Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CJP Thanks San Diego for Standing with Boston

Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston sent the below letter to the Jewish Federation of San Diego County to thank our community for the support provided in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing.  
Thank YOU for standing with us, and the people of Boston. Together, we do extraordinary things.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Healthy Jewish Collaboration, Courage, Creativity and Reciprocity

by Jennie Starr
Reblogged from eJewishPhilanthropy

We need courageous, risk taking Jewish leadership, especially in communities with ridiculously low Jewish engagement and significant Jewish populations.

Jewish collaboration requires a courtship to understand synergies and opportunities, overcome pitfalls, and create mutually beneficial collaboration. It’s about creating something new and great neither organization could do themselves. We reach new people, build different and better programming, or simply help nurture and support each other’s existence. This kind of authentic collaboration is the Holy Grail of greater engagement of the Jewish people. It’s what makes the difference in good to great, in rote vs inspiring and it’s what feeds our Jewish soul and invigorates us.

I love our Jewish partners who work hard, take risks, sharing their resources but also planning reciprocal programs and marketing the benefits for both of our organizations. They are committed, courageous, and have an enthusiastic desire to see an improved landscape of Jewish experiences. They make doing this volunteer work worthwhile. They’re the best of the best.

It’s true, that Foundations and Grants often encourage collaboration, but there is no roadmap that suggests best practices on how to do it. Without the training or best practices to guide us, many Jewish organizations simply don’t know how to pave the path. Last year, the Tarbuton collaborated with over 22 Program Partners, had 11 Marketing collaborations and worked with nine National and/or International Jewish organizations for networking in our field. We’ve had successes but we have had failures too. Knowing the pitfalls and also looking carefully at examples that work can help pave a path towards successful collaborations.

Collaborative Pitfalls – Don’t Let Them Get You Down!
Each of the following represents pitfalls that are surmountable. Like love and marriage, it takes work to make collaborations successful. It also takes two willing and interested parties.

FUD: Fear uncertainty and dread. We might lose members, we can’t afford that. Maybe they’ll like the other program better or like their Rabbi more. Answer: We need courageous, risk taking Jewish leadership, especially in communities with ridiculously low Jewish engagement and significant Jewish populations.

Scarcity of Resources: We’re too busy to work on that, to give them attention. They have to pay big money to be a Partner. We have costs to cover. Answer: Use your staff better; let them impact more people. Use your building better; Jewish buildings were meant to be full of Jews. Develop a reasonable rental plan or better yet, in kind use with a plan for collaborative or joint programs.

Programmatic Differences: We’re different; because of the languages we speak together, levels of observance, culture or age. Answer: Encourage mingling; it’s healthy and good to meet and learn from each other. It’s interesting and healthy to build bridges; to be with people speaking Spanish, Hebrew, Russian; hearing and experiencing their Jewish cultural traditions. Some of your members want to make new friends, help them.

Marketing: Just send out our event flyer/fundraiser; but oh by the way, we can’t reciprocate and share yours. Our Board won’t let us, my boss won’t let me, and/or we don’t think our people will be interested in yours. (Translation: We just want to use you, not collaborate with you.) Answer: Healthy Jewish collaboration requires reciprocity.

Courtship and Collaboration – This is the Fun Part!
With the enormous number of unengaged, and the expense of running programs, buildings, and staffing it goes without saying we should be leveraging our resources better. Let’s face it. Some programs have a great Rabbi. Some have a great building. Some recruit and produce great programs. Just like in dating, this is the fun part. This is where you get to see what’s great about each other. Plan how to share resources and expenses respecting each other limitations, appreciating the strength in each others’ staffing or experiences and getting creative about offering better programs together. Then establish a respectful and reciprocal marketing plan for the joint program, creating exciting pieces that share the joint event, proudly sharing the relationship, your enthusiasm for the other and cherishing the benefit you bring together to the community. You don’t have to agree to spam your respective databases with every event the other does. Work hard on a few joint events and promote those like crazy.

