Saturday, December 29, 2012

YAD Hosts Record Breaking Place2Be!

Jewish Federation's Young Adult Division (YAD) celebrated Christmas Eve in style this year at the Place2Be party. Young adult groups around the country hosted events for Jews on the eve of the most celebrated holiday of the year. San Diego was no exception. Jews from near and far were invited to come party the night away - after eating Chinese food of course! This year’s event was bigger than ever before- 331 attendees packing into the 207 Club at the Hardrock Hotel in Downtown San Diego. Carly Simms is an active member of the YAD Board and sits on the social committee. She said the highlights of the night included, “the photo booth was really fun and the food was good too!” Carly met her boyfriend Elwin at the Place2Be party last year and they just celebrated their one year anniversary! Mazel Tov to Carly and Elwin.

Jennifer Ahdoot commented, “Thanks for a great event! Looking forward to more of them in the future.” Mark your Calendars now for Place2Be 2013 on December 24, 2013!

Check out some great pictures here.

Hope Village: Chesed Home Open House!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Federation Launches Newtown Community Support Fund

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County, in coordination with the Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut, has launched a fund to provide comfort to those affected by last week's tragedy in Sandy Hook.  We're proud to say that 100% your tax deductible donation will be distributed to support counseling services and to the clergy who are working with the affected families and individuals. 

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County extends our prayers and support to all of the families affected by the devastating events in Newtown, Connecticut. We are committed to providing support after this unspeakable tragedy. May we all continue with prayers for strength and healing for all who are suffering. 

You can make a difference:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Federation Hosts More than 800 Mensches at "Magic" Men's Event

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County welcomed Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and more than 800 Jewish San Diegan men to the 16th Annual Men’s Event the Del Mar Fairgrounds. For the first time in history, this year’s Men’s Event was free, due to the generous underwriting of the Mizel Family Foundation. Magic electrified the crowd with his message on philanthropy, family, and the importance of community. The event was made possible by co-chairs Ronnie Diamond, Ira Feinswog, Todd Kirschen and Alan Viterbi.

Take a look at some great event photos HERE.

Read the Rancho Santa Fe coverage HERE.

Federation was elated to welcome more than 400 of the men to their first Men's Event, introduce them to Federation and share how Federation is our vehicle to care for others in our community. 

This year, Men’s Event kicked off an initiative seeking to support a stronger Jewish community by volunteering. Federation is now offering more than 25 volunteering opportunities – CLICK HERE for more!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mayor Filner Lights the Menorah with JCRC

Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) was recently invited to Chabad Hanukkah Celebration in Scripps Ranch where Mayor Filner joined Rabbi Fradkin to light the Menorah. Mayor Filner spoke to the students about miracles and the importance of being a caring community. The students sang beautifully and captured the spirit of the holiday with their Hanukkah songs. Congratulations on a great event!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lions of Judah Tour Stuart Collection at UCSD

Last week, 28 of Federation's Lions of Judah enjoyed a wonderful day together touring the magnificent Stuart Art Collection at the beautiful UCSD campus. The day included lunch at the UCSD Faculty Club, along with a walking tour with docent Jane Peterson of the Stuart Collection, who shared her in-depth knowledge of many outdoor sculptures placed throughout the campus. A visit to the Stuart Collection would not have been complete without a visit to the newest installation, “Fallen Star” by Korean artist Do Ho Suh, which is a small cottage on the rooftop of the Jacobs School of Engineering that sits crookedly on one corner, cantilevered out over the ground seven stories below.

Event Co-chairs Juli Bear and Lisa Kornfeld expressed their excitement in bringing the Lions together for a day of art and culture right here in our own backyard. Each year the Lions hit the road for a day together to explore arts and culture. In the past several years, the Lions have enjoyed day trips to Los Angeles to the Skirball Museum, the Getty Villa, as well as our own local Little Italy and downtown areas. One participant stated, “It is a great way to share an experience with other Lions, women who share a common thread of caring for our community and making the a difference in the world. 

Lions of Judah are women who make an individual minimum gift of $5000 to Federation's Annual Campaign. For more information on the Lion of Judah, please contact Debbie Kempinski, Major Gifts Officer at (858) 737-7133 or

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Local Teens “Flip” Over Chanukah Song Parody

Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, but it is also the holiday commemorating the Jewish people standing up to an oppressive bully - for themselves, each other and what they believe in.

This is exactly the message that San Diego's Jewish teens want the world to see this Chanukah, so they created an amazingly entertaining Music Video to accompany their Chanukah parody of the song "Drive By" by Train. The song is called "Am Yisrael Chai" (The Jewish People Live On) and tells the story of the Maccabees standing up to their oppressors.

Steven Wechsler, a Junior at San Diego's SCY High School, is on vocals along with NCSY Advisor, Natan Winkler - who also recorded the instrumental track and helped master the song.

