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Posts tagged ‘families’

Plenty of Ways to Party this Purim

Purim, which literally means “lots,” is a holiday that commemorates the victory of the Jews over the tyranny of King Ahashverosh in the province of Shushan in ancient Persia. King Ahashverosh, influenced by his royal vizier, Haman, was plotting to murder all of the Jewish people in the land and picked “lots” to determine which day it would happen. However, Ahashverosh’s wife, Queen Esther, heard of the plot from her cousin Mordechai, who worked in the palace. She declared her Jewish identity to the King and pleaded with him to save the Jews. So, in the end, the punishment went to Haman rather than the Jewish people.
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Thanksgiving + Chanukah + Rituals = Try something new this year

By Sue Schwartzman, Director of Philanthropic Education and Engagement

The upcoming Thanksgiving/Chanukah holidays offer families a unique opportunity to be together and share special moments with extended family and friends. Sometimes being together and sharing a meal and candle blessings is enough, but if you are looking for additional ways to be more connected and add meaning to the holiday, try the table conversation starters, the storytelling gift, or the Night of Giving ritual suggested below. Thanksgivukkah is an opportunistic moment to try something new. Read more

Discussing Healthy, Wealthy Families with Danielle York of 21/64 Philanthropies

By Ariel Kurland, Jewish Teen Foundations Program Associate

This month’s Philanthropic Education Webinar and Seminar focused on creating Healthy, Wealthy Families. Danielle York from 21/64 Philanthropies led an engaging and informative discussion on this important topic that many of us can relate to. As the seminar began, we sat at a table and were asked to reflect on a number of family memories: Who do we think of when we think of family? Was money discussed at home? Who did we go to for support? What was our first job? How were gifts received in our family? What did we do when we received money? Did we spend it? Save it? Donate it? As Danielle asked us these questions, we closed our eyes to help recover and remember some of these memories. After a few minutes of reflection, we came together as a group and got the chance to share our thoughts. Read more

The Impact Grants Initiative Brings Local Organizations Together to Engage Families in Jewish Life

The Impact Grants Initiative (IGI) is an engaged, empowered, and effective approach to grantmaking. In 2011, the Federation’s Board launched the IGI as a way to provide donor-participants with a “hands-on” way to make a real difference in our community by making high impact grants that focus on a pressing community need. Through the IGI approach we have provided innovative Jewish programs within traditional organizations or new nonprofits with multi-year funding to succeed, and capacity building support to thrive. And ultimately, the grants awarded as a result of this new model help build a more vibrant, connected and enduring Jewish Community.

Deborah Pinsky is the Executive Director of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC).  The PJCC was awarded a grant from JCF’s inaugural North Peninsula Regional Impact Committee, for a project that will be executed in partnership with Kevah, an organization dedicated to fostering Jewish identity and community through the study of classical Jewish texts.  The two organizations, one an established institution, the other a younger “Up-starter,” are joining together to address a community-wide challenge – engaging North Peninsula families with young children and teens in Jewish life. Collaborative partnerships like these are just one example of the many benefits of the IGI approach.

Following is a conversation between Sara Bamberger, ED of Kevah, and Deborah Pinsky, ED of PJCC, on their IGI experience and their emerging fruitful partnership.

How is the JCF IGI process different from other grant application processes that you’ve been involved with?

Deborah Pinsky, PJCC: It’s rare that a large, local, deeply committed group of community leaders is involved “soup to nuts” in a grant process – from conception and framing of the RFP, to reviewing and evaluating the requests, to interviewing applicants and making grant decisions. One result, for us, was the committee urging us to put our heads together with Kevah, which had submitted a funding request with overlapping themes, ideas and methods. The resulting conversations turned into a joint proposal for Do Justice: Fighting Hunger; a project we expect to transform Jewish engagement and leadership development on the North Peninsula.

Sara Bamberger, Kevah:  While this is the first IGI grant we’ve received in partnership with another organization, this actually isn’t our first IGI grant — Kevah has been fortunate to receive IGI grants from other JCF IGI grantmaking groups. One of the things that makes the IGI grant process unique is the liaison piece.  Each grantee is assigned one or two committee members as ongoing liaisons during the life of the grant.  This means that the relationship between the funder, JCF, and the grantee, is deeper than simply the funder sending a check, and the grantee sending an end-of-year report. Rather, the liaisons are in touch with us throughout the year, to help us identify and address any challenges along the way, and ultimately ensuring the best outcomes for the project.  This is ideal for the organization implementing the program, and for the funder, which hopes to maximize outcomes.

How was the grant application process helpful to your organization?

Deborah Pinsky, PJCC: The process not only resulted in suggesting a possible collaboration, but gave us enough time to work with Kevah to conceptualize the new partnership and our joint proposal. We were strongly encouraged to be innovative and to think out-of-the-box, which is exactly what we did. The grant also commits funds to an expert-led process that will help us develop, measure and evaluate project outcomes in conjunctions with other IGI grantees in the South Peninsula. We’re looking forward to that. Finally, it’s exciting and unusual for applicants to be encouraged to request multi-year grants. In today’s environment, longer-term funding commitments are more crucial than ever for long-range success, especially for a project like ours that creates a partnership between organizations with very distinct profiles and cultures.