From Good to Great! Collaboration Stories
The Israeli-American Council (IAC) asked us to help them launch their amazing Sifriyat Pijama b’America program, the Hebrew version of PJ Library. We sent registration forms to every Israeli and Israeli-American family and market the program. We use the books in our supplementary school program and offer Free Hebrew story times using the books in Public libraries and on our campus. The IAC promotes our collaboration on their Sifriyat Pijama website and subsequently also funded infrastructure projects for our Supplementary School program.

The Ken Jewish Community which manages the Maccabi youth group locally and services the Latin Jewish Community makes enormous contributions to the Jewish community, and has a rich history of an incredible Purimon. This year they invited us to collaborate and sweeten the event adding the Tarbuton’s rendition of the Megillat Esther. The Tarbuton brought new participants to the event satisfying the Ken’s goal to open the event to the Community giving back to the community beyond their Latin membership.

Habonim generously sweetened Tarbuton youth programming bringing a Madrich from Los Angeles to offer their incredible Rabin seminar and lending their local Madrichim to our Pesach Community event to help run activities. Leveraging the resources of both organizations for a community wide event, the Tarbuton was thrilled to collaborate too with Jewish Family Services who brought their Single Jewish Parent program to celebrate with us. Everyone learned about each other’s programs; Habonim Gilboa Summer Camp and their local youth group program too. Joint events were marketed prominently by all the organizations in their newsletters, Facebooks and websites, showing deep and authentic appreciation for each other’s identities, efforts and the relationship.

Several Synagogues generously offered us low or no cost meeting space when we began and we created beautiful Jewish experiences together, memorable Sukkot dinners, and Shabbat evenings. We introduced a lot of Jewish friends and a few families seeking traditional bar/bat mitzvah found their way to Synagogue membership. I still believe the most successful Synagogue collaborations will continue programming collaborations and include the Tarbuton sweetening their educational programs with Israeli style classes and strong Modern Hebrew, but admittedly, we have yet to succeed in building this kind of relationship. As I write, we are “courting” three Synagogues with this in mind. I hope to follow up this post with success and share lessons learned.

Looking Ahead
The Leichtag Foundation invited us to join their Hub to collaborate with others to build Jewish life together in the North County area of San Diego. They provided us with shared office space and a collaborative setting with amazing potential Partners, such as Moishe House Without Walls and JDC Entwine. Together, we’re working to reach young adults, exploring ways to engage more Jews in service work and outreach to those who are not engaging in Jewish life for various reasons. With this post, I encourage each Jewish organization that might read this near, or far, to make the time to work with potential Jewish partners, to be courageous, generous, creative, and patient and to engage more Jews nearby every day. It’s exciting to be a part of a creative, collaborative process. Together, collaboratively, we’ll enrich our Jewish communities and ensure our Jewish future and connection to Israel.

Jennie Starr is the Founder & Director of the Tarbuton, Israeli Cultural Center. The Tarbuton was recognized as a Slingshot Top 50 innovative organization in 2013. The Tarbuton is also a member of the Covenant Foundation’s after school network, Nitzan. The Tarbuton is supported by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Innovation & Planning Center, the Leichtag Foundation and the Israeli-American Council.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Federation Sends San Diego Local Officials Delegation to Israel

At the Peres Center for Peace where we heard from the
former chief technology advisor to Israeli President Shimon Peres
A bipartisan delegation of prominent San Diego-area officials is traveling in Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings. The educational seminar, led by the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, follows a similar seminar for San Diego leaders first conducted in 2009.

The intensive seminar, featuring San Diego-area City Council members, Board of Education leaders, and an Assembly Member, will focus on providing these policymakers with a first-hand understanding of Israel, its rich and dynamic society, and often-times complex realities. The visit, funded by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, and not tax payers, includes meetings with influential figures across Israel’s political and social spectrum, including senior Israeli, Palestinian and Israeli Arab figures.

