Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Help a Teen Win $36,000!

Do you know an outstanding teenager in our community who deserves to be recognized?

Nominate a teen today for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, which annually honor up to 5 teens who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and are actively engaged in projects which embody the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Each recipient is awarded $36,000 for their college education or to further their work to make our world a better place.

Nominations must be submitted by January 6, 2012.*

Help us celebrate the power of teens to change the world by honoring a special teen you know or encouraging a self-nomination. Watch the video below to learn more:

*Nominations submitted before December 31, 2011 will be entered into a drawing to win a $360 donation to a nonprofit of the nominator’s choice.

AWARD ELIGIBILITY: The award is open to Jewish teens who are residents of California and are ages 13-19 at the time of nomination. Teens’ projects can help either the Jewish community or the general community, so long as they have not been remunerated for their services. Teens may be nominated by any community member who knows the value of their project—exept family members—or may also nominate themselves. For more information visit our website or contact the Project Coordinator for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, Rachel Bloom, at (415) 512-6437 or

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are generously funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Show us your inner Maccabee this Chanukah!

Show us your inner Maccabee this Chanukah!

Chag Sameach from your Jewish Federation!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Jewish Federation of San Diego Elects New Board Chair!

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County has announced the election of Claire Ellman as new Board Chair to lead the Board of Directors.

Ellman succeeds Jan Tuttleman, who served as Chair of the Federation Board from 2009 – 2011.

Ellman currently serves as a board member of the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) of San Diego County, co-chair of the Marketing and Fund Development Committee of the JCF, member of JCF Philanthropy Committee, member of Jewish Women’s Foundation, member of Joint Federation-JFS Community Healing Center/Chaplaincy Task Force, and a member of Jewish Education Services Council (JESC).

Ellman is a past trustee of the UJC (now JFNA) and has served on the board as major gifts chair, an executive member of women’s philanthropy, Celebrate Seventy-Five Event Co-Chair, co-chair of the 2006 San Diego Israel Emergency campaign of Jewish Federation of San Diego.

Further, Ellman’s past positions have included President of San Diego Jewish Academy,

President of the Agency for Jewish Education, Vice President of UCSD Hillel, chair of the UJC Day school committee, Board and Executive member of JESNA, and founding chair of Lipmann Kanfer Institute for JESNA.

Ellman is a Wexner Fellow graduate and was a member of La Jolla High School governance committee.

Ellman is married to David and they have three children and three grandchildren.

The Federation is grateful to departing Board Chair Jan Tuttleman, and is thankful for her many years of service, dedication and commitment.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Federation Embraces a Family

For the third year in a row, Federation staff have embraced a family through JFS’ holiday program. This year the staff raised hundreds of dollars and was able to help bring a smile to one very big, very deserving local military family. The children will each receive many toys and clothes, while the parents will be getting their wish list items too. While staff will never get to meet the family, and the family will never get to meet their “Santa,” it is safe to say that during the holiday season, giving feels even better than receiving.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The San Diego Jewish Journal Talks Jewish Genetics

Twenty percent. You probably think I’m alluding to the economy, right? No, I’m talking about Jewish genetics, and that 20 percent isn’t a social class — it’s the fraction of Ashkenazi Jews who are carriers of at least one of 19 preventable genetic diseases.
If you knew your future child might be born with a genetic disease you could have prevented, would you prevent it? If you knew they might not live beyond early childhood, or that their quality of life would be dismal, wouldn’t you take every step possible to make sure that didn’t happen? What if you were that one in five, a carrier of a potentially life-threatening disease? Wouldn’t you want to know? Knowledge is power, as they say, and this isn’t one area I’d like to live in blissful ignorance.

By Jessica Hanewinckel

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Congratulations to the San Diego Jewish Journal! Mazel Tov!

With its first issue hitting news stands in December 2001, this month marks 10 years since the San Diego Jewish Journal began covering local, national and international stories of Jewish interest and the Jewish people and organizations that do their part to repair the world. This month, we take a look back at the past decade and examine 10 ways we’ve evolved along the way. We also catch up with, yes, 10 prominent figures we’ve featured in that time to see what they’re doing now. Finally, we ask a diverse group of community members (10, of course) how they envision Jewish San Diego 10 years into the future. And check out this month’s restaurant review and business features — all three establishments have been with the SDJJ since day one. Cheers to another 10 years!

