Natan Fund Unveils Newest ROI Entrepreneurs Grant Recipients

A digital Shmita project, Israel’s version of the radio show “This American Life,” a global initiative promoting tourism to Jewish communities and a foundation supporting IDF soldiers who served in the Yahalom unit were all awarded 2015 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs. The Natan Fund, a giving circle for young professionals, issued its third annual round of dedicated grants for ROI Entrepreneurs, totaling $40,000, to four ROI Community members from the United States, Israel and Latin America. These grants will kick-start projects that invite young Jews and the broader community to explore and experience diverse and creative ways of bringing Jewish values and culture into their lives. This grant-making partnership is generously funded by the Natan Fund to foster ROI Community members’ … [Read more...]

Limmud International and Limmud FSU Release Annual Reports

Limmud FSU logo 2015

The success of Limmud in the UK has inspired many other communities across the Jewish world to adopt the Limmud model. Activists in countries across six continents have discovered that Limmud is the ideal vehicle to reach all types of Jews and reflect the diversity of their own communities, creating cross-communal and cross-generational experiences, accessible to all. Limmud is proud of having inspired 80 different communities, in 41 countries!, around the world. Here is the 2014 Limmud International Annual Review, which you can download. ********** During 2014, Limmud FSU held nine events in seven different countries which were attended by over 5,000 Russian-speaking Jews. With their tenth anniversary in a year’s time, they continue to bring Jewish culture in its widest sense to a generation … [Read more...]

New Remembrance Initiative Launched with Israeli High School Students

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To coincide with the UN's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli High Schools are commemorating the Victims using digital technology - including tablets and smartphones - instead of filling out forms with pens or pencils. The Alliance High School in Tel Aviv, Kalai High School in Givatayim and Brenner High School in Petach Tikva are participating in a pilot project initiated by the newly established Israeli association "Next Generation to Holocaust and Heroism," to digitally upload photos, documents and biographies of ancestors who perished in the Holocaust as well as family members who survived. For more information, visit: http://dorot.memorialine.com/home.aspx or their Facebook page. … [Read more...]

Jewish Farmers Gather to Advance Field of Jewish Community Farming

Farmers prepare a ‘soil sock’ farm at the Leichtag Foundation farm; photo courtesy of Joshua Sherman.

For the first time in decades, Jewish farmers from all over North America and Israel will be convening at the Leichtag Foundation property in Encinitas today through Tuesday to share best practices and discuss emerging opportunities in the growing field of Jewish community farming. “The Jewish people are historically farmers” said Leichtag Foundation CEO Jim Farley. “This gathering demonstrates that a new Jewish farming movement is thriving.” This convening, known as the Jewish Community Farmer Advisory Committee, comes on the heels of the Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) report, released in March 2014, which indicated a growing movement of Jewish experiences centered around outdoor, food, and environmental education. Nearly 30 individuals representing 15 … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Council On Jewish Poverty To Go Out Of Business

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The Daily News is reporting "The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, whose CEO was [convicted of] theft last year, is looking to dismantle its services and hand off programs to other groups, sources said. "... [O]fficials were huddling with other Jewish nonprofit leaders on the shutdown plan Thursday - the same day Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has close ties to the group, was arrested in a corruption scheme." In a statement made yesterday, Met Council said that it was “fiscally sound” and was working with UJA-Federation of New York and state and local government to determine its future. “Our top priority will be to identify those partners that can most effectively meet the needs of our clients in the years ahead,” the statement read. Met Council and its nearly 30 nonprofit … [Read more...]

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism to Sell NYC Office Space

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The United Synagogue has announced it would sell its New York office and put the proceeds toward its mission of reimagining Conservative Judaism and strengthening its congregations. In December the organization signed a contract and accepted a deposit to sell its two-floor Manhattan condominium for $15.9 million. The plan is to rent a new office space, also in Manhattan, and use the monies generated by the sale to establish a supporting foundation to help fund ongoing programs, seed innovation, and ensure long-term financial sustainability. Selling the New York office is one element of an ongoing USCJ strategy, begun three years ago, of cutting expenses, expanding philanthropic support, and focusing on core functions - all aimed at better meeting the needs of congregations. The … [Read more...]

21 American Survivors, Ages 81 to 94, Return to Auschwitz

View of ruined wooden huts - Auschwitz II-Birkenau site; courtesy  Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

A historic delegation of 21 American survivors of Auschwitz will head to Poland next week to participate in the Jan. 27th observance of the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The American delegation to Auschwitz is being organized by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the USC Shoah Foundation and each survivor will attend the event with a child or grandchild. Given the age (81 to 94) and condition of the survivors, the WJC has also arranged a special medical team of 12 doctors, psychologists, and nurses to care for them during their return to Auschwitz, which is sure to be emotionally powerful and physically taxing. More than 100 Auschwitz survivors from at least 19 countries will travel to Poland as part of the World Jewish Congress … [Read more...]

Argentinian Medical Students on Taglit Participate in Medical Clowning Workshop

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A Taglit-Birthright Israel niche group comprised of Argentinian medical students participated in a medical clowning workshop about the importance of humor for hospitalized children. The group subsequently visited the Schneider Children's Medical Center accompanied by Itzik the Clown in order to cheer up the young patients. photos courtesy Taglit-Birthright Israel … [Read more...]