Our San Diego elected officials with the Mayor of Tel Aviv.
In particular, the delegation will focus on sharing best practices on economic development and technology start-ups, environmental management and renewable energy, desalination technology (critical for San Diego), absorption and integration of immigrant communities, education, and city administration. All of these areas are issues of importance for the communities the San Diego-area officials represent.

Several sessions dealing with Israel’s strategic environment, diversity and inter-group issues and inter-religious cooperation will also be featured during the week-long educational seminar, including initiatives that foster effective coexistence between Arabs and Jews. 

The delegation will also observe how Israel balances the preservation of its heritage with modern municipal management, including energy and water management and the provision of social services, demonstrating the unique challenges and successes of Israeli cities and towns, and models for possible integration by the San Diego-area leaders.  Meetings and demonstrations of cutting-edge technology will take place with clean-tech and high-tech companies to foster opportunities for collaboration and economic partnership, to the benefit of both communities.

Alan Viterbi and Rich Leib at the broader of Syria.
Sam Witkin, Executive Director of Project Interchange, noted, “Project Interchange is tremendously pleased to host this delegation of San Diego-area city council members, education, and community leaders to Israel. These officials represent a diverse set of constituencies, but they share a common interest in job creation, high tech innovation, and the successful absorption and integration of immigrants. As these are key priorities for Israel as well, we hope participants will return home with a better sense of the similarities between their communities and those in Israel.”

Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Diego, in commenting on the trip said, “Federation is very excited to partner with Project Interchange through our JCRC in order to bring San Diego County elected officials and community leaders to Israel together.  Over our 75+ years of serving the San Diego Jewish Community it has been our privilege to work closely with elected officials at all levels of government.  Trips like this only serve to strengthen our relationships by providing elected officials first-hand experiences of Israel.  We want to thank the elected officials who joined us on this trip.”

Linda Feldman, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council commented that “I am excited to be travelling to Israel with such a dynamic group of elected officials and community leaders.  The opportunity to learn first-hand about Israel and the San Diego community’s connections to this vibrant, democratic ally of the United States in the Middle East is an invaluable experience.”

Delegation participants include:

Council Member John Aguilera
Council Member John Aguilera was elected to the Vista City Council in November, 2010 and served as the Mayor Pro Tem in 2011.

Board of Education Trustee Richard Barrera
Board of Education Trustee Richard Barrera was first elected to the San Diego Unified Board of Education in 2008, and again in 2012. Mr. Barrera was recently appointed to a new position on the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council Board.

Board of Education Trustee Kevin Beiser
Mr. Kevin Beiser is currently the Vice President of San Diego Unified Board of Education and was elected to the School Board in 2010.  Mr. Beiser is also a math teacher in the Sweetwater Union High School District at Granger Junior High School and was named, "San Diego Math Teacher of the Year" in 2009.

City Council Member George Gastil
Council Member George Gastil has served on the Lemon Grove City Council since 2008.  He also serves as Senior Field Representative for California State Assembly member, Shirley Weber. 

City Council Member Tony Kranz
Council Member Kranz was elected to the Encinitas City Council in 2012 and is working to promote policies to protect our natural resources, improve the quality of life and address social justice issues. 

Council Member Alejandra Sotelo-Solis
In 2008, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis was elected to serve on the National City City Council and was re-elected in 2012. 

Assembly Member Shirley Nash Weber

Assembly Member Shirley Nash Weber was elected in November of 2012 to represent California's 79th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City and San Diego.

This Wednesday: Soldier Stories with Orit Kapel - Treating a Terrorist

IDF Medic Orit Kapel
Israel Defense Forces combat field medic , Orit Kapel will speak at Congregation B’nai Tikvah, 2510 Gateway Road, Carlsbad, 6:30-7:30 Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Orit will hold a Q and A at a local restaurant afterward. This a free lecture as part of the B’nai Tikvah Lecture Series.

