Monday, September 29, 2014

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres Goes Job Hunting

Three New Israel Fellows Arrive on Campus in San Diego

Starting this fall, three young Israelis will make San Diego their home for a year to serve as shlichim (“ambassadors”) on campus at UC San Diego and San Diego State University.
They are part of a national cadre of nearly 60 Jewish Agency Israel Fellows, outstanding young Israelis placed on key North American campuses to serve as peer ambassadors to the campus community. They play a critical role in connecting the campus with Israel through educational, cultural and social programming. They also organize Birthright trips and support Israel advocacy groups on campus. The program is a collaboration of Hillel and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Generous support for the 2014-15 Jewish Agency Israel Fellows for Hillel at UCSD and SDSU comes from the Leichtag Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Israeli American Council, Joseph & Beverly Glickman, Hillel International and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Meet our three Israel Fellows for 2014-15:

Elinor Levian, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at SDSU, graduated with a degree in the History of Africa and the Middle East from Tel Aviv University, where she was involved with Hillel. Elinor has worked as a counselor with the LGBT Rights Association providing support to LGBTQ youth. She also received a prestigious Kriat Kivun Fellowship from the office of the Prime Minister to work on a special project to strengthen the relationship between Jaffa’s residents and tourists with City Hall through social media outreach. Elinor served as an officer in the IDF.

Edi Mesoznikov, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at UCSD, graduated from Ben Gurion University of the Negev with a degree in Psychology and Management. During his military service, Edi served as a commander in the Education and Youth corps. He most recently served as Inspector and evaluator at Birthright (“Taglit”) on behalf of the Henrietta Szold Institute – the Israeli institute for research of the Behavioral Sciences. Edi is fluent in Hebrew, English and Russian. He loves sports, travel and getting to know new people.
Ilan Ofir is the first Israel Fellow to hold a new position developed through a unique collaboration between Hillel of San Diego and the US-Israel Center on Innovation and Economic Sustainability (USIC) at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management. Ilan serves as a critical resource for Rady students and the UCSD community in learning about Israel’s competitive edge and entrepreneurial prowess in the global marketplace, particularly through the Center’s Israel Immersion program. Originally from Tel Aviv, Ilan is a graduate of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev where he studied political science and economics. During the summer of 2014, Ilan staffed a ten-week program in which 40 exceptional North American students interned in the most promising and prominent companies in the “Startup Nation”, traveled and experienced young professional life in Tel Aviv.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Community Shabbat for International Shabbat Day | October 24 and 25

On October 24th, in 170 cities across the world, Jewish people will celebrate Shabbat as a global expression of Jewish identity and community. Spearheaded by South Africa's "The Shabbos Project", Shabbat San Diego is coordinating and planning an array of community ritual, educational and celebratory Shabbat programs, in conjunction with local congregations, community organizations, and youth groups. On Thursday, October 23rd, there will be a Community wide Challah Making event. On Saturday, October 25th, there will be a Havdalah event in the evening. On Friday and Saturday, there are planned Shabbat celebrations along with private home Shabbat dinners, special congregational services, Shabbat study opportunities and guest lectures.

“We want to provide a unique twenty-five hour Shabbat experience that is educational, authentic and fun,” said Rabbi Daniel Bortz, one of the Shabbat San Diego organizers. “We hope to reach the 50,000 Jewish households in San Diego. Our goal is for San Diegans to enjoy the events, services and spiritual benefits by participating in the rituals of our heritage.”

“All factional identities, affiliations, ideologies and political differences will be set aside as congregations, organizations and unaffiliated Jews celebrate this special Shabbat, respecting denominational differences and engaging in Shabbat dinners, services, Kiddush, candle lighting, challah baking and study,” added Robyn Lichter, a co-organizer of Shabbat San Diego. “The vast majority of San Diegans are unaffiliated and we hope to provide them with an opportunity to enjoy their heritage in an inclusive and educational environment.”

