The Ghosts of JFNA Past, Present and What Yet Might Be: A Call for Submissions

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), formerly the United Jewish Communities (UJC), is an umbrella organization representing over 150 Jewish Federations and 300 independent Jewish communities across North America. JFNA was formed over a decade ago by the merger of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), Council of Jewish Federations, and the United Israel Appeal. … [Read more...]

Balancing Tradition and Modernity, UK Masorti Judaism Allows Same-Sex Ceremonies

By Liam Hoare Since same-sex marriage became legal in the United Kingdom in March 2014, it has been up to each religious denomination to decide whether or not to they wished to hold ceremonies in their places of worship. Until recently, it was just the Liberal and Reform movements conducting same-sex marriages within Judaism. At the end of October, however, Masorti Judaism - the European sister movement to American Conservative Judaism - announced it would allow its synagogues to host partnership ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples. Within the spectrum of Jewish movements in the UK, Masorti Judaism is comparatively small, with twelve synagogues catering to around 4,000 members. It did, however, double its membership between 1990 and 2010, at a time when affiliation with Orthodox synagogues … [Read more...]

Pears Foundation Funds University of Kent First UK Philanthropy Teaching Fellow

The UK’s first dedicated university philanthropy teaching post is to be established at the University of Kent following a £150,000 donation from the Pears Foundation. The post, to be based within the University’s Centre for Philanthropy, will be known as the Pears Philanthropy Fellow. The first cohort of philanthropic studies students will start in January 2016. They will make use of the latest technology to study via distance learning, as well as at study days on campus. Although established in the US since the 1970s, philanthropic studies is a new field of academic study in the UK. Students may go on to work in charities, often as CEOs or fundraisers, or go into a related field, such as grant-making or philanthropy advising. Some philanthropists also choose to take these courses to better … [Read more...]

Transitioning Legacy: Maintaining Philanthropic Tradition During and After Spend Down


By Nancy Rosenfeld The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies is not the only time limited foundation within the Bronfman families’ philanthropy. The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation (SSBFF) was established in 1952 by Sam and Saidye Bronfman in their hometown of Montreal. While this family foundation no longer has living donors, each of their four children has sat on its Board of Directors at one point. Today, third generation family members living in Montreal and the United States who have some separate as well as common interests also sit on the board. This board encourages collaboration among all of its members. Even though many have set up their own vehicles for giving, their involvement on the board of SSBFF has offered them the opportunity to learn together, bringing their … [Read more...]

The Extensive Reach of the Rebbe’s Emissaries: It’s Never Been Greater

The past: Chabad of Texas was founded on May 10, 1972, by Rabbi Shimon and Chiena Lazaroff. Five years later, more than 400 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Houston Chabad House, known as the Chabad Lubavitch Center at 10900 Fondren Road. (Chabad of Texas Archives)

As they gather for the annual convention in New York, a look at how Chabad has flourished in North America. By Faygie Levy  [This is the first in a series of articles on the growth and impact of Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide.] In the past several months, a group of young married couples, many with a baby or young children by their sides, left their home towns destined for cities and towns across the United States, including Frisco, Texas; Biloxi, Miss.; and Pittsburgh, Pa. They joined some 90 other young Jewish couples who have moved out of New York, some going far overseas, since the start of 2014 - as well as many of their contemporaries waiting to do so - in an effort to spread the light of Torah and Judaism throughout the world. Called shluchim, or “emissaries” in English, they … [Read more...]

7 Lessons on Family Engagement


By Rabbi Joshua Fenton For the last three years, we at Jewish LearningWorks have taken a close look at families with young children in the Bay Area. What we’ve seen are a growing number of families looking for opportunities to connect to Judaism and Jewish community, but in non-traditional ways. This might not sound like news. The Jewish community has been hearing for years about the emergence of alternative, non-traditional, post-denominational Jewish communities and congregations. What’s news is who these alternatives are attracting; simply put, everyone. Even though traditional institutions (shuls, day schools, JCC’s, and so on) strive to remain interesting and attractive to families, the trend is clear. People are connecting in entirely new ways and we need to understand what motivates … [Read more...]

Chicago’s Innovative Approach to Engaging Young Families


By Nancy Manewith It all began with an amazing meeting - a discussion, really - with Susan Zukrow, the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) project director for the Chicago Early Engagement Leadership Initiative (CEELI). This new program, funded by the Crown Family Philanthropies and facilitated by the URJ, brings together 12 cross-denominational Jewish early childhood centers from the Chicago area to strengthen their work of engaging young children and their families through program excellence, while building and sustaining meaningful relationships. Though not an educator herself, Susan painstakingly took the time to learn the history and workings of the Chicago Metro area’s Jewish early childhood community, in order to lead this groundbreaking early engagement leadership initiative. From the … [Read more...]

When Leaders Make Bad Decisions

from the cover of the authors' latest book, Leadership in the Bible: A Practical Guide for Today; courtesy.

By David Arnow and Paul Ohana Jacob acquires Esau’s birthright for a bowl of stew. Jacob, the home-body buys; Esau, the hunter, sells. Twin brothers - very different decisions. The story has a lot to say about what goes into making a good long-term decision. We can assume that as a good hunter Esau possessed a number of physical skills along with other abilities - the capacity to anticipate his quarry’s moves, to bide his time, to strike at the opportune moment and an element of guile as well. Later in life, Esau amassed great wealth and commanded a force of four hundred men (Genesis 33:1, 9). All this suggests that there was more to Esau than impulsivity. But when he sold his birthright, he had clearly fallen under the spell of his passions. Shouldn’t a grown man have known that the … [Read more...]