She will share her amazing combat stories, and reflect on her life as a combat medic - see this interesting snippet below:

"In October of 2003, when I had only been in the army for a few months. I was walking at night, and a paramedic told me to go to the security prison inside the military base immediately. She didn’t say who the prisoner was, just that I was the only medic available. Usually they wouldn’t send such a young medic to treat someone, but they had no other option, so I went.

When I got to the prison, I saw the prisoner and I knew exactly who he was. He was responsible for a huge terrorist attack: He sent his own sister to commit a suicide bombing in a restaurant in Haifa. Her attack killed 21 people. A lot of innocent babies and children were killed. So when he said that was his name I was really conflicted. The media was constantly covering the story of the victims but there he was in front of me and I was ordered to treat him. So I had to think, what if he was released at the end of his trial, what if he was freed in a hostage deal someday? What if he murdered again?

After a few seconds I just treated him. I examined his condition and gave him IV fluids and medication, everything he needed since I was trained to treat those in need regardless of their moral standards, regardless of nationality. I treated him as I would any other patient.

He actually thanked me and when I finished. I almost felt like I had betrayed his victims. He is a person who deliberately sent his own sister to sacrifice her life for the purpose of killing innocent people. It was really, really hard for me to accept his thanks.

But I did it. I did it as a member of the medical team. I did it because I’m part of a moral army. I did it because the IDF is committed to high moral standards and a really clear ethical code. And it was really clear to me what I have to do and I certainly would have done the same thing today. I’m proud to be part of an army that is clear about moral standards and a code of ethics.”

Orit Kopel is here from Israel taking time off before leaving to London School of Economics to pursue a Masters Degree in International Human Rights Law. Orit is here as part of StandWithUs as the San Diego Israel Education Ambassador.

Orit is a graduate of the prestigious Hebrew University Law School and holds a B.A. in Communication and Journalism. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a Field Medic as one of the few females assigned to this role in the West Bank.

In 2009, Orit was selected to be a part of the StandWithUs Fellowship program, in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that aims to empower young Israeli adults to be informed, active, articulate, and globally-minded future leaders. Since then, she has been a part of StandWithUs as a speaker both in the United States and in Israel. Orit is well educated on the Middle East conflict and has many personal stories to share about her time in the Israeli Defense Forces. She is knowledgeable, charismatic, and is a dynamic speaker who is excited to represent Israel and serve the San Diego community.

Video Interview


Print Interview

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Federation Responds to Federal Court Decision Barring Israel from Jerusalem-Born U.S. Citizens’ Passports

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided to bar Jerusalem-born Americans from listing Israel as their country of birth, drawing heavy criticism from many Jewish organizations. The case was brought to the federal court of appeals by Ari and Naomi Zivotosfsky, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of their son Menachem, demanding the enforcement of a 2002 law designed to allow United States citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel officially listed on their passport. In response, JFNA Board of Trustees Chair Michael Siegal issued the following statement on behalf of the Jewish Federations:

The court’s decision to nullify a law enacted by Congress allowing American citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace is a real disappointment. We believe, as Congress does, that Americans born in Jerusalem should have the choice to declare their birthplace as the State of Israel. The United States position on the status of Jerusalem has long been at odds with the strong views of the Jewish community but we hope and believe that this law – which leaves 50,000 Americans without an official birth country – will be reinstated by the Supreme Court and enforced by the State Department. 

News Coverage

Federation Board Chair Theresa Dupuis Highlighted in Union Tribune

Federation Board Chair Theresa Dupuis graced page two of the San Diego Union Tribune this morning - discussing Jewish community, family, and the Jewish state. Read her interview here:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Three Women on a Mission: Minsk and Israel

