First-ever Limmud FSU Canada Opens Today

Some 400 Russian-speaking Jews will convene today at Ontario's Deerhurst Resort for the inaugural Limmud FSU conference in Canada. A dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of learning, culture and creativity, Limmud FSU Canada will feature such prominent speakers as conference Honorary Chair MP Irwin Cotler, a Canadian-Jewish leader and human rights activist; MP Mark Adler, the first Jewish elected representative from the Conservative Party; Limor Livnat, Israel’s Minister of Culture & Sport; Marat Ressin, a Canadian Russian-Jewish entrepreneur; Sophie Milman, the star jazz vocalist; Matthew Bronfman, Limmud FSU chair; and many others. Limmud FSU Canada is being held in collaboration with UJA-Federation of Greater Toronto. … [Read more...]

It’s Not (Just) About the Numbers

By Rabbi Adam Greenwald and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson In our last piece in eJewishPhilanthropy we argued for the necessity of investing in conversion preparation programs as a response to our communal demographic crisis. We are a small - and as the studies all suggest - dwindling people and so it is a numerical imperative for our survival that we not only retain the Jews we already have, but open the doors to add in all those who are potentially interested to join our family. … [Read more...]

A Three-Pronged Approach to Boosting Day School Enrollment in a Low-to-Slow-Growth Market

3 prong approach

By Dr. Harry Bloom Jewish day school growth is getting harder and harder to come by these days. According to a 2006-2010 survey of 50 cross-denominational schools across nine communities, enrollment declined by 14% in non-Orthodox schools and was virtually nil in Modern and Centrist Orthodox schools. 2012 enrollment research by The AVI CHAI Foundation directionally supports these findings. In a low- or no-growth context, schools face an inexorable rise in costs-per-student despite attempts to hold down spending, which further pressure enrollment. In this environment, some innovative approaches are emerging as savvy Heads of School and Boards recognize that remaining passive in the face of these pressures will surely lead to decline. What are they doing? An increasing number of these schools … [Read more...]

Part Three, Sustaining Our Synagogues, Sustaining Ourselves

By Dr. Amy Alfred The final article in this series will focus on conflict resolution. It is truly a whole topic in and of itself, but it is worthwhile to look specifically at how different conflict styles will help you (or not!) with setting appropriate boundaries. Although many people are scared of fighting, resolving conflict successfully can actually bring people closer together. In addition, it is important to examine how different work cultures also impact various choices on how to set and maintain boundaries. What is standard or tolerated in one synagogue may not be accepted in another (for example, an executive director who chooses to turn off her/his cell phone on days off). We will start by discussing different styles of conflict resolution, followed by how each style can help or … [Read more...]

Southern Israel Comes Back to Life Thanks to the Jewish People

Children from southern Israel participate in a special summer camp run by The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for Victims of Terror. Photo credit: Sarah Bronson for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

By Rany Trainin At the conclusion of Simchat Torah, I had the opportunity to experience a truly moving event. More than one thousand people spanning four generations, all of them members and residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the past and the present, gathered to celebrate the end of the kibbutz's sixtieth birthday year. As residents of the Gaza border region, the kibbutz members also took the opportunity to mark a return to normalcy after a turbulent and difficult summer. As Deputy Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel and a longtime resident of the region, I was overcome with emotion upon being asked to greet the gathering on behalf of the Jewish world. The event took place thanks to the support of The Jewish Agency and the entire Jewish people, whose contributions made the emotional and … [Read more...]

Leichtag Foundation Announces Winner of National Sukkah Design Competition

Sukkah competition 2014

San Diego, Calif., October 22, 2014 - The votes have been tallied and Sasha and Chris Varone of the North Park community of San Diego, Calif. are the winners of the Sukkot at the Ranch Design Competition, sponsored by the Leichtag Foundation. The Sukkah was chosen by the people’s choice in online and on site voting. The design competition invited members of the community to reimagine the ancient structure known as a sukkah, which has been built during the Jewish harvest of Sukkot since biblical times. The local husband and wife architecture team designed their modern interpretation of the sukkah using plywood. From their submission: “The seven sides of this Sukkah structure represent the seven days of the week and the seven year cycle. Once inside the Sukkah, one’s awareness of the outside world … [Read more...]

Moscow’s Nikitskaya JCC Renamed In Honor of Ralph I. Goldman

Moscow JDC_Ralph

October 22, 2014 - One of Moscow's largest Jewish community centers, the Nikitskaya, was renamed today in honor of Ralph I. Goldman, one of the Jewish world's most accomplished leaders who died, at 100, in Jerusalem two weeks ago. The institution - which opened in 2001 with support from the the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and caters to hundreds of members of the Russian capital's bustling Jewish community each month - was rededicated as the Ralph I. Goldman Nikitskaya Jewish Cultural Center in a ceremony on October 22. The Ralph I. Goldman Nikitskaya Jewish Cultural Center, located in a 19th century mansion in the center of Moscow, offers a wide array of activities to local Jews of all ages. One of its keystone programs is Tapuz nursery and pre-school, consistently ranked … [Read more...]