As difficult as the past year and a half has been, Federation has not lost momentum or abandoned the ambitious ideas that define us as a Philanthropic and Community Champion. I am excited to tell you that we are going full speed ahead, and that many of the things we dreamed about which were on the shelf are being dusted off. Exciting initiatives are moving forward.
Israel Travel | Federation’s November 2021 Men’s Journey to Israel is already sold out. Hillel’s popular Onward program of Israel internships is in full swing. Federation NextGen’s 40-Under-40 Journey to Israel is planning a trip, and we’ve just announced the 2023 Community Journey to Israel — our first community trip since 2014. It will be open to anyone over age 18 and is timed to coincide with Israel’s 75th birthday.
Jewish Education Collaborative (JEC) | Our work to transform the quality of Jewish education in our synagogue schools continues through the Jewish Education Collaborative. JEC is doing bold work at Congregation Or Hadash to reimagine bar/bat mitzvah. New models for family education are launching at Temple Sinai, Temple Kol Emeth, and Temple Beth Tikvah. Busy families at five local synagogues won’t be battling traffic for midweek Hebrew next year They’ll be part of a proven new Hebrew curriculum, the Atlanta Hebrew Connection, where learning is done from home.
Gap Year Programs in Israel | With generous funding from The Zalik Foundation, JumpSpark helped Atlanta teens explore gap year options. Twenty-five students from fifteen different Atlanta high schools have accepted scholarships of $10,000 – $15,000 for the gap year program that suits them best. The experience is intended to amplify Israel education and develop a cadre of students who will enter college campuses with a strong connection to and knowledge of Israel.
1440 Spring Street: A Center for Jewish Life | We’re still talking about establishing 1440 Spring Street as Atlanta’s Intown Center for Jewish Life. It will be a gathering place for Jewish entrepreneurs and innovative nonprofits, with space for recreation, cultural experiences, learning and more. Imagine a multi-use theater, rooftop event facility, and conference center for lifecycle events, speakers and meetings, plus a reimagined Breman Cultural Center.
Toco Hills Housing Initiative | Exploration on the feasibility of building apartments for older adults in Toco Hills continues. This was the inspiration of Betty Minsk, z”l, who noted that many older adults in Toco Hills were not downsizing because there were no affordable, right-sized housing options in the neighborhood. Along with this, young families are also being priced out of starter homes. We will keep you updated.
Family Camp | We recently submitted a proposal seeking support for the creation of weekend and week-long family camp retreat programs. Family camp is a transformational education model at a time when people crave informal ways to connect with Jewish tradition. The immersive qualities of overnight camp give Jewish families fun new ways to do, feel, and be Jewish together. These programs could begin as soon as next summer!
Tuition Assistance for Jewish Professionals | Starting next school year, 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 an accredited Jewish high school in Atlanta. Funding comes from a consortium of community foundations who support day school education and want to elevate our Jewish community as a destination for top professional talent.
One Happy Camper Scholarships | The pent-up demand for Jewish overnight camp has been off the charts. This summer we opened doors for more than 1,000 kids to have a Jewish camp experience! Ongoing fundraising for camp, along with the Start a Campfire campaign, topped $750,000. Families who received grants and scholarships in 2020 were able to use them