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Friday, August 24, 2012
D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman

Recently, I attended a conference where in small table discussions we were asked to identify the point in our lives when we first felt connected to the larger Jewish community. For me, it was my participation as a teenager in Free Soviet Jewry rallies. I remember walking the protest line outside of a performance of the Moscow Ballet in my hometown, and carrying signs in the park across the street from the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. At these moments, for the first time in my life, I felt a real connection to Jews on a foreign continent and a sense that I shared in the responsibility to ensure their freedom to pursue their lives as Jews.

The theme of justice is central to this week's parashah, Shof'tim. The oft-quoted words, "Justice, justice shall you pursue" set the tone for the judicial system the Israelites will establish in their new home. Many commentators have discussed the repetition of the word "justice" (tzedek) in this verse. Two of the explanations resonate with me. By repeating the word "justice," we learn that, not only, are we to do justice, but we must do it justly. The means are equally important as the ends. Moreover, we should pursue justice in our own local communities, but also more broadly on a global level.

From Torah, we know that justice has always been a connecting point for the Jewish people. Whether demonstrating for the freedom of Soviet Jews or working to eradicate poverty at home and abroad, we are charged with addressing the injustice around us. It is the work our agencies do every day as we help individuals address the problems they face, and it is the voices we raise as we seek justice for all.     

Shabbat Shalom.

People Vote, Commercials Don't   

by Shelley Rood       

shelley rood

It's August 2012. The Summer Olympics may have ended, but the political Olympics are here in full force. Like many of you, I can barely watch TV for five minutes before I am inundated with political campaign ads for the presidential election. But I'm less affected, in a way.  I live in DC, where all the action isn't taking place.   

Read the entire blog entry here.   



Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago, IL  

Jewish Family Service of Seattle, WA  

Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit, MI

 Jewish Family Service of Colorado  

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta, GA 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, PA  

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore, MD  

Jewish Family Service of Dallas, TX  

Repair the World     

AJFCA Connections Initiative
We often hear that one of the most valuable parts of our annual conferences is the opportunity for attendees to exchange information and ideas with one another. To further those opportunities, AJFCA is pleased to launch the AJFCA Connections Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to enable AJFCA member agencies to forge deeper connections with one another. We have always had some of these opportunities throughout the year, but now we will broaden this initiative by hosting conference calls and webinars connecting agency executives, board presidents, and key staff members. Some calls will be focused only on networking and others will have a specific topic or issue area, or a guest speaker. Some of the calls are already scheduled (CEO Council, Agency Board Presidents, Addictions Professionals) and others will be announced soon. Please visit AJFCA's calendar for upcoming call dates and times, which will also be featured in the weekly e-newsletter.
AJFCA Domestic Violence Group Being Formed
AJFCA is in the process of forming a Domestic Violence Group similar to the newly launched Addictions Group. A Domestic Violence Professionals Forum will be created so that group members can communicate. The addition of this group will enable professionals to discuss their current initiatives, ask questions of their colleagues and begin to form a vision of the collective work that can be done on a national level.

If you are a professional working with domestic violence and are interested in networking with other member agency professionals please email Megan your name and contact information. Megan will add you to the Domestic Violence Professionals Forum and send you login instructions.

A conference call date will be set in the near future.
Holocaust Study Launched in Collaboration with Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service
Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service in West Palm Beach and Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and their Children in New York City have launched a new study for children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  Dr. Yalel Danieli, co-Founder and Director of the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and their Children in New York City, has devealpert jfcsloped a new comprehensive questionnaire that can help to better understand how families have been affected by the Holocaust. Children and grandchildren of survivors who are at least 18-years old are invited to participate in this important study by completing the questionnaire.
Click here for more information and to participate in this ground breaking study. Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service in West Palm Beach supports this study and has received funds through the Claims Conference and the Anti-Defamation League, as the fiscal agent for this important research.
Wealthiest Don't Rate High on Giving Measure
Dividing the country into red states and blue states shows far more than who will likely vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in the next presidential election. It's also one of several ways to gauge generosity, according to a Chronicle study that charts giving patterns in every city, state, and ZIP code.
People who live in red states are more likely to give generously to charities than those in bluechronicle philanthropy states.

The regional differences in giving are stark: In states like Utah and Mississippi, the typical household gives more than 7 percent of its income to charity after taxes, housing, food, and other living expenses, while the average household in Massachusetts and three other New England states gives less than 3 percent.

The same holds for the nation's 50 biggest metropolitan areas. The Chronicle found that residents of Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham, Ala., typically give at least 7 percent of their discretionary income to charity, while those in Boston and Providence average less than 3 percent.

To read the entire article, click here.
How Crowdsourcing Can Help Your Nonprofit
Crowdsourcing can help you harness the crowd to increase awareness, cultivate new volunteers, gather information and even get work done-all for a minimal investment. How can you put it to work for you?

Since the earliest days of the internet, people have used it to solicit and organize groups of people to participate in projects in small ways. Called crowdsourcing, this process can be done by a number of ways, and for a number of goals. In an early example of the practice, nonprofits would post questions to a Usenet discussion board to seek answers from the community-for instance, asking how to write a particular policy, or for recommendations about recognizing and rewarding volunteers. That "open call" approach is what distinguishes crowdsourcing from outsourcing, in which you'd send a task to a specific person or organization for help.

