UJAFed NY Leaders Pledge $200,000 to Barzilai Medical Center

Some 20 top leaders of UJA-Federation of New York, who are currently in Israel on the UJA-Federation of New York Operation Protective Edge Solidarity Mission, pledged $200,000 to the front-line Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. As part of their visit, the group will be in both Tel Aviv and cities in the hardest-hit areas in the South, where they will visit trauma centers, hospitals, bomb shelters and receive briefings from key national security advisors. UJA-Federation has to-date committed $2.1 million in emergency aid for Israel. … [Read more...]

University Under Siege

Prof. Rivka Carmi visits the camp for children of university employees during operation "Protective Edge" Photograph © Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (via Facebook).

by David Newman The emergency recruitment of over 50,000 reservists has disrupted the lives of many Israelis. Beyond the personal tragedies of the wounded and the dead, three groups in particular have been affected. The self-employed businessmen and shop owners who have nobody to fill their place while they are on reserve duty; the parents, especially mothers, of small children in the south of the country, whose summer camp and kindergarten activities have been stopped; and the tens of thousands of students who were in the middle of their end-of-year examinations as they were called up. … [Read more...]

Foster Relationships, Build Bridges

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I believe in clal yisrael - a sense of shared community among all Jews - and I believe that individual Jews (and the Jewish collective) benefit from participating in tightly-knit communities. [This essay is from "Philanthropic Priorities in Light of Pew," reprinted with permission from Contact, a publication of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life.] by Sarah Bunin Benor Since the Pew Research Center released “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” in early October, I have read and participated in many discussions about the findings. Several scholars and communal leaders have reacted with alarm, but the responses that have resonated most with me and some of my colleagues have been more optimistic. My take is that the study finds an increasingly diverse Jewish population and points to several … [Read more...]

Experiential Jewish Education: Back to the Future

by Dr. Gil Graff Recently, I attended the annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, in Los Angeles. There, I participated in a session on principles of experiential education articulated by John Dewey in the first half of the twentieth century as applied to Jewish learning in contemporary settings of Jewish education. The presentation included a look at some project-based learning experiences at schools, anchored in “a Dewey-inspired perspective.” Several weeks later, I came across a piece authored in 1925 by Dr. David de Sola Pool, spiritual leader of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, Shearith Israel (in New York), in the pages of The Jewish Forum. Titled “Can Our Jewish Schools Be Made to Teach?” the article encouraged project-based experiential education. … [Read more...]

Debating Perpetuity: Five Considerations

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Foundations have flexibility - they can vary their spending rates based upon their plans and circumstances. by John Hoover Several years ago, ACBP set out to research issues facing spend down foundations. To our surprise, there was little information available. Since then, there has been an increasing amount of publications and forums around spending down assets as compared to perpetuity. In absorbing this information, we have a few considerations to highlight. Investment and impact are two major concerns facing every foundation. Investments are managed to produce a return. Returns are spent to have impact - with a portion held for reinvestment. The target spending rate for many foundations in the United States is five percent. This has roots in the federal government’s minimum distribution … [Read more...]

Challenge Underestimated: Pianko Responds

[eJP note: The following essay by Noam Pianko is in response to a grouping of essays by Barry Shrage, Jonah Pesner, Seth Cohen  and Aryeh Bernstein - originally published in Sh’ma - that appeared over the past month or so.] by Noam Pianko In responding to the questions I raised about the future of Jewish neighborhoods, Jonah Pesner, Barry Shrage, Seth Cohen, and Aryeh Bernstein all agree that the changing landscape of American Jewish life raises a set of new challenges and opportunities. We all agree on the significance of the shift toward virtual networks, physical mobility, and social fluidity. Moreover, our visions for neighborhoods share several goals: the desire to make an impact local and globally, to build networks, and to nourish Jewish ecosystems. The key difference that emerges … [Read more...]

Coding the Next Iron Dome?

It is clear that there is every possibility that one of the people in the room could be the next Iron Dome inventor, and that their time in Israel has made them even more connected to the possibility of doing something big. Photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

A group of young 20-somethings stand in a Soho-like loft space in a tech incubator in South Tel Aviv, presenting the future of traffic to a panel of the Start Up Nation’s leading lights. The CTO of PayPal Israel is there (they are sponsoring the event), as is a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office, and so are several experts on the emerging field of smart cities. by Sara K. Eisen "Building Brilliant” is the theme of the day-long hackathon now culminating in what was supposed to be a rooftop cocktail party, but is now a modest meet and greet, because there is a war going on. But the participants are chill. “When the siren sounds we go and code in the shelter, and then we just move on,” says Kevin, a software engineering student from Montevideo with a shrug. Resilient, … [Read more...]

Israel: Not a Time for Zealotry or Shyness with Children

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by Cyd Weissman Minutes after coming out of the bomb shelter last week, I saw a father and his twin daughters finish a meal and quietly chat in a Tel Aviv restaurant as if nothing had just happened. On the streets of Jerusalem a mother told me that her 7 year old son was managing the incoming rockets just fine. "Can we do it again" (go in the shelter), he asked? "I want to hear the boom, like the video game." What can we do as parents and educators when our children are experiencing danger either in real time or in virtual space? Firstly, we can’t be shy about it. Educators and parents often avoid the subject of Israel for reasons including their own uncertainties or the potential divisiveness of the subject. On the other hand, some adults approach children on the subject of Israel with a … [Read more...]