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jewishatl

What will you do this New Year?

By CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY, Uncategorized

Wishing each other a sweet and healthy Jewish new year is traditional on the high holidays. But this year, it’s not enough! Jewish hopes and needs in a COVID world are poignant and powerful.

In a year unlike any other, your gift to the 2021 Community Campaign really can make hopes and dreams come true. So many are counting on us. Please give to the 2021 Community Campaign today!

New MJP Grant Recipients

By COMMUNITY

                                   Program to be Funded                                                                             Microgrant Recipient

Israeli Scouts – Scholarships for families in need Tzofim – Israeli Scouting Program
Nourishing the Soul: Conversations for Jewish adults Nourishing the Soul: 18 Doors, MACoM; Rebecca Gordon, Gesher L’Torah; The Jewish Bridge
North Fulton Treasure Hunt PJ Library
Combat COVID-19: Masks for Youth & Teachers Individual
Travel to Israel Virtually with the Atlanta Israel Coalition (AIC) Atlanta Israel Coalition & Jewish Moms of Atlanta
Shabbat in the Hood Food with Purpose
Jtext JSU Jewish Student Union
Israel Scholars Fellowship Jewish Student Union
Jewish Fertility Foundation Expanding Services in North Fulton (and Beyond!) Jewish Fertility Foundation
North Fulton Couples: Conversation Virtual Workshop Series 18 Doors and Honeymoon Israel
Meet Me in the Sukkah Temple Beth Tikvah

Even Alone We Can Pray by Rabbi Lauren Henderson

By COMMUNITY

I remember my first high holidays away from home when I went off to college. There was a synagogue right across the street from campus, so I walked through the doors on Erev Rosh Hashanah and eagerly found a seat in the first row, ready for whatever new experience was coming my way. 

I quickly found out that I didn’t know any of the tunes, and no one said a word to me the whole time. I was crushed. I went back to my dorm room and decided I wasn’t going back the next day, that I’d rather just spend the day isolated in my room instead of feeling alone in a room full of people. 

Surprisingly, even though the rabbis push us toward davening in community whenever possible, the strongest models of real prayer in our tradition are of people praying alone. Chana, from the Rosh Hashanah haftarah (the reading from the Prophets linked to the weekly Torah portion), becomes the rabbis’ paradigm of what real prayer can be — crying aloud, speaking words of desire and longing straight from her heart, no minyan (quorum of 10 people needed for prayer) required. Her frustration, her anger, her despair, everything she’s feeling in that moment reaches a breaking point and spills over into prayer, as she realizes how much she wants her situation to change and how little power she has to make that reality possible.  

So many of us are carrying the weight of loss coming into these high holidays, along with our longings for what this experience should have been. Even if we’ve been telling ourselves for the last few weeks that these high holidays aren’t going to feel like last year’s, those expectations are hard to set aside.

But – I know that real prayer and connection are possible, even when we’re alone. And perhaps because we’re alone, new possibilities will emerge that wouldn’t have been accessible if we were all together in one space. May your new year be full of discoveries that bring you closer to community and closer to your own heart. Shanah tovah.

Rabbi Lauren Henderson is the new rabbi at Congregation Or Hadash. She comes to us from Chicago where she served as Mishkan Chicago’s Associate Rabbi and Director of Family Learning and Spirituality.

New Ideas for the Jewish New Year: Innovation In Worship For 5781

By COMMUNITY

Your support for the Community Campaign ensures the existing programs and services our community relies on, and it is also a catalyst for new ideas through Federation’s Innovation Fund. This year, as we approach the Jewish high holidays, there’s been so much creativity right here in Atlanta.  Because we can’t sit close together, sing together, blow the shofar in small spaces, or give each other happy hugs, our community leaders have amped up their creativity. You’ll be amazed by the unique ways this community is leapfrogging virtual limitations to personalize high holiday worship.

Your Jewish Bridge, funded by a Federation Innovation Propel grant, provides access to Jewish educational, life cycle, pastoral and rabbinic services to the unaffiliated Jewish community on a fee-for-service basis. Right before the high holidays, Pamela Gottfried, a rabbi at Congregation Bet Haverim and Your Jewish Bridge, is hosting a (virtual)  9/11 observance where she will livestream the ritual of “taking challah” on Congregation Bet Haverim’s YouTube channel. It involves separating a small piece of raw dough and burning it as a remembrance of the sacrificial offering in the Temple in Jerusalem. The ceremony will be in honor of those lost during the 9/11 attack, as well as those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the high holidays, Rabbi Gottfried will lead several discussions and sessions to enrich the meaning of the season. See the full schedule here.

