Learning to “make” Shabbat through Hillel
Benjie Kaplan, the Executive Director of Hillel at the University of Minnesota, explains that there are between 80-100 students who attend Shabbat on campus each Friday.
On the third Friday of every month, a few of the students volunteer to host Shabbat for these 80 students in their dorms or apartments. Hillel gives them songbooks, candles, and challah, and students get reimbursed for their grocery receipts.
Young adults know how to attend Shabbat, but they generally don’t know how to make Shabbat. Hillel is giving our kids a venue to figure out how to create their own Jewish homes.
There’s something so beautiful about going off to college and unexpectedly finding Shabbat is part of one’s education, too. You make that happen.
The Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and Minnesota Hillel, through Partnership2Gether, sent a group of college students to Israel over spring break this March for an “alternative spring break” of volunteering and learning.
A much richer experience than a typical Birthright or tourist-oriented visit to Israel, Alternative Spring Break offers students the opportunity to see Israel “off the beaten path,” providing immersive experiences interacting with Israelis from all walks of life.
This is a wonderful example of how what we do gives our community a richer and more beneficial understanding of our people and our connection to the land and the modern nation of Israel—and perhaps even a greater Jewish self-awareness. In fact, students report feeling a strong sense of connection to and pride in their community and to Israel after experiences like this.
Alternative spring break is a week full of life-changing moments; here’s a taste from 2017 participant Eli Singer.
On Tuesday, we drove into South Tel Aviv, a slum located within the “party city” that we all know and love. There we learned about Elifelet, an organization providing nursery school and childcare to Sudanese and Eritrean refugee children. These families come to South Tel Aviv as undocumented workers to escape persecution in their own countries.
After learning about the organization, we went to a dingy, second-story apartment housing one of the nurseries. There, we were each paired with a child to play with at a park across the street. I was paired with a boy named Yafet who was incredibly energetic and intelligent and the oldest boy of the group.
It was hard to see their living conditions, but we could tell that even taking these kids out for an hour totally changed their moods and allowed them to forget about their extremely difficult lives and just be kids.
This trip has meant so much—it exposed me to what Israel is actually like. While Birthright shows tourists the best and most famous aspects of the country, this trip allowed me to see that the country I thought to be nearly perfect actually has many real flaws and issues. It was absolutely inspiring to learn about these issues and see the organizations and individuals striving to make them better.
Just a few months ago, Odelia and Ohad Brat celebrated one of the happiest occasions of their lives: their son’s bar mitzvah. They’ll never forget when he received his brand-new tefillin—special leather boxes worn during prayer—from his beloved grandparents. Everyone was so filled with pride.
And they’ll never forget grabbing those tefillin as they and their six children quickly fled their home. A raging fire was only minutes away. So they took what was most precious to them.
It was a smart split-second decision. Flames destroyed much of the Brat family house. The entire upstairs was charred. When the family returned, they barely recognized what used to be their home.
The Brats did make one unlikely discovery, though. A bank tin, badly burned. Inside was the money one of their sons had earned mowing lawns for neighbors. It was dirty and damp, but it was there.
It’s a symbol for what it will take to rebuild their home and their lives. It’s not going to happen overnight. But they have each other. And they have Federation partner The Jewish Agency for Israel, which is delivering grants of $1,000 to families across Israel who lost everything in the fires.
With the grant, the Brats are able to buy clothing, medicine and other essentials for their large family. Odelia says that the care, concern, and support they’ve received from The Jewish Agency has left her speechless.
People just like us, our children, our parents or grandparents, desperately need our help. Your gift to Federation removes obstacles. You bridge gaps. A hot meal is delivered to a homebound elderly person. An emergency loan feeds a struggling family. A bus brings a child to camp. A ramp opens up Jewish life for a disabled person.
People just like us, our children, our parents or grandparents, desperately need our help. Your gift to Federation removes obstacles. It bridges gaps. It delivers a hot meal to a homebound elderly person. It feeds a struggling family. It brings a child to camp. It allows a disabled person to lead a vibrant Jewish life.
