Category

COMMUNITY

Meals for Homebound Holocaust Survivors

By Aging, CARING, COMMUNITY, People in Need

Thanks to a partnership with The Epstein School cafeteria, JF&CS was able to deliver free prepared meals to Holocaust Survivors and low-income house-bound older adults, many of whom wondered where they would find their next meal. Anat Granath, a Social Worker with the Holocaust Survivor Program, says that although they were reluctant to use the Kosher Food Pantry service at first, many have found the program to be extremely helpful. 

“Many Holocaust Survivors used to have caregivers, but because of the virus they are asking their caregivers not to come. So, there’s really nobody to shop for them, and many of them don’t have children or family members that live close by that they can rely on food delivery on a regular basis.” Granath also emphasizes the importance of food security to Holocaust Survivors. “I think sometimes, even just knowing that somebody tells you ‘you won’t go hungry again,’ we can’t underestimate what that means to a client who has felt hunger for many, many years. And many of them are benefiting from the Kosher Food Pantry, which is wonderful,” she said.  

Many of Granath’s clients have expressed their appreciation and gratitude for both the food that JF&CS has provided to them, and for the feeling that someone in the world is thinking of them and taking care of them. As the pandemic continues, the need continues to grow for food and supplies. Thankfully, our community has stepped up to help.  

Last year, over a 12-month period, 1,931 people were helped by the Kosher Food Pantry, and 17,500 pounds of food was distributed. This year, in the period between March 13 and July 3, 2020, 2,882 people were served, and 66,469 pounds of food were distributed. That’s the equivalent of three years’ worth of food distributed in four months  

JF&CS received an allocation $40K from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for food support. 

Iris & Bruce Feinberg: Investors in Social Justice

By CARING, COMMUNITY

Though we are empty nesters, Bruce and I still include our four children in decisions about our family’s philanthropy. We continue to talk about how we can make a difference in our Atlanta community and farther afield in ways that are relevant to all of us. Our kids know they were born “on third base,” with many advantages, yet they refuse to close their eyes to injustice and social inequities.

Even before the Black Lives Matter movement intensified this spring, we have been focused on empowering high poverty communities in Atlanta. The murder of George Floyd and the anger and frustration felt by so many of us accelerated our interest in supporting an organization called Westside Future Fund that’s doing community development in the neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue, University Center, and Ashview Heights. It resonated with us for many reasons including the inclusion of local residents to create their own safe, economically strong neighborhoods.

We all tend to live in silos, and it’s not unusual that local organizations who are doing wonderful work fall off the radar. If social justice is your priority, your vision can be limited to who you know and where you live. Atlanta Jewish Foundation (AJF) opens a wide window on giving opportunities that align with your interests.

Say you’re interested in organizations that focus on reading and early childhood development — AJF can point you to so many meaningful opportunities. Atlanta, with its civil rights heritage, is a hub for changemakers and innovators who are using policy and practice effectively to revitalize their communities. No matter what your philanthropic passion, lean into it! Atlanta Jewish Foundation is an awesome resource that can lead you, as it has led us, to social justice and Jewish opportunities you didn’t even know existed.

With our focus on empowerment, we’ve made other philanthropic investments that are exciting, innovative, and effective. One was JOIN for Justice, a Jewish organizing initiative in Boston. Our son Jonathon went through the program and we liked how it develops social organizational leadership capacity for young people. Another is Amplify Decatur, inspired by our son Michael, a musician. It uses music as a catalyst to raise funds for community organizations fighting poverty and homelessness. We looked at it as an investment and told the founder that he had to match at least 50 percent of what we gave in outside grants. It’s now one of the most successful poverty relief organizations in the Southeast.

We were recently introduced to the CEO of the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, (RCIE) located in Atlanta’s HBCU center. It was started by the widow and children of the late African American businessman Herman J. Russell to develop opportunities for aspiring African Americans who don’t have the network of family, business, or fraternity connections. RCIE helps them network, and provides ways to support, teach, and lift people up so they can develop their own businesses. Each of these organizations approaches inequity differently; our hope is that our investment in them will continue to bring social justice change to our community.

Bruce and I are grateful that Atlanta Jewish Foundation has made our philanthropic giving even more meaningful, impactful, and personal.

Celebrating Gender Diversity

By CARING, COMMUNITY

How do LGBTQ+ and allies celebrate gender and sexual diversity in a pandemic, without a parade? This year we still danced, sang, laughed, dressed up, and communed. And we offered a robust calendar of virtual speakers and discussions for Pride.

LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus additional identities) people have been reclaiming negative and inflammatory images and terms for centuries. With determination and defiance, we have turned what has been intended to harm into a badge of pride. For example, the pink triangle that identified gay men in concentration camps and even using the word queer have been reclaimed to demonstrate being “out and proud.”

Do you know who the #ProudBoys are? No, not the white supremacist group that the ADL has described as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration with some members having anti-Semitic ideologies. Recently, LGBTQ+ Twitter users and their allies have claimed hashtag #ProudBoys to reframe the Twitter handle as proud gay men loving each other — sharing pictures of men loving each other in response to hateful rhetoric.

Did you know that there are six genders cited hundreds of times in Jewish oral commentaries? One variation is tum tum, a person whose sex is unknown because their genitalia is either covered or hidden. In modern Hebrew, tum tum means “stupid idiot.” SOJOURN has formed a teen group that intentionally chose the name Tum Tum. These youth weren’t going to allow language to tarnish a sacred identity.

Though Pride weekend is over, Pride month continues in Atlanta with lots of ways to celebrate gender and sexual diversity. Visit Atlanta Pride and SOJOURN to more about ongoing activities for the LGBTQ community and its allies.

Jewish Day School Enrollment Grows

By CARING, COMMUNITY

Our Atlanta Jewish day schools continue to exhibit tremendous resilience and innovative capacity this school year. All of our day schools have opened either fully in-person or in a hybrid model of partly online and partly in-person learning. They are doing a remarkable job balancing the needs of teachers, students, and parents at a challenging time for all.

After worrisome projections last spring of potential down enrollment this school year, enrollment is up in almost all of our day schools as parents have sought a dependable, high quality educational experience in the midst of the pandemic’s uncertainties.

For example, one school reported: “As things kept getting worse with COVID and it looked like public schools were not going to be back in person, we saw an influx of Jewish families who were disappointed in the virtual learning offered. These families knew that they could trust us for both in-person and virtual to teach their children.”

Getting the schools ready to receive these new students and to operate in the COVID environment was not without great expense. Fortunately, the schools received PPP funds and a grant from Federation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to offset the increased cost of additional staffing, building adaptations, increased cleaning, PPE, and many other costs associated with safe operations.

We feel good when we hear comments like this one from a new day school parent: “Ok, I can’t help it! I just have to tell you how insanely happy our daughter is this year already. She literally cannot wait to come to school every day, and when I pick her up, she is just going a mile a minute, telling me all about her day and how much fun she had. She absolutely adores her teachers, and so do we. They have just been so above and beyond in every way already.”

Silver Circle Donor, Kevin Cranman – Why I Give

By COMMUNITY, PHILANTHROPY

by Kevin Cranman

It’s been my pleasure to support Federation’s Community Campaign, and to hear that I’ve been doing it for over 25 years makes me feel good, not old! After returning to Atlanta from law school in 1993, I began to participate in Federation activities, including the national convention in 1996, which is where I met my wonderful wife, Sheila Friedman Cranman. I enjoyed serving on the Young Leadership Program and being invited to serve with leaders like Joe Rubin and Lynne Halpern on the 2001-2002 Community Campaigns. I enjoyed sitting at the “big kids” table and learning about the allocations process.

Today Sheila and I have two daughters: Katherine, a senior, who has attended Atlanta Jewish Academy (AJA) since first grade, and Caroline, 15, who attended through eighth grade. I’ve also served on the AJA Board of Trustees so I understand the challenges of sustaining an organization and how important support from the community, including Federation, can be. We’re also grateful for the assistance of other Federation beneficiary agencies, like JF&CS and The One Group (part of Jewish HomeLife), which have provided opportunities for Sheila’s dad to volunteer, and later provided assistance when he became ill in 2019.

Though my active participation has ebbed and flowed over the years, the benefits I received both personally, and as part of a larger community, far exceeded the time or money I contributed. The important part is that we work collectively to support the community. I’ve continued to support Federation not only because it seems like the right thing to do, but because Federation serves as a centralized organization to collect funds for efficient allocation, as well as to provide other services and support to the community. What an honor to be a 25+ year Silver Circle donor.

Sukkot in a Time of Distance

By CARING, COMMUNITY

Sukkot inTime of Distance
By Edward Queen

It was not supposed to be like this. While every year our sukkah is filled with people and joy, this year was to be even greater. My wife Hallie had retired, and we simply were going to throw our space open for dinners, for lunches, for sleeping. (Yes, we sleep in the sukkah.) Here just two miles from Emory, we sleep. On cots. On air mattresses. Regular mattresses. We join our nocturnal neighbors, the animals with which we share our space. Owls, locusts, raccoons, opossums. We look up through the schach (leafy roof of a sukkah) and see the stars and the moon as it moves from full through its last quarter.

