Federation News

May 9, 2017

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 our recent newsletters below, our newsletter archives, or our press releases.

FederationFive – our weekly newsletter of the top five things going on in Jewish Atlanta

May 9, 2017

Building Bridges, Empowering Lives
By Rick Aranson
CEO, Jewish Family & Career Services

Early in my tenure as CEO of JF&CS, I visited with Alicia Philipp, President of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, for her guidance and perspective about service, community-building, and leadership. Among many insights that Alicia shared, one statement in particular has stuck with me since we met nearly two years ago. “JF&CS is the bridge between the Jewish and broader communities,” she said, “and your agency’s future success will be about bridge-building.”

Advice heeded. JF&CS is very intentional about building bridges both internally and externally. We are building durable bridges externally by fortifying existing collaborations and establishing new ones. These partnerships allow us to offer a more comprehensive array of services to our clients. Collaboration is not just a buzzword at JF&CS; rather, we see it as a key strategy for effectiveness and sustainability. Whether it is working with Federation planners on the needs of seniors, with Camp Twin Lakes, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the MJCCA, or another of the more than one hundred formal partnerships we’ve established, we recognize that we can do more to empower lives by working in partnership.

Internally, we are breaking down silos, recognizing that an integrated approach to service delivery is the most effective approach for our clients. Rather than focusing on each program in its discreet division of service, we are taking a more holistic, person-first approach. We’re looking at the individual need of each client and building a customized solution for them. This allows multiple service areas to work together and is a more effective way to address each client’s unique needs and ultimately, achieve a deeper impact.

The new IndependenceWORKS building, along with renovated spaces for counseling, reflect this holistic approach. We brought the IndependenceWORKS program, which provides vocational and day services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to our campus in order to connect program participants with the myriad of supports that JF&CS offers. They will now have easy access to state of the art, confidential clinical services, a gathering place where they can interact with staff and the community, and other JF&CS services to help them maximize their independence and quality of life.

As we all adjust to a disconnected I-85 connector, we recognize the importance of real and metaphorical bridges. We appreciate your support and assistance as we work to build and fortify connections across Metro Atlanta for the betterment of our community.

Did You Know?

Did you know how big of a difference you make with a single gift?




Top 10 Findings from the Community Study

As we continue to share the learning from the 2016 #IAmJewishATL Community Study with you, we’ve distilled some of the data into a Top 10 Findings presentation which looks at four broad areas: identity, engagement, community, and social services. For a deeper dive into reports about special populations, age segmentation, and geographic analysis, visit www.iamjewishatl.com. Meanwhile, here are the top 10 findings:

  1. Being Jewish and having children who are proud to be Jewish is important to the majority of survey respondents.
  2. There is an interest among respondents, especially those not currently engaged, in participating more in Jewish life.
  3. Jewish communal organizations are well known, but more often considered “good” rather than “excellent.”

Read Takeaways 4-10

Men’s Mission to Israel

Federation’s first ever men’s mission to Israel has returned from a unique six-day adventure. The group of 15 men included just one first-timer, but even those who’d been to Israel before agreed that this trip was different — “Not the usual fundraising tour,” “Not my parents’ Israel,” were some of the comments. Each day began with briefings on a theme, presented by Israeli experts in the field; real estate, security, religious pluralism, high tech, etc. Contact Roey Shoshan, Director of Israel & Overseas, for information about future trips.

Affiliate Spotlight

The Davis Academy, the largest Reform Jewish Day School in the country, provides a 21st-century learning environment based on an innovative, collaborative, and student-centric learning experience. Students have access to state-of-the-art science labs, creativity-driving idea and tech labs, an outdoor nature sanctuary, outstanding fine and performing arts facilities, and a full athletic program. Davis graduates become leaders and active participants in their high schools, colleges and communities, even starting their own non-profit organizations. With a grounding in Jewish values and supported by a strong school community, Davis Academy students learn that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Read May 9 newsletter.