What was it like working with the IGI committee through the application and interview process?

Deborah Pinsky, PJCC: It was great. Both the staff and committee members were highly committed to a give and take process that could best lead to the outcomes they sought. One outcome, of course, was the PJCC-Kevah collaboration that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The caliber of the committee members also led to a very thoughtful RFP and the knowledge that we had to come well-prepared for our “final interview”.

What does this grant enable your organization(s) to do that you couldn’t before?

Deborah Pinsky, PJCC: The Do Justice: Fighting Hunger project launches a robust multi-year effort combining so many great things — organic gardening; learning about and feeding the hungry; engaging in meaningful, interactive, family-focused Jewish learning about social justice and Tikkun Olam; giving families incredible hands-on experiences with Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah; identifying and training new Jewish leaders; and enabling Kevah learning groups to become embedded for the long-term on the North Peninsula, with an on-site presence at the PJCC. It’s simply going to be transformational for our community.

Sara Bamberger, Kevah:  For Kevah, this grant offers a unique opportunity to enter a new market in an innovative way.  Also, we’ve never partnered with a JCC before, and we are thrilled at having the opportunity to use Kevah as a platform for the PJCC to deepen its ability to provide quality Jewish content, as well as a way to create ongoing programming that takes place outside the JCC’s walls.

For more information on the North Peninsula Regional IGI, contact Adina Danzig Epelman, Program Officer, Regional Grantmaking at 415.512.6216.

Purim Fun for Everyone

Purim is just around the corner and there is no shortage of community events for any age group.  Shake your grogger at one or more of these fun celebrations:

Children, Teens, and Families

Purim Shabbat Celebration: Friday, February 22 at JCCSF
Purim Party at Ashkenaz: Saturday, February 23 at Ashkenaz (Berkeley)
Sensory Friendly Purim Carnival: Sunday, February 24 at Peninsula Temple Beth El
Purim Palooza: Sunday, February 24 at Osher Marin JCC
GIANTS-themed Purim Party: Sunday, February 24 at Grattan Elementary School (San Francisco)

Young Adults

Purim Party, Megillah 3.0 with Killing My Lobster: Saturday, February 23 at Intersection for the Arts (San Francisco)
2013 Peatot Purim Party: Saturday, February 23 at Club Fox (Redwood City)

For information on more upcoming community events, check out the JCF online community calendar.

Notes on Parental Sacrifices

By Hillel Zand, South Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation Board Member
This post originally appeared on Hillel’s blog, American Jewish Teen.

As a board member of the South Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation, I am currently at the halfway point in a yearlong process to make a difference. Sounds tough, right? The SPJTF creates a mission statement at the beginning of the year, researches nonprofits that match the mission statement, fundraise, and finally allocate money to deserving organizations at the end of the year. This past Sunday, we took a little field trip to one of Shelter Network’s locations, First Step for Families, which assists homeless families on getting back on their feet by providing a safe shelter for parents and their children, as well as vocational services and therapy.

It wasn’t my first time volunteering for Shelter Network, but this time was, by far, the most moving. After we had served dinner to residents and played with some of the kids, a couple of families came and shared their stories with our board, but one family’s story stuck with me the most.

South Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation Board Members pictured from left to right: Jaime Korman, Hillel Zand, Daniel Kahan, and Aliza Cohen

A middle-aged single mom with three kids who had gone through a rough divorce with a drug-addicted husband and was forced to choose between medical attention for her slipped disk or shelter for herself and her kids. When one of our board members asked what she would change or improve about the shelter, she replied with the humblest thing one could say. She said, “Absolutely nothing. Shelter Network has changed my life so much for the better and I couldn’t ask for anything more from the staff that go out of their way to help me and my kids.” I was shocked when I heard that, because honestly, I was expecting complaints about the food or maybe the fact that she had to share a floor with 11 other families, but no. The fact that she was totally content with her life at that moment was something that I tremendously applaud. It donned on me during that moment that what she did for her kids was maybe not the easiest choice, but it ended up being the right choice. Her 12-year-old daughter nearly brought me to tears as she herself was sobbing while expressing gratitude for everything that the shelter had provided for her. Battling her tears, she said, “I’ve been through a lot in my life, and the therapy that they’ve provided me here has helped… so much.” And she, too, reinforced what her mother said: going to Shelter Network was maybe a harder choice than her family choice being split up by staying with relatives, but it was ultimately the best thing that ever happened to them, as it kept them together as one family.

“I’m trying to show appreciation towards my parents more than I have before for the sacrifices they make each and every day for me and my brothers.”

Those 4 hours at Shelter Network, especially those 20 minutes talking with Shelter Network families, really opened my eyes to the sacrifices parents make every single day. Everything parents do, I learned, is done with their children in mind, and that is something I could not respect enough. That night, I returned home thinking, “Sorry Imma (Mom), sorry Abba (Dad) for doubting what you say and do, but you know what, you were probably right.” It’s tough at my age to realize that and admit defeat to those that brought you into this world, but now, I’m trying to show appreciation towards my parents more than I have before for the sacrifices they make each and every day for me and my brothers.

LEARN MORE: See how Jewish Teen Foundation board members are learning about philanthropy, social action, and helping change the world.
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