FederationFive Archive

There is always a lot going on at Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. If you would like to stay updated on the latest happenings, you can subscribe to our mailing lists. To learn more about what has been happening lately. Explore the links below to see the most recent issues of FederationFive – our weekly newsletter of the top 5 must-know things to know about Jewish Atlanta each week

FederationFive – our weekly newsletter of the top five things going on in Jewish Atlanta. Please click on the headline to expand each newsletter below.


Good leaders are silver, great leaders are gold. I learned that over the last 22 months working with Joel Marks, a truly great leader, who has now handed the Federation baton to Mark Silberman. It was a joy to honor Joel at Federation’s 112th Annual Meeting and thank him for his leadership. If you weren’t there, I want to underscore the way Joel’s values moved our community forward and how he empowered me with his commitment and mentorship. Joel accomplished big things and set the stage for transformational change. He brought the LIFE & LEGACY™ program here to build financial reserves for all our community partners, launched a day school sustainability initiative, helped bring Repair the World to Atlanta and supported new events like The Collective and Israel@70. He championed The Front Porch and traveled to Israel with our community leaders. Less flashy, but equally important, Joel managed the overhaul of our bylaws, bringing our board down from an unwieldy 100+ members to an effective thirty. Joel made Federation operations better with his attention to detail and his tenacity. He made me better with his unwavering support.


Jewish Home Life Communities (JHLC) has opened a walk-in medical clinic on the campus of The William Breman Jewish Home. Nurse Practitioners specializing in geriatrics treat routine illnesses or injuries, conduct bloodwork and urine tests, manage prescriptions and refills, and can also provide management for chronic illnesses. They also make house calls for residents within the JHLC system, including Berman Commons and The Cohen Home. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 404-665-4190 or visit www.JewishHomeLife.org.
  • Open Tuesday-Friday 9 am-3 pm
  • Walk-ins accepted
  • Medicare accepted


SLINGSHOT, the organization that helps fund and shape innovation in the American Jewish community, has just published its 2018 Slingshot Guide to Jewish Innovation. It named Atlanta-based organizations SOJOURN(Southern Jewish Resource Network) and JScreen among the top 50 innovative Jewish organizations in America. This is the third time each of these organizations has been included in the Slingshot Guide. In past years SLINGSHOT has recognized Atlanta’s Jewish Kids Groups, and the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival for Jewish innovation. SOJOURN is the American South’s resource for Jewish & LGBTQ+ programming, education, support and advocacy. Programs provide students, teachers, clergy, and communities with tools to be welcoming for gender and sexually diverse people; to address gender equity; to enhance Judaic learning; and to prevent suicide. JScreen at Emory University provides early, affordable saliva testing for more than 200 genetic diseases that impact Sephardic, Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews. JScreen is currently working on a low-cost test for the BRCA gene. Request your kit.


The Friedman Family Philanthropic Fund of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has always had a special heart for helping vulnerable people live with dignity. For many years, during the hottest months of summer, the Friedman fund has underwritten the distribution of free electric fans for low income families through The Salvation Army. This year it made a major gift to help low-income men, women and children get affordable vision and hearing screenings, prescription eyeglasses, and other vision services. The Friedman fund provided a $52,600 challenge grant to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation in support of a satellite vision clinic in Savannah. The Savannah office is expected to be fully staffed and functional by January 1, 2019. Atlanta Jewish Foundation makes it possible for individuals to express their deepest values with philanthropic gifts like this one. To direct your philanthropy in a personal way, contact Itai Tsur.


Jori Mendel has just joined Federation as our very first VP of Innovation. The new position reflects our commitment to innovation and the incubation of big ideas to advance the Jewish Community. Jori is a high energy doer, connector and relationship builder. She earned an MBA at Pepperdine University and spent the last eight years leading start-up teams at AT&T, rolling out strategic technology solutions around the world. She has jumped right in to lead a team of mentors for more than 30 prototype teams that emerged from our Front Porch process, to coach several of our Innovation Grant winners, and to launch elementATL, our new co-working, co-creation space on the BeltLine, opening next week. “With the hard work the Atlanta Jewish community has devoted to The Front Porch initiative, the time for innovation and growth is now! It has always been my dream to give back to the community in an impactful way. I am excited to bring my passion for innovation and my corporate experience to help catapult the energy, momentum, excitement, creativity and innovation of the community forward.”


Cuba’s Jewish population, once 15,000 strong, is now a tiny remnant estimated at about 1,100 people. Since the government lifted the ban on religious practice, they are thriving as a community, however they remain economically fragile. Like all Cubans, Jews live with food rationing and lack many basic resources. Milk, which has so many nutritional benefits, is a commodity in short supply and is only provided to children under the age of seven. That’s why, on their recent Federation and Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) mission to Cuba, Atlanta women took on the mitzvah of supporting a milk program and a Sunday school for Cuban Jewish children and teenagers. The Sunday school is held at El Patronato, Havana’s Jewish Community Center and Conservative synagogue. Children learn about Jewish holidays, and culture, study bible, learn Hebrew… and get fresh milk. Adults have classes at the nearby Sephardic Hebrew Center. “Cuba’s Jews are so vulnerable,” said Debbie Schafer, Director of Women’s Philanthropy. “The Atlanta women chose the milk project because they are mothers! It was a simple and satisfying way enhance the educational and nutritional needs of children and teens.”