May 2, 2017

Two Couples Meet in Yokneam and Link Their Families Forever
By Steven Cadranel & Alon Itach

Two and a half years ago, on a Federation community mission to Israel, my life took an amazing turn when my wife Janet and I were hosted for dinner in the Yokneam home of Alon and Inbal Itach.  In the space of just two hours a meal blossomed into a family love affair. Call it luck, call it bashert, call it chemistry, but the Cadranels and Itachs clicked in a powerful way that transcended logic, borders and languages. Today our families are linked forever, and Federation was the catalyst.

It’s wonderful that our wives enjoy each other, but the connection Steven and I have is what Americans might call a “bromance.” As two Jewish men, husbands and fathers, our bond has grown deeper over the years. Steven is a super busy guy, but I can pick up the phone at any time and he will always find time for me. When the Cadranels spoke about the impact Camp Barney Medintz had on Steve’s life and on their daughter Lauren’s life, I became inspired. Together we hatched a plan for my daughter Shiraz to go to Barney, and the Cadranels made it happen. At age 16, Shiraz made her first trip to America, all by herself, and had the time of her life at camp. Her English and her self-confidence soared, and she returned the following summer as Staff in Training.  Now she, Lauren and her Barney friends also enjoy lifelong connections, just like Steven and me. Now my son Ido wants to go to Barney!

Our story shouldn’t be unique and hopefully more families and children like ours will bond in knowing that we’re a connected people with a common destiny. The Cadranel and Itach families are part of a circle that can never be broken.

Did You Know?

Shalom Bayit, which is Hebrew for peace in the home, is a JF&CS program providing individual counseling, support groups, safety planning and referrals for individuals affected by physical, emotional or sexual abuse in their families or intimate relationships. Shalom Bayit also focuses on education to recognize and prevent abuse.

• 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
• 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of abuse from a dating partner
• Every 10 seconds a report of child sexual abuse is made in the U.S.

What Jew Wanna Eat

Women’s Philanthropy served up fun, food, and culinary inspiration at their April 25 Pomegranate Event featuring entrepreneur extraordinaire, Amy Kritzer. Amy is the owner of Jewish gift website moderntribe.com, founder of the Jewish cooking blog What Jew Wanna Eat, author of Sweet Noshings cookbook, and a proud graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and Emory University. “The evening was an entertaining way to bring our Pomegranate donors together and thank them,” said co-chairs Teri Edelstein and Helene Popowski. The crowd had a blast making (and drinking) Amy’s Manischewitz sangria, and loved her creative cooking demo featuring modern classics with an Israeli flair.
Try Amy’s Recipes

100th Moishe House Opens in Buckhead

Atlanta’s robust job market, dynamic intown neighborhoods and growing tech sector make it a magnet for young Jewish professionals and graduate students, ages 22-30. So much so that Moishe House, a unique hub of Jewish life for young adults, just opened its third Atlanta house, in Buckhead. Along with two established “MoHo’s” in Toco Hills and Virginia Highland, the new Buckhead house is the 100th Moishe House worldwide. It joins OneTable, Honeymoon Israel, and other national Jewish leadership programs who’ve recently established footprints in Atlanta. Lander Gold, MoHo’s Senior Director of Advancement and Philanthropic Partnerships, said, “We believe so strongly in Atlanta that we envision opening a fourth Moishe House here. Having houses in multiple neighborhoods amplifies what all our organizations are doing for young Jewish adults.”

Volunteer of the Month

Mazel tov to Valerie Habif, co-chair of Federation’s Business & Professionals Division (B&P). Valerie views Federation as the essential infrastructure that makes Jewish Atlanta work. Reflecting on the recent the I-85 bridge collapse she says, “It’s not enough to focus on the surfaces of our roads and bridges. Looking deeper, Federation is the metaphorical arches, trusses and beams that support us.” Valerie is excited to be part of an energized and active B&P; Division. Why does she volunteer? “As Steve Selig said many years ago, Federation is about one Jew asking another Jew to support a third Jew.” Thank you, Valerie, for all you do!

Read May 2 newsletter.

April 25, 2017

Our Atlanta Jewish Community Study results are in! We encourage you to learn about the results in person at one of the presentations in your area. View results.

