In India, Connecting to the Local Community and Each Other through Service

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By Hannah Hess “I like to refer to God as a nudnik. A tikkun olam nudnik,” quips Jacob Sztokman, founder of Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM). The former Israeli hi-tech and marketing executive has made it his life’s mission to help children in the slums of Mumbai, India integrate into Indian society through inspired education. “God tells us over thirty times in the Torah to help the orphan, help the widow and leave food for the poor,” continues Jacob enthusiastically, “God just doesn’t let up with that.” … [Read more...]

Doron Rabinovici, Jewish Vienna’s Israeli-Austrian Chronicler

Doron Rabinovici; photo by Reinhard Werner.

By Liam Hoare eJewish Philanthropy Identity, belonging, Europe, and Israel are the themes of the Israeli-Austrian writer Doron Rabinovici’s latest novel, Elsewhere, the first of his fictions to be translated into English. Born in Tel Aviv in 1961, he moved to Vienna with his family in 1964 where he still lives and works. In addition to his novels, which focus on Jewish themes and issues of memory, Rabinovici has made interjections into Austria’s political scene as a founding member of the campaign against anti-Semitism, Republikanisher Club - Neues Österreich. As a historian, he is the author of Eichmann’s Jews: The Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna. I met Doron Rabinovici on a Friday afternoon in mid-August at Café Korb in Vienna’s Innere Stadt, an establishment whose interior … [Read more...]

Vienna’s Ringstrasse: A Jewish Boulevard

Lieben Family, Elise Lieben in the middle. Vienna, around 1870. Photo by Victor Angerer.

By Liam Hoare eJewish Philanthropy The reign of Kaiser Franz Joseph I, and the creation of the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire, represented a golden age for Viennese Jewry. It was fleeting; a candle that burnt for just a moment but gave off a lovely light. The Jewish community of Vienna - the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien - was founded in the years following the revolution of 1848. This began a process of institutionalization and emancipation; the equal rights of Jews under the law were established in the constitution of 1867. Under Franz Joseph’s benevolent rule - known among Yiddish speakers as Froyim Yossel - the Jewish bourgeoisie played a key role in the economic and cultural development of Vienna, including Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and of course Theodor Herzl. Vienna’s … [Read more...]

Living as One: The Genesis Prize on Engaging Intermarried Families and their Children

“As someone who has not always been welcomed in the Jewish community because of my mixed parentage, I am passionate about changing that reality for others who want to connect to their heritage. My children have further shown me how powerful our heritage and history are, and I want other families to reap the benefits of this connection.” Michael Douglas, #GenesisPrize2015 Ceremony We are all part of one community, with one common heritage, “Living as One” Jewish people. At the #GenesisPrize2015 Ceremony, the Genesis Prize presented a video that highlights the need for inclusivity of all who identify as Jews. The Genesis Prize Foundation and the Jewish Funders Network will launch their matching grant initiative this Monday, August 31st: Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples … [Read more...]

German Memorials Reveal Clash between Holocaust Guilt and anti-Zionism

A German "Stolpersteine" memorial in Berlin for Holocaust victim Horst Lothar Koppel. Credit: Georg Slickers via Wikimedia Commons.

By Alina Dain Sharon Germany is known for a strong state-level commitment to atoning for its Holocaust past, manifested through formal ceremonies, museums, and monuments. At the same time, in a seemingly growing trend, the extremist anti-Israel analogy of the Israeli government to the Nazi regime can often outweigh Germans’ Holocaust guilt. Earlier this summer, a debate engulfed the German city of Munich over whether to embed the “Stolpersteine” - plaques naming Holocaust victims that are also known as “stumbling block” memorials - into street sidewalks. In July, Munich’s city council voted to ban the memorials due to complaints that stepping on such stones would be an insult to Holocaust victims. According to reports, some representatives of the Stolpersteine initiative, which … [Read more...]

Tackling What Comes Next: How an Effective Alumni Strategy Can Change the Game

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This piece is an introduction to the Alumni Playbook, a new online compendium of strategies, best practices and case studies for those looking to cultivate alumni networks and provide them opportunities for meaningful, ongoing engagement. Visit for more. By Sandy Cardin “Alumni are our strategy.” So said Matt Kramer, Co-CEO of Teach for America, when asked to explain how TFA plans to achieve its ambitious agenda to improve public education throughout the United States. As important a contribution as the more than 40,000 alumni of TFA made in their respective classrooms, the organization realizes their potential to advance the cause of education reform is even greater after their initial terms of service expire. While many choose to continue to work as … [Read more...]

St. Louis Tour de Fun Celebrates 25

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St. Louis JCC’s Tour de Fun has provided a quality family event and leadership pipeline for 25 years. By Marci Mayer Eisen Jonathan Deutsch is the youngest past president of the St. Louis JCC and currently co-chair of the 2016 JCC Maccabi Games in St. Louis. Phil Frischer is on the United Hebrew Congregation board and co-chair of Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Millstone Fellows Alumni Network. Greg Yawitz is President of Congregation Shaare Emeth and along with Jim Detusch, just started the newest Wexner Heritage Program cohort from St. Louis. What do they all have in common? Answer - They were all active on the St. Louis JCC’s Tour de Fun event committee, a program for families with young children planned by a committee of fathers, now celebrating its 25th annual event on August … [Read more...]

Gerald Bubis: Unpacking the Life and Legacy of a Communal Giant

By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. With the passing of Gerald Bubis, one can mark the end of an era in American Jewish communal practice. Bubis’ legacy would be with the formation and growth of the contemporary discipline of Jewish professional service. Covering nearly five decades (1960-2010), his imprint would be present in the framing of the lay-professional connection, in identifying the principles and best practices of Jewish leadership, and in promoting effective organizational management models. Throughout his career as a practitioner and as an educator, Jerry would also serve as a keen observer of the global Jewish scene. Envisioning a graduate program to train a new generation of Jewish professional leaders, in 1968 he set about to create at the Hebrew Union College a unique … [Read more...]