Skip to main content

April 12 Federation Five

By April 12, 2024April 16th, 2024Federation News

JScreen, a recipient of the Federation’s Jewish Innovation Fund, is a genetic screening and education program that offers comprehensive at-home testing on saliva. In 2019, Federation’s Innovation initiative funded JScreen’s pilot project, “CancerGEN,” an innovative genetic test that identifies changes associated with increased risks for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as various types of cancer such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer. With Federation’s support, this initiative has expanded, including cost-saving opportunities for our NextGen age group through carrier screenings.

Karen Shmerling and her daughter shared that their JScreen test unveiled a genetic revelation that prompted them to devise an action plan. “Michelle volunteered for a BRCA study held by JScreen, a test that literally saved my life and Michelle’s,” recalls Karen. Karen urges everyone, regardless of gender, to undergo genetic testing, emphasizing the importance of having a choice before cancer dictates it for them.

CLICK HERE to learn more about JScreen and your options for testing and read more about Karen and Michelle’s story here.

JumpSpark, Federation’s Jewish teen initiative, is uniquely positioned to create positive environments where not only Jewish learning happens, but also mental health and wellness can flourish. JumpSpark recently brought in BaMidBar, an organization that works to ensure that Jewish youth and young adults have the confidence, skills, and community support to navigate life’s challenges and thrive in the face of adversity.

This in-person learning experience for Jewish teen professionals was an opportunity to expand their understanding of mental health and wellness through a Jewish lens. Professionals explored ways in which they can foster social and emotional growth in the young adults they serve and build the tools and supportive network they need to actively promote resilience and help their students thrive.

Federation’s JumpSpark initiative brings a strong culture of collaboration and strength amongst youth-serving professionals in Atlanta by providing them with relevant and tactical professional development opportunities that they can apply in their daily lives.

Jewish Abilities Atlanta grants support community partners in launching projects that create more inclusive and accessible communities for people with disabilities. Grantee, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, recently received funds to install an adjustable torah table that enables people of all statures and in wheelchairs to read from the Torah. They also installed an automatic door opener which enables those with disabilities easier access to the sanctuary. The synagogue staff shared that the JAA grant is far greater than the grant itself. The door not only gives disabled members easier access to the sanctuary but also creates greater independence and an overall positive experience for the person using the door opener. These installations provide the synagogue with an opportunity to educate their youth in areas of kindness while actively improving the physical access to the sanctuary and elevating the entire spiritual worship of the congregation.

Federation’s Jewish Education Collaborative is constantly working toward improving supplemental Jewish education in Atlanta. JEC elevates Jewish education as a communal priority by improving teacher quality and investing in talent, exploring innovation, strengthening collaboration, creating networks, improving where and how Jewish learning is experienced, and changing perceptions about Jewish education.

One of its latest initiatives, BOOST Micro-Grants (Building On Our Strengths Together) is intended to grow and enhance nascent educational programs and help creative ideas move from the pilot phase to model status. Sometimes all it takes to transform programs from “good” to “great” is a little BOOST! Grants range from $500-$2,500.

FY24 Grantees Include:

  • MJCCA– Launching a new “Reading the Omer” program for children and families throughout the community
  • Temple Beth Tikvah– Launching a new serious of Religious School Family Shabbat programs throughout the year
  • Congregation Gesher L’Torah– Launching a new series of Gesher Limmud Family Education programs
  • Diamond Family Religious School at Temple Emanu-El– Launching a new series of Honeybee Jewish Environmental Education programs
  • Temple Kahillat Chaim– Creating a new outdoor classroom for Jewish learning programs
  • Congregation Shearith Israel– Launching a new Chugim Elective program in the Machanei Shai religious school

As a community that believes in the value and importance of Jewish education, it is heartwarming when we see the impact Jewish learning has on young people. Davis Academy graduate Vivian Kohn recently presented a Ted Talk on the topic of “Igniting the Ruach Within”. During these 10 minutes, she beautifully shares her perspective on being a Jewish young person, her experience as a student in Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, and her reflections on Oct 7.

Last year, Federation invested more than $1.2 million dollars into Jewish education including its allocation to Vivian’s alma mater, Davis Academy. Federation is also committed to growing the number of teens who take part in an immersive Israel experience like Vivian did when she attended the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI). AMHSI is a part of RootOne, a partner of Federation’s, which provides $3,000 vouchers for eligible programs to teens in Greater Atlanta.
CLICK HERE to see Vivian’s Ted Talk.

To learn more about opportunities for teen experiences in Israel, email Atlanta’s RootOne Shlicha (emissary), Lior Fridman, at

Close Menu