Leigh Kole Johnson enjoying time with Birthright participants
Last week, three San Diegan women participated in an inspiring and most meaningful experience on the Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission, along with 95 other participants from all over North America. Leigh Johnson, Women's Philanthropy Chair, Lisa Kornfeld, Women’s Philanthropy Campaign Chair, and Debbie Kempinski, Major Gifts Officer, Women’s Philanthropy, traveled over 24 hours to arrive to Minsk, Belarus to see the life changing work with the elderly, children and young adults and the amazing programs being done with Federation dollars.  Together, we spent three days in Minsk, Belarus, learning about the horrors of the Holocaust that decimated a large part of the Jewish community of Belarus, while also meeting children and young adults who are now embracing their Jewish heritage. A common theme of the Mission, “Why Minsk? Why now?” Out of despair comes hope and along with the promise for a brighter future. We met young leaders of the community, many who are past Birthright participants, who are inspiring and engaging others in the community to create a vibrant rebirth and rejuvenation of the Jewish community of the Former Soviet Union.

Lisa Kornfeld at the Minsk JCC participating in a program for senior citizens

From Minsk we travelled to Israel, to spend four days in the Jewish homeland. Once again, we saw in action our dollars making the difference in lives all across the country. We met with middle school students who attend a special science and technology program at a new state-of-the-art World ORT school in the north. We then met “youth-at-risk” involved with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) that provide after school programs that involve not only the youth, but their families and teachers as well, to work together to bring about real change, and learned about a American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) program that empowers disabled parents and restores their belief in themselves allowing them to successfully parent their children. This is just a sample of some of what we experienced together. Stay tuned for more info on this incredible journey!

Debbie kempinski and Lisa Kornfeld in Belarus at a Jewish summer
camp enjoying time with thirteen year-olds from Minsk.
Truly inspiring work being done with our Federation dollars! TOGETHER, we are doing extraordinary things and impacting our Jewish community around the globe. 
Debbie Kempinski and Lisa Kornfeld met with Tamara, Righteous
of the Nations, who saved three Jews during WWII.

Leigh Kole Johnson participating in
Jewish cemetery clean up in Belarus

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friendship Circle Hosts Double Bar Mitzvah

Parker Lynch celebrates his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Poway
 with Rabbi Mendy Rubenfeld, left and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, center.
Federation partner Friendship Circle recently hosted an inspirational double bar mitzvah in Poway. Read more about this amazing day hereThe Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization that addresses the challenges facing the families of children with special needs in a novel and innovative way. Mazel tov to Andrew and Parker!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

THANK YOU - Your Support Makes a Difference!

Thank you to the more than 3,700 people who made a pledge to strengthen Jewish life in San Diego, Israel and around the world by supporting the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County with commitments of more than $5,800,000.
We are extremely proud of this accomplishment and of the special contribution of supporters of 1800 women who committed more than $2,834,000 to this year’s campaign throughh Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy.
Of very special significance are the 500 first-time supporters of Federation this year and more than 1,000 supporters who returned to the Federation Family.
This is the first time in six years that the number of people contributing to the Annual Campaign and the total dollars committed has increased year-over-year!
Your support makes it possible for Federation to implement
Our Vision
A vibrant, caring, connected, and enduring Jewish community, and accomplish
Our Mission
Inspired by Jewish values, we broaden and deepen engagement in Jewish life to strengthen Jewish identity, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and care for all Jews in need. We mobilize our community's resources, leaders, and organizations to address the community's most critical needs, creating profound impact locally, in Israel and around the world
Adopted by the Board of Directors on May 1, 2013.
In the coming weeks you will have the opportunity to read and hear more about the changes the Federation Board of Directors has approved to assure the future success of your Federation and its continued support for our community in San Diego and around the world.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Announcing: Federation's 2013 – 2014 Board of Directors!

Theresa M. Dupuis
Federation's New Board Chair
We are excited to announce Federation’s new Board of Directors for 2013 – 2014, which will be led by long time Federation leader, Theresa Dupuis! Federation is successful to a large part because the extraordinary leadership of our volunteers all of whom are very enthusiastic about the coming year. We are so grateful to last year’s Board members, who dedicated countless hours to supporting and guiding Federation through this exciting, and challenging, year. A special thank you to our most recent Board Chair, Claire Ellman, for all she’s done for our Jewish Community.

