P2G Update: Synagogue via Skype, JWRP visits Rehovot

Have you met our sister? It’s true, Minneapolis has a sister city in Israel: the beautiful town of Rehovot! Through this Partnership2Gether initiative, Minneapolis is strengthening a connection to Israel and building a stronger sense of Jewish peoplehood. Here are just a few recent stories of partnership, from Darchei Noam and  the #MOMentum mission, and click here to learn more about Partnership2Gether (and make sure to like us on Facebook!)

Thanks to technology, we are able to bring two synagogues, with a deep love of learning, together.

Beginning November 17, Congregation Darchei Noam in St. Louis Park will begin simultaneous study sessions with synagogue The Berman Shul in Rehovot, Israel.

The six classes will be held on Tuesday evenings, the Minneapolis group meets at Darchei Noam at 7PM and on Sundays at 11AM. The following Sunday the groups will gather via Skype in Minnesota and Israel to discuss what they learned and share insights.

These classes are free and open to the community. The schedule is below, and we hope to see you there!

  • Amos – NOV 17th | Sunday Skype discussion on NOV 22nd
  • Hosea – DEC 15th | Sunday Skype discussion on DEC 20th
  • Micah (Micheas) – FEB 9th | Sunday Skype discussion on FEB 14th
  • Habakkuk and Zephaniah – MARCH 8th | Sunday Skype discussion on MAR 13th
  • Obadiah – MAY 17th | Sunday Skype discussion on MAY 23rd
  • Haggai and Zechariah – JUNE 14th | Sunday Skype discussion on JUN 19th

For more information, contact:

Congregation Darchei Noam
2950 Joppa Ave. S. at Minnetonka Blvd. | 952-452-8476
DarcheiNoamMN@yahoo.com | www.DarcheiNoamMN.org


Minneapolis women visit Rehovot!

The #‎Momentummn‬ delegation of the‪#‎MOMentumtrips‬ of women visited Rehovot on Tuesday, October 27th as a part of our Partnership2Gether program through the municipality of Rehovot, the Jewish Agency and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

The visit was hosted and sponsored by Rehovot’s Deputy Mayor, Zohar Blum, and David Ashkenazi, Rehovot’s Chief of Staff and Head of Foreign Relations Department.

The group spent the day touring the city (Weisman Institute and the Ayalon Institute), visiting kindergartens and early childhood care facilities in Kiryat Moshe as well as a little bit of shopping.

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The highlight of the visit was dinner at the Minkov Citrus Orchard Museum along with Rehovot members of the partnership’s Steering Committee which is Co-Chaired by Dr. Yoram Blachar.

The meeting between members of the Steering Committee and the women from the Minneapolis community was successful, exciting and left a taste and desire for further development of the relationship.

Fun fact: Melanie Ginsburg, a MASA Israel student from Minneapolis on a Teachers Fellows program in Rehovot, spoke with the group while they were there about how Federation supports Masa (which is also a Jewish Agency for Israel program), and about what she is doing in Rehovot.

Dozens of members of the Minneapolis Jewish community are scheduled to visit Rehovot in the upcoming months to continue establishing relationships and friendships with the residents of Rehovot.

 

Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund recipient: Abe Passman

Born and raised in the Jewish community of Minneapolis, Louis Herman never had any children.
But he thought of the community’s children as his children, and used his hard-earned wealth to support causes that focused on Jewish education.  In 1992, Mr. Herman donated $1 million to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation as an endowment. A few years later, the LOUIS HERMAN ISRAEL EXPERIENCE FUND was established.

Since its inception in 1995, the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund has awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants to over 1000 Minneapolis teens. Many of these grant recipients have returned from their Israel Experiences to become active members of their Jewish community, fulfilling Mr. Herman’s vision of developing a new generation of committed Jews. Mr. Herman’s generosity to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and to other Jewish institutions, has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish youth and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Recently, we had a couple recipients of grants from the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund return from their Israel programs. We wanted to share their words with you, just to show how impactful this experience is to Minneapolis youth between the ages of 15 and 18.

Abe Passman had this to say about his Israel Experience:

I had a great summer!

