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Built for This


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


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.

Join Team “Feederation” at Hunger Walk Run



Sunday, March 6 | 12-4 pm | Home Depot Backyard
Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Hunger Walk Run benefits local hunger relief organizations  that operate and support hundreds of food pantries, shelters, community kitchens, senior centers, and childcare centers across metro Atlanta and North Georgia. For the past 37 years, the Atlanta Jewish community has always been a superstar in its success. Last year 25 teams representing the Jewish community raised $107,393.72 — more than any other partner!

So, put on your walking/running shoes and join Team “Feederation” for a fun and meaningful afternoon of live music, food trucks, camaraderie, and exercise. Whether you participate individually, on a team, in person, or virtually, you can make a huge difference for families, children, and seniors struggling with hunger in our community.

Jewish Abilities Alliance Celebrates Very Inclusive People

By CARING, COMMUNITY, Jewish Abilities Alliance

Atlanta is blessed to have many remarkable advocates for people with disabilities and many programs that include people of diverse abilities in all aspects of Jewish Life. The Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) calls them VIP’s — Very Inclusive People. We are highlighting their commitment to inclusion all month long.

Dr. Melissa Wikoff, Au. D | Audiologist, Peachtree Hearing

“Working with individuals with hearing impairments, you naturally have an aspect of inclusion in your everyday life.” Dr. Melissa Wikoff, Au.D. takes inclusion to the next level by routinely advocating for her patients and the hearing-impaired community. Since starting her practice, Peachtree Hearing, Dr. Wikoff has founded a program to provide free hearing aids to Holocaust survivors, she has overseen the installation of two Hearing Loops in local synagogues, she advocates for students with hearing impairments in local schools, and she serves on the inclusion committee at Etz Chaim.


Why I’ll Always be a Camp Guy


February is JDAIM, which stands for Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, Inclusion Month. It’s also the time of year we launch our Start a Campfire Campaign to support scholarship for Jewish overnight camp. I hope you’ll support them both!

I am singling out our Jewish camps for special praise because they are places where disabilities are not seen as obstacles. They are places where bullying is never tolerated and where all kids are liberated from the cliques and social rules that operate during the school year. In this way, camp is a sweet taste of olam ha ba, the perfect world we yearn for.

I got my first real glimpse of what inclusion looks like at Camp Barney Medintz when I worked in the kitchen. It was the best job I ever had at camp, and it taught me what is really involved in feeding several hundred campers and staff members three times a day — incredible focus and hard work! To see Scott Hyman, a person with disabilities, lead in the kitchen with competence and a strong work ethic, totally inspired me.

Our camps don’t merely pay lip service to inclusion, they model it. Camp Barney’s Chalutzim program for campers 10-22 years old with special needs has been nationally recognized since it was established in 1992. Camp Ramah Darom also prioritizes inclusion and launched its Yofi program for Jewish families with children on the autism spectrum years ago. It has become a national model for inclusion in a camp setting. The MJCCA’s Chaverim day camps include staff experienced in working with children with special needs, low camper-to-staff ratio, and access to camp activities. Chaverim campers run the camp Shuk, modeled after an Israeli marketplace, fostering independence, communication, and camper confidence.

Our Jewish Abilities Alliance has reached more than 1,000 day camp and overnight camp counselors and staff through its trainings, so that these values of compassion, understanding and inclusion endure all year long.

From my years as CEO of Camp Twin Lakes and directing the Isabella Freedman retreat center, to being a camper and a counselor myself, I’ve seen miracles at camp. That’s why I’ll always be a camp guy!

For the Love of Jewish Atlanta


Carol Cooper to be Federation’s Lifetime of Achievement Award Recipient
Federation is delighted to announce that Carol Z. Cooper will be the recipient of the 2021-2022 Lifetime of Achievement Award.

The oldest of the three daughters of Doris and Erwin Zaban, Carol was born into a family that literally shaped and built Jewish Atlanta. Carol has said, “Atlanta was much smaller when I was growing up. There wasn’t the philanthropic infrastructure we have today. If the Jewish community needed something, the leaders got together, talked about the need, and raised the money. My father didn’t tell me how to live philanthropically. He lived, and I had the privilege of watching him do it. He set the example.”