Federation 2013 – 2014 Board of Directors:

Board Chair *
Theresa Dupuis
Immediate Past Board Chair *
Claire Ellman
Vice Chair - Philanthropy *
Laura Tauber
Women's Philanthropy Board Chair *
Leigh Johnson
Vice Chair - Community Partnerships*
Caryn Viterbi
Vice Chair - Finance & Secretary/Treasurer *
Gary Kornfeld
Jewish Community Foundation Board Chair *
Jeff Silberman
YAD Board Chair
Todd Kirschen
JCRC Chair
Tad Parzen
Women's Philanthropy Campaign Chair
Lisa Kornfeld
Judith Belinsky
Terri Bignell
Larry Bloch
Jeff Deverett
Ira Feinswog
David Geffen
Jennifer Levitt
Jack Maizel
Lori Polin
Andrew Ratner
Robert Rubenstein
Jon Schneider
Susan Shmalo
Steve Shulman
Director-at-Large *
Brian Tauber
President & CEO *
Michael Sonduck

*Executive Committee Member

Stay tuned for upcoming information on this year’s leadership!

Your Federation Gift at Work - JDC in Greece

Dear friend of JDC,

Of all the countries plagued by Europe’s economic crisis, Greece has stood out in the headlines. After five years of economic contraction, the country continues to buckle under bailout-imposed austerity measures, plunging living standards, and soaring unemployment rates. Add to that political extremism and social unrest and one understands why this ancient nation has been exposed to the global spotlight.

Under those circumstances I traveled to Athens three weeks ago and found the city’s 3,000-member Jewish community—like all of Greece—struggling, but determined to forge ahead.

As many of you well know, JDC, with Jewish Federations of North America support, has been leading a global consortium of Jewish organizations, communities, and philanthropists who’ve extended help to this financially strapped community over the past two years.

And while my visit was in many ways a statement of solidarity, bolstered by a JDC Board mission that took place just a few days before, I believe our presence in Athens was even more poignant because it provided insight into the juxtaposition between the crippling challenges besetting Greece and a Jewish community proudly weathering that storm.

To read more about the unfolding situation in Greece and the insights gained from our visits, please click here.

Till the next time,

Alan H. Gill

Chief Executive Officer - JDC

Monday, July 1, 2013

Alan Viterbi to Chair JCRC Elected Officials Trip to Israel

This summer (July 21-28) the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County will take a group of elected officials to Israel for an intensive educational seminar in order to advance understanding of Israel across key fields. Participants experience Israeli society, connect with their Israeli counterparts and learn about Israel’s extensive contributions in their fields.

Educational goals are nonpartisan and apolitical. We believe that Israel’s achievements, diversity, aspirations and challenges require no intermediary. They are best conveyed by Israeli policymakers, journalists, and governmental officials themselves in their own words. These seminars are challenging and promote dialogue, offering multiple perspectives on complex issues. We will also meet with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

This seminar will be customized, reflecting the professional interests and backgrounds of our elected officials. Participants will discuss and debate key foreign policy questions with Israeli leaders. They will hear a range of viewpoints and exchange knowledge on best practices in areas like immigration policy, environment, and counter-terrorism. Israel’s historic, religious, and archaeological sites are also an important component of the trip.

A visit to Sha’ar HaNegev and an opportunity to learn about the connection between the San Diego Federation and the work it supports in Israel will be a highlight of the trip.

The impact of this seminar will continue long after leaders return home, as they further their engagement with the local Jewish community; put their new networks, ideas, and understanding of Israel to work; and go on to shape public opinion and policy. Their interactions often result in presentations, published articles, interviews, and a demonstration of the knowledge of historical depth and analytical skills which reflect their enhanced understanding of Israel’s complexities

Jewish community leaders will join the trip to help develop and strengthen the bond with the Jewish community and with Israel. These community leaders are interested in and/or have some connection to shaping public policy, are willing and able to develop and sustain long term relationships with the elected officials and assist in finding opportunities within the community in which they can share their experiences.