Abe PassmanThis photo is meaningful to me because I praying and connecting to Judaism with four guys who are now some of my best friends. Along with that, this was at a Synagogue in Sienna, Italy. It is no longer in use except for on high holidays. The rabbi (an orthodox man), however, came in and led Monday morning services with a mixed gender minyan and allowed us to read from a 200 year old Torah! I got an Aliyah!
The Israel experience was amazing. Everyone on my trip really loved who I was and there was never a reason to put on a mask and fake who I am as a person. I now have 13 new best friends, some of whom I have spoken to everyday since we got back. Even though I had been there with my family, this trip allowed me to really appreciate and admire the State of Israel. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go on USY Pilgrimage.

2a. How attached do you feel to Israel? Very much

2b. How knowledgeable do you feel about Israel? Very much

2c. Would you like to be more involved in the Jewish Community? Very much

Thank you so much!

-Abe Passman

To learn more about the Louis Herman Israel Experience Fund, and to see if you’re eligible, visit this page or contact Ariel at 952.417.2319 or abiel@mplsfed.org.

A message from your new CEO

I am honored to accept the invitation you extended me to lead your Federation as CEO.

As I began to investigate this opportunity I spoke to my colleagues and friends around the country. They have been extremely supportive, mentioning dynamic Minneapolis community members I should meet—rabbis, lay leaders, former National Young Leadership chairs. It is clear to me from these notes of support that the success of the Minneapolis Jewish community is nationally recognized.

I have been impressed by the spirit of TOGETHER WE guiding the Minneapolis Federation. In my view, uniting donors, volunteers, agencies, synagogues, and lay and professional leaders to move Minneapolis forward is attractive and wise. I am excited to learn from members of the community why Minneapolis has been successful and how to make the future even more so.

Stu Silberman

Stu Silberman

My own Jewish communal path started in 1999, when my family lived in Michigan while I worked for Ford Motor Company. My oldest daughter Skylar was in pre-school at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor. When the executive learned of my business degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, she asked me to help out on finance committee. “Don’t worry,” she said, “It won’t take that much time.”

As it goes, a seat on the finance committee turned into a board of directors position, then treasurer, and yes, it did take up more time than I had anticipated. Soon, though, I realized that my volunteer work was more meaningful and enjoyable than what I was doing Monday through Friday. This realization pushed me to pursue a career in Jewish communal service, which led me to the Jewish Community of Louisville, an integrated agency composed of a Federation and JCC, where I served as CEO for the past five years.

I wrote before about the messages of support I received when I announced my new position. One of those messages was from my middle school daughter, Rachel. We knew this move would uproot her from her close circle of friends in Louisville. Nonetheless she told me, between the occasional tear, “This sounds like a really great opportunity for you, Dad, and I don’t want to be any part of the reason you wouldn’t think of taking it.”

Her statement is the root of why I do what I do. My daughter—a member of the next generation of Jews—is willing to make sacrifices when a new opportunity to make an impact arises. She became a bat mitzvah earlier this summer and I know she understands the importance of Judaism in our lives and the lives of others. Her sister Skylar feels the same; she attended the BBYO international convention in February and became closer to Jews from around the world, learning their unique stories. She became a confirm this past Shavuot.

My wife Alison and I are raising two future active Jewish community members. Together, we are all creating a generation of young Jews who value their community, in turn supporting and powering the agencies and organizations that will provide Jewish experiences for years to come.

I greatly look forward to leading this Federation in continuing to do important and life-changing work here in Minneapolis and around the world. From what I hear, the weather is cold but the people are warm and I’m thrilled to experience both.

Stu Silberman

P.S. Your ears may have perked up when you noticed that I worked for Ford Motor Company. I get some nachas (pride) when I think of Henry Ford, a known anti-Semite, turning over in his grave because his company’s great leadership programs turned out a Jewish communal leader.

IMPACT: The Country of My Heart – A Journey from France to Israel

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I grew up in Nice, France. But when I was three, I left with my family to Israel. We lived there for two and a half years before my family decided to move back to France. After that, I vowed that one day, no matter what, I would return to live in Israel. Deep inside, I knew it was my true home.

I wasn’t brought up in a Jewish community and my family wasn’t religious. Even so, I never felt comfortable living in France as a Jew. I was always mindful of the threat of anti-Semitism.

In recent years, it’s gotten worse. Synagogues and schools have been attacked; kosher markets broken into. Today, wearing a kippah or amagen david, or showing any signs of being Jewish, can be dangerous. That’s why I designed a special magen david necklace for myself that isn’t so easily recognizable.

#60DaysMJF Images for E-mail and Blog (4)A year and a half ago, I made the decision to leave France for good. I made aliyah with the help of Federation’s partner agency, The Jewish Agency for Israel.