By Jessica Hanewinckel and Alanna Berman

Full story after the jump

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Urge Congress to Pass Iran Sanctions!

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) unprecedented and detailed report released recently provides the agency’s first public confirmation that Iran is closing in on the capability to produce nuclear weapons. This stark determination is a wake-up call that we must act now to prevent Iran’s nuclear breakout. The United States and our allies must immediately impose biting sanctions on Iran to dissuade the regime from building nuclear weapons. 

The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act in the Senate and the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 in the House add significant new sanctions to our diplomatic arsenal while there is still time to press Iran to abandon its illicit nuclear program and repressive activities. Both pieces of legislation would impose tough new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which not only is the major instrument of regime repression in Iran, but also controls Iran’s nuclear program and much of the economy.  

The bills would, for the first time, enshrine in law that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. They would escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law. The new legislation also provides an opportunity for Congress to highlight the Iranian threat and make clear that the United States will not lose focus on Tehran’s destabilizing activities.

Linda Feldman
Director, JCRC San Diego

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Carmel Valley Women Helping Change the World

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Women Changing the World
The community of Carmel Valley San Diego is filled with great woman who are, on a daily basis, making a difference in the world. The wonderful thing about it is that each are making a difference in their own unique way. Being a woman who is “making a difference in the world,” ranges from a mom who devotes her entire life to raising her kids while maintaining a household, to a non-profit CEO who spends countless hours a day making sure each fundraised dollar is put to great use and reaches the less-fortunate.  Of course, these are just two examples of the type of woman in our community who are changing the world for the better.  That being said, let me share with you two more examples and introduce you to a group of woman living a life outside themselves.

Breakthrough: Israel Develops Cancer Vaccine

Vaxil’s groundbreaking therapeutic vaccine, developed in Israel, could keep about 90 percent of cancers from coming back.

As the world’s population lives longer than ever, if we don’t succumb to heart disease, strokes or accidents, it is more likely that cancer will get us one way or another. Cancer is tough to fight, as the body learns how to outsmart medical approaches that often kill normal cells while targeting the malignant ones.

Hadassah HospitalIn a breakthrough development, the Israeli company Vaxil BioTherapeutics has formulated a therapeutic cancer vaccine, now in clinical trials at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. If all goes well, the vaccine could be available about six years down the road, to administer on a regular basis not only to help treat cancer but in order to keep the disease from recurring.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Israel Action Network Update: Post UDI Developments

As many of you are aware, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is continuing with the bid to seek admission as a full member state within the United Nations (popularly known as UDI). Tomorrow a Security Council subcommittee will publish a report on the PA’s request for full membership and whether “Palestine” meets internationally accepted statehood criteria. This could be followed next week by Security Council action, although it currently appears that the Palestinians are one vote short of the 9 affirmative votes required. As a result, the Palestinians, according to some reports, may actually not call for a vote.  Instead, they may simply request that the General Assembly upgrade the PA’s status within this body to non-member observer state – a measure that given the automatic majority there certainly would pass.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Flotilla Headed For Gaza

As many of you might already be aware, there are two boats, one Canadian and one Irish, currently in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza. These boats carry passengers from a range of countries, including Canada and the United States. The Israel Action Network is monitoring the situation and will update you as to important developments.
Who is behind these actions?

A number of organizations are responsible, all of which have strong anti-Israel positions and political agendas, including the “Free Gaza” movement, the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and Code Pink.
What are the motivations of the flotilla organizers?

File:Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - The Israeli Navy sets sail on another mission in the mediterranean.jpgFlotilla organizers are looking to make headlines and provoke a confrontation with Israel, more than they are interested in actually providing aid to the residents of Gaza. This is highlighted that the Egyptian government reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza and humanitarian shipments can enter Gaza without difficulty.

Also while there is considerable poverty in Gaza, largely the result of Hamas’ extremist policies and actions that have led to its international isolation, according to the Deputy of the Red Cross in Gaza, “there is no humanitarian crisis.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Men's Event - Dor L’Dor. Generation to Generation

Dor L’Dor. Generation to Generation. The theme of families passing on Jewish values through the generations was woven throughout Federation’s recent Men’s Event.  
From left to right, Gary Kornfeld, Theresa Dupuis,
David Geffen, Steve Shulman and Steve Morris.
CEO Steve Morris welcomed guests, who celebrated the kickoff of our 2012 Campaign at the exciting new venue on San Diego Bay.  Attendees were inspired and moved by local stories of three San Diego families (Sergio, Roberto and Ricardo Jinich; Bernard Z”L and James Lewis; and Joel, Brian, Brad and Lou Tauber) who lead by example and are committed to passing their Jewish values on to the next generation. 