 

Kenny Silverboard: A Community Campaign Champion

By COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

Kenny Silverboard, who leads our Business and Professionals division, is a veteran of many Federation Community Campaigns, yet he’s anything but blasé about his sixth one. Today, as the 2021 Campaign opens, Kenny cannot wait to engage with the community. “In a town full of transplants, I’m a Jewish unicorn — an Atlanta native son (Morningside Elementary School, Grady HS, Georgia State) with deep ties in the Jewish community.”

“Though the pandemic has taken away face-to-face events and large meetings, I believe there‘s a much deeper understanding of Federation’s value to the community now. Our donors saw us take the lead with the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which allowed our partners to deliver essential services and keep their doors open. They know we support the entire community, as well as needs in Israel. I know from the bottom of my heart that the community will step up for the Community Campaign to sustain the whole ecosystem for today and the future.”

Asked how he “trains” for the Community Campaign, Kenny says, “I live by the words of Mark Twain: Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. “Because I love what I do, I take what we do seriously, while not taking myself too seriously.”  Kenny is ready to receive your 2021 pledge: contact him at ksilverboard@jewishatlanta.org.

New Ideas for the Jewish New Year: Innovation in Worship for 5781

By COMMUNITY, INNOVATION

Your support for the community campaign has been a catalyst for new ideas through Federation’s Innovation Fund. This year, as we approach the Jewish high holidays, there’s been so much creativity right here in Atlanta.  Because we can’t sit close together, sing together, blow the shofar in small spaces, or give each other happy hugs, our community leaders have amped up their creativity. Inspired by local leaders and by Federation Innovation initiatives, you’ll be amazed by the unique ways this community is leapfrogging virtual limitations to personalize high holiday worship.

Your Jewish Bridge, funded by a Federation Innovation Propel grant, provides access to Jewish educational, life cycle, pastoral and rabbinic services to the unaffiliated Jewish community on a fee-for-service basis. Right before the high holidays, Pamela Gottfried, a rabbi at Congregation Bet Haverim and Your Jewish Bridge, is hosting a (virtual)  9/11 observance where she will livestream the ritual of “taking challah” on Congregation Bet Haverim’s YouTube channel. It involves separating a small piece of raw dough and burning it as a remembrance of the sacrificial offering in the Temple in Jerusalem. The ceremony will be in honor of those lost during the 9/11 attack, as well as those lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the high holidays, Rabbi Gottfried will lead several discussions and sessions to enrich the meaning of the season. See the full schedule here.

Federation Innovation has made exciting things like this happen all over Atlanta. For the 2021 Campaign you can amplify your support and seed new ideas by designating a gift for Federation Innovation. Here’s how.

Congregation Gesher L’Torah is innovating with Kol Nidre Under the Stars, a drive-in worship experience. Cantor Zeldin and Rabbi Bernstein will Livestream the service from the sanctuary to your home, or the big screen. Experience the haunting melodies and the powerful message of Kol Nidre in a whole new way.

Temple Sinai is doing “Experience Tashlich” with socially distant tailgating at The Springs Cinema & Taphouse Drive-In Theatre. Bring your own tailgate setup, sit on the roof of your car, or simply tune in to the service from the comfort of your car via the FM station. Join us at 5:30 pm for music with Beth Schafer followed by the service beginning at 6:00 pm. Each car will receive a dissolvable paper to write your sins. Sinai staff, wearing necessary PPE, will anonymously collect these and bring them to flowing water to complete the mitzvah of Tashlich.”

Congregation Shearith Israel is offering socially distant gatherings in various neighborhoods on the afternoon of the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah (Sunday, September 20) so that people can see each other. They are also asking members to create VIDEO HUGs — 15-second video messages to be shared with the CSI community. Congregants are also turning photos of themselves into 3-D cutouts that “sit” in the pews to give the clergy a sense of support and community as they lead services.

