Keshet Awarded $250,000 for Inclusion Training

Keshet Boston Leadership Summit; photo courtesy Jordyn Rozensky/Keshet.

Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life, has been awarded $250,000 by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The funding will support the expansion of Keshet’s signature training, The Keshet Leadership Project, to Jewish organizations in New York and Los Angeles over the next two years. The Leadership Project is a multi-service program that convenes, trains, provides resources for and supports Jewish institutions to become more inclusive of LGBT individuals and families, with a particular focus on youth. The Project is designed to impact the policies, programs and cultures of Jewish institutions by supporting the leaders of those institutions to make sustainable change over time. For … [Read more...]

Fifteen Youth Leaders Honored with $36,000 Each for Repairing Our World

The Helen Diller Family Foundation has awarded 15 young Jewish leaders the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards in recognition of their exceptional leadership and commitment to social good. Recipients convened recently in San Francisco, where each teen was awarded $36,000 to support their future philanthropic vision or educational pursuits. The event provided recipients with the opportunity to meet and engage with socially conscious peers. The awardees’ passion for making a difference inspired them all to create and lead their own dynamic social action projects, from student-run clubs that raise funds for critical cancer research to initiatives that support and empower low-income families. One highlight of the afternoon was the debut of a special documentary-style video tribute that featured … [Read more...]

Looking to the Future, Mumbai Chabad Center Reopens Tomorrow

A renovated Chabad Center in Mumbai, India, devastated in a 2008 terrorist attack, will enable continued growth in Chabad activities in the city, which have been ongoing since the tragedy.

By Dovid Margolin In November of 2008, Islamic terrorists entered the Chabad House run by Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg in Mumbai, India, and murdered them and four of their guests in cold blood. In the immediate aftermath of the gruesome attack, photos of the smiling couple were transposed with images of their crying 2-year-old son, Moishe, and the bullet-riddled shell of the Jewish center the Holtzbergs had built in the heart of India’s largest city. Despite the devastation of an attack that paralyzed a subcontinent and transfixed the world, Chabad’s crucial work in Mumbai continued unabated. The goal, say those who were involved with ensuring Chabad’s presence in Mumbai, was to make certain that the Holtzbergs’ work of spreading goodness and kindness by offering Jewish programs of every … [Read more...]

United Synagogue Receives Grant to Launch Inclusion Initiative

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, with support from the Ruderman Family Foundation, will launch an initiative to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities. Through the grant, United Synagogue will work with its affiliated kehillot to develop comprehensive visions and action plans on inclusion. The goal is to create congregations where everything - from the entryway to the bima, from education programs to prayer services, from social activities to the very attitudes of congregants and leaders - allows people with disabilities and their families to participate fully and comfortably in congregational life. “Many of our kehillot have begun to meet the need for inclusion, primarily in the architectural arena. But few have been … [Read more...]

Stop the Sirens Campaign Allocates $16.8m for Current Needs

Kids try to stay positive while a rocket warning keeps them in a Sderot bomb shelter.

As a follow-up to our post last month, eJP spoke with Susan (Susie) Stern, JFNA's immediate past National Campaign Chair, about the allocations that have been made through the Stop the Sirens Campaign. Through August 18th, $16.8 million has been allocated to support "needs needed right away." And while the situation on the ground has been changing on an almost daily basis, the allocations process has been generally looking at needs for a two week basis and is focusing on needs up to Rosh Hashana. Here are some highlights of current allocations: One of the most important area of needs is trauma support where thirteen years of siren blasts have taken a significant toll. In towns like Sderot, 28 percent of adults and 94 percent of children are showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The … [Read more...]

62% of Reform Synagogues Grew Fundraising Last Year, Targeted Survey Says

Across the country, many synagogues are struggling to raise funds. But a select group of Reform congregations appear to be bucking the trend. In a survey taken in advance of an Aug. 20 conference call organized by the Reform Synagogue Development Professionals, 62 percent of the professionals reported that their congregation’s fundraising efforts grew in the past year. At the same time, 8 percent reported that their fundraising total declined over the previous year, while 29 percent reported no change. To be sure, with 24 Reform development professionals participating - out of 35 total RSDP members - the sample size wasn’t huge. However, the participants all represented major Reform synagogues and demonstrate that fundraising success is attainable for congregations, said Robert Evans, … [Read more...]

UJA-Federation NY Awards over $1m in Scholarships

August 21, 2014, New York, NY - UJA-Federation NY awarded over $1 million in scholarships to more than 400 of New York’s Jewish students in financial need at the 21st Annual Scholarship Presentation during the Sixth Annual Rose Biller Career Fair on Wednesday, August 20th. The scholarships were provided by the Rose Biller Endowment Fund, the largest Jewish scholarship program in the country. For more than two decades, the scholarship program, which is administered by the Hebrew Free Loan Society, has enriched the lives of thousands of New York’s Jewish students, helping them to fulfill their educational aspirations. Scholarship recipients are both undergraduates and graduate students in attendance at New York metropolitan-area campuses who are focused on a wide range of careers. The Rose … [Read more...]

UJA-Federation NY Program Packs Over 6000 Backpacks for Disadvantaged Students


Over 400 school-aged youth and parent volunteers from local schools and synagogues sorted through donated supplies and assembled backpacks for disadvantaged Long Island children during UJA-Federation of New York’s annual Supplies for Success. The three-day event, which concluded yesterday, packed an estimated 6,000 backpacks - an increase of 1000 over last year. The program started 13 years ago, with just 68 backpacks. … [Read more...]