As part of the event, Shabbat San Diego will match volunteer Shabbat dinner hosts with guests seeking to enjoy a Shabbat experience. Shabbat San Diego will also provide supplementary materials to assist hosts in creating a meaningful evening. In addition, the Education Committee, headed by Hebrew Day School principal, Rabbi Simcha Weiser, will plan a unifying theme for use throughout the weekend and will arrange for lectures by community and religious leaders on Saturday afternoon. One obstacle that has surfaced, is “engaging everyone and offending no-one” in our community, concluded Selwyn Isakow, another organizer.

There are several volunteer opportunities available on a number of different committees, as well as organization and congregation liaison opportunities. For more information please contact us or visit our Facebook page at We look forward to your participation.


Rabbi Daniel Bortz

March of the Living Info Session | October 1

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Uniting the Community Over Shared Interests

On Wednesday, September 17th the San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition (LJC) of the the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) hosted a breakfast discussion focusing on the human rights crisis at the US/Mexico border, featuring prominent Latino and Jewish speakers. Rabbi Laurie Coskey kicked off the breakfast with a heart-warming speech about her work as the Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice. She was followed by Dr. Richard Griswold Del Castillo, Professor Emeritus of Chicano Studies at SDSU and Board Member of Border Angels, who discussed the history of Border Angels and shared touching stories of his personal experience working with the organization. Carmen Chavez, Executive Director at Casa Cornelia Law Center, closed out the session with a powerful presentation on the multifaceted dimensions of border issues, the work of Casa Cornelia, challenges facing the organization, and accomplishments of the Law Center.

After the presentations, attendees engaged in lively table discussions on current events at the San Diego Mexico border and expressed their views on humanitarian issues and immigration policies. Participants discussed the implications of the United States having a moral responsibility, and how to best act on these important issues. The final remarks were eye-opening as many perspectives and both sides of the debate were brought up, creating an on-going and open dialogue— one of the main objectives of both the JCRC and LJC.

To keep attendees interested and further engaged on the topic everyone was asked to submit a card indicating their interest in receiving up-to-date information, volunteer opportunities, and a tour of the border. To learn more about the San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition and future events visit their website. To learn more about San Diego initiatives visit Jewish Community Relations Council or contact Linda Feldman at

About LJC
The Latino-Jewish Coalition serves to promote greater communication, cooperation, understanding, respect and friendship between the communities; to pursue a collaborative working relationship on issues of mutual concern, and facilitate programs to benefit Jews and Latinos of all ages in San Diego County.

Monday, September 22, 2014

|JOIN US| Congressional Candidates Breakfast | October 7

52nd Congressional District Candidates Forum & Breakfast

Moderated by Liam Dillon

Senior Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Voice of San Diego

Scott Peters, Democratic Congressman and Carl DeMaio, San Diego’s former Republican Councilman, are in a race that is receiving national attention. Peters and DeMaio will meet the Jewish community, share their platform and priorities, and answer questions from those in attendance.
This is not a debate.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Congregation Beth El
8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla 92037




Friday, September 19, 2014

The Mystery Mitzvah

Two weeks ago, Federation received a mysterious donation in honor of Alanna Stein’s eighth birthday. At first, we didn’t think too much of it – after all, tribute gifts in honor of loved ones are standard fare at Federation – but, upon further inspection, we saw this gift was made from… New Jersey? As donations in honor of this little girl continued to roll in day after day, the questions began to mount: who is this “Alanna Stein” character? And why were the gifts coming all the way from the east coast? We scoured our database, searched past records, and asked around the community, but still came up empty handed. We were stymied.

After a series of dead leads and cold trails, we got a hot tip that led to the voice mailbox of a New Jersey law firm. We left a message expressing both our gratitude and our curiosity, and hoped to hear back. Days went by. Nothing. Then, amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy Monday morning, the phone rang; it was none other than Mrs. Fran Stein, young Alanna’s mother. She shared with us the heart-warming account of her daughter’s selfless desire to help other children in a time of need.

Several years ago, when Alanna’s older brother became ill and had to spend some time in the hospital, Fran and Bryan asked their son what he would like for his fifth birthday. With an innate sense of altruism, he told his parents what he really wanted were new toys for the hospital because there weren’t enough for all the other children to play with. The Stein family’s tradition of tzedakah (charitable giving) began that day. Thenceforth, the entire Stein family asks for charitable donations made in their honor rather than presents for their birthdays.

