment for Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, TX follows Inclusion Shabbat at her synagogue, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, during Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Continue reading here.

The Love And Fear In A Mother's Hug, March 5, 2013, The Jewish Week, by Linda Burger
 

How Purim Teaches Us About Healthy Relationships

Just in time for your Purim celebrations, JWI is re-issuing its Purim study guide about women, relationships, and Jew...

Just in time for your Purim celebrations, JWI is re-issuing its Purim study guide about women, relationships, and Jewish texts, which is designed to spark new conversations by offering a fresh look at old texts. Rethinking Purim takes a thematic approach to the age old story of Purim combining ancient text of the megillah and midrash with modern commentary to encourage conversations about relationships. Download the guides here.

New Jersey Agencies Continue to Help One Another and the Community

AJFCA staff participated in a Hurricane Sandy relief effort this past Sunday. Lee Sherman, Megan Manelli and Jennie G...

AJFCA staff participated in a Hurricane Sandy relief effort this past Sunday. Lee Sherman, Megan Manelli and Jennie Gates Beckman joined Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey as the Cherry Hill community joined forces; donating and distributing more than 60 cars' worth of goods to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County in Margate, New Jersey.

AJFCA CEO Lee Sherman and Jen Weiss, CEO of Samost JFCS and the Federation of Southern New Jersey load donated supplies.

Volunteers arrived at Samost JFCS at 8am on Sunday. Men, women and children loaded donated goods into car after car. Eager supporters drove approximately one hour from Cherry Hill to Atlantic City to deliver food, clothing and supplies to those still in need.

In addition to the cars full of goods, volunteers from both agencies unloaded a 50+ foot truck full of donations from Massachusetts. JFS Atlantic County volunteers have been staffing a donation center since the storm hit. Upon arrival the donation center was nearly empty. Just a few hours later the space was filled with canned goods, diapers and cleaning supplies.

The donation center has been operating Monday-Friday from 11:00am-2:00pm. The Red Cross distributes individual meals to 400 people, while JFS distributes supplies to more than 150 families a day.

Wexner Field Fellowship

The Wexner Field Fellowship Program is an opportunity for promising full-time Jewish communal professionals who are s...

The Wexner Field Fellowship Program is an opportunity for promising full-time Jewish communal professionals who are seeking professional development. In partnership with the Jim Joseph Foundation, three Wexner Field Fellows will be accepted as part of incoming classes of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program. These individuals will receive financial reimbursement toward professional development, while also benefiting from the cohort learning experience of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars program and continuing to work full-time. They will become part of a diverse professional community that encourages learning about one's self as a leader through interactions with others with different points of view, while also pursuing their own personal professional development plan. Being part of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program extends well beyond the 4-year leadership program. The extensive alumni network serves as a professional community throughout fellows' careers. Learn more about the eligibility requirements and awards, and/or submit a pre-application for the Field Fellowship, here.

Global Day of Jewish Learning

The Global Day of Jewish Learning brings the Jewish people together once a year to celebrate our shared Jewish text t...

The Global Day of Jewish Learning brings the Jewish people together once a year to celebrate our shared Jewish text through community based learning.The guiding values of the Global Day of Jewish Learning are: fostering Jewish unity, empowering individuals through increased Jewish knowledge, and creating meaningful shared experiences.
 
Global Day 2012
On Sunday November 18, 2012, 300 Jewish communities across the world will join together for the third annual Global Day of Jewish Learning. The theme of this year's Global Day and curriculum is Jewish concepts of blessing and gratitude. Click here to register your community today.
 

Rethinking Sukkot: Women, Relationships & Jewish Texts

Just in time for your sukkah dinners, JWI is releasing the third in a series of study guides related to women, relati...

Just in time for your sukkah dinners, JWI is releasing the third in a series of study guides related to women, relationships, and Jewish texts. JWI envisions women, men, families, friends, study partners, and others sitting around tables in beautifully decorated sukkahs, eating delicious food, and engaged in discussions based on the texts and conversation starters in the guide.

Sukkot occurs as the weather is changing and we feel the beauty of nature. We enjoy eating outside during the first days of fall and welcoming guests for a festive meal before the weather turns cold. The holiday almost encourages us to reflect on the change in season and what change can mean to us. The guide explores several well known prayers and readings for Sukkot and starts conversations about the themes of inspiration, protection, and spiritual growth. It opens the door to discussions about healthy choices and meaningful relationships. It encourages reflection on whether or not we are making the best decisions for ourselves and our families.

