The Seder’s Four Elements of Creative Education

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As Jewish professionals, as educators, it is our job to immerse ourselves, deeply, in people’s lives, and strive to understand where Judaism most meaningfully intersects with their needs. by Maya Bernstein The Pesach Seder, perhaps the most popular of Jewish rituals, is a visceral and meaningful educational experience. Maybe this is why it has remained so widely celebrated within the Jewish community. As the professional Jewish community continues to struggle with the most effective ways to keep our tradition vibrant and alive, a task that demands tremendous creativity, we can learn a lot from the Seder itself. The Seder is a model of creative education, which elicits the kind of experiences and ideas critical for the constant renewal of Jewish life. Here are four core educational elements … [Read more...]

What Does Pesach Teach Us About the Art of Giving?

Copyright 2006 The Lovell Haggadah, Rabbi Matt Berkowitz

by Rabbi Matt Berkowitz Next week, Jewish communities across the world will gather around festive seder tables to celebrate the festival of Passover. And if ever there were a Jewish holiday centered on the notion of giving and philanthropy, it is this Festival of Freedom. The very first mishna of Tractate Pesahim teaches, “Even a poor person in Israel does not eat without reclining. And those who distribute tzedakah must ensure that every person should not have less than four cups of wine, even if they are being provided from the community soup kitchen” (Mishna Pesahim 10:1). Indeed we are not free until each person can live and celebrate with dignity. Slavery compels one to focus on one’s own needs; freedom gives one the God-like ability to care for others. Similarly, this deep notion … [Read more...]

Millennial Generation: Strategies to Engage and Communicate in the Philanthropic World

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by Becky Leven Gen-Y, has come of age. This millennial generation of 13-34 year olds is now 77 million strong[1] and is looking to make a difference in the world.[2] However, even as millennial make up an increasingly larger portion of the volunteers, donors, leaders, and workforce in the philanthropic world, there remains a disconnect between the way Gen-Y communicate with each other and the way organizations communicate to them. This disconnect occurs when organizations and institutions fail to accurately grasp those characteristics which are commonly associated with Gen-Y and the evolving trends in modern communication. Everyone recognizes that the world is changing. Technology is constantly developing. The values and priorities that are common among Gen-Y are different than those of past … [Read more...]

Successful Alumni Networks: From the Round Table to the Reunion

by No’a Gorlin At its core, the ROI Community is an alumni network. Whereas some programs engage their participants for weeks, months or years as “members” in an initial shared experience before passing them on to alumni databases, at ROI we engage our program participants in just five short days of group networking and training in Jerusalem; then, we send them out from this intensive “bubble” to resume and enhance their work in the world. The crucial difference in our approach, however, is in the idea of “letting go.” Truth be told, at ROI, we never do let go. Our signature five-day Summit in Israel is just the gateway to the ROI Community. Membership in ROI begins in Jerusalem but lasts a lifetime. The lion’s share of ROI’s work, our many professional development, personal … [Read more...]

Is the Jewish Code to Success Written in Russian?

3 countries of Russian speaking Jewry; copyright eJewish Philanthropy

"Walking through the halls of a high-tech company, one hears as much Russian as English. I see the influence of Russian-speaking Jews in every field.” Eli Etin, an innovator at Amdocs by Nathan Roi Many Russian speaking Jews are living the dream. After immigrating to North America or Israel, they have climbed the ladder of success, particularly in the high-tech industry. Their stories are also the stories of Google, Paypal and Whatsapp. Because of this remarkable success, Limmud FSU devoted its most recent conference to the subject of innovation and the Russian speaking Jew. Jan Koum is a Russian-speaking Jew. Ukrainian-born and raised in the States since 1992, he describes himself as having been a "rebellious" kid from early on. Not so long ago, Koum's family had to reinvent themselves … [Read more...]

Far From Home, Fellowship Participants are Investing in Human Capital

Emily Sasser with women in Bhwasa, Nepal; photo courtesy Tevel b’Tzedek.

by Abigail Pickus These days, Omer Malchi and Emily Sasser are living and working in Bhwasa, a village nestled in the mountains of Nepal. As part of the year-long Tevel Fellowship of Tevel b’Tzedek, an Israeli NGO whose mission is tikkun olam, these two young American Jews have chosen to immerse themselves in a culture and part of the world far from their own - in a program that is steeped in Jewish values. “I was started to look at things like the Peace Corps, but when I saw Tevel something opened up,” said Malchi, 32, a teacher from New York. “It was a perfect fit, not just because of the development work, but also because of the Judaism aspect.” For Sasser, 24, a recent master’s graduate in public health from Florida, the program is inspiring. “Here we have the … [Read more...]