When student Directors, Adina Cohen and Sivan Zuzan (both Juniors at Torah High School of San Diego) started story-boarding the music video, they knew that they wanted to tell the Chanukah story in a relatable and fun way. From there they worked together to come up with the incredibly creative flip-book animations featured in the video (drawn by Channa Loebenstein, a Torah High Junior as well) as well as the playful, modern story-line with it's anti-bullying message. "We just wanted to show everyone the lesson of Chanukah and standing up for each other..." said Adina Cohen, when asked about her motivations for making the video.

This inspiring, teen created, project will have you humming along and leave the song stuck in your head all (8) day(s)...just as the teens intended.

Check it out below!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Your Jewish San Diego Mobile App

Your Federation is excited to announce the launch of our new mobile app, Jewish In San Diego! Download our free app today for on-the-go, instant access to:
  • Community Events
  • Community News
  • Breaking News Alerts
  • Kosher Restaurant Maps
  • Synagogue Maps
  • Day School Maps
  • Community Calendar 
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Social Media Streams
  • and more!

Now available for iPhone and Android. Just scan the QR code above, or search "Jewish San Diego" in the app store!

Thoughts? Feedback? We'd love to hear it! Feel free to post a review via the app store, or on this blog post! Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

BE THE MAGIC : Volunteer Your Time, Expertise, Talent

San Diegans seeking to support a stronger Jewish community by volunteering now have 25 different opportunities available to them, through a new Federation Volunteer Initiative kicked off at last night’s Men’s Event. Federation is teaming up with several local partners including Jewish Family Service, Hillel, San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, G’Mach Jewish Gift Closet, Friendship Circle, National Conference of Synagogue Youth, Tarbuton - Israeli Cultural Center, and other organizations to facilitate greater volunteerism and increased engagement. 

Options range from helping Hillel SDSU move to a new site, to providing professional guidance to start-ups seeking help with business planning, budgeting, website development, viral marketing or media relations. To see the spectrum of opportunities to share your expertise and help build a stronger San Diego Jewish community, please click the big volunteer button. 

Volunteerism, philanthropy and advocacy are three ways that you can support your community. For more information, please contact the Community Planning & Innovation Center at 858.737.7152 or email

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nominate a teen you know to receive a $36,000 community service leadership award

Meet Liza Gurtin.

We bet you know a teen like Liza.

As a high school freshman, Liza walked in Project Concern International’s Walk for Water. The following year, Liza was offered a leadership position as a member of the San Diego Walk’s student board.

One billion impoverished people lack access to clean drinking water. Liza’s passion for solving this problem inspired her to envision how the Walk could be more successful in raising funds to build water wells throughout the world.

Liza pioneered a sponsorship component to the Walk, drafting a letter and making calls to 100 prospective supporters. She also convinced the board to institute a participation fee to raise funds.

When Liza was nominated, her sponsorship efforts had raised more than $40,000 over two years. This past year, under Liza’s leadership as student board president, the Walk raised nearly $50,000!

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards celebrate Jewish teens across the United States who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and are actively engaged in projects that "repair the world."

Past recipients have focused their passion on a variety of causes, from fundraising to poverty relief, community building to environmental protection. Teen projects may focus on the Jewish community or the general community.

Nominations are open now through January 6, 2013, and it only takes a few minutes to give an exceptional teen the chance to win $36,000. Teens (age 13-19) may be nominated by anyone familiar with the value of their project, or may nominate themselves; family members are not eligible to nominate.

2012 Recipients of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exciting Program for Interfaith Couples and Families

The Light of Chanukah - Greetings from Federation

Dear Friends,

Chanukah is the festival of lights that comes at the darkest time of the year. It reminds us of our potential to bring that light into the world. Through your generosity, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County transmits light at the darkest times. We provide programs and services to our partner community of Sha'ar HaNegev, which has recently been bombarded with rocket attacks from Gaza. With our partner JDC, we deliver food and medications to elderly Holocaust survivors in Russia who live without the bare essentials. We work to engage young people disconnected from Jewish life through Birthright Israel and One Happy Camper, where participants are immersed in meaningful Jewish experiences.

Through your generosity we raised urgently needed funds for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and the Israel Terror Victims Fund. We came together at a rally to show solidarity with Israel. Your donations funded our traditional partners and enabled innovative new programs to do a world of good in our communities, in Israel, and around the world. Here at Federation, we support a lifetime of help and bring light into the dark times in our community and our world.

The light of caring, community and continuity.
The light that brings hope and reassurance.
The light that supports our community into the next generations.

We wish you and your family the happiest Chanukah.

Together, we do extraordinary things.

Claire Ellman Board Chair
Michael Sonduck 
Interim President & CEO

Check out our new Chanukah site with recipies, music, traditions, interesting articles, and more!

Watch our 2012 Chanukah Video