After I arrived, I lived with other olim—recent immigrants. We understood each other and could share our experiences. I started volunteering to help other newcomers like myself.

Then I found a job. And I’m happy to say that I have just become a counselor with The Jewish Agency.

It’s not always easy to be here—to meet people and to understand a new culture. But despite all the difficulties, I never doubted my decision to make aliyah.

During Operation Protective Edge, my family asked me to return to France. They told me it’s not safe in Israel. But I told them it’s not safe in France. Every day is a battle there to live as a Jew.

That summer, rioters took to the streets of Paris, smashing windows of shops owned by Jews and throwing firebombs. I wish my family didn’t live in such a hostile and dangerous place.

Today, I’m proud to say that Israel is my home and my country. With the help of Federation, I have made aliyah and can finally be a Jew without fear. But there are so many others who cannot. Which is why I’m also so grateful for Federation’s continued support.

We’re all one Jewish community, and I’m very proud to be a part of it. For that, Federation, I say: todah rabah.

Through Federation, you can help empower Jews like Carole Sebbah, and assist in their Aliyah efforts, today in three ways:

GIVE_60DOI
Give
 to change lives locally and globally through a gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Community Campaign, which builds community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere, and maximizes participation in Jewish life.

DONATE

VOLUNTEER_60DOI
Volunteer 
by investing your time—make calls at a Call for Change phone-a-thon, join a committee, or become a campaigner.

SIGN UP TO CALL FOR CHANGE

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ENGAGE_60DOI
Engage 
by exploring the many ways to get involved with Federation, from attending an event to exploring leadership opportunities, to hopping on our upcoming Campaigner’s Mission!

JOIN THE CAMPAIGNERS’ MISSION

ATTEND AN EVENT

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

IMPACT: Finding Family in Israel

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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Hannah Larson has a unique perspective on serving in the Israeli military given that she was born abroad. “As Israeli soldiers, we are creating a safe haven for Israelis, and for anyone that wants to come to Israel. We don’t just protect Israel, we protect Jews from all over the world.”

Hannah herself grew up in the U.S., in a family that imbued her with a love of Zionism. “I always had the idea of moving to Israel and making Aliyah,” she says. “But I had never been and needed to see it for myself.”

#60DaysMJF Images for E-mail and Blog (2)Hannah saved up her money, learned Hebrew, and joined Sar-El, The National Project for Volunteers for Israel. It didn’t take her long after arriving in Israel to confirm that she’d been right about her hunch – at age 19, she was on her way to the Jewish State for good.

Jewish Federation was with Hannah during every step of her journey. Through Federation supported Garin Tzabar (a program of The Jewish Agency for Israel), Hannah was able to make Aliyah and quickly integrate into her IDF combat intelligence unit.

Garin Tzabar also provided a home away from home for Hannah and other “Lone Soldiers” – those serving in the IDF without immediate family in Israel.

“I didn’t have family to come back to on weekends from the military,” she says. “Through Garin Tzabar, I spent my first two months in Israel living on a kibbutz. That provided me with a home and friends – an adopted family – to have Shabbat dinners with. It was really amazing.”

As her time in the military came to an end, the Federation-supported “Wings” program (also funded by the Jewish Agency) helped prepare Hannah for civilian life, while the Nativ program for new immigrants gave her an essential understanding of Jewish identity in Israel. She’s currently studying counterterrorism, and plans to remain involved in safeguarding the security of the Jewish State.

“Jewish Federation is the reason I made Aliyah. It’s the reason I plan on staying in Israel and building a family here,” Hannah says. “It has helped me make my way, and connected me with so many Israelis.”

Hannah – now one of those Israelis – tells of one family she lived with for a few months while searching for an apartment of her own. “They opened their home and their hearts. They took me in as if I was one of their kids. That ‘Israeli hug’ – that’s what made me stay here.”

You can help us honor our soldiers in Israel, and assist in their Aliyah efforts, today in three ways:

GIVE_60DOI
Give
 to change lives locally and globally through a gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Community Campaign, which builds community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere, and maximizes participation in Jewish life.

DONATE

VOLUNTEER_60DOI
Volunteer 
by investing your time—make calls at a Call for Change phone-a-thon, join a committee, or become a campaigner.

SIGN UP TO CALL FOR CHANGE

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ENGAGE_60DOI
Engage 
by exploring the many ways to get involved with Federation, from attending an event to exploring leadership opportunities, to hopping on our upcoming Campaigner’s Mission!