It is that sharing, the togetherness with others, the shared meals, that we will miss most. Twenty or so people at dinner, 60-70 at the open house (the open sukkah?). The pleasure of sharing a space with friends and acquaintances. Making our sukkah available to those who do not have one and introducing the sukkah to those who have not yet had that pleasure. If in the movie Ushpizin, (ushpizin means guests in Aramaic) the family must confront the meaning of having guests that are unwanted, this year my family must struggle with the meaning of guests wanted but un-haveable.

The joy of building and living in the sukkah still will be there. It is, after all, Z’man Simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing. One must wonder, however, will the table seem a bit forlorn? Will the effort seem “worth it?” Will remembrances of Sukkot past, pull us away from Sukkot present? Will what we cannot have, detract from what we do have?

And the Ushpizin and Ushpizot — the seven shepherds of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David and the seven prophetesses of Israel, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hulda, and Esther, will they join us? Will they fill the empty seats and fill our empty hearts?

Tradition holds that they refuse to visit a sukkah that lacks guests, where one has failed to show hospitality. But how will they respond to a sukkah, where to be hospitable means not to bring someone in? Where one foregoes one’s own pleasure in bringing people around the table in order to protect them? Or suppresses one’s ego at hearing the compliments on one’s sukkah, one’s decorations, one’s efforts to glorify, to adorn the mitzvah?

Perhaps it is then that they will come. For the key to hospitality may lie not in having guests, but in how one treats them, in one’s concern for them. This year that concern may perhaps lie, not in the invitation, but in the separation.

Edward L. Queen, Ph.D., J.D. is director of the D. Abbott Turner Program in Ethics and Servant Leadership, and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies at Emory University’s Center for Ethics

Tishpishti for a Sweet Sukkot

By COMMUNITY

Chef, writer, and cooking instructor Susan Barocas lives in Washington, DC where she is well known for teaching about Sephardic foodways — and the fact that she served as guest chef for three Passover seders at the White House for the Obamas! Susan is also beloved in Atlanta where she was a presenter at Limmud, cooked with Chef Todd Ginsberg, and spent time visiting Congregation Or Ve Shalom’s legendary boureka makers. We wanted to share her recipe for Tishpishti, a Sephardic honey cake that is perfect for Sukkot, October 3-9.

Susan writes: Many non-Ashkenazic Jews from various cultures make a version of it. Tishpishti is a very old cake that uses a combination of flour and ground nuts, but no eggs. After baking, it is soaked twice in a honey-sugar-lemon syrup (mine is fragrant with cinnamon and clove), similar to baklava. It is dense, sweet, but not cloying, and leaves a good taste in your mouth as we go forward into a new year with renewed strength, hope, and determination to make the world a better place. For the perfect traditional treat, enjoy Tishpishti with a cup of mint tea or strong Turkish coffee.

TISHPISHTI

Syruped Honey Cake
Recipe by Susan Barocas

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Yield: about 30 diamond-shaped pieces

Cake

4 cups flour
1 cup finely ground walnut or almond meal (not flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oil, preferably safflower, sunflower or other good vegetable oil
2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
About 30 almond slices

 

Syrup             

1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground nuts, baking powder and baking soda until blended.

In a large saucepan, mix the rest of the cake ingredients except the sliced almonds and heat over medium heat, stirring often. Remove the saucepan from the heat just as it begins to boil. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, until it is totally absorbed and the batter is well blended. It will seem like the last bit of flour can’t get mixed in, but it can. If absolutely necessary, add a teaspoon or two of oil. The batter will be very thick and dough-like. Scoop the mixture into the greased pan and gently flatten the batter with your hands so it is spread evenly, and the edges are straight. Score the cake into small diamond shapes, about 30, cutting about halfway down. Press one almond slice on top of each piece, all in the same direction. Bake 40-45 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown.

While the cake is baking, stir the syrup ingredients together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stop stirring, turn the heat up to high until the mixture boils, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Cook about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens but is still syrupy. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool while the cake bakes.

Take the cake out of the oven. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, then pour half the cooled syrup evenly over the still warm cake, which will absorb the syrup as it cools. Wait a few minutes, then follow the scoring to cut all the way through the pieces. Pour the rest of the syrup evenly into the cuts and over the cake. This cake is best if allowed to stand for 24 hours and keeps for a couple weeks, although it won’t last that long.

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!