One Happy Preschooler is a Front Porch prototype moving rapidly to implementation. Targeting parents of children ages 18-24 months, One Happy Preschooler will provide ten lucky families with $1,000 tuition grants to enroll their child in a Jewish preschool for the first time this fall. Eligible families can live anywhere in greater Atlanta. This prototype was spearheaded by Mark Silberman, who will be installed tomorrow as Federation’s next Board Chair, effective July 1. A grandfather of five, and a huge fan of PJ Library, Silberman says, “I think Jewish education is the single most important thing we can invest in for our children. Jewish preschool is the start of a Jewish roadmap of learning for both the children and parents. Apply now for One Happy Preschooler and you could be one of the ten lucky families. Application deadline is June 29, 2018. Questions? ContactwelcomeinnovationATL@gmail.com


Come celebrate the launch of elementATL, our new co-working, co-creating and event space located right on the BeltLine. June 25-29 is opening week at elementATL and we invite you to work there for free all week long – and be sure to RSVP for Launch Week events, like yoga, food, family-friendly fun and lots of coffee. Click below to see all the really cool events we’ve got planned. Questions? Contactbookings@elementatl.com


We are delighted to announce that nine groups will be receiving grants from Federation’s Jewish Innovation Fund to jumpstart an exciting range of new community initiatives. Of the projects getting the green light, several are brand new, some are from organizations less than seven years old, and some come from legacy organizations seeking to innovate. They all reflect the spirit of The Front Porch to create a thriving 21st Century Jewish Atlanta where all Jews and their loved ones can access community, timeless wisdom, global Jewish peoplehood, and Jewish ways to do good in the world. “There’s a huge appetite for innovation in Jewish Atlanta right now. More than 40 applications came in from our request for proposals,” said Jodi Mansbach, Chief Impact Officer. “After three rounds of consideration, a group of thirteen finalists were invited to make pitches to an Advisory Committee.” Click below to learn more about the winning project proposals.


Intown families with young children can look forward to a full calendar of MJCCA eventsthis summer. From PJ Library Summer Series events, to Shalom Baby Field Trips at Ponce City Market and pool and splash-pad playdates, MJCCA is helping Intown families find, meet and befriend each other. “Facilitating friendships and connections between families who identify Jewishly is what we’re all about,” said Lauren Chekanow, Intown Outreach Associate. “We’ve been lucky to partner with wonderful Intown neighbors like Wylde Center, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, The Temple, Shearith Israel, JKG, PJ Library, Bet Haverim and Anshi S’fard. Being Jewish means different things to different to people. MJCCA Intown programs are welcoming to all and designed to bring families together through all the ways they identify as Jewish, whether through food, culture, holidays, friendships, or neighborhood.” Contact Lauren Chekanow to learn more, or visit theMJCCA Intown page.


Marci Talarico, an Atlanta Jewish mom who has found support through The Berman Center, recently gave a talk about the mental health, anxiety and addiction issues that have plagued members of her family. Marci acknowledges the fear and shame that surround these problems, and the courage it takes to face them. Marci and her family have been on a five-year journey of honesty, insight and healing. We share their story to lift up the fact that good mental health and addiction treatment resources are available in Atlanta – and some, like The Berman Center, approach outpatient treatment through a unique Jewish-led lens of inclusiveness, understanding and spirituality. Read Marci’s story and learn how to find hope and help.


New from PJ Library is PJ Library Radio – a fun and free new way to stream kid-friendly Jewish music to your family, in the car (with CarPlay or Android Auto), at home, or wherever your devices take you. Just like PJ Library books, PJ Library Radio curates Jewish music that inspires and educates children (ages 6 months to 8 years) and their parents. Download the free app here.
  • More than 3 dozen featured artists
  • More than 2,500 songs in the library
  • Stream music 24/7


For the past 15 years, Temple Sinai’s Hineini (Here I Am) Committee has been making accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities a top priority. In partnership with the Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA), they convened a community meeting to share what they’ve learned about making congregations welcoming to all. Seven other synagogues, along with members of Friendship Circle, discussed their inclusion challenges and opportunities. Among them, getting more students with disabilities into our day schools, providing braille prayer books and signage, replicating religious services targeting people with dementia, and creating economies of scale by sharing contractors to install handicap modifications. “This meeting brought many important voices to the table,” said JAA Manager Annie Garrett. “We took a significant step to advance the inclusion agenda in the Jewish community. Real momentum came out of this discussion, and through collaboration, networking, and sharing resources, we’ll continue this work throughout the Greater Atlanta area.” To get your organization involved in this inclusion initiative contact Annie Garrett


