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Posts from the ‘Events’ Category

The Federation’s Day of Philanthropy Dazzles

The crowded lobby and hallway of the Four Seasons Hotel was buzzing with energy from early morning to evening as more than 700 people gathered throughout the day to participate in the Federation’s premier annual philanthropic event – The Day of Philanthropy. Read more

From Ashes to Spark: How the Tragedy of Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination Helped Ignite the Reconstruction of Israeli Society

On October 16, Israelis will observe the 18th Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day.

By Merav Barr Grindlinger, JCF Israel Office

Yitzhak Rabin

Eighteen years ago, the Jewish State suffered a debilitating blow. It wasn’t a terrorist attack or a bombing of an Israeli embassy. Rather, an assassin – a Jewish Israeli assassin – gunned down Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just moments after the great military leader-turned-politician stepped off the podium at a major peace rally in the heart of Tel Aviv. That rally was in support of the Oslo Accords, then advertised with the motto, “Stop the Violence.”

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This Chanukah, Jewish Preschoolers Learn the True Meaning of “Thanks” and “Giving”

“Teaching children the value of giving is important, and there is no better way to do that than by showing a living example.  It’s an unforgettable life lesson.” –  Esty Marcus, Director of Chai Preschool, Foster City

By Vivien Braly, PJ Library® Coordinator, San Francisco Region

On November 28, Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah coincide for the first time ever and for the last time for more than 70,000 years.  It is truly a special time to reflect on what we are thankful for as we light the first Hanukkah candles.  For families with young children, we can also teach a valuable lesson on how to bring light to others by giving back to those less fortunate. Read more

New (and old) Ways to Celebrate the New Year

As the Jewish month of Elul comes to a close, Rosh Hashanah and the year 5774 are just around the corner.  Soon, the sounds of the shofar will fill our ears, and delicious apples and honey will fill our stomachs. Read more

Our 2013 Israel Vacation Drawing Winner Is…

Congratulations to Lorne Lantz of San Francisco on winning our Israel Vacation Drawing! Lorne and nearly 400 others entered the drawing on our Facebook page, or by text-message at Israel in the Gardens, for a chance to win a round trip EL AL ticket to Israel and a seven night stay in Herzliya Pituah, courtesy of Israel Vacation Homes. Read more

Finding Jewish Relevance and Meaning in Rasta and Reggae Culture — A Personal Journey

By Ilana Kaufman, JCF Program Officer

Just about the time I realized being brown and Jewish was to others more fascinating than fabulous, I was also an emerging adolescent, complete with the requisite knuckle headedness and edgy attitude that are hallmarks of the tween and teen years.  Being a young person is hard enough.  Being a young person at that time caught between two conflictual cultures was sometimes just plain hard. Read more

Fighting Hunger Through Feeding Forward

At our recent Innovation Alley at Israel in the Gardens, Feeding Forward, an online platform that fights hunger locally by connecting food shelters with the abundant supply of consumable food in our community, won the Roselyne C. Swig Innovation Prize. Congratulations to this innovative start-up! Read more

Profiles from Innovation Alley

As you know, especially if you’ve seen our new ad campaign, the Jewish people have always been at the forefront of innovation. So this year we introduced something new at Israel in the Gardens – Innovation Alley – a pop-up tech area, which showcased Israeli innovation in the high-tech world.  Adam Swig, one of the members of the Young Funders IGI Committee launched Innovation Alley, convening some of the best and brightest Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs from all around the world.  In the “Alley” people were able to visit, explore, interact and see just how much Israeli innovation positively contributes to the world in countless ways, with cutting edge products that are being developed by Bay Area-based Israeli entrepreneurs. Read more

A True Leader in Any Form

Lynn Sedway, the 2013 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award winner, is a guiding force in the professional and volunteer worlds of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. In her decades of volunteerism, Lynn has demonstrated both passion and resilience; her commitment has been to serve both the Jewish and secular community and raise the bar for women in her professional field. She is not only a self-starter, but also a mentor and friend to many in the community. Her drive and desire to devote herself to causes that many others find too difficult has impacted numerous individuals.

Below are personal statements from just a handful of friends, colleagues, mentors, and mentees who have been touched and positively impacted by Lynn’s desire and drive to improve the community.

Mimi Gauss, Lay Leader, Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award Committee Member, Friend

“As a friend of Lynn and of Judith, I know that had they met, they would have respected and admired each other. Lynn’s quiet wisdom, the strength of her commitment, and her leadership skills , coupled with her warmth and caring,  are a tremendous asset to both her synagogue and the community as a whole.”



Valerie Jahan, President of the Board, Congregation Sherith Israel

“Lynn has been a wonderful mentor for me as I followed her as President of the board of trustees of Congregation Sherith Israel.  As President, she seemed to have her hand and heart in every aspect of synagogue life. Her tireless energy, unbridled passion and depth of concern for all is remarkable.  She leads by example and never criticizes, but often coaxes me along when I am unsure.  I have also learned from her how important it is to thank people-even when they are doing a job they are paid for.  Lynn never takes what others do for granted and this is an important reason why she is so loved and respected.”

