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Federation is for Good Times Too!

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

By Matt Bronfman, Federation Board Chair
We talk a lot about how Federation is built to carry us through difficult times. Whenever and wherever Jews are in crisis – from Covid relief in Atlanta to the Ukrainian refugee crisis – our generous donors make it possible for us to step in and make a difference. We stand with those facing emergency situations, and we also continue to build a strong foundation so that we will be here for you and your family if you need us.

But we also are built for z’manim tovim, good times. Just one year from now, in April 2023, I will be leaving for a Jewish Federation Community Journey to Israel that will showcase all that Israel has to offer. The trip will offer the opportunity to explore Israel through different “tracks,” that emphasize the unique dimensions of Israel. There will be specialized itineraries for first-time visitors, outdoor enthusiasts, technology and innovation, and even one for foodies. I really hope that you will join us as we deepen our bond with Israel and with each other. I promise, this is going to be a fantastic trip. Learn more here and if you have questions, please contact Marsha Hurwitz.

Mexico on My Mind. Ukraine in My Heart.

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING, Federation News

While my friends and colleagues are working around the clock to save lives at the borders of Ukraine, The Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) work around the globe isn’t stopping for a minute.  

And neither am I.

Last week I had a fascinating experience in Mexico City where I visited Project TEN – Be The Change. It’s a Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) program that targets young Jews from the entire Jewish world and brings them together to do community development work. In counterpoint to the dire situation in Ukraine where JAFI is also doing incredible work, it was uplifting to see Project TEN in action. 

But now my bags are repacked with parkas and sweaters, and by the time you read this, I’ll be in Warsaw, Poland for a first-hand look at the heroic work our overseas partners are doing at the Ukrainian border.  

In this head spinning geopolitical moment, I feel the power of global Jewry and the interconnectedness of the Jewish people as never before.  

On the bright side, my trip to Mexico connected me to meet Project 10’s young adults who are on a three-month long tikkun olam project in Chimalhuacán — a high poverty community outside of Mexico City. It was joyful to see Mexican, British, and European Jewish young adults working side by side with young Israelis who have finished their army experience. They are doing good and establishing relationships that will last a lifetime.  

Project TEN currently operates projects in Israel, Mexico, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Greece, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. I can easily envision it becoming a meaningful service option for our own Atlanta young adults, whether as a gap year experience or a post-college experience through an organization like Repair the World. This is the way to build a cadre of future Jewish leaders who have passion, perspective, and impact. 

Heading into the darkness and destruction of the war in Ukraine, I feel privileged and proud to witness our incredible global Jewish network in action at the border.  

You’ll likely see some photos and brief comments from me on the Federation Facebook page. I look forward to updating the community on all that I experience at the Ukraine border when I return to Atlanta. Know that your incredible support of the Ukraine Emergency Fund is making this holy work possible. 

Empathy and Action at the Strong Women Fellowship

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship is an affinity group of 40 female identifying teens who meet monthly to discuss what it means to be a strong Jewish woman. Topics have included political advocacy, meaningful volunteerism, women’s healthcare, self-care, being present, navigating friendships, being Jewish, and how to give back to their communities in meaningful ways.

Leah Moradi, an 11th grade peer leader in JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship, had a revelation when Lily Brent, the director of Repair the World Atlanta, and Emma Burns, a Repair the World Fellow, spoke to her group about “period poverty”a term for inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, and sanitary products. “Before being exposed to the struggles of people who are faced with this issue, I never thought twice about my easy access to basic menstrual hygiene products. I now feel the privilege of being able to easily drive to a Walgreens and buy whatever products I need.”

After learning about this issue, Leah and her group got right to work. They concluded their session by packaging 130 period packs containing menstrual products to donate to The Homeless Period Project. This national organization distributes menstrual products to homeless and low-income schools, shelters, and community organizations.

Applications for next year’s cohort are opening soon. To learn more about the Strong Women Fellowship, reach out to Amanda at

Ukrainian Refugees Resettle in Yokneam

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

In recent weeks we have been overjoyed to see hundreds of Ukrainian refugees airlifted to Israel to make aliyah (immigration to Israel) and begin new lives. Among them were seven Ukrainian refugee families arriving in Yokneam, our partnership city in Israel. The photo shows Anna and Igor, new arrivals who escaped the chaos in Ukraine and arrived in Yokneam with literally nothing. As our partnership region has done so often in the past, both for Soviet refugees and for Ethiopian refugees, Yokneam residents opened their hearts and their doors to help them. Yokneam expects to settle at least 40-50 Ukrainian families in the coming months.

The Jewish Agency for Israel led a national emergency operation with the municipalities and regional councils to collect products for refugees in Ukraine. The Megiddo Regional Council provided more than 150 packages to help resettle these refugees, including blankets, coats, gloves, scarves, hygiene products and diapers.

Planting Seeds for Future Generations

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

Growing up in the tight-knit Jewish community of Charleston, South Carolina, Ellen Arnovitz learned early on that serving, leading, and giving were priorities in her family. All four of her grandparents were immigrants from Russia and Poland. “We were not the big givers in our community,” she says, “but we were always involved. My father was a synagogue president. My Aunt was the first woman president of our local Federation.”

In her teen years, Ellen’s leadership role in the southern region BBYO chapter frequently brought her to Atlanta. “I absolutely loved the energy and vibrancy of the big city!” She eventually moved to Atlanta and raised her family here. Today she is the proud matriarch of a blended family of 13 grandchildren, 11 of whom live in Atlanta, and two in London. More and more, leaving a legacy is on her mind.