From Egosystem to Ecosystem

I love the teaching that when we banish leavened foods from our lives for the eight days of Passover, and eat the flat, unleavened bread known as matzah, we are also banishing ego. If puffed-up yeast breads, cookies and cakes represent ego and self-aggrandizement, then matzah represents humility. Hasidic rabbis go on to say that matzah, the poor bread, made of only flour and water, renews our faith and opens us to self-improvement. It’s a tremendous lesson for individuals, and for big organizations like Federation.

For months I’ve talked to you about transforming the way Federation does business in our community, and now I’m excited to report that we are actualizing that promise. We are launching a process for change that rests on the idea of moving Federation from an egosystem focused mainly on its own well being, to an ecosystem that emphasizes the well-being of the whole community. With this mindset, all our Jewish organizations and programs are stakeholders, bound and committed to each other.

Going from egosystem to ecosystem, is a major shift in consciousness, so I’d like to tell you more about how we plan to do it. I also want to underscore that this is not a typical organizational strategic planning exercise. This is a bold and daring process that will require us to look collaboratively, rigorously, and courageously at the hard truths of our community and our leadership — as well as the seeds of possibility. This is a journey of coming together, slowing down, connecting, and really listening to each other. Together, we will discern the best use of Federation to create the conditions where Jewish Atlanta can flourish.

Our process builds from our 2016 Community Study which has been a rich source of learning. We’ll be organizing ourselves around three tracks, each with a different, but equally important purpose. Each track will engage a different cohort of lay and professional leaders, community members, and Federation staff, agencies and partners. The tracks are:

  • Track #1: Co-Creating an Innovation “Hub” or Holding Space for Next Generation Jewish Social Entrepreneurship

Working with young Jews and other innovators who are inventing new ways to embrace Jewish values and engage Jewish populations. The focus will be on supporting the culture of entrepreneurial Jewish energy and creating pathways for future leadership.

  • Track #2: Forming a Collective Impact Partnership with Bedrock Jewish Organizations & Activating Civic Networks

Bringing together our key agencies and creating a common agenda we all stand behind, that realigns us through the lens of “collective impact.” Using network thinking to identify and activate existing Jewish networks in Atlanta to reach out to more than 100,000 affiliated and non-affiliated Jews.

  • Track #3: Transforming Federation as an Institution

Supporting all the tracks above, and re-imagining its traditional functions and alignment with Jewish communities around the world, guided by a realistic understanding of the world in which we find ourselves.

A superb team of consultants from Insyte Partners, a Philadelphia based firm, has helped shape this process. I’ve worked with them at Camp Twin Lakes, and they’ve also done work with Atlanta Speech School and Sheltering Arms in Atlanta, along with clients both Jewish and non-Jewish nationwide. Jodi Mansbach, our Chief Impact Officer, will also be steering this initiative and assembling the teams that will drive institutional change. We are looking to assemble a diverse group of people who are willing to make a big commitment and participate in this effort.

I will continue to update you on this important work that promises to transform Federation and our larger community.

Did You Know?

The One Group, a service of Jewish Home Life Communities, provides professional in-home assistance for patients and family members for medical and non-medical care.

• Caregivers available 365 days a year, including all holidays
• One-on-one care provided by certified nursing assistants (CNA), registered nurses (RN), or licensed practical nurses (LPN)
• Coverage across Metro Atlanta

 Bagels & Baseball Knocks it out of the Park

What do you get when you invite Federation’s Business & Professionals for a sneak peek at SunTrust Park, the new Braves stadium? You get a sellout! This popular event, held on April 24, brought 125 financial services and real estate professionals together to hear Marc Pollack, Chairman & CEO of Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, LLC; Josh Hirsh, Senior Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle; and Mike Plant, President of Development for the Atlanta Braves, talk about the mixed-use master plan for the ballpark and surrounding area. “The panel provided a simplified look at the business side of a seemingly complex deal,” said Harold Schumacher, moderator, and one of four co-chairs of the event. “Most importantly, there were a lot of new faces.” The other event co-chairs were Greg Eisenman, Ryan Halpern and John Perlman.