Your gift makes this possible. Please give generously so we can continue doing this important work.
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
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.
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.
For more than six decades, we’ve helped strengthen the State of the Israel. And our commitment continues. Unwavering.
Federation is dedicated to ensuring that all of Israel’s citizens have equal access to educational and economic opportunity. And we work tirelessly to deepen connections between the Jewish State and the global Jewish community.
HOW WE HELP
Despite Israel’s economic success, one in five Israeli families lives in poverty. We provide a safety net for the most vulnerable, and we advocate for those in distress.
When Israel is threatened, we mobilize our networks at home and overseas to come immediately to her aid.
That global connection is fostered by immersive experiences for young Jews and programming that brings Israel to life in communities throughout North America.
Federation has helped millions of immigrants move to Israel and start new lives—26,000 in the past year alone.
Thousands of elderly benefit from innovative services they receive right in their homes. Thousands of poor families know their children will have a brighter future thanks to our Federation-supported programs. Job training programs tackle high unemployment among the one million Israelis with disabilities.
The money we raise during times of crisis helps keeps Israelis safe during conflicts and funds post-trauma counseling for tens of thousands living on the front lines.
And we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of young Jews forge a personal connection to Israel through programs like Taglit-Birthright Israel, and built strong relationships between communities in Israel and North America through Partnership2Gether— including our partner city, Rehovot.
We’re sending strength to our Israeli brothers and sisters. Join us by changing your profile picture to show your solidarity. You can change your profile picture by right clicking on the photo in below and clicking “Save Image As.” Once you have saved the photo onto your computer, hover your mouse over your own profile picture and click “update profile picture” then select the image and “save profile picture.”
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!
This 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to nearly 200 dedicated campaign volunteers, Federation professionals, and 4,900 gifts from generous donors, The Minneapolis Jewish Federation raised over $20.3 million during the 2015 Campaign year (including close to $540,000 through special emergency campaigns to help Jews in crisis in Nepal, Israel, and Ukraine). Of that total, more than 11.3 million was distributed through the Community Campaign (including $187,000 dedicated from the unrestricted fund of the Jewish Community Foundation towards community needs, and support from corporate sponsorship).
Here are the facts:
Together we raised $10,760,561 – an increase of $126,194 from 2014
Together we raised $9,082,460 through planned giving & endowments
An additional $537,829 was raised for special initiatives
Beth Kieffer Leonard and Todd Leonard, Campaign Chairs
“As 2015 Community Campaign Chairs, we are thrilled,” says Todd Leonard on behalf of himself and his wife, Beth Kieffer Leonard. “$20,380,850 represents thousands of people who will benefit—thousands of faces of gratitude and hope.”
“These critical dollars will improve, strengthen, and transform Jewish lives around the globe,” adds Beth. “We couldn’t be more proud of our community. Together, with our donors, partner agencies, and volunteers, we are doing great work.”
A gift to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation goes beyond funding any single organization or building—it helps map out the programs and services that strengthen and enrich Jewish life here in Minneapolis and around the world. Federation professionals and volunteers from the community spend thousands of hours annually vetting the menu of needs in our local and global Jewish community. These needs range from social services and Jewish education to community security and Jewish arts and culture. This difficult work helps leverage resources and ensure every dollar goes to the highest and best use.
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*
Airfare on your own – *Includes subsidy
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 email@example.com to learn more.
In October, 28 women from the Minneapolis Jewish community traveled to Israel as part of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project Momentum Mission to Israel, cosponsored by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and AISH Minnesota. The group visited two Federation partner sites in Jerusalem: Susan’s House, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s on-the-job training workshop for youth-at-risk; and Mevatzeret Zion, an Ethiopian absorption agency run by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The women returned to Minneapolis energized about the work Federation does. Below, mission participant Leslie Parker shared some of her beautiful photos from the group’s visit to Mevatzeret Tzion, where they met Avital–who you may have seen in our latest issue of Minneapolis Jewish Life.