Hillel International Launches Civil Rights Initiative

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Hillel International has announced a major initiative to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other major civil rights achievements with special guest speakers and programming for students throughout the country, as part of Hillel's commitment to Jewish learning and social justice. "Countless Jews stood shoulder to shoulder with African Americans during this turning point in American history, and Jews the world over continue the tradition of fighting for social justice each and every day. Hillel International is proud to illuminate the struggles and achievements of those who walked before us, and to bring a renewed sense of awareness and possibility to students across the country," said President and CEO Eric Fingerhut. Hillel is working with authors, … [Read more...]

From Pushke to Power Suit

How the new Jewish women's foundations are changing Jewish philanthropy and women's lives By Susan Weidman Schneider [eJP note: The following article appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of Lilith Magazine. It is reprinted as a response to Women’s Philanthropy - Change Is In the Air, published on eJP yesterday.] Ten years ago, a Jewish woman with a feminist consciousness and a checkbook had to read carefully and listen hard to support Jewish women’s and girls’ causes. Writing those checks required both research and decision-making. To give to education or to anti-violence work? To give to a women’s film project which might change minds or to a program for home bound elderly women which would keep their spirits alive? And our feminist philanthropist faced all this alone. But not anymore. … [Read more...]

The Jewish Federation System: A Conversation for the Future

By Denis Braham and Lee Wunsch For more than 100 years, the Jewish Federations have been at the epicenter of the most significant events in the modern history of the Jewish people. From the birth and nascent years of the State of Israel through the liberation of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry, the Jewish Federations represented and embodied the spirit of K’lal Yisrael and Am Echad. Through the force of their leadership and philanthropic prowess, this national collective of North American Jewish communities propelled American Jews forward. The golden years of the Jewish Federation system were an inspirational and visionary era led by individuals whose lives were shaped by the Six Day War and many transformational Jewish events of the last fifty years. Jewish Federations embodied the very spirit of … [Read more...]

With $6m. Naming Gift, HUC School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Surges Forward

The School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) has been named with a transformative gift from Marcie and Howard Zelikow. The first Jewish communal service graduate program to be established in America forty-five years ago, this School continues to be at the forefront preparing nonprofit professionals today for leadership careers in the Jewish community. With this gift, it is now poised to broaden its impact, both geographically and across the range of Jewish professional fields. The $5 million Zelikow Endowment, along with their $1 million commitment for current operations, will provide core support for the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, including its administration, faculty, student financial aid, technology enhancement … [Read more...]

How Menschy is the Mensch on a Bench?

By Hannah S Pressman When Judah Met Moshe Moshe the Mensch is ready for his selfie, but are we ready for another Hanukkah mascot? The Hanukkah toy sensation, The Mensch on a Bench, started out last year as an explicit homage to the popular Christmas toy, The Elf on the Shelf. According to that toy’s lore, every scout elf adopted by a family can fly back and forth between the family’s home and Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Neal Hoffman, who used to work for the toy company Hasbro, wanted to give his son a similar, but Jewishly-appropriate, holiday visitor. And a mensch was born. Hoffman named his creation - what else? - Moshe. Like his elfin model, Moshe has a backstory and a higher purpose during the holiday season. The Moshe mythos (available in handy book form) places … [Read more...]

Rabbinical Schools Need Money to Breed and Teach Entrepreneurial Leadership

By Rafi Cohen I enjoyed and appreciate reading “Can Rabbinical Schools Teach Entrepreneurial Leadership?” by Rabbi Hayim Herring. I also read the responses written by Rabbis Jason Miller and Danny Nevins. Somewhere at the beginning of my training in the rabbinical program at JTS I heard the saying, “the role of the rabbi is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” The saying is likely familiar to many of us in the clergy and I think about this both in terms of my role (former role) as a congregational rabbi and with regard to both innovation and entrepreneurship. I’ll leave the first part of the statement alone because I think it’s one hundred percent correct. The second part is more challengeable because there are degrees to which we are both trained and capable of afflicting … [Read more...]

The Rabbi and His Board

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By Yamin Levy It’s been a quarter of a century since I joined the rabbinate. I’ve earned my battle stripes, and I still believe that a good pulpit rabbi can accomplish more for the Jewish people in the rabbinate than in any other career. And yet, even in the best of circumstances - in synagogues where the rabbi is well-trained and conscientious and the lay leadership is engaged in a professional manner - oftentimes, the relationship between the clergy and board of directors ruptures, causing pain to both the rabbi and his family and splintering the community. And nothing can describe the torment a rabbi experiences when his contract is being negotiated and ratified by a community vote, often giving a platform to every dissatisfied critic. Today a rabbi is expected to be a teacher and a posek … [Read more...]

W(H)ither the Jewish Federation

The data are in and the results are clear: Jewish day schools make a difference. By Barbara Davis Smellovision and Odorama didn’t do it; 3D and 4DX aren’t doing it. The great movie-going demographic just isn’t going to the multiplex like they used to. Books are no longer printed; ebooks are replacing them. Drone cameras capture your most precious moments from marriage proposals to births, and perhaps other moments that you don’t want immortalized. Cars drive themselves and Siri will fly your plane. Why would we expect Jewish organizations to be exempt from these radical changes? The Jewish Federation movement is a product of a time and place that no longer exists. So what is its role in the present and the future? Historian Edward Shapiro identified two broad themes in the history of … [Read more...]