Atlanta Jewish History at your Fingertips

Whether you’re a recent transplant to Atlanta, a lifelong resident, or simply interested in showing guests some local history, the Breman Museum’s Historic Jewish Atlanta app puts more than a century of history right on your smart phone. Developed by Breman staff and Bar-Z Adventures, the app connects you to articles on historic Jewish Atlanta and Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement. By clicking “Sites Near Me” you can view a map pinpointing unique historic sites and get GPS directions. It’s a cool way to connect with Jewish history wherever you are in Atlanta. Download the free app for phone or tablet from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Why I Give

Why does Beth Brown give to Federation? Watch to find out!

Read April 25 newsletter.

April 19, 2017

Throughout India we were impressed by the power of community

By Justin Milrad & Lauren Abes

When we learned that Jewish Federation of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet would be taking its annual Study Mission to India, honoring 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel, we jumped at the chance to represent Atlanta. Our first impression of India was stunning — there’s virtually no anti-Semitism! India is a diverse and crowded nation where 1.2 billion Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, and roughly 5,000 Jews, get along. What sustains this 2,000-year-old Indian Jewish community that is losing population? We were moved to learn that it is their connection to Israel.

The tiny Indian Jewish community, known as Bene Israel, ties its ancestry to one of the Lost Tribes of Israel and is centered today in Mumbai and Delhi. We spent Shabbat at the Judah Hyam Synagogue in Delhi, which does not have a rabbi, so services were led by young Indian Jews who traveled from Mumbai. Singing Ashrei together, our melodies were different, but we still felt like one people.

The poverty in India took our breath away. Families and individuals look out for each other and somehow the slum ecosystem works. India’s Jews also rely on the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) for community and infrastructure. We saw this in Mumbai where a JDC community center provides elder care visits, Meals on Wheels, bar and bat mitzvah training, and a venue for Jewish holiday celebrations. JAFI has helped resettle Indian Jews in Israel, where the Indian-Jewish population now exceeds 70,000. Just before our mission 102 Indian Jews made aliyah (emigration to Israel).

For those Jews who remain, Israel is a source of inspiration. Young Indian Jews connect with Israel through Birthright Israel, Masa, and other study opportunities. The trip reinforced so many core Jewish values and taught us that, through the work of Federation’s overseas partners, we are having real impact in India.

Did You Know?

Being a caregiver can be tougher than most “desk” jobs. Jewish Family & Career Services aids caregivers in many ways, including support groups and one-time financial assistance for caregivers in crisis. Last year, JF&CS served 117 family caregivers through geriatric care management and caregiver support.

• 34 million caregivers nationwide provide care to someone age 18 or older
• 82% care for one person, typically 20 hours a week
• 37% of caregivers for someone aged 50+ reduce their work hours or quit their job

A Very Special Seder

For 21 consecutive years, Congregation Shearith Israel has hosted a free-of-charge special seder for individuals with special needs. This incredible act of chesed and devotion has been spearheaded by Arlene and Harold Koslow, Rachael and Jack Rosenberg, and an army of volunteers. Arlene works the “back of the house,” the Shearith Israel kitchen, where a five-course meal is prepared, from matza ball soup to charoset. Rachael works the front end, preparing table settings and greeting guests. This year they fed nearly 100 people, including caregivers and family members of adults with disabilities. “It’s such a joy to do this. We know that the seder not only reinforces Jewish identity, but over the years it has also taught our community that inclusion is vital.”

Larry Frank to Be Honored With Lifetime of Achievement Award

We are delighted to announce that Larry Frank will be honored as the recipient of Federation’s 2016 Lifetime of Achievement Award, Wednesday, June 7, at Ahavath Achim Synagogue. Larry is a beloved native son of Atlanta and former Grady High School football star who has supported social justice and Israel both publicly and anonymously for decades. Larry has devoted his life to ensuring that younger generations develop a strong bond with the state of Israel. For the last four years, in partnership with Federation, Larry and his wife, Lois, have created and funded immersive programs that send emerging young leaders to Poland and Israel, along with sports programs for Israelis with developmental disabilities. Save the date and join us to honor this very special philanthropist.

Staff Spotlight

Learn how Susan Moray, our VP of Philanthropic Advancement, was inspired to walk in her grandfather’s footsteps.