JOIN THE CAMPAIGNERS’ MISSION

ATTEND AN EVENT

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

IMPACT: Summer Camp for All

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Gavin Mason almost couldn’t go to summer camp. A 9-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, Gavin was rejected by a summer program that couldn’t accommodate his significant developmental delays. His mother, Lynne, was used to fighting for him, but with money scarce and expenses high, it looked like Gavin would have to sit this summer out.

And then Federation stepped in.

Through a Federation-supported scholarship fund, Gavin was able to attend a local Jewish camp, which not only accommodated him, but welcomed him with open arms.

#60DaysMJF Images for E-mail and Blog (5)“Far from treating my son like any sort of a burden, the camp staff all behaved as if we were doing them a great honor by giving them the opportunity to share their camp with my son,” says Lynne. “They assured me, as one voice, that people with differences have something unique to contribute to the community. They were eager to see what Gavin would contribute and how they could help him do that.”

The staff and volunteers went out of their way to create an inclusive environment for Gavin. And to help the non-verbal boy communicate with others, a student volunteer created handmade picture symbols to represent his camp experience, including Hebrew words like “tevah” and “seder.” Long after camp was over, those symbols helped Gavin talk about his camp memories and his favorite summer activities.

The camp’s dedicated staff also helped Lynne feel comfortable giving her son more independence. “My outlook and the way I saw Gavin changed. I felt less fearful for his future when I saw that he could engage successfully with others without me,” she shares.

Although Lynne and Gavin aren’t Jewish, this Federation-supported camp provided a new kind of family for the Masons. “When the camp staff treated Gavin as a gift and a blessing, I knew we had common ground,” says Lynne.

“It is far too common to look at children with special needs as a burden, not cost-effective and too much trouble, and then to provide services to the absolute minimum the law demands, and only when pressed.” Federation, she says, sees Gavin as so much more than that; it sees him as she sees him. “It takes faith to see a child with special needs as a gift. And Gavin is truly a gift.”

Through a donation to Federation, you can help give the gift of inclusion and the joy of summer camp today in three ways:

GIVE_60DOI
Give
 to change lives locally and globally through a gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Community Campaign, which builds community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere, and maximizes participation in Jewish life.

DONATE

VOLUNTEER_60DOI
Volunteer 
by investing your time—make calls at a Call for Change phone-a-thon, join a committee, or become a campaigner.

SIGN UP TO CALL FOR CHANGE

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ENGAGE_60DOI
Engage 
by exploring the many ways to get involved with Federation, from attending an event to exploring leadership opportunities, to hopping on our upcoming Campaigner’s Mission!

JOIN THE CAMPAIGNERS’ MISSION

ATTEND AN EVENT

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

IMPACT: A Thank You Letter from Camp

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We believe in singing Hebrew songs at the top of our lungs at Jewish summer camp! We know that Jewish summer camp is one of the most meaningful and life-changing experiences for kids and teens—and one of the most expensive.

The Federation’s Needs-Based Camp Scholarship Fund is just one example of how we are helping those in need and engaging the next generation in Jewish life! Jewish summer camp is a life-changing experience, proven to impact Jewish identity into adulthood. Unfortunately, it is also becoming increasingly cost prohibitive for families.  Federation is here to help and together with the camps WE are making a difference!

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Here is the latest – 2015 Camp Scholarship Statistics:

  • Total number of applicants = 234 (compared to 228 in 2014)
  • Total awards = 209 (compared to 168 in 2014)
  • Total dollars awarded this year – approximately $94,000
  • Maximum awarded per child this year was $1,500 for families in greatest need

You can help children locally and abroad experience the joys of camp today in three ways:

GIVE_60DOI
Give
 to change lives locally and globally through a gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Community Campaign, which builds community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere, and maximizes participation in Jewish life.

DONATE

VOLUNTEER_60DOI
Volunteer 
by investing your time—make calls at a Call for Change phone-a-thon, join a committee, or become a campaigner.SIGN UP TO CALL FOR CHANGE

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ENGAGE_60DOI
Engage 
by exploring the many ways to get involved with Federation, from attending an event to exploring leadership opportunities, to hopping on our upcoming Campaigner’s Mission!JOIN THE CAMPAIGNERS’ MISSION

ATTEND AN EVENT

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

IMPACT: A Jewish Summer Camp with International Flavor

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Every summer, 1,300 young Jews from 20 countries travel to rural Hungary to attend Camp Szarvas. Funded in part by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a Federation partner agency, Szarvas merges the fun of sleepaway camp with the celebration of Jewish peoplehood.