These guides have been written by JWI's Clergy Task Force on Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community in order to encourage healthy relationships. JWI appreciate their contributions to the project and the opportunities it creates for thoughtful conversations. Their earlier Purim and Shavuot guides were widely used and are also available on the JWI website.

JWI encourages you to download the guide from their website, http://www.jwi.org/holidayguides, and explore the concept of sukkat shalom, a home of peace and security. JWI welcomes your comments and feedback.

Moishe House and Repair the World Partner to Open Service Oriented Houses

Following a national search for outstanding young leaders dedicated to serving those in need, Repair the World and Mo...

Following a national search for outstanding young leaders dedicated to serving those in need, Repair the World and Moishe House will open two Repair the World Moishe Houses to serve as communal residences for young adults in Detroit and Chicago. The houses will act as hubs for volunteer and service activity in each city as their residents engage local young people in addressing pressing social issues and humanitarian needs such as educational inequality, homelessness, poverty, hunger and domestic violence.
 
The collaboration enhances the Moishe House model with an increased service requirement, tapping into Repair the World's expertise in building effective service and Jewish ejp full logoservice-learning programs while also bolstering existing Repair the World service projects.

For each house, two groups of four residents will receive a modest rent subsidy and budget to build service-related programming for other Jews in their twenties, as they work to improve social conditions and then relate this volunteerism to their Jewish heritage, history and values. The residents are expected to move into the homes - which they are currently identifying - in August and begin programming by September 1, 2012.

The opening of Repair the World Moishe House represents a growing partnership between the two organizations who earlier this summer co-sponsored a Jewish service-learning retreat in Maryland focused on training Moishe House residents and community members across the country on methods by which to engage their peers in meaningful, effective service.

Moishe House and Repair the World Partner to Open Service Oriented Houses, August 9, 2012, eJP

Positive Relationship Between Canadian Jewish Social Service Agencies and Summer Camp

Jewish social service agencies in Canada play a role in encouraging the children of their clients to attend Jewish da...

Jewish social service agencies in Canada play a role in encouraging the children of their clients to attend Jewish day and overnight camps. Jewish Child and Family Service of Winnipeg fundraises specifically for the children in their care to be able to attend Jewish summer camps. In 2011 the agency spent nearly $25,000 on camping fees and related expenses for their foster children. Some of those funds are designated for one-to-one workers who help special needs children to have a successful camp experience. The agency also assists clients in paying for camping equipment such as sleeping bags and paddles for children attending Jewish day camps.

With generous funding from UJA Federation and some individual donors, JIAS Toronto sends over 100 Jewish children and youth to summer day camps, many of whom would otherwise not be able to experience this opportunity. In Ontario, Hamilton Jewish Social Services process "camperships" for the local Jewish camp and UJA Federation reimburses the camp to cover the cost of the camperships. In Calgary, Jewish Family Service help children attend Chabad camp with funds from private donors. Most Jewish camp goers in Calgary are subsidized by the Integrated Bursary Program. The community services program at Jewish Family Services of Edmonton has long served the function of assessing applicants for the Camp BB Riback and making recommendations to the camp director as to how much a family is able to pay. In Toronto, 330 children received camp subsidies in 2012 through Jewish Family & Child Service's summer camp program. This number includes 47 one-on-one workers who support children with special needs.

In addition to the obvious long-term benefits of children attending Jewish summer camps, there are short-term benefits such as respite for parents with special needs children and the opportunity to spend time running, swimming, playing and learning in our gorgeous natural environment and getting healthy! The very real prospect of decreased funding for these essential programs looms for all of us. Collectively, perhaps we can put out heads together and come up with some ideas to increase funding for these essential programs. Click here to learn more about Jewish summer camps and adult Jewish engagement.

A Continued Evolution in Jewish Peoplehood

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should W...

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should We Do Differently? - published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.]

In thinking about Jewish peoplehood in the 21st Century and comparing it to our past, there are several trends that clearly present themselves as major shifts in our community. Globalization, and the shrinking distance between cultures and countries along with the changing demographic trends of lifespan and stages, has deeply impacted the Jewish community. Although the core values and traditions of the Jewish people have stayed fairly consistent over the past few decades, the way that we connect and relate with one another has decidedly changed. As a result of this continual global evolution, the Jewish community must also adjust its approach to serving its constituents around the world. Despite a growing global population, the world is becoming a much smaller place. Whether considering online communication or increased travel, there is a permeating interconnectedness that is rapidly increasing, not just in person but also over the web. Further, demographic trends are shifting as people live longer and marry later than in previous generations, creating entirely new phases of life that provide a rich opportunity for promoting a deep and meaningful Jewish impact.

