With $6m. Naming Gift, HUC School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Surges Forward

The School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) has been named with a transformative gift from Marcie and Howard Zelikow. The first Jewish communal service graduate program to be established in America forty-five years ago, this School continues to be at the forefront preparing nonprofit professionals today for leadership careers in the Jewish community. With this gift, it is now poised to broaden its impact, both geographically and across the range of Jewish professional fields. The $5 million Zelikow Endowment, along with their $1 million commitment for current operations, will provide core support for the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, including its administration, faculty, student financial aid, technology enhancement … [Read more...]

Govn’t of Israel and Jewish Agency Sign Memorandum of Understanding on “Initiative”

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After decades of lobbying, profile of high school in Israel programs raised It has been almost 3 months since we have heard anything about the World Jewry Joint Initiative. But behind the scenes, significant negotiation has taken place. In fact, we have learned that so much effort has but put into this agreement that if JAFI's representative was billing his usual and customary hourly rate, the bill might exceed $100,000! In the end, the negotiation has now culminated in an initialized non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties. While there are still many details to be worked out, the MoU lays out overall governance including structure, oversight and of most interest to our readers the "Initial Content Areas:" Teen trips to Israel - to double the numbers of teen … [Read more...]

Stop the Sirens Campaign Allocates $16.8m for Current Needs

Kids try to stay positive while a rocket warning keeps them in a Sderot bomb shelter.

As a follow-up to our post last month, eJP spoke with Susan (Susie) Stern, JFNA's immediate past National Campaign Chair, about the allocations that have been made through the Stop the Sirens Campaign. Through August 18th, $16.8 million has been allocated to support "needs needed right away." And while the situation on the ground has been changing on an almost daily basis, the allocations process has been generally looking at needs for a two week basis and is focusing on needs up to Rosh Hashana. Here are some highlights of current allocations: One of the most important area of needs is trauma support where thirteen years of siren blasts have taken a significant toll. In towns like Sderot, 28 percent of adults and 94 percent of children are showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The … [Read more...]

As Gov’t Diaspora Initiative Moves Forward, Politics at the Forefront

With rockets targeting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv this evening the latest ceasefire is already a joke. So too is the relationship between the principal players in the World Jewry Joint Initiative (ofter referred to as the Prime Minister's Initiative (PMI) on this site and elsewhere). Let's back up to an abbreviated history. Last July, eJP broke the story on the planning for this ground-breaking project. The PMI was pegged as a $300 million a year program and made headlines around Israel and the Jewish world. At that point in time, The Jewish Agency (JAFI) had been working with the Prime Minister’s Office on the project for almost a year. In November of last year, a Summit was held in Jerusalem bringing together over a  hundred representatives of Jewish communities worldwide, including The Agency's … [Read more...]

The Jewish World Responds: Stop the Sirens Campaign

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The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), has launched Stop the Sirens. The campaign, initiated with a $10 million goal, is now looking for $30 million in commitments to deal with immediate and critical needs. eJP has been informed that all federations are making an effort to participate. As of July 24th, $8,500,000 has been allocated to specific projects proposed by JFNA's major partners (The Jewish Agency, JDC, World ORT and the Israel Trauma Coalition) and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and Masorti movement in Israel. Shortly before Shabbat, eJP spoke at length with Heschel Raskas, the chair of JFNA's Allocations Committee, to both understand the process and … [Read more...]

The Tzeva Adom Song: Helping Children Deal with Terror

[Back during Operation Cast Lead, I had the opportunity to travel with a FLIGHT mission around Israel's South. The following post was originally published on January 23, 2009. The YouTube video was not available at the time.] The UJC's Breakthrough Solidarity Mission continued Tuesday morning with a visit to Sderot. Driving through town, the first thing one notices is the extensive use of concrete reinforcement. Whether it is the small sheltered stations on almost every corner (especially where no underground shelters exist) or the concrete roof built over an outdoor basketball court, one cannot escape being aware of the continuing threat to residents and visitors. Something CNN, who was camped out near the police station, didn't seem to be processing. Our first stop was a kindergarten … [Read more...]

The Sound of Laughter in Sderot

JNF Sderot playground

[With continuous stories of life in Israel's South, we look at a one-of-a-kind indoor recreation center built in Sderot - providing Sderot's youth with a place to have fun, connect with friends, enjoy stimulating classes, and be children, beyond the conflict. This post originally appeared in eJP on March 11, 2009.] Children playing; enjoying themselves; laughing. We take it for granted. But for the past eight years, this scene has been in short supply in Sderot. That changed yesterday - appropriately on Purim. For (according to JNF's CEO Russell Robinson) “the biggest and most important gift that could possibly be given to the children of Sderot and the entire region” a new $5 million indoor recreational facility, was dedicated by JNF-US in a particularly moving ceremony. Like many … [Read more...]

Jewish Life Takes to the Streets at Hungary’s Celebrated Judafest

Judafest 2014

An outdoor street festival with over 9000 visitors. Art projects for children and senior citizens. A musical performance by a choir composed solely of Holocaust survivors. Kitschy jewelery, books, Judaica, organizational tables, kosher food and more. And a "fun run." It could have been almost anywhere. But it wasn't. It was in Budapest - a city where many would not have expected such a public celebration - in a country where some say Jewish life is mostly finished. Yet on a recent humid Sunday, with the sun shining bright, Kazinczy Street in the historic Jewish quarter - dubbed the Street of Culture (a Kultúra utcája) - came alive as thousands joined together to celebrate the richness of Jewish life that exists in Hungary today. The photos say it all. Judafest is the … [Read more...]