For many campers, Szarvas serves as their first encounter with Judaism. Founded in 1990 to help Jews in Europe seeking a return to their roots after the fall of Communism, Szarvas continues to help the many Jews still exploring their Jewish identities. Through swimming and Israeli dancing, campfire sing-alongs and soccer games, campers learn about their Jewish heritage and form lifelong friendships that span the globe.


#60DaysMJF Images for E-mail and Blog (10)In Their Own Words: From Szarvas Campers to Jewish Leaders

“Because of Camp Szarvas, I knew at age 12 that I wanted to work with the Jewish community…This background helped me become a part of the team that worked on opening the first Jewish elementary school in Croatia (and the former Yugoslavia) since WWII.”
Maya Cimes, Jewish Educator, Croatia

“[At Szarvas], I discovered that Jews were living not only in Israel and Bulgaria, but in dozens of countries around the world. The Jewish summer camp experience helped me clarify my identity and made me strive for more knowledge about our history and traditions. I will never forget that at Szarvas I had my Bar Mitzvah – an important Jewish milestone that I probably wouldn’t have had back at home.”
– Martin Levi, JDC Program Coordinator, Bulgaria

“I come from a mixed marriage; my mother is Jewish and my father is not….Growing up, I wasn’t really aware that I was Jewish, because it wasn’t something mentioned in our home. Szarvas helped develop my Jewish identity and it affected a lot in shaping me into the person I am today.”
– Mina Pasajlic, Co-Founder Haver Serbia NGO, Serbia

You can help children locally and abroad experience the joys of camp today in three ways:

GIVE_60DOI
Give
 to change lives locally and globally through a gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Community Campaign, which builds community, cares for the welfare of Jews everywhere, and maximizes participation in Jewish life.

DONATE

VOLUNTEER_60DOI
Volunteer 
by investing your time—make calls at a Call for Change phone-a-thon, join a committee, or become a campaigner.

SIGN UP TO CALL FOR CHANGE

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

ENGAGE_60DOI
Engage 
by exploring the many ways to get involved with Federation, from attending an event to exploring leadership opportunities, to hopping on our upcoming Campaigner’s Mission!

JOIN THE CAMPAIGNERS’ MISSION

ATTEND AN EVENT

CONTACT FEDERATION STAFF ABOUT ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Campaigner’s Mission to Israel 2015

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Obtain a first-hand perspective on the impact of campaign dollars through site visits to JDC and Jewish Agency programs and benefit from top level training in donor development and solicitation skills.

Participants will gain a better understanding of contemporary Israel while enjoying all that an Israel experience has to offer.

FEDERATION IS OFFERING A $1500 SUBSIDY — NEARLY HALF THE COST OF THE TRIP

Land Cost: $1,190*

Double Occupancy.

Airfare on your own – *Includes subsidy

 

Mission Requirements

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SPECIAL MISSION LAND COST – PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ASKED TO:

MAKE a minimum gift for the 2016 Community Campaign of $750

AGREE to solicit a minimum of 10 donors &/or prospects Face to Face

PARTICIPATE as a caller at Super Sunday & at least one phone-a-thon during the 2016 Campaign

HOST a Parlor Meeting to share your experience

AGREE to be available to speak at synagogues and organizations

Contact Missions Manager Alyssa Huck at 952.417.2323 or ahuck@mplsfed.org to learn more.

Mazel Tov to Rimon!

Rimon: The MN Jewish Arts Council has been named one of North America’s top 82 innovative Jewish organizations in the tenth annual Slingshot Guide.

The Guide has become a go-to resource for volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects that, through their innovative nature, will ensure the Jewish community remains relevant and thriving.

Selected from among hundreds of finalists reviewed by 112 professionals with expertise in grant making and Jewish communal life, the Guide says

Rimon is making a unique impact on [its] community of artists and those they engage with, and [is] also opening up a conversation in the Midwest about the role of artists in the Jewish community.

Organizations included in this year’s Guide were evaluated on their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results. The David Project is proud to be among the 82 organizations honored for meeting those standards. The organizations included in the Guide are driving the future of Jewish life and engagement by motivating new audiences to participate in their work and responding to the needs of individuals and communities—both within and beyond the Jewish community—as never before.

Learn more about Rimon, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.