Just Released: A Guide to Synagogue Management Updates for 2014

Guide to Synagogue Mgmt_2014

UJA-Federation of New York has released Volume 7 in their series of Innovations and Strategies for Synagogues of Tomorrow - A Guide to Synagogue Management: Research and Recommendations Updates for 2014. This report serves as an updated overview of the market for synagogues looking to implement new data-management systems, or those that want to learn more about how their current system compares to others on the market. Even as synagogues look to better understand the many ways technology can help them interact with and manage their congregations, the marketplace is changing, with new software options available all the time. UJA-Federation of New York, along with the Orthodox Union, Union for Reform Judaism, and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, retained Idealware to conduct research in order … [Read more...]

Claims Conference Board Charts Future Course

After extensive discussion among more than 60 representatives from its member organizations, the Board of Directors of the Claims Conference voted on the long-term future direction of the organization that has, for over the past six decades, advocated on behalf of Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs. The Board unequivocally and unanimously decided that, for as long as there are Jewish Nazi victims, the organization’s focus remains on dealing with the immediate needs of Jewish Nazi victims worldwide, including providing homecare, food, medicine and other services for vulnerable survivors. The Board noted that for 2015, the Claims Conference will allocate an estimated $390 million from all sources, including a 45 percent increase in funding for homecare obtained from the German government, … [Read more...]

JDOV Talks and The Forward Form Media Partnership

JDOV, the recorded talks initiative inspired by TED talks, has announced an exclusive media partnership with The Jewish Daily Forward. Launched at the UK's Limmud Conference in 2011, JDOV (Jewish Dreams Observations Visions) takes its inspiration from TED Talks, inviting interesting and creative thinkers to give “the Jewish talk of their life” in 10-12 minutes. In the three years since it was launched, JDOV has filmed over 70 talks on four continents and developed relationships with a number of prominent production partners, including the Wexner Foundation, Hebrew University, Limmud, Jewish Book Week and JW3. JDOV’s films are made available to all in a free online library, featuring international figures from fields as diverse as the arts, politics, academia and journalism; as well as leading … [Read more...]

The Jewish World Responds: Better Together

JDC Better Together

These photos showcase Better Together, a JDC program serving children in disadvantaged Ashkelon neighborhoods. During this time of crisis, Better Together is operating in community centers and shelters, working with at-risk children to provide them with a respite from the stress of Operation Protective Edge and with daily activities and program. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee benefits from centralized emergency fundraising coordinated by the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Reform and Conservative movements. … [Read more...]

Youth Futures: In the Full Sense of the Word

Youth Futures, Operation Protective Edge, July 2014; photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

1,421 participants in the Youth Futures Program: “A day like this affirms the strength of the South” "It is good to get out of the house for a little bit, to break from our routine, Aviv, a participant of Youth Futures from Sderot, tells. “Today I played in the pool and on the slides, it was really fun ... At home, I usually play on my cellphone, on the computer, and watch television.” Whenever the Water Park of Shefa’im would make announcements on the loud speaker, the hearts of the managers and mentors of “Youth Futures” would skip a beat - the announcements sounded too much like 'Code Red' alerts - the sirens blaring all over Israel warning of incoming rockets from Gaza. In times like these, every sound on the loudspeaker reverts them back to their roles as managers, mentors, and parents. … [Read more...]

Center for Jewish Leadership to Launch at Spertus

Spertus logo

Center’s mission is to transform Jewish life by cultivating innovative approaches to leadership and enhancing the abilities of Jewish professionals and volunteers Rooted in the belief that great Jewish communities need great Jewish leaders, this fall Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership launches the Center for Jewish Leadership (CJL), a programmatic center dedicated to transforming Jewish life by cultivating innovative approaches to leadership and enhancing the abilities of Jewish communal professionals and volunteers. New opportunities for leadership development will enhance the knowledge, effectiveness, creativity, and strategic agility of current and future Jewish leaders, magnifying the vibrancy of their communities and advancing the missions of the organizations they … [Read more...]

New 1023-EZ Form Makes Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status Easier

The Internal Revenue Service has introduced a new, shorter application form to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily. The new Form 1023-EZ, available on IRS.gov, is three pages long, compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023. Most small organizations, including as many as 70 percent of all applicants, qualify to use the new streamlined form. Most organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less are eligible. The change will allow the IRS to speed the approval process for smaller groups and free up resources to review applications from larger, more complex organizations while reducing the application backlog. Currently, the IRS has more than 60,000 501(c)(3) applications in its backlog, with many of them pending for nine … [Read more...]

Limmud International in Latin America: “Goal!”

Limmud captures the flag in Latin America, gathering activists from Buenos Aires, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay for the first regional training. Photo courtesy David Hoffman.

by Martin Joseph Limmud activists from Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay were able to dispense with most of the usual ice-breakers. Notwithstanding meeting for the first time at the inaugural Limmud International Training on Tour in Latin America, they chatted, joked and sang together. And, they integrated the Mondial world soccer championship into their Jewish journeys. “Goal!” pronounced Renato Huarte, Limud México founder, characterizing the successful, intensive three-day gathering in early July in the spirit of the season. “Veterans, like Limud Buenos Aires, and communities building first-time events, like Uruguay, learned valuable lessons - that we are part of a global movement, for instance, and we can choose from a variety of models for our Limmud events. “Personally, I learned … [Read more...]