“My kids are the beneficiaries of everything this Jewish community offers — our Jewish day schools, Jewish camps, the MJCCA, and our synagogues. How could I not put my energy into making sure that these organizations survive and thrive for future generations? Through Atlanta Jewish Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY initiative, I’ve enjoyed helping people think creatively about how to structure legacy gifts.”

“We’ve all seen those astonishing stories about people of modest means who steadily put aside funds for something they cared about, and then when they passed, they made incredibly meaningful gifts. You don’t have to be wealthy or old to leave a legacy, you simply have to have the intention. That’s why it’s so rewarding to speak with young couples who are still saving for college and building their nest-egg and explain that they can project their generosity forward. When I tell them that a small life insurance policy set aside today as a legacy gift can grow into something big in 50 years, they get excited.”

Years ago, as a participant in the Wexner Heritage leadership cohort, Ellen wrote an ethical will. “It was the first time I really thought about legacy giving. It made me reflect on what values I wanted my kids to remember and was very clarifying.”

“I continually ask myself, why am I so lucky? When you have had a full and blessed life like mine, you want to share and invest in the community’s future. It not only helps to build a vibrant Jewish community for future generations, it enriches your life now. Through I have learned that sharing is a mindset. Giving back to the community and helping others is the legacy I want to pass on to my children.”

Camp is for Families!

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING, PJ Library Atlanta

Family Weekend: Passover Edition April 1-3

Jewish camp isn’t just for kids anymore, it is for entire families! Federation wants you to experience the fun, freedom, and Jewish community that a camp retreat can create at Family Weekend: Passover Edition, April 1-3 at Ramah Darom.

Family Weekend is an early Spring retreat tailored for families with children ages 0-5, with a focus on fun activities to help families get ready for Passover. Activities will be specifically geared for little ones, with plenty of opportunities to be outdoors and connect with nature. You’ll spend time crafting, cooking, creating, and learning more about the traditions of Passover. There will also be enriching adult experiences, all in a beautiful camp atmosphere that is relaxed and casual.

With help from Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the cost for the entire weekend is just $400 – an incredible price that makes it possible for whole families to attend. We are proud to partner with these organizations to bring you this weekend: 18Doors, Be’Chol Lashon, Ma’alot Atlanta, PJ Library Atlanta, and the Israeli American Council.

Making an Impact in a Crisis

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

By Matt Bronfman, Federation Board Chair
Part of the premise of the Federation is to have an organization that is ready to step in when emergencies arise. Federation has the infrastructure, the relationships, and the know-how to make a difference quickly. That is what the Federation did during Covid when we raised over $4 million in a few weeks and distributed it right away to those in need. That is what we are doing right now with the Ukraine Emergency Fund which has already raised more than $1.1 million in humanitarian aid for the Jews of Ukraine.

As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, the 200,000+ Jews across Ukraine are truly in peril.  Our campaign directs %100 of funds to our on-the-ground partners, JDC, World ORT, and the Jewish Agency for Israel. It’s gratifying to see Federation play such a crucial role in marshalling significant resources. As we said when we launched the 2022 Community Campaign, Federation is built for this!

Built for This

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

For generations, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has cultivated worldwide partnerships supporting Jews and their loved ones around the world. With your dollars, and our incredible partners, Ukrainian Jews have never been forgotten.

  • Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta — allocated more than $3.6M in 2021 to support Jews and Jewish life around the world  
  • Jewish Agency for Israel — brings Shlichim (emissaries) to Ukraine, runs Sunday programs, brings Ukrainian youth to Israel for immersive programs, and supports the Aliyah of Jews. 
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) — supports multiple Hesed centers across 1000 locations, supporting the most vulnerable people of Ukraine, runs JCCs and Jewish youth programs to help younger generations reimagine Jewish life where it once was all but decimated. 
  • World ORT — plays an important role in the renewal of Jewish life through Jewish day schools, vocational training, and more. 

All this work happens because of you, and because of our collective 115-year commitment to Jews and their loved ones throughout greater Atlanta, Israel, and the world.

Your Astounding Support for the Jews of Ukraine

By Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING, Federation News

On Friday afternoon, February 25, when it was clear that a full-on Russian invasion of Ukraine was underway, Federation launched its Ukraine Emergency Fund. Literally within minutes of sending out our email appeal, Jewish Atlantans responded. Hundreds of donors opened their hearts and supported the campaign with incredible generosity and passion. As of this morning, donations exceed $589,000. I believe we are well on our way to raising at least three quarters of a million dollars.

I am also tremendously moved by what donors said inspired their gift.

“I am confident that funds will go to the correct areas if handled by Jewish Federation of Atlanta.”

“I want to help the Jewish community in Ukraine. My ancestors are from Belarus and I feel closely connected to those in Ukraine.”

“For too many years we Jews could not defend ourselves. Now we can, and we must!”

“The people of Ukraine need our help now more than ever to defend against an unhinged autocratic despot bent on destroying democracy.”

In another gesture of generosity, I am proud to share that several members of Federation’s Jewish Commercial Real Estate Network (J-CREN) pooled their funds to create a match so that 100% of every donation up to $180K be doubled for Ukrainian humanitarian relief.

Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) will oversee and distribute the funds to our on-the-ground overseas partners: the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), World ORT, and the Jewish Agency for Israel. And 100% of all these emergency contributions will be transmitted to our overseas’ partners.

The Ukraine Emergency Fund demonstrates that this magnitude of response is exactly what we are built for. Nobody can marshall significant resources, and quickly and effectively deploy them the way Federation can!

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your bold and brave response that manifests our shared Jewish values. Kol yisrael aravim, zeh ba zeh. All of Israel is responsible for each other.

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