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Friday, March 9, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


This week's parashah, Ki Tissa, contains the disturbing event of the "golden" calf. The Israelites are but a few months into their journey from Egypt, they have witnessed and been the beneficiaries of miracle after miracle (parting of the Sea of the Reeds, manna, water from the rock), and as they sit at the foot of Mount Sinai they become impatient. Moses was late, some accounts say by no more than a day or even six hours, and the people panic. Aaron's response is to ask for gold to create the molten calf. What was he thinking?


Upon seeing what was going on in the encampment, God is angry and threatens to call off the whole deal. Moses argues for leniency (he is well-practiced after his experience with Pharaoh) and God relents. Then, for me, the most intriguing part of the story occurs. Moses descends the mountain carrying the tablets containing the commandments. Despite his age (80) and the steep path, Moses has no difficulty carrying the stone tablets. As he descends, he meets his faithful assistant Joshua who has been waiting patiently for him. As they approach the Israelites' camp, they hear a noise. Joshua, ever the warrior, thinks it is the sound of war, a roar of victory perhaps. But, Moses says it is a song he hears. He then proceeds to the camp and when he actually sees the molten calf, Moses becomes enraged and hurls the tablets to the ground and they are smashed. Interesting, that this was Moses' reaction despite the fact he already knew of the people's transgression and had argued with God for leniency.


There is a wonderful midrash that says that when Moses saw the golden calf and the people dancing and singing around it, the letters of the words flew off the tablets and returned to heaven. At this point, the tablets were too heavy for Moses to carry as they no longer contained God's commandments, and they fell to the ground and were smashed. From this midrash, it is not Moses' anger that smashed the tablets, but his despair at what he sees that causes a momentary breach in the covenantal relationship. This interpretation is also suggested by the song that Moses heard when he was with Joshua. His own despair at what he faced caused him to hear a song of despair.


We know that as the story progresses Moses again ascends Mount Sinai and receives a second set of tablets from God. From this we can see that even in times of despair, when the situation seems overwhelmingly burdensome, too heavy to carry, there is a promise of redemption. It takes hard work to get there, for Moses another forty days on the mountain with no food or drink, and for the Israelites a great deal of remorse and renewed faith (and in graphic Biblical detail, the loss of 3,000 or so of their number). Similarly, we know that the work our agencies do with our clients can be difficult, slow, and sometimes burdensome. But, just as the Israelites had God's help in their journey to redemption (they cried out and God heard), our staff is there to help each of our client's make their burdens manageable so they might experience their own personal successes.


Shabbat Shalom.

2012 AC combined logo-3.6.12

AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference

AJFCA's 2012 updated Annual Conference Program  is now available. Register here and don't forget to check the AJFCA website regarding travel, hotel, special events and guest speakers. 


KOVOD Award Winners

Each year AJFCA and Conference Awards Judges have the pleasure of reviewing KOVOD Award submissions. This year there were numerous creative and innovative submissions. Congratulations to the award winners below. We look forward to honoring you at the 2012 Annual Conference. 


Creative Use of Volunteers in Client Services

Group A Agency - YouthAbility - Jewish Family Service Agency of Cleveland, OH

Group B Agency - The Brandywine Village Network - Jewish Family Service of Delaware

Group C Agency - Family Mentor Network - Jewish Family Services of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties, NJ

Group D Agency - Country Meadows Shabbat - Jewish Family Services of York, PA


Collaborative Program Among JF&CS Agencies

Group A Agency  

1st place - AgeWELL:  Pittsburgh's Collaborative Outcome Measurement Initiative - Jewish Family & Children's Services of Pittsburgh, PA

2nd place - Going Places! Social Club for Young Adults with Asperger's Syndrome - Jewish Social Service Agency of Rockville, MD

3rd place - Tina Project - Jewish Family Service Agency of Cleveland, OH  

Group D Agency - Seder-in-a-Box (Beth Tikvah Congregation & Temple Shalom) - Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida 


Best Practices in Connecting Judaism to Client Programming

Group A Agency - Jewish Hospice Network - Jewish Family & Children's Services of Philadelphia, PA

Group B Agency - Shabbos Friends - Jewish Family & Children's Services of Louisville, KY

Group C Agency - Interconnected Network of Programs - Jewish Children's Regional Services of New Orleans, LA


Effective Use of Social Media  

Group A Agency

ifIknew.org Multimedia Prevention Education - Jewish Community Services of Baltimore, MD

Escorted Transportation & Project Build! - Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit, MI

Baby Shower for the Community - Jewish Family Services of Dallas, TX 

Empowering a New Generation of Young Jewish Women

Jewish Women International (JWI) is set to launch an innovative new venture: a professional leadership network for young Jewish women.

ejp full logo

"Our goal is to support women's leadership," said Susan Turnbull, JWI's Chair of the Board of Trustees. "With this network we will be giving young women the opportunity to interact with spectacular role models while meeting each other and creating a sense of community."