This year, Alanna – a stuffed animal connoisseur and budding Israel supporter – asked to help kids in southern Israel by providing them with therapeutic Hibuki dolls (huggy puppies). To support her daughter’s birthday wish, Fran searched the internet and found our Federation-funded Hibuki program which helps distressed children in Israel by giving them huggable plush dogs to help them cope with the trauma and stresses of living on the border of Gaza. Since Alanna chose to support the Jewish Federation of San Diego County and the Hibuki program for her eighth birthday, more than 30 gifts have been made in her honor, ensuring that Israeli children receive much-needed emotional and psychological help.

The story of the tributes for Alanna Stein’s birthday are no longer a mystery, but rather a wonderful example of the concept Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh - all of Israel is responsible for one another – regardless of age or means, and a reminder of why Federation does the work that we do every day.

For more information about Federation's work in Israel click here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shana Tova from Federation!

Dear Community,

Shalom! As the people in Sha’ar HaNegev and throughout Israel prepare for Rosh Hashanah and attempt to return to normalcy, their needs become more apparent. Federation and the San Diego Jewish Community have always stood with the people and nation of Israel and we’re proud to share that, through the Reach Out for Israel campaign, our Jewish community has provided more than $3 million in vital humanitarian aid to the people of Israel.

Together, we have let them know that they are not alone. As the rebuilding of lives and communities continues, we hope for peace and healing this New Year – for our families in Israel, and for all peoples.

The strength of our Jewish community shines in times of struggle, as well as peace. For 78 years, even before Israel was founded, Federation has worked to build a vibrant and caring Jewish community locally, to assure the support of tomorrow’s Israel. Through inspiring the next generation of Jewish leaders, to advocating in Sacramento, to sending teens on life-changing trips to Israel, we have stood by the Jewish state – and we always will.

None of this would be possible without you.

In this time of reflection, we are particularly thankful for everything our donors, volunteers, and community members do to make our Jewish community thrive. On behalf of the Federation board and staff, we wish you,the people of Israel, and all of humanity a shana tova - a good and sweet new year.

May you and those you love be written in the Book of Life for a happy New Year.

Thank you, for all that you do.

Jewish Professional Network Kicks off the Year with an Inaugural Breakfast

On September 10th, more than 60 professionals, non-Jewish and Jewish individuals alike, gathered at San Diego State University’s Hillel to nosh, network, and learn. The breakfast served as the inaugural event of San Diego’s JPro, which seeks to empower San Diego Jewish communal professionals with innovative ideas and best practices. The event facilitated a discussion on planning a successful career in the San Diego Jewish Community, and is one of many breakfast series to come. The session was moderated by Rabbi Philip Graubart of Congregation Beth El in La Jolla and featured Keri Copans, Director of Hillel in San Diego, Chaim Heller, Head of the San Diego Jewish Academy, and Charlene Seidle, Executive Vice President of the Leichtag Foundation as members of the discussion panel.

A handful of best practices, tactics, suggestions, and anecdotes were shared. A reoccurring topic was the responsibility to serve as leaders, putting our causes, organizations and institutes before our personal interests. The panel also emphasized the importance of networking and building professional connections regardless of religion or affiliation. 

“It’s not good to be alone,” remarked Chaim Heller, Head of School at the San Diego Jewish Community, “Every professional needs a personal board to turn to for help, a conscience collegiality.” 

Following the panel discussion attendees broke up into four discussion circles. The topics included: mentorship, continuing education (formal and informal), cultivating leaders, and retention of professionals in the sector. Everyone was encouraged to build their networks, provide feedback and suggest future topics to the JPro committee. 

The Second JPro event, “Transition and A Case Study of Leadership Succession” will take place at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center on November 11th. To learn more about JPro and future events visit their Facebook page.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Goodbye and Hello: YAD Bids Farewell to Summer with a 175-Person Bonfire Party

This summer certainly seemed to be an endless summer with the conflict in Israel, fires throughout our state, and record high temperatures in San Diego. With the season changing, and the hopes of a more serene fall and New Year, Federation’s Young Adult Division (YAD) said goodbye with a bang!