This imprint inspired Carol Cooper to blaze her own unique path. She took the baton of leadership with excitement and passion. Her love of the Jewish community has been the driver of her volunteerism. Federation is honoring Carol not because of who her father was, but because of all that she is — a mentor, an advocate, and an architect of our community’s future.

Carol is a past president of both Jewish Family & Career Services. Carol has served on countless committees and boards and spearheaded many initiatives in our community. Along with her sister Sara Franco, and Ilene Engel, she is a founding trustee of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta.

Carol Cooper will be honored, along with other community leaders, at Federation’s 2022 Annual Meeting, Wednesday June 1, 2022. We will share more details about this event in the coming months.

Our Commitment Runs Deep

By CARING, COMMUNITY, Jewish Abilities Alliance

By Matt Bronfman, Federation Board Chair
February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month. This subject is personal to our family, and we have experienced firsthand how the Federation helps people with disabilities more fully participate in all that Jewish Atlanta offers. Federation does so in multiple ways.

First, together with the Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA), Federation provides individuals, and their families with information and access to resources, services, support groups, workshops and clinics, and recreational programs within their community. Second, the annual campaign provides crucial financial support, targeting a myriad of needs. Moreover, the Atlanta Jewish Foundation connects our donors to organizations or projects doing innovative work in this space. Finally, we are the community’s convener, sharing information between our diverse organizations that allows them to collaborate more effectively. At every step, Federation is there to meet our community’s needs because we know that we are stronger and more successful together.

We Went to the Mikvah Together Before Our Wedding


By Shari Rabin & Matt Berkman

Note: MACoM is the only mikvah in Atlanta open to the entire Jewish community regardless of affiliation, observance level, sexual orientation, or capacity for physical mobility. The possibilities for traditional and modern immersions at MACoM are almost limitless. Below, Shari Rabin and Matt Berkman, who are faculty members at Oberlin College, share their experience immersing right before their wedding

Neither one of us had immersed in a mikvah before, but Shari had taught about mikvah many times in her Jewish studies courses and accompanied several friends and relatives as they immersed in preparation for their weddings. Matt is open-minded about engaging with tradition and agreed to go as well. We set up our appointments for the Thursday evening before our Sunday wedding. This was in early August 2021, just as the Delta variant was rising worldwide, and so the weeks leading up to our immersion were filled with stress as guests pulled out and we grappled with how to safely hold our already long-postponed wedding.

We were able to serve as each other’s mikvah guides, each of us undergoing the ritual with only the other present. While we understood that this went beyond the bounds of Jewish law, we were grateful MACoM allowed us to do this. During the immersion ritual, we each felt vulnerable, open, and powerfully rooted within Jewish tradition. It marked a moment of transition for each of us as individuals but serving as one another’s guides added an additional layer of meaning. That we were doing this amidst a global pandemic also felt momentous, honoring the fact that our bodies are more than just vectors for disease.

We came out of the mikvah to the cheers of our waiting family members, who whisked us away to a celebratory dinner. While COVID-related stress did not totally dissipate until after the wedding, at that moment we felt lighter, happier, and spiritually prepared to become a Jewishly married couple.

Ready for Whatever Comes Next


Many Jewish leaders around the country tell me they are exhausted and dispirited. I am not.

It is a blessing to be a part of Jewish Atlanta. There is a generous spirit here, an optimism as tall as the buildings rising in Midtown, and as fresh as the burgeoning neighborhoods of our northern suburbs. These qualities have taken us from the darkest days of COVID to our current moment — not quite “normal,” but resilient, limber, ready for whatever comes next.

Jewish Atlanta thrives because of you. Not quite six months into the 2022 Community Campaign you have helped us pass 77% of our goal for the Partners Fund. Total Philanthropy is robust at $15.4M — well on its way to the $22.2M goal. All of our Targeted Philanthropy initiatives are more than 50% towards goal or higher. Atlanta Jewish Foundation is growing, helping more and more people do good in our community. These are all healthy signs.

