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Friday, March 16, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman


We have been doing some interior painting in our house recently (the "we" here is the euphemistic way of saying professional painter). As we were preparing the rooms, by clearing out closets and corners, we came across the stuffed animals that had special meaning for our now grown children. It is impossible to say why each child invested these particular objects with such significance, but there is no denying these little items carried power far beyond their physical being - and not just the power to induce sleep.


This Shabbat, we read the double parashot of Va-yakhel and Pekudes, concluding the book of Exodus. The Israelites have been on an amazing journey in Exodus, maturing from a captive people in Egypt to the recipients of Torah on their way to the Promised Land. In these final portions, we read in great detail of the building of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary the people will carry with them through the wilderness until they reach the land of Israel. For the Israelites, the Mishkan represents the physical presence of God amongst them. Just a few verses earlier in Torah, the people had attempted to relate to God through building the Golden Calf, but this was a miscalculation on their part as to how to symbolize this relationship. The building of the Mishkan is done at the specific command of God, as is repeated multiple times in Pekudes, and thus is an acceptable means for them to express their relationship with the Almighty. It is a physical presence that represents the spiritual in their lives.


Sometimes physical objects are more than they appear to be. Whether a child's stuffed animal or an ornate sanctuary, these objects can be comforting and elevating, and they can help the holder to grow and mature on the path to self-sufficiency.


Shabbat Shalom.    

2012 AC combined logo-3.6.12

AJFCA's 40th Annual Conference

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


TrailBlazer Award voting has begun. Please complete the survey to vote for one professional TrailBlazer and one Volunteer TrailBlazer. Each agency is limited to 10 votes. Votes maybe cast from Wednesday, March 14th-Wednesday, March 28th. Voting will close on Wednesday, March 28th at 5:00pm ET. For more details please visit the Awards section of the AJFCA website.  

2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index - Survey Deadline Extended JOEI logo

AJFCA has partnered with the  Human Rights Campaign Foundation to promote their important initiative:  The 2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI). ApprHRC logooximately 200 organizations have logged into the survey since its launch last fall, including AJFCA and some of our member agencies.


The 2012 Jewish Organization Equality Index was created in the pursuit of education, dialogue and continual improvement. The more organizations that partake, the more we will be able to learn from one another. This is an opportunity for all of us to take an impartial inventory of our internal policies and practices in line with the Jewish traditions of b'tzelem elohim, derech eretz and tikkun olam.  


If you would like to complete the survey please click on this link:  http://www.hrc.org/joei/pages/request-joei-survey-login prior to the April 6th deadline. If you would like to learn more, you can visit JOEI's website at www.hrc.org/joei or email questions to JewishEquality@hrc.org

AJFCA Board Determines to Move Ahead with 2013 Conference in Arizona  

AJFCA's 2013 Annual Conference is scheduled for May 19-21, 2013 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.  AJFCA's board of directors has been concerned about holding our conference in Arizona due to the hostile immigration legislation enacted by that state in 2010; the content and assumptions of that legislation being inconsistent with the views and values of our network.     


AJFCA has determined to move forward and hold our 2013 Annual Conference in Phoenix with a conference theme of social justice.  We are looking forward to utilizing our conference to highlight the essential responsibility of the Jewish family service movement to support human rights and personal dignity throughout our communities.  We intend to incorporate the activism taking place in Phoenix against the legislation into our conference.  We believe that this solution will provide the AJFCA network with a true learning experience and a simultaneous opportunity to help influence the policies by which those in need are served. In the face of a policy that seeks to marginalize certain minority groups, we will display our message and belief that communities find strength in unity.  It is a foundation of Judaism that each of us has an obligation to create justice in the world.  AJFCA's collective response will provide a vehicle for all in our network to meet this obligation in a way that can be heard throughout Arizona and beyond.  

A Look at Jewish Foundation Giving

A Look at Jewish Foundation Giving, March 11, 2012, eJP 
The Institute for Jewish and Community Research has released FOLLOWING THE MONEY: A Look at Jewish Foundation Giving, a summary that examines giving characteristics of selected Jewish foundations with approximately $20 billion in combined assets who made grants of $1.4 billion to Jewish causes.

ejp full logo 

The data reveals that perhaps the most important decision private foundations have made is to continue to provide significant support toward traditional centralized organizations while also seeding innovative Jewish projects and organizations. This "and/both" instead of "either/or" approach provides the Jewish community with support for core programs while maintaining the ability to research and develop new programs that meet contemporary needs.


Read the entire article to learn the major findings. FOLLOWING THE MONEY: A Look at Jewish Foundation Giving, is available for download. The complete study will be available later in 2012.

PerformWell - Webinar Follow Up social solutions logo

Last week's newsletter contained an article entitled Free Web Resource to Aid Agencies in Performance Management, which detailed the launch of PerformWell, a new web resource helping to improve human service effectiveness. Both the recorded webinar and pdf files of the slides are now available.

New Site Helps Older Homeowners Explore Aging in Place   

Most older homeowners want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. A new tool from the Nation Council On Agingncoa logo  and FINRA can help. It's called Home Equity Advisor, and it's a free website where seniors can explore how to use their home equity to help them stay healthy and independent as they age. On the site, visitors can explore various situations and solutions, including how to make a home safer to reduce accidents and support independent living.