On Saturday, September 13th, YAD hosted a Havdalah and bonfire at Shelter Island with more than 175 young Jewish adults in attendance— one of YAD’s most successful and well-attended events to date!    The bonfire was a memorable evening of music, marshmallow roasting, a beautiful full moon, and excitement as friends reunited and others met for the first time. In addition to the fun and awesome atmosphere of the evening, attendees partook in a moving Havdalah service on the edge of the water under the twinkling stars and glowing moon, honoring the Jewish tradition and uniting as a community to perform a mitzvah.  YAD members were pleased to welcome several newcomers to the bonfire and are looking forward to continuing to build a strong and vibrant Jewish community this New Year. 

To learn more about these great events and how you can get involved visit our website. To find out about upcoming events check out the YAD Calendar.   

Friday, September 12, 2014

Federation Board Chair Theresa Dupuis Wins National Philanthropy Award

We're so proud to share that Federation Board Chair Theresa Dupuis has been selected by the Jewish Federations of North America as a recipient of the 2014 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award. The award recognizes an extraordinary woman who has set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism in her community. Theresa was recognized at the International Lion of Judah Conference in New York on September 9.

Ask Theresa Dupuis what Judaism means to her, or why she is committed to the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, or about her family, and her optimism, passion, drive and commitment are instantly on display. These qualities have infused and inspired her ten years of community leadership.

Theresa’s Federation involvement started with the Women’s Philanthropy Board in 2004, and soon after she organized the WP Community Seder. She went on to chair the WP and Federation Campaigns as well as the Philanthropy board, and is currently chair of the Federation board.

She also serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Foundation, the San Diego Jewish Academy and Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli humanitarian project.

Theresa’s leadership skills have been instrumental in steering the Federation through the creation and implementation of a new mission and vision. Anyone who has worked with her on Jewish community issues or attended her Shabbat dinners or creatively-scripted seders can attest to her extraordinary contributions to the San Diego Jewish community and the Jewish people.

As a successful human resources manager with an MBA, Theresa brings a sharp business sense to every project she undertakes. But it’s her authenticity and passion that earn her the unqualified respect of Federation’s donors, professionals and volunteers alike.

Criteria for the award include being a Lion of Judah for a minimum of five years; exhibiting leadership in the Federation; having a Lion of Judah Endowment; making a significant impact in the local Jewish community, in Israel and abroad; using leadership in creative ways to address community challenges and issues; displaying initiative in the areas of philanthropy and/or volunteerism and setting a standard for others in the community; giving other women encouragement, motivation and opportunity to take a leadership role in philanthropy and Jewish community involvement; and embodying the spirit and vision of Lion of Judah through a commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam (repairing the world). The award was established in recognition of Norma Kipnis Wilson and Toby Friedland, founders of the Lion of Judah Society

For more information on the Lion of Judah/Pomegranate Event or the Lion of Judah Division, please call Deena Libman at (858) 737-7133.

Eastern Ukraine: Your Donation in Action

"As Jews we are all bound
 together, even in the
toughest of times.”
Alan G. Hill, CEO of JDC
Since April, the region of Eastern Ukraine and its Jewish communities have been hit hard by extreme violence, political hostility, and rising anti-Semitism. A majority of the individuals who have not fled from their homes in the most violent regions, estimated at over 3,000 people, are Jewish disadvantaged children, elderly, and homebound individuals with lack of access to basic necessities. However, in the light of darkness, our global Jewish community has come together to assist those in need. 

Through brave, kind volunteers and generous donations, our global Jewish community has been able to provide for refugees and those who have remained in Eastern Ukraine. To date, The American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has provided aid to thousands of Jews, delivering food, water, medicine, and other critical resources to Ukrainians that haven chosen to stay in the region. For those who have fled, estimated at over 2,000, assistance in the form of rental subsidies, clothing, shelter, counseling services, and general aid are being provided.

JDC’s work in Eastern Ukraine is part of a month-long emergency response to in the increased needs among the most vulnerable Jewish elderly and poor families all over Ukraine. The work includes stepped-up delivery of medications and food and upgraded homecare and counseling services for the stress-plagued staff members and clients. JDC mobile units have delivered critical supplies throughout the emergency from Kiev to Odessa to Kharkov.