As 2022 gets underway, here are some things that excite me:

  • Federation’s North Metro Making Jewish Places (MJP) initiative has been a huge success. It’s all about connecting people right in their own neighborhoods and encouraging local collaboration. In 2021, MJP engaged 7,000 individuals, awarded 80 Gather Grants, and 31 Organizational grants. We will be expanding the program to a new geographic area, soon to be announced.
  • Spearheaded by the Zalik Foundation and supported by generous community donors, the Jewish Community Professional High School Tuition Grant Program, continues as part of our effort to attract and retain great Jewish professionals. Full-time Jewish professionals, clergy, and educators are eligible to receive up to a 50 percent tuition reduction if their children are currently enrolled or have been accepted to a SACS accredited Jewish high school in Atlanta. It has created a new source of risk capital, enabling the day schools to fund new investments in educational and co-curricular excellence. It has been a token of appreciation and gratitude for the work Jewish professionals and educators do on behalf of our Jewish community.
  • Our teens are loving life in Israel. With generous second year funding from The Zalik Foundation for Gap Year programs in Israel, and new support for Root One from the Marcus Foundation, we are sending more young people to Israel than ever before.

Dreaming big about our community’s future, as I do, means securing big resources. We all know people who, for a myriad of reasons, don’t give to Federation and don’t feel connected to us. This is where you can help. If there are people in your social or professional network who might benefit from a thoughtful conversation with me about our impact and mission, please let me know. I would be honored to reach out and tell them about the good we do, and the things their generosity can empower. Email me.

If you have not already made a commitment to support the 2022 Community Campaign, or to any of Federation’s five Targeted Philanthropy options: AgeWell Atlanta, Jewish Abilities Alliance, Jewish Camp Initiative, Jewish Innovation Fund, and PJ Library, please make your gift now. You’ll feel great about it!

2021: A Year of Impact and Generosity


Thanks to Atlanta Jewish Foundation fundholders, 2021 was a year of

tremendous generosity and impact. They made grants totaling more than $40M to 5,4000 nonprofits in Atlanta, the U.S., and around the world. With $365.4M in assets under management, these investments and legacy gifts through Atlanta Jewish Foundation made big things happen.

In 2021, Foundation fundholders made 5,400 grants:

  • 70% went to local nonprofits
  • 16% went to overseas Jewish nonprofits
  • 14% went to national nonprofits

One local beneficiary was Creating Connected Communities (CCC), formerly known as Amy’s Holiday Party. This is a small local nonprofit that provides leadership training to Atlanta teens so they can effectively serve children in need. This year CCC received 43 separate grants from Atlanta Jewish Foundation totaling $93K, providing meaningful and sustaining funding for the organization.

Amy Zeide, Co-Executive Director and founder, expressed her thanks. “Creating Connected Communities is so thankful for the support we have received from Atlanta Jewish Foundation and its donors. Whether through monetary gifts, opportunities to attend and network at events, or spotlights in newsletters, Federation and Atlanta Jewish Foundation have supported CCC in countless ways over the years. It is an honor that Atlanta’s Jewish leaders and philanthropists have the confidence in our program and the impact we make in the community to so generally support our work.”

“It’s very special when we can speak with a donor and recommend a grant opportunity to a deserving nonprofit that aligns with his or her values,” said Jori Mendel, Chief Operating Officer. Such was the case this year when Repair the World Atlanta received a substantial gift from Dr. Craig C. White, who wanted to support Jewish social justice work. Lily Brent, Executive Director of Repair said, “This investment is game-changing for us in terms of cementing a sustainable future for Repair the World in Atlanta. This gift will allow us to grow our impact by increasing our ability to do what we do best: connect young adults to opportunities to live their Jewish values by meeting urgent needs in our community.”

“Although we never had the opportunity to know Dr. White personally, we are humbled that the impact of our fellows, corps members, volunteers, and partners inspired Dr. White’s generosity. We are honored to continue Dr. White’s legacy. We hope his trust in Repair will illuminate our work for others who are able to contribute to our unique approach to mobilizing the Atlanta Jewish community to support our neighbors through meaningful service and learning. We’re grateful to the Atlanta Jewish Foundation both for facilitating the connections that made this gift possible and for helping us raise awareness about our work.”

Never underestimate the power of your generosity. Speak with us about local, national, and international nonprofits where your gift will have tremendous impact.