Click here
to learn about the three major components to nurturing Jewish peoplehood that we should all take into consideration when examining the current state of the Jewish community and its potential future directions.

A Continued Evolution in Jewish Peoplehood, July 3, 2012, eJP, by David Cygelman

Service as a Medium and a Message

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should W...

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should We Do Differently? - published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.]

Over the last 25 years, leaders of immersive Jewish service-learning programs have made a discovery: these programs - designed first and foremost to offer authentic service to those in need - also powerfully catalyze diverse, purpose-driven Jewish communities. Through Jewish service programs, Jews from very different backgrounds come together, often far from their homes, with a shared purpose of serving others. As the volunteers spend time in a host community, learning about underlying challenges, lending a hand, and being inspired by the ability of those facing great challenges to craft their own solutions, they experience the power of community and set about building it for themselves.

Repair the World partners with a wide range of service programs including AJFCA. Together, AJFCA andRepair the World Repair the World are implementing a joint initiative on engaging young Jews in service to the community.  This article by Ilana Aisen, Vice President of Repair the World, offers an interesting perspective on Jewish service learning, illustrating the importance of involving the community in volunteer efforts in order to have a fully positive effect on those serving and those served. As Repair the World's work to build and inspire a movement to make service an integral part of North American Jewish life continues, we are excited about the many important outcomes of Jewish service-learning programs, including the strengthening of Jewish Peoplehood.

Read Ilana's entire article here.

Service as a Medium and a Message, June 24, 2012, eJP, by Ilana Aisen

Peoplehood and Fragmentation

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should W...

[This essay is from The Peoplehood Papers, volume 8 - Nurturing Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st Century - What Should We Do Differently? - published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.]

Walk into most synagcenter for jewish peoplehood educationogues in North America today and you will find services for everyone: a tot Shabbat, a junior congregation, senior lunches, and latke and vodka programs for men in mid-life. They may not always be advertised within age brackets, but we all know who the target audience is. Sisterhoods have even been divided in some synagogues to cater to both young professionals/young mothers and older empty-nesters.

This is not only true for synagogues. Federations and JCCs create happy hours for their hip twenty-year-olds and gallery showings for those over 50. It's true that we've always had to market to specific populations to attract participants, but now we hardly have any programming meant to bring the entire community together. And this is not only true for institutional programming. Erica Brown, -in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has found it to be true in tejp full logohe socializing that takes place out of buildings. "We often have people around our Shabbat table who are 10-20 years younger or older, but are rarely invited to join families outside of our age range and if we are, it will be to those who are older than we are, not younger."

Read Peoplehood and Fragmentation to learn more about intergenerational planning and what is lost when millennials and baby-boomers aren't brought together to talk, debate and socialize.

Peoplehood and Fragmentation,June 17, 2012, eJP, by Erica Brown

2012 Jewish Communal Service Association Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 JCSA Young Pro Award, the 2012 Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Aw...


Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 JCSA Young Pro Award, the 2012 Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award, and the Norman Edell Scholarship. Please review requirements and download nomination materials for all awards here.
 

Energizing Jewish Identity and Sustaining Communities through Service Learning, Social Services, and Civic Engagement

The Quadrennial Conference of the World Council of Jewish Communal Service will be held in Jerusalem, June 24th-26th....

The Quadrennial Conference of the World Council of Jewish Communal Service will be held in Jerusalem, June 24th-26th. We are pleased to announce that AJFCA's President & CEO, Lee Sherman will be presenting a workshop with Dana Talmi of Yahel -Israel Service Learning, entitled "Energizing Jewish Identity and Sustaining Communities through Service Learning, Social Services, and Civic Engagement." In a recent survey, over 80% of American Jews stated that they consider social justice and caring for others as the key to their Jewish identity. This statistic illustrates the importance and timeliness of AJFCA's partnership with Repair the World which will provide the framework for the workshop.  Lee and Dana will discuss our joint effort to open doors into the Jewish community for young Jewish adults through volunteer opportunities in local Jewish social service agencies. The session will also explore the work of both organizations in Israel and North America and the great potential that such collaborations have for building a sustainable Jewish community. For further information, go to www.wcjcs.org.

