Professional Development: If Not, Why Not?

Our community has real metrics to prove that when professional development is done right it makes a difference, and it has an impact. By Dr. Hal M. Lewis “Every question,” taught Nahman of Bratslav, “is an answer.” And so it is with Seth Cohen’s recent posting, in which he invites feedback on his question, “Are communities investing enough in the training, development and advancement of the professionals that are committed to working in the field?” … [Read more...]

The Magic Hour

campers arriving

By Jessica Downey It’s the final session of the summer. Counselors jump up and down with lagging enthusiasm. They have smiles on their faces that don't quite reach their eyes. Teens and young adults are approaching their eighth, ninth or even tenth week of the summer. Campers are tired. The staff is burnt out. But if you look closer, you may find this is the most magical time to be at camp. At first glance, the camp is wilted. The mighty trees seem to sigh. Water bottles of varying sizes litter the benches and tables. A rainbow of colorful towels hangs by the pool, sagging from the weight of weeks of swimming sessions. Siddurim are stacked haphazardly in prayer spaces, and it’s a wonder that the posters on the dining hall walls describing weeks-old activities and birthdays haven’t been taken … [Read more...]

In Poland, Jewish Identity isn’t Because of the Holocaust – but Despite It

By Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua Krakow - The six clarinets, three percussionists, horn players, fiddlers, bassists, guitarists and singers were whipping the hordes into a whirling dervish. Their unabashedly joyous, sometimes harmonious, often cacophonous and always rhythmic brew had turned Szeroka Square into a mass of clapping hands and dancing feet. Where exactly had I landed - Coachella? The gospel tent at a Jazz fest? An outdoor concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, right on Broadway, so the Chassids and the hipsters can comingle? Before I knew it, a young Sinead O’Connor lookalike grabbed me by the arm and thrust me into a frenzied circle of 20-something revelers dancing the hora. Welcome to Szalom Szeroka, the grand finale concert of Krakow’s 10-day Jewish Culture Festival, which just … [Read more...]

In The Footsteps of Rashi

Photo by Mottel;  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

By Liam Hoare eJewish Philanthropy Is it possible to have Jewish heritage tourism in the absence of physical Jewish heritage? Most obviously, this question crops up when we think about the return of individuals and families from Israel and the United States to eastern Europe in order to find the places where their descendants once lived, only to witness them erased. They discover that the house or apartment their grandparents formerly owned is now occupied by someone else, that the old wooden synagogue of the shtetl was burnt down, or that what was a yeshiva is now a supermarket or a nightclub. In this case, the absence of the infrastructure of Jewish life - indeed, outside the major cities in eastern Europe, the absence of Jews themselves - does not diminish or minimize the Judaic … [Read more...]

What a Charleston Fundraiser Teaches Us

By Jill Goldenberg This past weekend, I was in Charleston with three friends from college. I had never been there, and, until three weeks ago, Charleston evoked images of quaint homes and Prince of Tides marshland. With the horrors inflicted on a Bible study group in the Emanuel AME Church on June 17, that all changed. Arriving in Charleston last Thursday, all four of us needed do something to honor those killed. The night before our trip, I learned of a sold-out unity fundraiser - sponsored by the hotel where we were staying - to support and benefit the Charleston 9 families. Upon arriving at the hotel with only 90 minutes before the event, we searched for and found Margeaux, the hotel’s lead organizer of the event, and implored her to give us the honor of attending. After receiving her … [Read more...]

What Should Jewish [Camp] Fundraisers Read?


[Written with summer camp staff in mind, but of interest to all.] Part 1 of 2 Are you new to Jewish Camp Fundraising? Here is a list compiled by JCamp 180 Mentors of the "must read" online resources for anyone involved in fundraising. Next month, we'll share part 2: Recommended books, conferences, and membership organizations to consider. Have other favorite resources? Let us and your peers know about them below. Expert Blogs/eNewsletters These are a few blogs and eNewsletters that JCamp 180 Mentors and Staff find the most useful. Report on Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising UnderDeveloped - If you can only read one thing on this list, consider this very detailed 2013 report from CompassPoint. Fundraising Pamela Grow - Pamela Grow has a regular eNewsletter full … [Read more...]

Dear Adolf: We Won!

Singers perform the Israeli national anthem at the official opening ceremony of the European Maccabi Games at the Waldbuehne on July 28, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Over 2,000 Jewish athletes from Maccabi clubs all over the world will compete for the next week in Berlin at the Olympiastadion where in 1936 Nazi Germany held the Olympics and excluded its own Jewish athletes. The Maccabi games take place every four years and first took place in Prague in 1929.

By Paul Lewis Dear Adolf: Screw you, you bastard! We won! You must be turning over in your grave with all that is happening in your beloved Berlin this week. You should have seen it: more than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 39 countries around the globe just paraded through your Olympic Park in the Opening Ceremonies of the European Maccabi Games, sort of a European Jewish Olympics. That’s right - the same complex with the iconic stadium you built for the 1936 Olympics, as you were planning the Holocaust, was filled with Jews tonight. You banned German Jewish athletes from participating 79 years ago but tonight Yids filled the Olympic Park. There were Jewish swimmers from Argentina and Jewish runners from Australia; Jewish basketball players from Canada, Jewish tennis players from South … [Read more...]

Body & Soul: Mitzvah Garden KC is Growing Something Good

KC MItzvah Garden

By Maayan Jaffe eJewish Philanthropy According to Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13, when God created the first human, God led him around all the trees in the Garden of Eden. God said to man, “See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. Everything I have created has been created for your sake. Be mindful not to corrupt or destroy My world; for if you corrupt it, there will be no one to repair it after you.” From the creation of the physical world in the first book of the Torah until today, the mitzvah of l’ovdah u’l’shomrah, protecting the environment has long been a tenet of Judaism. Jewish thinkers throughout the ages have offered us a framework for how we should interact with the world around us. Today, l’ovdah u’l’shomrah is playing out in what might be a rather unlikely location: … [Read more...]