Federation Leaders Speak

By Misha Galperin As Professor Jonathan Sarna famously said about us: "Jews are an ever-dying people," so does the federation movement seem to be an ever-dying enterprise. Every decade or so, someone declares that federations are done, finished, on their way out, irrelevant, outmoded, not up with the times, old-fashioned and just about to fade away. The most recent declaration that touched off a firestorm of responses and discussion even called them "ugly" or, at least, focused on what was referred to as their "ugly side." … [Read more...]

Body & Soul: Mitzvah Garden KC is Growing Something Good

KC MItzvah Garden

By Maayan Jaffe eJewish Philanthropy According to Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13, when God created the first human, God led him around all the trees in the Garden of Eden. God said to man, “See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. Everything I have created has been created for your sake. Be mindful not to corrupt or destroy My world; for if you corrupt it, there will be no one to repair it after you.” … [Read more...]

When Is a Refugee No Longer a Refugee

[eJP note: Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt's recent piece, "Are Jewish Nonprofits Finally Learning to Speak Russian?" brought to mind the essay below. To frame this submission in the broader communal conversations taking place at the time, the much discussed 1990 population study was about to be officially released and relative to the issues highlighted below, this was also the height of the resettlement enterprise.] When Is a Refugee No Longer a Refugee and Other Post Resettlement Observations By Robert Hyfler, Ph.D. [Presented at the Council of Jewish Federations Planners' Institute, West Palm Beach, Florida, January 14, 1991. Subsequently published in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Vol. 68/No. 3, 1992. Reprinted with permission.] The starting assumption of this article is that the … [Read more...]

Rashi’s Dilemma: What We Create

By David J. Steiner Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality. Jean Piaget I am not a fan of binaries. They tend to create false dichotomies, which direct us to believe that we have to choose between right and wrong. This can lead to idolatry, in the form of a perceived monopoly on truth and righteousness. That said some things are mutually exclusive. It cannot be day and night at the same time in the same place. When we act in the world, we make choices. This makes it important to understand and accept that when we choose, the GPS in our head is navigating the world through an epistemology, a worldview, the unique spectacles that make us individuals. “What do we keep and what do we leave behind,” the title and question … [Read more...]

Time to Discomfort the Comfortable Teen?

By Billy Planer "One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity." Albert Schweitzer It is natural for teachers and parents to want to make life comfortable, easy, and pleasant for their students and children; natural to feel we are helping build their self-esteem by having them succeed in their endeavors. Our attempts, as well-intentioned as they are, may be creating young people who don’t have the necessary tools and confidence to handle life when it takes a hard turn. In medicine, there is a concept called Wolff’s law. It basically states that bones adapt to pressure or lack of it. Like muscles, bones strengthen under pressure and weaken when not put to use.  In the past 30 years of working with Jewish youth, I have seen a shift to … [Read more...]

A Meal That Connects

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[This essay is from Contact, a publication of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life. Reprinted with permission.] By Ari L. Goldman The 15 dinner guests arrived at Ariel Abrahams’ Chinatown apartment on a recent Friday night just around the time the groceries arrived from the supermarket. Everyone dug into the bags of food and dinner preparations were underway. One guest knew how to bake and was kneading and rolling the dough that soon emerged from the oven as challah. Others turned the vegetables, grains and spices into a savory curry and made hot and cold salads. Someone made sweet potato lemonade. “We all set the table together,” Abrahams said. “The meal made itself.” Abrahams calls himself a performance artist and he often brings people together for communal walks, art … [Read more...]

6 Stories to Collect this Summer for Donors

By Julia Riseman [Written with summer camps in mind, but applicable for all.] Summer. It's your camp's opportunity to gather incredible stories to delight and inspire your donors. But another summer is nearly over. Have you collected photos, videos, and stories to use the rest of the year to engage your donors? If not, collect them now! The best stories have a basic structure - beginning, middle and end - focusing on a single character who faces and overcomes some kind of conflict. For your donors, ideally their giving helped that individual succeed in the face of that conflict. So, with that in mind, get out there and document a few stories to use the "other 10 months" to delight your donors! To get you started, here are six story ideas to consider: 1. Profile a Jewish moment. … [Read more...]

Calling all Social Entrepreneurs Under 30!

Forbes under 30

The Schusterman Foundation has joined forces with Forbes, HeroX, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, philanthropist Bob Duggan and the Case, Pratt and Keywell Foundations to offer social entrepreneurs a chance at a $1 million prize package to be divided among six finalists at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in October. The overall winner will receive at least $500,000 in cash and in-kind support. The Competition is open to both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises piloting paradigm-shifting programs in one of the following areas: Education Healthcare Poverty Sustainable Development Inclusivity, Equality and Coexistence Women and Girl Empowerment The competition calls on social entrepreneurs with disruptive and scalable ideas with the potential to change the world. It is open to both … [Read more...]