The Establishment is Not an Idol

At the Jewish Futures Conference, Rabbi Laura Baum led a text study on Abraham and his bravery in smashing idols. At ...

At the Jewish Futures Conference, Rabbi Laura Baum led a text study on Abraham and his bravery in smashing idols. At the tables, participants were instructed to confide in each other: They were asked, "What are the idols in the Jewish community? What "idols" would you smash?" Esther Kustanowitz has already blogged some of the responses. Others can be found by searching #jewishfutures on Twitter.

According to Liz Fisher, Managing Director at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, as an educational exercise, the conversation was terrific. "It got people talking. It broke up the formality of the room." Rabbi Baum pushed attendees, and gave them space to vent their grievances.

But as a metaphor, idol-smashing falls apart for Liz. The idols mentioned - JCCs, synagogues, b'nai mitzvah, Federation - fall into the general category of "the establishment." Those things are not idols. Idols are worshiped with blind devotion. Idols are shells. Idols have no meaning. Idols are empty, and always were.

There is no question that the establishment needs to evolve. Read the entire article to learn more about Liz's thoughts on alleged idols:  federations and synagogues and the battle between "us and "them".

The Establishment is Not an Idol, June 8, 2012, eJP, by Liz Fisher

A Call for Jewish Innovation Month

In a seemingly parallel world to the political messes of recent months, a new world is being born right before our eyes:...

In a seemingly parallel world to the political messes of recent months, a new world is being born right before our eyes: a world born out of the visions of young Jewish social entrepreneurs around the world, over a hundred of which will be launching their ventures this June. So Ariel Beery, co-founder and co-director of the PresenTense Group, proposes to declare June Jewish Innovation Month. 

Starting on May 31st in Boston, six communities across North America - and five others worldwide - will host a total of eleven Launch Nights to showcase the 117 new Jewish social ventures that PresenTense partners have catalyzed over the past year. These 117 social ventures, in fields as diverse as education, social action, environmental programs and Israel education, will join the 153 community oriented start-ups PresenTense has helped launch over the past five years - 113 (or 74%) of which are still going in the present day. Many of these Jewish social entrepreneurs past and present, and the volunteers who helped them, will meet at the Schusterman Foundation's ROI Summit in Israel - yet another reason that June is a natural for Jewish Innovation Month.

Read the entire article to learn more about PresenTense, the 117 new ventures, and call for Jewish Innovation Month.

A Call for Jewish Innovation Month, May 15, 2012, eJP by Ariel Beery

ROI Community Gets Set to Rock and Roll in Jerusalem

The ROI Community of Jewish innovators will gather 150 dynamic young Jews from across the globe for its annual five-day ...

The ROI Community of Jewish innovators will gather 150 dynamic young Jews from across the globe for its annual five-day ROI Summit in Jerusalem, including first-timers from Bolivia, Iceland, Peru and Uganda. This gathering provides these future Jewish leaders with tools, support and the space they need to turn their ideas into innovative work that will change the face of Jewish life.

One hundred twenty new members were carefully selected from over 500 applicants, and hail from 26 countries. The newest ROIers represent a diverse cohort - in age, gender, geographic location, community involvement and area of expertise.

According to Lynn Schusterman, ROI Community's visionary founder, "The number and the quality of the applications we received for the 2012 ROI Summit were impressive and inspiring. I see great potential in these young Jewish activists, and the hundreds of others like them throughout the world, who are committing their time and extraordinary talent to help secure a relevant, meaningful and vibrant future for the Jewish people."

Learn more about ROI and the 2012 Summit here.

ROI Community Gets Set to Rock and Roll in Jerusalem, April 30, 2012, eJP

The World Council of Jewish Communal Services Announces their 12th Quadrennial Conference

The World Council of Jewish Communal Services (WCJCS) will hold its 12th Quadrennial Conference in Jerusalem June 24th-2...

The World Council of Jewish Communal Services (WCJCS) will hold its 12th Quadrennial Conference in Jerusalem June 24th-26th. Come and experience 3 days of exciting learning, sharing, networking and site-visit experiences with professional colleagues from Jewish communities around the world.

This conference's theme, "Energizing the Present, Envisioning the Future: Strengthening Jewish Community," will examine what Jewish communal professionals must do today to continue to engage members of their communities and the strategies that must be implemented today to ensure that tomorrow's Jewish community is strong and vibrant for future generations.