A highlight of the program was a stimulating address by Keynote Speaker, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.  A grandfather of 17, Hoenlein addressed the importance of family, philanthropy and Federation as well as talking about issues facing the Middle East and Israel.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Men's Event and Options Coverage in the San Diego Jewish Journal

San Diego Jewish Journal writer David Ogul just finished a great piece about Federation's recent Men's Event, and upcoming Options Event.  Full link after the jump.

Men and Women Make a Difference

By David Ogul
Every year, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County honors the commitment of local men and women to the Federation’s work. The Men’s Event (for men) and Options (for women) inspire and engage Jewish San Diegans to make a difference in their community and in the lives of Jews worldwide. This year’s events are no different.

The Men’s Event
The annual gala known as the Men’s Event, which took place Oct. 25 at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, is among the Jewish Federation of San Diego County’s most important fundraisers. This year’s gathering did not disappoint.

Several hundred guests were treated to a program, “Generations of Love and Hope,” that featured local stories of family philanthropy. Those honored included: Sergio, Roberto and Ricardo Jinich; Bernard and James Lewis; and Joel, Brian, Brad and Lou Tauber.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Federation Responds to Turkey Earthquake

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in eastern Turkey yesterday, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. Responding to initial reports of hundreds of deaths and wide-spread building collapse, JDC is working with its local partners -- including Turkey's Jewish community -- to ensure the victims' immediate needs are addressed. JDC’s past humanitarian interventions in Turkey have included the provision of aid and training after earthquakes in 2010 and 1999. JDC staff experts are current determining what next steps are necessary, especially in the hardest-hit Van Province.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Turkey at this tragic time and we offer our condolences the families of those lost in the earthquake. Building off our historic work in Turkey, the disaster-preparedness training we have provided in the past, and the strength of our partnership with the Turkish Jewish community, we are responding quickly and strategically to help victims in their time of need,” said Steven Schwager, JDC’s Chief Executive Officer.

The 7.2 earthquake is the most powerful to hit Turkey in a decade. As rescue crews continue search operations, aftershocks plague the region. JDC’s multi-pronged involvement in the Turkish Jewish community began following World War I when it came to the aid of orphaned Jewish children. JDC’s work continued with its reinvestment in Turkey in 1992 by improving social services and Jewish community-based economic development, as well as its provision of disaster-relief and development efforts in the country.

JDC's disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations. JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.

About JDC  
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gilad Shalit Release

Gilad Shalit returns to Israel
It is with a sense of relief and joy that we share the news of Gilad Shalit’s release from more than five years in captivity. Gilad Shalit’s arrival home is long-awaited news for his family, for the people of Israel, and for those around the world who never gave up hope for his safe return from Gaza, where Hamas had held him in unimaginably harsh conditions and deprived him of visits by the International Red Cross.

We know that the government and people of Israel have made painful sacrifices as part of the terms of his release and our hearts go out to all citizens of Israel, particularly to those who have directly suffered the impact of Palestinian terror. Israel made a decision of extraordinary nobility, choosing to risk future dangers at the hands of an implacable enemy to save one human life today. Jewish tradition teaches that 'He who saves one life has saved the world.'

We express our gratitude to Prime Minster Netanyahu and the government of Israel and acknowledge the critical roles of the German and Egyptian governments in brokering these difficult negotiations.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shalit family as they are reunited with their son.

May the Israel Defense Forces remain strong and the people of Israel soon know the peace that they yearn for and deserve.”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Announcing 2011 OPTIONS - Women Changing the World