The network will target Jewish women in their 20s and 30s and will debut in New York and Washington, D.C., with the goal of expanding to other major U.S. cities.


JWI bills itself as the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls. Through a combination of advocacy, educational programs and philanthropic initiatives, they work to end violence against women, safeguard reproductive rights, protect and support youth-at-risk and empower Jewish women.


Learn about what makes this network unique

Free Web Resource to Aid Agencies in Performance Management

Social SolutionsUrban Institute and Child Trends have collectively launched a free web resource, PerformWell, designed to assist human services professionals in managing their programs and achieving their goals. PeformWell contains information, advice, downloadable assessments and survey tools, and usage instructions developed, vetted and tested by industry experts. The site allows an agencysocial solutions logo to select indicators appropriate to the agency's mission and offers detailed information on what to measure, how to measure it and how analyze the results to guide the program to greater quality and efficiency. Performance management allows an agency to access real time data and use it to continually adjust and improve service delivery. The site located at www.performwell.com is currently in beta stage. Its founders are looking for feedback on its value and intend to build it out with more program categories and outcome categories in the near future.

Facebook Timeline for Nonprofit Organizations  

Facebook Timeline for Nonprofit Organizations, March 4, 2012, eJP, by Rebecca Saidlower and Miriam Brosseauejewish philanthropy

The social media revolution means big things for nonprofits. Social media demands a kind of openness and authenticity that can be challenging, but also empowering. Now more than ever friends, fans, and followers can connect immediately and personally. The recent release of Facebook Timeline for Pages provides a new opportunity fojewish education project logor your nonprofit to share your story in a rich, engaging way, with both those outside and inside your organization.


Rebecca Saidlower, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications and Miriam Brosseau, Social Media Manager for The Jewish Education Project explain a few ways you can take advantage of your Page's new Timeline:

  1. Document the history of your organization since way back before Facebook.
  2. Make major events and accomplishments in recent years stand out from your Facebook chatter.
  3. Choose a cover photo that represents your organization's mission. Before, most Pages had
  4. Pin important news items to the top of your Page.
  5. Take advantage of Facebook's apps and tools!  

Read the entire article to learn more about the opportunities Facebook Timeline for Pages has to offer.

Join NCOA for Virtual Advocacy Day

March 28th is Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, sponsored by the National Council On Aging as part of the 2012 American Society on Aging's Aging in America Conference. Hundreds of advocates will visit with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to speak up for older adults. If you're coming to the conference, there's still time tncoa logoo register for this event. Can't make it to DC? You can still tell Congress what matters to the seniors you serve! Sign up for NCOA's Virtual Advocacy Day, and they'll send you quick and easy actions you can take from your computer. You'll be able to send a letter to Congress, share it on Facebook, and more.    

NCOA is asking Congress to:

1. Protect and invest in funding for aging programs and services

2. Support Older Americans Act reauthorization

3. Protect and strengthen health care

The Staff Workshop: Striving for Success

The Staff Workshop: Striving for Success, March 6, 2012. eJP, by Stephen G. Donshik 
Several clients requested Stephen G. Donshik, D.S.W., a lecturer at Hebrew University's International Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program assistance in assessing the need for a staff workshop that would not address the day-to-day activities of the organization. In each case either the director or the supervisor felt the need for the opportunity to address issues that were outside their normal work purview.


Often the staff of nonprofit organizations feels competing pressures when needing to respond to requests for services and having to implement programs. At times the impact on the staff can be overwhelming. In light of this, the initial enthusiasm a social worker, community worker or teacher has for their job soon becomes lost in the pushes and pulls of a regular work day. When this happens one of the ways of counterbalancing this is to provide an opportunity for the staff to remove themselves from their everyday schedule and take a break to explore the reasons behind their feelings and the lessening of their enthusiasm for work. Providing an opportunity for the staff to get out of the office and to break from their regular schedule can not only be a welcome relief but it can also stimulate them to think in creative ways. This is especially true when they are not watching the clock and trying to complete their tasks for the day.


Read the entire article to learn more about the value of staff workshops.

10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using - Now
10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using - Now, February 21, 2012, LinkedIn, by Neil Patel

Social media is everywhere. Everywhere you look; people are using social media and are talking about it. And it seems that every week a new type of social site pops up. And as the number of social networking sites grows, so does the number of services that are created to measure, track and monitor those services. What's a marketing professional to linkedin logodo?


