UJA-Federation of New York Challenging Jewish Teens to Slam Poverty

photo courtesy UJAFed-NY

On November 16th, more than 100 of New York’s most ambitious Jewish teens participated in PovertySLAM - UJA-Federation’s first-ever event for teens focused on poverty. An interactive, hands-on summit and grant competition, the event launched a one-month grant competition for teen participants who will develop and present innovative ideas on how to slam poverty in the New York Jewish community. Winners will be announced at the end of January, and UJA-Federation will award a combined $25,000 in prizes to help those entering transform their ideas into action during the spring of 2015. First place will receive $5,000, three runner-ups will each be presented with $3,000 and all substantial submissions will receive funding. The summit featured presentations from David Eisner, President and CEO of … [Read more...]

It’s Time to Talk about Leadership

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By Jina Davidovich We’ve all seen articles and had conversations about the leadership challenges of the Jewish not-for-profit sector. Yet, despite the prominence of this topic, few opportunities have been provided to ignite a conversation about what the future of the Jewish community requires of its institutions and professionals. Often silo-ed in their own fields, leaders of these organizations seldom have the opportunity to sit together, or with professionals at various levels, to meaningfully explore the critical issues facing the Jewish communal world and discuss their visions for the Jewish future. There is also limited room for this type of strategic thinking with lay leadership, who are significant stakeholders and partners in this enterprise, and who need to play a role in shaping the … [Read more...]

UJA-Federation NYBrings Jewish Social Action Month to NY Area

PT social action hands

UJA-Federation of New York is providing $125,000 in grants to support 35 local community service projects involving more than 100 organizations throughout the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester for Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM). JSAM transforms the Jewish month of Cheshvan into a month-long global volunteer opportunity. This year, JSAM runs Saturday, October 25 through Saturday, November 22, 2014. The grants fund projects at a variety of agencies, including Jewish community centers, Hillels, human-service agencies, synagogues, and day schools. Projects focus on: domestic violence, hunger and poverty, LGBTQ inclusion, the elderly, children with special needs, community restoration and beautification, and more. Social action projects include: In Manhattan - domestic violence … [Read more...]

An Alternative Cultural and Community Center Reopens in Budapest

courtesy Siraly

By Abigail Pickus On Simchat Torah, Budapest’s answer to a new alternative Jewish community center will open its doors with a new name and a new location. Aurora, as it will be called, will be located on Aurora street in Budapest’s 8th district, a mere district away from its old home in the former Jewish quarter. A cultural and community center in one, Aurora will be home to a whole continuum of Jewish life - offering everything from religious programs and a place to pray and celebrate holidays, cultural events, such as music, film and art, and last but certainly not least, a hub for social activism. “We are trying to offer as many options as we are able to attract people,” said Adam Schonberger, who is heading up the center as part of his role as the executive director of the … [Read more...]

Elevating Classroom Innovators: Introducing the Atid Challenge

By Emily Winograd Please don’t ask me when Prohibition passed or who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. That’s what Wikipedia is for. If you must grill me about US history, stick to the four presidential runs of Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party’s longstanding candidate from 1904 to 1920. A reasonable person might ask why I feel so confident about the life and times of Eugene V. Debs, as compared to anything else in the AP US History curriculum. The answer is simple: I portrayed him in a live reenactment of the 1912 election in my junior year of high school. Long hours of research, rehearsing my stump speech, and slicking back my hair (Debs was bald, but I could only take this so far) led up to the big event, where I competed for my classmates’ votes alongside the equally prepared and dapper … [Read more...]

An Historic New Beginning

Hands of the poor

“I owe everything I have - my home, my family, my professional success, the health of my parents and grandparents - to Jewish philanthropy. I would not be living in the United States if it was not for countless Western Jews who first fought to make the Soviet Union release us, and then paid for our journey here and welcomed us with open arms.” By Ella Shteingart The 2014 Siyum (graduation ceremony) of the Wexner Heritage Program was historic. It marked the graduation of 20 extraordinary North American Jewish leaders, all born in the Former Soviet Union. The Wexner Heritage Program has had Russian-born members take part in previous classes, but these were few, the tiny percentage representative of the few who had become involved in the Jewish community and Jewish communal leadership. For … [Read more...]

UJA-Federation NY Helps Find Places to Participate in High Holiday Services

UJA-Federation of New York has issued its annual High Holiday service guide, which includes more than 120 synagogues and community centers with services covering all denominations. The guide is brought to the community by UJA-Federation’s free J-1-1 Information and Referral Center, which is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and can be reached at 877.852.6951 or J11@ujafedny.org. Information and referral specialists are available to connect individuals within the larger community to services offered by UJA-Federation’s network agencies and beyond. In addition to its High Holiday service guide, UJA-Federation offers holiday volunteer opportunities that connect the community through worship and engagement with family and friends. High Holiday volunteer opportunities range … [Read more...]

As the School Year Begins in Ukraine, Memories of A Summer in Israel Linger

ZMAN.IL 2014

By Avital Chizhik special to eJP With the arrival of a breezy autumn in Kharkov, students have begun a new school year amidst continuous tension. With the 5-month-old conflict’s death toll reaching 3,000 according to UN reports, and talks of a ceasefire, most Ukrainian high school students are returning from summers rife with anxiety and fear. But for dozens of Jewish youngsters, this summer was a rare breath of fresh air - having spent their summer in Israel. This past summer, 40 young Jews from war-torn Ukraine found necessary, if not ironic, respite in a quiet kibbutz in southern Israel - despite the conflict raging on the Gaza border. Flown to Israel for relief from Ukraine’s most dangerous regions, including Donetsk, these students were participants of ZMAN.IL, a special Jewish … [Read more...]