Options11CoChairsindoor Women Changing The World theme of upcoming Options event
OPTIONS QUINTET-- Lori Polin, Women’s Campaign Chair; Silvana Christy, OPTIONS Co-Chair; Alexandra Hirschhorn, OPTIONS Co-Chair; Ilana Umansky, OPTIONS Co-Chair; and Laura Tauber, Women’s Philanthropy Board Chair.
The Jewish Federation of San Diego on Thursday, Dec. 1, will host its annual “Options” event, the largest gathering of Jewish women in San Diego, with the theme of “Women Changing The World” intended to inspire attendees to engage and make a difference.
The emotional experiences of activism, leadership and commitment of guest speakers Erin Gruwell and Alina Spaulding will provide extraordinary examples of the power of women to change the world. according to Options cochairs Silvana Christy, Alexandra Hirschhorn, and Ilana Umansky.
spaulding alina 0008 Women Changing The World theme of upcoming Options event
Alina Spaulding
Alina Spaulding is director of communications at the American Hebrew Academy. She immigrated to the United States in 1979 with the help of many Jewish agencies funded by Jewish Federation dollars. Her parents tried to leave the former Soviet Union after her father, an Olympic hopeful, was seriously injured. They were granted permission only when the worldwide Jewish community stepped up.
Erin Gruwell Color 2005. photoshop Women Changing The World theme of upcoming Options event
Erin Gruwell
Erin Gruwell is the founder of The Freedom Writers Foundation. Sheis an activist/teacher whose steadfast commitment to tolerance and the future of education changed the lives of students already hardened by inner- city life. Using books like Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, she helped kids rethink their beliefs about themselves and the world around them. Her moving, true- life story was portrayed by Hilary Swank in the film Freedom Writers.
Andie Oster IMG 4564 Final 4x7 2010 Women Changing The World theme of upcoming Options event
Andrea Oster
The Jewish Federation’s prestigious Anne Ratner Award will be presented during Options to Andrea Oster in recognition of the leadership she has brought to Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County.
Registration and reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, One Market Place, San Diego, with dinner and program beginning at 6;15 p.m. The couvert for the kosher dinner is $100, priced at fair market value. Eligibility requirement to attend the dinner is a minimum contribution of $180 to the 2012 Federation Campaign, or, for guests 21 and under, a $36 minimum contribution.

Attendees may register online or find more information via or calling 858.571.3444.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Peace Needs Partners

Shana Tova!

Good morning, and a Happy New Year to you!  Our strategic 
initiative The Israel Action Network, just published this great video promoting peace and hope this new year.  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

150 Years of Congregation Beth Israel

We here at Federation would like to congratulate San Diego's oldest Synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, on its 150th Anniversary here in San Diego! The San Diego Union Tribune has written a wonderful article about the celebration.  

I invite you to read it, and join us in saying "Mozel Tov!" to our friends at Congregation Beth Israel

Photo Credit: San Diego Union Tribune 

Who Mentored You? Jewish Family Services BigPals Program

Marina_and_SunnyEach one of us has someone special we remember—someone who helped us become who we are today. You can be that special someone to a child who needs you. This afternoon I'd like the write about Jewish Family Services BIGPals mentor-ship program. Federation is in full support of the BigPals program, as it matches Jewish adult mentors with Jewish children from single-parent or non-traditional families. 

Mentors provide friendship, companionship, and life-enriching experiences to the children they mentor, enhancing their growth and development and helping them achieve their full potential. Big Pals support the children in facing life transitions and help them develop positive self-images, new behaviors, and coping skills.

So why not volunteer?  This program offers a unique opportunity to directly affect and improve the life of a young Jewish person in your community. Be a Big Pal and become a role model, a confidant, a friend.  It's tangle, it's meaningful, and to that child - you will be making a world of difference.

Learn more about the program here

Will Palestinians Partner in Peace – or in Conflict?

CEO Steven J. Morris
The San Diego Union Tribune recently published our opinion piece regarding the upcoming Palestinian UDI. While Abbas might come home from the U.N. with a statehood resolution of some kind. However, what he will gain will pale in comparison to the benefits that would result from taking positive steps toward peace. Ultimately, a negotiated agreement is the only way to resolve the conflict and move toward the only sustainable solution – two healthy democratic nations living side by side. Israel is waiting – hopefully not in vain – for the Palestinian leadership to fill the lonely, empty chair at the negotiating table. Only in this way can we all ride the wave of democratic renewal into an era of peace and independence for both peoples.

Read the article here

What do think of the upcoming vote? 

Federation's Response to Renewed Violence Along Israel’s Borders with Gaza and Egypt

San Diego Jewish World
Last week we sent the following message to the community regarding renewed violence along Israel’s borders with Gaza and Egypt.  Sha’ar Hanegev, the partnership region of the San Diego Federation, lies alongside Gaza in Israel’s northern Negev Desert.