It isn't often that one has an opportunity to participate in a conference with other diverse Jewish professionals from so many other countries, and share similar concerns and challenges with them in professional tasks, while being enriched by new practice, new ideas and many new issues which relate to Israel and the Jewish world alike.

Another perk about this conference is that all WCJCS registrants have been invited to participate for free in the President of Israel's 4th "Facing Tomorrow" conference to take place June 19th-21st.

Learn more about the 12th World Council of Jewish Communal Services (WCJCS) Quadrennial Conference here.

Modern Day Haggadah Heroes: Moses

Each year during the Passover seders, we recite the ages-old story of the Jews' exodus from ancient Egypt - a tale which...

Each year during the Passover seders, we recite the ages-old story of the Jews' exodus from ancient Egypt - a tale which can seem far removed from our lives today. But each year, we also have the opportunity to breathe new life into the story as we join together to put ourselves in our ancestors' shoes, and make connections that help bring the story closer to our own reality.

In recent years, modern adaptations of the Ten Plagues have been created, additions (like oranges and olives) have been added to the seder plate and tons of versions of the classic Maxwell House Haggadah have been written. The Exodus story has provided endless inspiration. But what about the story's main characters?

Some serious game changers starred in the epic story of Passover, and we think they deserve some attention. So this year, Repair the World decided to have a little fun and explore modern day heroes - today's leaders who work tirelessly on behalf of others and tikkun olam - and see how they remind us of Moses, Miriam, and Aaron.

Read the remainder of the article to learn about our modern day Moses and Miriams. 

Modern Day Haggadah Heroes: Moses, April 3, 2012, Repair the World, by Leah Koenig

Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective

Peoplehood Philanthropy - Some Reflections on the State of the FieldIn cooperation with the Center for Jewish Peoplehood...

Peoplehood Philanthropy - Some Reflections on the State of the Field

In cooperation with the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, eJewish Philanthropy has complied a series of articles entitled The Peoplehood Papers: Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective. This edition of the Peoplehood Papers is dedicated to exploring the role philanthropy plays, and can play, in reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood. The authors of the articles in this series represent a sample of the largest ancenter for jewish peoplehood educationd most active funders and organizations in the area of Jewish community, education and welfare in Canada, Europe, Israel and the United States.

In the series introduction, authors Shlomi Ravid and Ezra Kopelwitz observe:

Peoplehood is clearly a topic of rising concern and gaining momentum among Jewish philanthropists and communal organizations. Over the past several years, a shift can be observed from a focus on welfare and educational services to individual Jews or the support of ejewish philanthropycommunities in need to a reframing of these same issues through the collective prism. Jewish philanthropies are paving the way to a new synthesis between individualistic and pluralistic expressions of Judaism and the collective's voice. They are also enabling younger generations to seek meaning and purpose in the Jewish collective enterprise of the future.

Linked here is the entire introductory article, which includes summaries of all of the articles, full versions of which will be published at eJewish Philanthropy in the coming weeks.

Reinvigorating Jewish Peoplehood: The Philanthropic Perspective,March 18, 2012 by eJP 

On Generosity and Giving

One morning a man came down the crowded subway, collecting money for the homeless. Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, Executive Direc...

One morning a man came down the crowded subway, collecting money for the homeless. Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality has seen him before; this is part of his regular beat. He usually ends his pitch by reminding the passengers that homelessness doesn't only happen to "others." A lost job, a house fire, a death in the family can be enough to tip the balance. He is pretty persuasive and more people give to him than to some of the other people asking for money in the New York subway.

Rabbi Goldstein writes, "I wonder what it is about this man that makes him such an effective tzedakah collector. Is it because, unlike other panhandlers, he is asking on behalf of other people? Or is it because he taps in to the underlying worry inside many subway passengers: could I become homeless?  I suspect that the latter reason is more likely." We all know that fear is a strong motivating factor for many kinds of actions. It is not surprising that the man on the subway addressed the nervousness among the passengers. What is surprising - and lovely - is that he helped them turn that anxiety into generosity.

But part of Rabbi Goldstein wondered: "How much would he collect if he appealed to generosity born of a sense of abundance instead of a sense of scarcity? What if he asked people to consider their blessings, the daily miracles that allowed them to leave their apartments with coats and shoes, get on the subway and have a place to go? What if he asked them to give because of a full heart of gratitude?"