Limmud Atlanta + Southeast has created High Holiday Journey in the Park: An Outdoor, Multisensory Experience, September 13, at Mason Mill Park. Timed entry, between 9:45 am and 4:00 pm allows individuals or groups of seven or fewer to take part safely. Using a mini-golf model, participants will move through five stations that safely combine Jewish wisdom with sensory experiences. Sign up here. For all ages!

NextGen Virtual Events Series | OneTable Cooking Class

By Uncategorized

We totally get it: nobody wants to do another Zoom call. It’s been months and we’re all just over it, right?

Right! NextGen has decided to shake things up a little bit and launch a series of events where the last thing we’ll be doing is sitting and staring at a screen. Our kickoff event?

A hands on cooking class with Nadia Deljou of OneTable!

Register below!

Thank you for your interest! This event has reached capacity. Your information will be added to our waitlist.

Make Your Giving Mean More

By Atlanta Jewish Foundation, CARING

I grew up in Cincinnati in a family of wonderful role models. I came to Atlanta to attend law school at Emory and practiced until my second daughter was born. Yet I found over the years, that my community engagements were incredibly fulfilling replacements for my law career.  The missions of our local nonprofits, and their impact on the community is profound. That’s why I’m thrilled to be the new chair of the advisory board of Atlanta Jewish Foundation. I deeply believe that the Foundation is the future of our Federation and that growing its assets is the best way to strengthen the Jewish community.

The time is right because Atlanta is a place of tremendous generosity of heart. People here don’t just wear one hat, and they aren’t territorial. They move between organizations and share their leadership skills and bring new energy to their volunteer work. I also love how Atlanta invests in young leadership. I am a product of that leadership incubator, and now my daughters have become active stakeholders in our Jewish future. Their generation has inherited an extremely different world than what we grew up in. They have new solutions and ideas that are ripe for innovation. What a strength!

My goal is to help build AJF into one of the best community foundations in the Southeast. We are now retooling the foundation of the Foundation and building the brand as a strong, capable investment vehicle.

I’d like to see more people open donor-advised funds (DAFs) and endowed funds. Your DAF is your philanthropic checkbook, no matter what your capacity to give. It’s also a great tax vehicle for people with highly appreciated assets who want tax advantages, and top tier customer service. As we grow, Atlanta Jewish Foundation will truly become an incubator for new ideas, and people looking for ways to make their giving mean more.

Turning Summertime into Service Time

By CARING, COMMUNITY

As young adults watched their summer camp jobs, internships, study programs and travel plans unravel due to COVID-19, a nationwide collective of Jewish service organizations (including Federations) had a flash of insight. Why not mobilize young adults, ages 18-29, to spend four weeks this summer engaged in social justice projects focusing on people disproportionately impacted by the pandemic?

Thus, Serve the Moment was born in 10 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, with Repair the World taking the lead in recruitment. Lily Brent, executive director of Repair the World, accepted the challenge and helped put together Atlanta’s cohort of nine young adults who worked on food justice, education, mental health support, and more.  The program was so successful it is now recruiting candidates for the fall. Stipends of $500 a month are provided to help offset personal costs.

“It’s been really rewarding to hear how meaningful Serve the Moment has been, both for the Corps Members who volunteered, and the organizations they served. I got multiple emails rolling in from both sides about how this program filled a need, bringing together a cohort of young people, connecting them to purpose and to each other.”

Corps members filled their time with direct or virtual service, plus learning sessions on social justice taught by nationally known guest speakers.

Marius Karolinski hails from Massachusetts, but now lives in Atlanta. His placement was with Concrete Jungle, where he worked on the food pantry team and organized fruit picks in the area. He joined Serve the Moment hoping it would help him gain experience and professional development in the food-related field he wants to pursue. Marius enjoys working in his kitchen and spends about 10 hours a week cooking or baking. This Fall, he will be working as a teacher for a local Jewish Kids group and working with WUNDERGRUBS, a sustainable alternative protein company.

Others worked with the JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry, Second Helpings, and Blue Dove Foundation. Kayla Cohen, Atlanta’s Serve the Moment coordinator, said the program also filled a big social need. “Corps members really bonded as a group, helping each other counter COVID isolation and meeting new friends from out-of-town schools.”

If you are looking to volunteer while learning about social inequities and systemic injustices (racial justice, food justice, and education justice, Serve the Moment is looking for young adults (ages 18-29) to serve alongside community partners from September 30 to December 11 in a part-time fellowship program. Learn more here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4841213.