Rabbi Lawrence Raphael, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Sherith Israel

“My career as a rabbi has included 30 years of working for national institutions in the Reform Movement in New York and now ten years as a congregational rabbi at Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Early on in my rabbinate I learned how important it is to partner with talented, and deeply committed lay leaders. With Lynn Sedway I am deeply and truly a partner in making our congregation a community of meaning. Lynn is a dedicated Jew and an earnest and soulful adult learner. She is determined to take on difficult tasks and bring them to fruition. She knows from her life and business experiences how important it is to remain focused, to have clear goals, to take risks and learn from mistakes, and to not take “no” for an answer. My rabbinate, our congregation, and the Jewish community of San Francisco is deeply in her debt.”

Barbara Rosenberg, 2007 Judith Chapman Award recipient

“I believe Lynn Sedway is one of the most qualified to be given the Judith Chapman Award. Quiet by nature, Lynn is not one to call attention to herself. Still, she has the calm capable abilities of leadership and accomplishment. Her ability to lead Sherith Israel to the completion of restoration raising funds over $8 million is an amazing achievement. Her skills in land use and seismic improvement are lauded by the entire community both Jewish and gentile. She doesn’t speak out loudly, but when she does, people regard her words and listen to her sound knowledge and judgment. Lynn Sedway’s stellar activities have shone through her Temple leadership and accomplishments.”

Connie Shapiro, Close Friend

“Jamie and I met Lynn and Paul over 35 years ago at a Passover Seder.  We immediately connected and have shared almost all major (and minor) events in each other’s lives since then.

There has been a lot of discussion recently – online, in the media, among friends and colleagues – about women “leaning in!”  Well, Lynn has been leaning in for as long as I have known her!  She approaches her profession, her volunteer activities, her friends and her family with boundless energy and enthusiasm.  Nothing gives her more pleasure than helping others – particularly women – advance their cause or enhance their success!  If there is the slightest mention of someone trying to accomplish something, Lynn is on her phone or whipping out her pen to make note of it.  Without missing a beat, she connects people with others who might be helpful and then follows up to make sure those conversations took place.

If I had to choose one word to describe Lynn, it would be inclusive.  She always wants to expand the circle and, in fact, one of her greatest challenges is limiting the number of people she can include in a discussion, a lunch, a bike ride, a shopping trip or a party.  No wonder Lynn is so loved and respected by her friends and colleagues!

Power of One has once again identified an exemplary community leader to receive the 2013 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award.  I am honored and proud to call Lynn a very close friend and to be among those applauding her accomplishments on May 1.”

Roselyne “Cissie” Swig, 2003 Judith Chapman Award recipient

“I am so privileged to be asked to write a tribute to my dear and treasured friend, Lynn Sedway, on the occasion of her receiving the Judith Chapman Award at Power of One.  That award has so much significance and so much meaning in our entire community, and selecting Lynn as this year’s recipient, honors that award as well.

I have known Lynn for so many years and enjoyed her friendship in so many capacities: professional, civic and personal, and in each case, and to today, she rises to the top with her values, her character, her accomplishments.  She is a teacher by her example, and we all learn from her just by watching her and being embraced by her words of expert advice.

Perhaps in her community engagement, no event will ever exceed her immersing herself so totally in working to restore Congregation Sherith Israel. She brought out the best in all of us with her selfless encouragement, her standing to her own commitment and her desire for all of us to join her in this historical endeavor to save the building and bring it back to its grandeur, and its treasured position as a place of worship and of learning. As a person, a leader, a woman in our community, she has the respect of her family, her peers, her associates, her community organizations; and she never hesitates to reach out and provide the emotional and civic support when needed and or called upon to help. She is there!  She is a woman of valor! She is a dear and trusted colleague and friend, a mensch, an exemplary human being!  Mazel tov, Lynn!  May you continue to go from strength to strength!”

Anita Wornick, Lay Leader

“Lynn is one of the most accomplished women I know; however her accomplishments pale in comparison to who she is as a person.  Kindness personified, she is a most caring friend.  When she sets out to do something she gives it 100%. I do not think the earthquake refitting at Sherith Israel would have happened without her. Growing up with little Jewish learning, she decided only a few years ago to learn about her heritage; Lynn had a bat mitzvah and immersed herself in temple activities to the point where she recently served as President .  She has also served on our Homeowners Board here at the Four Season Residences and her expertise has been a real asset. Professionally she is recognized as an expert in her field, but modesty would not allow her to boast. Ron and I are truly honored to be her friend.”

Mary Zlot, Lay Leader

“I am happy to speak about Lynn and her transformation into “Super Jew”.  We tease Lynn about her newly acquired role in the Jewish leadership capacity.  Lynn is a leader in any role she undertakes.  It is the good fortune of Sherith Israel that she became involved.  She was able with her amazing leadership capabilities, to lead and direct the campaign to restore the synagogue.  A major renovation was necessary to make it earthquake sound and Lynn spearheaded that effort.  She was able to secure funding and redirect the construction of a dome and necessary repairs that made the sanctuary sound and up to code.  In addition, Lynn has inspired so many others in stepping forward to be active and advocates for Sherith Israel as well as the efforts of the New Israel Fund.  It was on a trip to Israel with the fund that began Lynn’s interest and passion for learning about her heritage.  She is an example of “It’s never too late” to embrace Judiasm and one’s past.  Lynn is a leader and an example of commitment, dedication, and inspiration.  She is a great example of what we can aspire to and achieve, if we want to make a difference.”