As we bid a fond “L’hitraot” (see you soon) to Or Shaham and Lior Bar, our community Shinshinim for the past year, we’re preparing to welcome eight new Shinshinim(Israeli Young Educators) to Atlanta in August. These 18 and 19-year-old Israelis are taking a “gap year” after high school and spending it in Atlanta doing cultural outreach to our schools, camps and synagogues. They need host families! We’re looking for families across the spectrum of Jewish Atlanta, who can be caring host parents, for one educator, for three months at a time. Ezra Flom coordinates the program in Atlanta for the Jewish Agency for Israel. “It’s an amazing Israeli immersion opportunity for everyone,” he says. “When you invite a Shinshin into your home you invite conversations about Israel, Israeli current events, and culture. And you make a friend in Israel forever.” See the host family requirements and make a young Israeli educator part of your family!


Zane Blechner has the soul of a giver. Professionally the 38-year-old works with elderly refugees through Jewish Family & Career Services, but his generosity comes from growing up in a family of givers. “Charitable giving was always important to my family. In my early 20’s my mother began telling me about the contributions she made, encouraging me to learn about the organizations she supported.” About a year ago Zane opened a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) to direct his philanthropic giving through Atlanta Jewish Foundation. “What keeps me going is outcomes. I’m drawn to refugee and immigrant causes because refugees come here with nothing and five years later they’re putting a down payment on a house. I’m also big supporter of Jewish human services, like JF&CS, and I think it’s important to support our synagogues. Something I love about having a DAF, is the collective power of our Jewish community. When I give to a non-Jewish cause, the check says ‘Atlanta Jewish Foundation.’ There should never be any doubt about the generosity of the Atlanta Jewish community,” he says. To open a Donor-Advised Fund through Atlanta Jewish Foundation click here or contact Cindy Weik.


How can we help our local institutions more warmly embrace interfaith couples and families? How can we create more supportive policies and practices? That’s the focus of a year-long national initiative from InterfaithFamily, targeting day schools, synagogues and Jewish organizations. It’s called the Interfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiative (IILI) and it kicked off last week at Federation with a full day of dialogue and text study for a cohort of local leaders. The work aligns perfectly with the findings of The Front Porch to make Jewish Atlanta more welcoming to all Jews and their loved ones. One participant, Rabbi Micah Lapidus of The Davis Academy said, “Davis has embraced interfaith families since the beginning. Participtaing in IILI reflects an ongoing commitment to be reflective, proactive, and learn best practices. We wanted to invest institutional time and energy in this program and found the in-person training to be thought provoking and affirming.” Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe, who heads InterfaithFamily Atlanta, added, “Through honest reflection, we explored where we are at this moment and where we want to be.” The Front Porch pushes us to honor everyone’s Jewish journey, and ILLI is another way for organizations to become more accepting, more flexible, and more welcoming.


Friendship Circle of Atlanta is dedicated to creating a friendly and inclusive Jewish community where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Friendship Circle embraces and supports the disabilities community by deploying a vast network of volunteers who promote inclusion through social, educational and Jewish programming.
  • 13,480 service hours logged by Friendship Circle volunteer
  • 120 active volunteers engaged in outreach program
  • 85 individuals served in Atlanta


Don’t forget to RSVP for Federation’s 112th Annual Meeting, Wednesday, June 13 at Atlanta Jewish Academy. It’s a celebratory evening that underscores our vision for a more connected, welcoming and collaborative community. We’ll honor Lois Blonder with Federation’s Lifetime of Achievement Award, along with five outstanding community volunteers. We’ll say thank you to outgoing Board Chair, Joel Marks, install incoming Board Chair, Mark Silberman, and vote on a new slate of Officers and Trustees. Doors open at 6:30 pm, meeting begins promptly at 7 pm, dessert reception at 8:30 pm. We hope to see you there!


For many years Atlanta Jewish Foundationhas been part of a remarkable joint program with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlantato train and inspire an elite group of philanthropic advisors. The Philanthropy Advisors Leadership Institute (PALI) just graduated its 8th cohort of 22 advisors from the disciplines of accounting, finance, insurance and law. This year, participants were challenged to focus on how philanthropy can address Atlanta’s most intractable problems — income inequality, housing and homelessness, education and transportation. They toured the Atlanta BeltLine, met with decision-makers at the Marcus Foundation, discussed the importance of values in client relations, and more. “PALI is a key example of the important work Atlanta Jewish Foundation is doing with local partners. It’s a model for other communities because it shows that a rising philanthropic tide lifts and inspires us all,” said Itai Tsur, VP of Atlanta Jewish Foundation. The program has more than 120 engaged PALI alumni who continue to network and participate in the Balser Symposium and the Balser Professional Advisor’s Council (BPAC).


Why Lilah Presser comes back to 6 Points Sports Academy year after year. Watch now

FederationFive Archive







Get the latest news and involvement opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.