JDC staff and local community volunteers have taken risks bringing food packages to homebound elderly people in areas of unrest. Homecare workers have spent nights in the homes of their most frail clients, and special operating hours and phone services at JDC relief centers, known as Heseds, are ensuring round-the-clock support.

Moreover, if and when the fighting stops, the next obstacle facing vulnerable and displaced Ukrainians is the issue of resettlement. An immense amount of damage has been reported. As described by Amanda Borschel-Dan of the Times of Israel, there are countless stories of ruined homes damaged by explosions and shelling; roofless houses with blown out doors, walls, and windows. As winter is quickly approaching in the region, there is worry about financial means to rebuild – compounded by instability of the Ukrainian economy. In response the JDC is preparing an urgent fundraising campaign to provide assistance to those who choose to resettle. 

The aid that has been and continues to be provided to Ukrainian Jews is due solely to the generosity of Federation donors like you. Critical aid efforts on behalf of JDC cannot happen without your continued support. We urge you to donate what you can and to encourage your friends and family members to support our global Jewish community outreach initiatives.

Thank you, for all that you do.

This article is written in partnership with the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

$3,600 Jewish Teen Awards - Applications due by October 7th

YAD Hosts Brunch Welcoming Over 50 New Faces

On Sunday, September 7 Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County kicked off the new year strong with a well-attended Sunday Newcomer’s Brunch. YAD hosts seasonal brunches in an effort to engage individuals who are new to the San Diego area and those seeking to get more involved in Jewish community. More than fifty young adults showed up to eat bagels and lox, schmooze, and participate in ice breaker games to get to know fellow Jewish community members. The staff gave a short introduction about the history of YAD, a branch of NextGen San Diego, an initiative aimed to ensure that San Diego will be a vibrant, connected and caring Jewish community for generations to come, as well as an explanation of new goals and a description of upcoming events.

In addition to explaining an exclusive San Diego Birthright trip, YAD staff urged newcomers to sign up for the free 10-day trip to Israel, as registration begins this week. The staff warmly welcomed all attendees and encouraged individuals to get involved in any of the several social, professional and volunteer efforts of YAD. Overall, there was an emphasis on uniting, building and creating a strong community of young adults regardless of Jewish affiliation. In the spirit of bringing together young Jewish adults, all newcomers were invited to attend regular Shabbat dinners and a YAD Havdallah Bonfire on Saturday, September 13th at Shelter Island. If you’re seeking to get involved, or want more information please visit or contact Carly Ezell, Senior NextGen Manager, or by phone at (858) 737-7128.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition Breakfast | September 17

Register Now

San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition Breakfast


The San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition, a committee of the
Jewish Community Relations Council, invites you to participate in a conversation:


Human Rights Crisis at the Border

Jewish and Latino Perspectives


Rabbi Laurie Coskey

Executive Director Interfaith Center for Worker Justice

Dr. Richard Griswold Del Castillo

Professor Emeritus Chicano Studies SDSU and
Board Member of Border Angels

Carmen Chavez, Esq

Executive Director at Casa Cornelia Law Center


September 17, 2014, 7:30 - 9:30am

Pueblo Room, Hacienda Hotel
4041 Harney Street, San Diego 92110

Free Parking - Cost: $15 - Kosher style dairy breakfast

Advance registration required - Please register by September 8

Register Now

Contact Linda Feldman for more information
858.737.7138 or

There will be no solicitation of funds

Adopt a Family Foundation Benefit | September 14

You are invited to join us for an evening of art, music, cocktails & solidarity
Sunday, September 14, 2014
5:30 – 8:00PM
Adopt a Family Foundation Benefit
Erik Skoldberg Gallery 
Del Mar Plaza
1555 Camino Del Mar, Suite 310
Del Mar, California
Musical entertainment by Kayla Hope
Kosher Style Catering from Il Fornaio

All proceeds from the evening will be donated toward rebuilding the Kibbutz Mefalsim children’s playground.
Space is limited; please confirm your attendance by

This event is free of charge
Adopt a Family Foundation stands with Israel and its families
Am Echad, Lev Echad
One People, One Heart

Not able to attend, but would like to support the cause?
Please send your donation made out to Adopt a Family Foundation:
PO Box 7278 – Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067