Learn more about Rabbi Goldstein's thoughts on generosity and giving
.

On Generosity and Giving, March 11, 2012, eJP, by Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Empowering a New Generation of Young Jewish Women

Jewish Women International (JWI) is set to launch an innovative new venture: a professional leadership network for young...

Jewish Women International (JWI) is set to launch an innovative new venture: a professional leadership network for young Jewish women.

"Our goal is to support women's leadership," said Susan Turnbull, JWI's Chair of the Board of Trustees. "With this network we will be giving young women the opportunity to interact with spectacular role models while meeting each other and creating a sense of community."

The network will target Jewish women in their 20s and 30s and will debut in New York and Washington, D.C., with the goal of expanding to other major U.S. cities.

JWI bills itself as the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls. Through a combination of advocacy, educational programs and philanthropic initiatives, they work to end violence against women, safeguard reproductive rights, protect and support youth-at-risk and empower Jewish women.

Learn about what makes this network unique
.

Empowering a New Generation of Young Jewish Women, March 5, 2012, eJP, by Abigail Pickus

Two Sides of the Jewish Philanthropy Coin

Exploring what it means to give Jewishly is a core component of Rose Youth Foundation. Each year, 23 teenaged participan...

Exploring what it means to give Jewishly is a core component of Rose Youth Foundation. Each year, 23 teenaged participants in the program are charged with the responsibility of granting $60,000 to help solve community problems they identify in Greater Denver and Boulder. While the grantmaking process and funding decisions are entirely in the hands of the teens, there are a couple of rules.

First, they must grant all of the money. Second, their grantmaking must support nonprofits serving Greater Denver and Boulder. Finally, they have to make grants that are primarily Jewish in nature - and in order to do so, the 16-, 17-, and 18-year old participants must grapple with the question, "What is Jewish philanthropy?"

The answer or answers determine the impact of the group's grantmaking, but the process of answering the question provides a unique opportunity to explore the intersections of Jewish and personal values, community need and communal responsibility, thousand-year-old teachings and contemporary issues.

According to Sarah Indyk, Jewish Life Initiatives Manager at Rose Community Foundation, there are always young people in the group who ask, "How can we fund programs for Jewish teens when there are people sleeping on the street and it is our responsibility, as Jews, to support those with the greatest needs in our community?" But there are always others who answer, "Funding programs to connect people to Judaism will help ensure there are always people who, like us, feel a responsibility to care for those who have the greatest needs."

Read more about Jewish giving in this article.

Two Sides of the Jewish Philanthropy Coin, March 1, 2012, eJP, by Sarah Indyk

Jewish Women International Releases Purim Study Guide

Jewish Women International just released their new Purim study guide entitled, "Rethinking Purim: Women, Relationsh...

Jewish Women International just released their new Purim study guide entitled, "Rethinking Purim: Women, Relationships and Jewish Texts." This discussion guide brings a fresh perspective to the way that the Megillah is studied, focusing on creating healthier relationships through developing a strong voice, cultivating use of self and striving for parity. JWI anticipates that the guide will be used in all kinds of settings, from a formal text study group, to a discussion during Purim, a synagogue event, or even a conversation over coffee. 
 
Downloaded the guide here

Choose Peace

Across the nation, anti-Semitic bias cases have been capturing news headlines. Last month, two men from Farmington, New ...

Across the nation, anti-Semitic bias cases have been capturing news headlines. Last month, two men from Farmington, New Mexico were  sentenced to time in federal prison for branding a swastika on the arm of a Navajo man who suffers from mental disabilities. Swastikas were found graffitied on storefronts and homes across the New York metropolitan area, and a teenager has been charged with throwing Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in New Jersey, igniting a fire in the residence of the rabbi and his family.

The recent rash in anti-Semitic incidents prompted many leaders to talk about the need to "speak up and condemn these vulgar crimes" and to "respond forcefully." But how do you respond to bias when you're with your young child, and the crime is in your own neighborhood?

Learn how blogger Barbara Becker, explained anti-semitism to her son.

The Swastika in Our Neighborhood, February 8, 2012, New York Huffington Post, by Barbara Becker, Founder, EqualShot; Faculty, Columbia University

February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month

February 2012 is the fourth annual Jewish Disability Awareness Month, presenting congregations and other Jewish communit...