What Nonprofits Should Know About Pinterest

What Nonprofits Should Know About Pinterest, March 5, 2012, Chronicle of Philanthropy, by Cody Switzer  

More than 1,700 people joined The Chronicle of Philanthropy on Tuesday, February 28th for a discussion about the social network Pinterest.

chronicle philanthropy 

Because the network has been such a hot topic in recent weeks, the Chronicle of Philanthropy decided to answer some questionspinterest that they ran out of time to cover in the Tuesday discussion, summarizing a few of the basics.


The complete transcript of the live discussion is available. Read the entire article to learn more about Pinterest.

On Generosity and Giving

On Generosity and Giving, March 11, 2012, eJP, by Rabbi Lisa Goldstein 

One morning a man came down the crowded subway, collecting money for the homeless. Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality has seen him before; this is part of his regular beat. He usually ends his pitch by reminding the passengers that homelessness doesn't only happen to "others." A lost job, a house fire, a death in the family can be enough to tip the balance. He is pretty persuasive and more people give to him than to some of the other people asking for money in the New York subway.


Rabbi Goejewish philanthropyldstein writes, "I wonder what it is about this man that makes him such an effective tzedakah collector. Is it because, unlike other panhandlers, he is asking on behalf of other people? Or is it because he taps in to the underlying worry inside many subway passengers: could I become homeless?  I suspect that the latter reason is more likely." We all know that fear is a strong motivating factor for many kinds of actions. It is not surprising that the man on the subway addressed the nervousness among the passengers. What is surprising - and lovely - is that he helped them turn that anxiety into generosity.


But part of Rabbi Goldstein wondered: "How much would he collect if he appealed to generosity born of a sense of abundance instead of a sense of scarcity? What if he asked people to consider their blessings, the daily miracles that allowed them to leave their apartments with coats and shoes, get on the subway and have a place to go? What if he asked them to give because of a full heart of gratitude?"


The Mobile Frontier - FREE Webcast 

In early March, Convio presented, The Mobile Frontier: Where, When and How to Use Mobile for Your Mission webinar, which was full of practical and actionable advice on mobile marketing for nonprofits.


The webinar is now available FREE On-Demand. Watch at your convenience and from the comfoconvio logort of your desk. During the webcast you'll hear from Katya Andresen, Chief Strategy Officer of Network for Good, on how to determine if mobile is right for your organization and how to consider using mobile in your mix. During the webcast Katya speaks about:

  • Beyond text-to-give - what is mobile
  • Ways to add mobile to the mix
  • How to get buy-in and quantify results

Save MORE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency  

You are invited to attend a webinar on how to Save MORE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency. This webinar is designed for CEOs, Executive Directors, HR Directors, and CFOs in AJFCA's network.


At this webinar you will learn:

*           Why nonprofit employers are paying more for their unemployment taxes--and what it costs you.

*           Understanding the legal option for nonprofits to leave the unemployment tax system and just reimburse  the state for claims.              

*           How your nonprofit can potentially save thousands of dollars annually with this reimbursing option.

*           Learn about the advantages and disadvantages and whether it's right for your nonprofit. (Best for nonprofits with over $1 million in payroll.)    

*           How 501(c) Agencies Trust helps AJFCA member agencies reimburse, safely and securely, with services to reduce your costs.


Save MOR501c for newsletterE Money for your Jewish Family & Children's Services Agency

Wednesday, April 4th, 1:00pm ET

Monday, April 30th, 12:00pm ET

Wednesday, May 2nd, 12:00pm ET



Please contact Heidi Posada, 800-442-4867 x142 with questions.

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.

_________________________________________________________________________________jfs colorado

Jewish Family Service of Colorado has designed a new series for older adults called "Seniors Gone Wild!" This series is hosted by JFS at the JCC Colorado Senior Connections, a collaborative program of Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC).  The next session,  "Including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Jews in the Jewish Community" will be held on Thursday, April 12, 1:00pm at the JCC. The cost is $5.00 and is open to the public.   


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.

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All calls are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you may 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 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act 

Wednesday, March 21st, 2:00pm ET



The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2:00pm ET  



Tour of HealthCare.gov

Thursday, April 5th, 12:30pm ET 



Health Care Law and Health Care Disparities (in Spanish)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2:00pm ET



Jewish Teen Funders Network 2012 Winter/Spring Lunch & Learn Teleconference Series 

Today's teens are overcommitted. Good attendance among teen foundation participants is important for team building and a healthy group process. How do we craft an attendance expectation or agreement that both respects the commitment made by group members and is sensitive to the realities of teens' lives?

jfcs greater mercer county
Join JTFN for their teleconference, Attendance Issues in Teen Foundations. You'll hear from two seasoned teen foundation professionals about how they handle attendance issues in their respective programs. AJFCA member Celeste Albert (Jewish Community Youth Foundation at the Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Mercer County) will share her recent exploration into a new attendance policy and the outcome, and Hallie Shapiro Devir (Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago) will share her foundation's philosophy on this issue and its practical application. There will be an opportunity for callers to share how their programs handle these issues and to ask questions to the presenters.

Attendance Issues in Teen Foundations
Tuesday, March 27th, 12:30pm ET 


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


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