Read April 19 newsletter.

April 10, 2017

Where Jewish Journeys Begin

By Kim Sucan, Director, The Weinstein School of MJCCA

Would your ideal work day include spending hours with preschoolers? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. As the Director of MJCCA Preschools, my job is truly a labor of love. Every day I get to watch our children embark on their Jewish journeys.

Our preschools teach many life lessons, and we cultivate each child’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth, all while nurturing and loving them. Every Friday, each class gathers to celebrate Shabbat, lighting the candles and singing the prayers. Children’s faces light up every Simchat Torah as they are presented with their own Israeli Flag. At Rosh Hashanah, there is nothing sweeter than our preschoolers sharing apples and honey.  Now, as we prepare to gather with family and friends for Passover, our children have done the same at school. It is magical to watch as our preschoolers develop a deep appreciation and pride in their Jewish identity.

Our preschool families are part of the Jewish journey, too. It’s the mission of the MJCCA to offer multiple Jewish points of entry, and we view our preschools as a vital one. There is a special energy and light from watching parents join their children at Shabbat Sing every Friday and raise their voices together in song and prayer. Families form bonds and relationships with each other that exist long after their children graduate from preschool. Families gather to celebrate Jewish holidays, go on annual campouts, and grow up together at the MJCCA as they explore and experience MJCCA day camps, youth sports leagues, Camp Barney Medintz, and so much more.

The Jewish sparks that begin in preschool help the MJCCA become a second home for the entire family. I am proud to be a part of a preschool and an agency that is always a safe, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse environment for everyone in our community. I begin every day knowing our preschool is an integral part of so many children beginning their Jewish journey and living a life of Jewish values.

Did You Know?

When children struggle socially or have difficulty in school, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers psychoeducational assessments to help parents and teachers gain important insights. JF&CS psychologists can conduct individualized and comprehensive evaluations that integrate information from parents, teachers and testing data. Classroom observations are also available.

• Ages 4 years and up
• Two sessions of 4 to 4.5 hours
• Three clinicians on staff

Passover, Sephardi Style

Why do some people say they’re “Sephardic” for Passover? Possibly because unlike Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, Sephardic Jews are permitted to eat kitniyot (rice, corn, grains and legumes) during Passover. Atlanta has one of the largest Sephardic communities in America, and its historic center is Congregation Or VeShalom, where many congregants trace their roots to Turkey and Greece. Adam Kofinas, Or VeShalom’s current executive director, comes from a mixed Ashkenazi/Greek background. For Passover he grew up eating matzah ball soup, but also keftes de prassa, a Greek pancake made of leeks, onions, and scallions, and megina, a Passover meat pie. Adam has kindly shared some of these Sephardi Passover recipes with us from his own family as well as from Or VeShalom’s Sephardic cookbook. Enjoy!

Enjoy these Sephardic Passover Recipes

Ben-Gurion Society Honors Young Adult Philanthropists

The Ben-Gurion Society (BGS) recognizes young adults who make a significant contribution to Federation for their commitment to community leadership. BGS members gathered last week to hear Lisa Friedman Clark’s inspiring story of overcoming obstacles like illness, career hurdles, and personal loss. Clark called her ability to rebound, remain optimistic and stay engaged in her Jewish community, “dancing between the raindrops.” It was a very relevant message for this group of under 40 future leaders to hear. Jennifer Weber, event co-chair, said, “For all of life’s hurdles, Lisa remains optimistic and keeps a smile on her face. She’s been through it all – cancer, death, career challenges – and Federation has always been there with her. Very inspiring!”

Affiliate Spotlight

The Epstein School takes a student-centered approach to education, providing students with the tools they need to be successful in their educational journey and in life. With an innovative, 21st-century learning environment and unique dual-language program, combined with integration of advanced technology, creative arts and athletics programs, Epstein students have a well-rounded experience. In partnership with parents, the school helps develop students’ passions and prepares them to become confident, engaged learners, critical thinkers and committed community leaders who are grounded in the values of our heritage.

Find a Passover Seder here.

Read April 10 newsletter.

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