February 2012 is the fourth annual Jewish Disability Awareness Month, presenting congregations and other Jewish community organizations with an opportunity to become truly welcoming. Together we can use this month to break down physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers, educate our communities on what accessibility and inclusion really mean, and reach out to Jews with disabilities. Please consult the Jewish Federation of North America's resource guide and take action now by signing the Statement of Solidarity. Additional resources on the Union for Reform Judaism's Disabilities page can help congregations and organizations recognize Jewish Disability Awareness Month and make Jewish life cycle events more accessible.

Participate in Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill  - February 7th

We invite you to come to Washington, DC on February 7th for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day. AJFCA is cosponsoring this event, which is organized by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center. The day will begin with a briefing in the Capitol (10:00am-11:30am, room HC-8)  that will feature Members of Congress and other notable figures discussing the future of Medicaid and how we can best serve the healthcare needs of people with disabilities. Following the briefing, we will participate in advocacy meetings with Members of Congress and staff. If you would like to register for this day of advocacy, please do so by clicking here. Kindly contact Shelley Rood, AJFCA Washington Director so that she can make sure you are set up with the appropriate meetings.

The Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project

Over four million names and short biographies of Jews murdered in the Holocaust are recorded in Yad Vashem's Central Dat...

Over four million names and short biographies of Jews murdered in the Holocaust are recorded in Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names. The names of millions of victims remain unknown, and time is running out. We need your help to complete this historic task! Submit a Page of Testimony for each victim today.

How Can You Do This?

SEARCH the Database for victims you know of and check into your ownpersonal family history

SUBMIT additional (unrecorded) names by filling out a Page of Testimony for each victim online.
            or
DOWNLOAD Pages of Testimony and fill one out for each victim.

SEND your completed Pages of Testimony directly to: 
Cynthia Wroclawski
c/o Yad Vashem
Names Project
PO Box 3477
Jerusalem, 91034
Israel

READ the stories of family connections and reunions thanks to the Names Database.

Contact names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il for more information.

Engaging Jewish Teens

Over the last two decades a host of commissions and task forces have assessed how the Jewish community can reach out to ...

Over the last two decades a host of commissions and task forces have assessed how the Jewish community can reach out to post-bnai mitzvah teens. The Reform movement, in their just concluded Biennial meeting, declared "Youth Engagement" as their number one priority. They, along with other non-Orthodox movements, recognize that the bar and bat mitzvah ceremony is an inflection point in the lives of American Jews. The question that has bedeviled adults has been how to engage teens once they step off the bimah at age 12 or 13.
 
In a new report , commissioned by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Education Project, Amy Sales and colleagues at Brandeis University's Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies studied New York-area parents, teenagers, and youth workers to understand how teenagers think about their Jewish lives.

Engaging Jewish Teens, January 3, 2012, by eJP, by Leonard Saxe

At Home, and in the Streets

I realized that I wasn’t in the Kansas of the Jewish community anymore when there was a break at four o’clock in the aft...

I realized that I wasn’t in the Kansas of the Jewish community anymore when there was a break at four o’clock in the afternoon and there wasn’t a morsel of food in sight. I was attending the Social Innovation Summit which brings together successful social entrepreneurs, funders, and corporations, to discuss how to translate the most innovative and effective practices from the private sector to the social sector. I trailed Nancy Lublin, CEO of dosomething.org and a self- described “loud Jew from New York” who was on the lookout for a cookie, but alas, everywhere, people stood, Perrier in hand, seemingly comfortable, talking animatedly about their work. I learned about a variety of inspiring programs, which included bringing clean water to rural villages, empowering individuals to help save the U.S public school system, and building libraries and literacy skills for children in developing countries.
 
Read more about the Jewish community, and the amount of time and resources spent on nourishing Jewish life, here.

At Home, and in the Streets, December 19, 2011, by Maya Bernstein

Latest Numbers Released on U.S. Jewish Population

The North American Jewish Data Bank has released their latest estimates of the U.S. Jewish population (6,588,000). Looki...

The North American Jewish Data Bank has released their latest estimates of the U.S. Jewish population (6,588,000). Looking in depth at several communities, the report includes comparison figures on number of families synagogue affiliated (by stream), numbers on Jewish education and numbers donating to the local federation compared to 2000.

The complete report, Jewish Population in the United States 2011, is available for download.

Latest Numbers Released on U.S. Jewish Population, December 19, 2011, by eJP