The Jewish Community and Endowment Fund would like to thank Lynn Sedway for her tremendous impact she has had in the SF Bay Area community. She continues to participate and motivate other to increase their volunteer work and further develop leadership skills.

Please Join Lynn at Power of One! Lynn will be presented with the Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award at this annual Women’s Philanthropy event on May 1 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco. Learn more and register for this celebration of Jewish women who inspire us to make a difference in the world.

Thoughts on Engaging Millennials in Jewish Life

By Sue Schwartzman, Director of Philanthropic Education

The Philanthropic Service department of the JCF launched a monthly webinar/seminar series last month to inform and educate our 900 donor advised fund holders on cutting edge developments in philanthropy, community funding opportunities, and networking events.   The series includes a 12:00 pm webinar followed by a 1:30 pm in-person seminar on the same topic.  We all enjoy the connection and energy that comes from being in the same space, but also recognize that it is not always possible for clients to get to our offices in San Francisco, so we are giving our donors options.

The first webinar/seminar held on March 5 focused on engaging millennials (adults who are in their 20’s and 30’s) in Jewish life. The event featured speakers Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon, both from the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and founders of Birthright Israel, Slingshot, 21/64, and Grand Street, among other initiatives. They are a dynamic duo and are known as THE innovative philanthropists of the 21st century. Rounding our this impressive panel was Jordan Fruchtman, Chief Program Officer of Moishe House and former Hillel Director. Ben Abram, one of JCF’s young leaders, moderated the panel and kept the group on topic with his line of questions.

Our speakers captivated the room as they described the unique traits of millennials, including how they are tech savvy, networked, multi-taskers who continue to embrace the values of their parents and grandparents as part of what they believe in, yet do not typically connect to traditional Jewish institutions.

L to R: Ben Abram, Jeffrey Solomon, Charles Bronfman, and Jordan Fruchtman

Top 5 takeaways from the speakers:

  1. During an extended 11 year period post college, millennials are making major life choices, but there is a gap in Jewish community programming for them during this time.

    Moishe House and Birthright have stepped in to help fill this gap.  “This time is critical in identity development,” says Fruchtman, “a juncture in their lives when they are making huge long term life decisions about who they marry and where they are going to settle down, buy a house, and raise a family.” Very simply put Moishe House is meant to be a straightforward and organic model that speaks to this generation. It is three to five friends who live together in a house and open their doors doing anywhere from five to ten programs per month. The programs range from Shabbat dinners, Jewish culture and the holiday kinds of programming, to just general social programs, community service, and Jewish learning.

  2. Millennials like to customize; Jewish institutions need to allow for this if they want to remain relevant.

    According to Solomon, “Jewish is just one of the many identities these milllennials connect to.”  If our institutions are going to attract them, there has to be some allowance for customization for them to put their own unique mark on it.  “They don’t like being told what Judaism is or looks like, or how to be Jewish,” he adds; “they want to create that for themselves.”

  3. 91% of Birthright attendees remain connected to the Jewish community after their trip.

    Bronfman points out that millennials are free to be anything they want, and without meaningful Jewish engagement “a heck of a lot will opt out.” The good news, says Solomon, is that 12,000 Bay Area millennials have gone on Birthright trips.  “If they go on Birthright,” says Bronfman, “they are back in – period! We have a 91% success rate; 75% say it changed their lives and was the most important 10 days they ever spent.” And those young people, he adds, have a 50% better chance of marrying Jewish.

  4. Engagement programs for millennials, like Birthright, need to be funded!

    In spite of the overwhelming impact of Birthright on young people, 11,500 were put on waiting lists and could not go.  “For $3,000 (the trip is free to the young adults, and costs the community about $1500 per participant that is matched by a national funder) you get almost the same impact as a $180K Jewish day school education.  To have a waiting list for that $3,000 expenditure, when San Francisco is the most affluent Jewish community in the history of the world, makes no sense.”  He admonished, “We are so used to saving Jews from Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, and the former Soviet Union, yet we don’t think about our own backyard.”

  5. Millennials are tech savvy, networked, and use these traits as part of the skills they bring to the table

    According to Jordan, millennials are a generation that is more educated and has more resources at their disposal, and they aren’t seeking out the same Institutions as previous generations. Those have barriers.  Instead, they look at institutions they can put their own special brand on.  This poses a unique opportunity – and challenge – to the Jewish community.   Charles Bronfman challenges the Jewish community “to get out of the way and let these folks lead our major institutions.”

If you are interested in being part of a funding collaborative on this topic, please let us know. Our next webinar/seminar will be held April 23 from 12:00-1:30 pm, our first small group strategic philanthropy series on Setting Your Philanthropic Intention and Practice. Space is limited.  Please RSVP to or

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