Neil Patel, co-founder of San Francisco-based online analytics provider KISSmetrics shares some suggestions to help you cut through the clutter. Here are the 10 must-use social media tools that can not only help you make sense of your social media efforts but make them more effective.

1. EditFlow
2. TweetReach
3. ArgyleSocial
4. HootSuite for iPad
5. TweetLevel
6. ReFollow
7. TwitterSearch
8. Traackr
9. SocMetrics
10. Social Scope   

Read the entire article to learn more about these tools and who should use them and why.

Our member agency in Naples, FL has made some exciting changes. The agency is now called Jewish Family and Community Services of Southwest Florida. JF&CS has moved from it's original location to 5025 Castello Drive, Naples, FL 34103. The phone number remains the same, 239-325-4444, but the general email address has changed. Executive Director, Dr. Jacklynn Faffer has a new email address as well.
Please Help Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit win $250,000!  

project build 

Thank you to everyone who helped Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's Project Build! win $25,000 in January 2012 in The Home Depot Foun-jfs detroitdation's Aprons in Action Facebook contest. As a result of that win, JFS Detroit is now in the championship round and needs your help throughout March to bring home the grand prize of $250,000.  


Project Build! provides essential home repairs and modifications for people who have low-incomes and/or physical challenges. Because we need you to vote every day in March, we want to make it easy by signing you up for a daily email reminder (you do need a Facebook account to vote). Just click here to visit the voting page. Here's the link to the voting page. Thanks for your help and stay tuned for more details as the competition continues.


Jewish Family Service of Colorado is currently seeking para-chaplain volunteers for its Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) Para-chaplain Program. Training sessions will be held on Thursday evenings, April 25th, May 2nd, May 9th, and May 16th from 4:30-7:00pm (at JFS, 3201 South Tamarac Drive in Denver). Bikur Cholim para-chaplains assist JFS by providing spiritual support and a Jewish connection to isolated members of the Jewish community.

jfs colorado 

Para-chaplain volunteers visit Jewish seniors or conduct holiday services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, prisons, or hospitals.


In order to be a para-chaplain, volunteers must be Jewish, but do not need to have an extensive Jewish education. To lead services, a deeper understanding of Jewish traditions is desirable. For more information/registration please contact Beth Lippa, 720.248.4599.



Recruiting Your Next Star Board Member

Millions of nonprofit board seats are open and need to be filled each year. Approximately 75% of nonprofits do not have any formal budget for recruiting board members or staff, according to the 2011 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey.


Nonprofits need board recruiting tools that are easy to implement, cost efficient and, most importantly, connect them with the best people. Social recruiting - acteva logousing social media to recruit staff - does just that. And LinkedIn does social recruiting best.


It's not just a word of mouth game anymore. You can find excellent board candidates with the required skills and a passion for your cause by using LinkedIn. Organizations of all sizes are starting to do it already.

  • Learn basics for using LinkedIn better as an organization
  • Learn ways to find board members using LinkedIn
  • Hear specific tips related to searching and sending "In-Mail" to prospective board candidate 

Recruiting Your Next Star Board Member

Wednesday, March 28th, 2:00Pm ET



Using Technology to Innovate Nonprofit Service Delivery

Nonprofits are under unprecedented pressure to produce more results, with more clients, for less money. To shed light on how organizations are meeting this challenge, MAP for Nonprofits commissioned a study by Idealware to investigate how Minnesota service providers are innovating their service delivery, with an eye to factors that foster innovation. During this free one-hour session, Idealware will highlight key findings and best practices, along with real-world examples, to share Minnesota's innovation with the rest of the country. How will their stories inspire your organization?


Please register with an email address that will allow you to receive the access and dial-in information for the online seminar. This is an Introductory-level seminar.


Using Technology to Innovate Nonprofit Service Delivery - FREE Webinar

Thursday, March 29th, 1:00pm ET



Health Care Conference Calls

The Health and Human Services Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive conference calls discussing the benefits and provisions of the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.


All calls are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you mahhs logoy have about the health care reform law. You are also encouraged you to submit questions you would like to have answered on the calls to ACA101@hhs.gov.


To participate in one of the conference calls, please select your preferred date from the list below and submit the necessary information. Call-in information and Power Point slides will be made available 24 hours in advance.


PowerPoint slides for the Health Care Law 101 calls can be found by clicking here.


The Health Care Law and Wellness

March 14th, 3:30pm ET  



The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

March 27th, 2:00pm ET  REGISTER HERE 


Tour of HealthCare.gov

April 5th, 12:30pm ET  



Health Care Law and Health Care Disparities (in Spanish)

April 24th, 2:00pm ET


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