Crowdsourcing can be done at an organizational or individual level, and nonprofits have used it for everything from marketing and fundraising to volunteerism and activism. It's a great way to enlist help from a wider community knowledgebase, and to engage people in your work.

In the last few years, the rise of social media and new technologies made it easier to reach and engage a broader audience. But how can your organization harness the power of the crowd to help achieve your mission? Idealware asked nonprofit experts and professionals for crowdsourcing best practices and techniques that have worked for them. Find best practices and techniques here.
The Last Seder
Abigail Rose Solomon, JBFCS Board Member is offering group tickets  and post-show talk backs/lobby reception for the Off-Broadway Premiere of The Last Seder by Jennifer Maisel, directed by Jessica Bauman.

Spend the holidays with the Price family. They're dysfunctional- just like yours. The Last Seder is a funny and moving play about the joys and heartbreak of family. Four sisters return home for the final Passover Seder in their childhood home, before their mother puts their father in a nursing home.
the last seder
The Last Seder - $16.00
November 29th - December 23rd,Thursdays - Saturdays, 8:00pm, Sundays, 3:00pm
Theater Three, 311 West 43rd Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues)

Click here for more information. Contact Abigail Solomon at 310-422-1636 for questions or to book groups.
New Partnership Offers AJFCA Member Agencies the Opportunity to Generate Revenue While Serving their Community
AJFCA is pleased tsafelinko announce that we have launched a partnership with SafeLink Wireless. SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program that provides a free cell phone and free airtime minutes each month to qualifying individuals. It costs absolutely nothing, requires no contracts or credit checks and offers modern day calling features such as voicemail, call waiting, text messaging, free 411, free 911, caller ID and more at no additional cost. Eligible individuals must be enrolled in a Federal assistance program such as TANF or food stamps, or have a household income below 135% of the federal poverty level (varies by state). Applicants will need to provide proof of enrollment in an assistance program or their income level to qualify.
The goal of this partnership is to make sure that the low income Americans served by AJFCA's member agencies are aware that they are eligible for this valuable program, and to impact their lives by providing them with the ability to communicate with their employers, healthcare providers and families at any time.

SafeLink Wireless is excited about the opportunity to work with AJFCA's member agencies. A benefit of the partnership for agencies is that any successful enrollments will be eligible for a commission payment. To receive reimbursements just assist your client in completing the application and providing copies of their proof of eligibility. Then return the completed application by mail in the pre-paid envelopes provided or help them enroll online at www.safelink.com with your agency's unique promo code. SafeLink will be providing agencies with further information including how to get reimbursed and enrollment materials in the near future. In the meantime, check out www.safelink.com and www.safelinkagencies.com for more information.
Idealware's Upcoming Online Training
All of Idealware's on-demand recordings are 65% off for the month of August, so now's the time to catch up on what you've missed. Just use the discount code CAMP812 and get any recorded seminar for only $9.

But wait, there's more! Idealware also has live seminars coming up this month. Find seminars here.

Idealware seminars are designed to give you the tactical advice you need to make smart software decisions. You can take one of Idealware's live online seminars, which are capped at 25 participants so you'll have lots of opportunity to ask questions and get the information you need. All you need is an internet connection and a phone line to participate in these 90-minute workshops. For an in-depth lesson, check out Idealware's online courses. These intense, five and six part trainings are offered in partnership with state associations across the country. Or check out Idealware's library of 17 (and growing) recorded seminars ready to go, whenever you need them.


AJFCA's 41st Annual Conference 

May 19-21, 2013 
Phoenix, Arizona 


Things are difphoenixferent in the desert. The sky is bigger. The stars are brighter. The sunsets stop you in your tracks.

 It's a feeling that can't be conjured, landscaped or kindled with twinkling bulbs. John Ford knew that. So did Frank
Lloyd Wright. Come to Greater Phoenix and you'll understand, too.   


America's sixth-largest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners and visionaries.  


Projected against this rich backdrop is a panorama of urban sophistication: Resorts and spas that drop jaws and soothe souls. Stadiums and arenas worthy of the world's biggest sports spectacles. Restaurants with inspired cuisine and inspiring patio views. Golf courses that beckon players the year round. Shopping centers as stylish and eclectic as the fashions they house. 

 This is Greater Phoenix - Arizona's urban heart and America's sunniest metropolis.

featured agency

With the unemployment rate high in New Jersey, career coaching and entrepreneurial grooming is a necessity in the ever-competitive job market. Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey announced the Stan Kessler Career and Entrepreneurial Counseling Services series of programs. The workshops offer the keys to gainful employment - and even starting a business.
samost jfcs
The no-cost career coaching programs impart strategies for building a better resume, engaging potential employers while interviewing, and honing in on the most marketable assets as a potential employee. Specific programs are also slated for the fall to help would-be entrepreneurs develop and cultivate skills for starting their own business.
The employment and entrepreneurial programs were inspired by the late Stan Kessler, an entrepreneur and business leader. Stan Kessler utilized his entrepreneurial ways to create a revolutionary change in the marketplace in the late 1970's by creating one of the first automobile leasing companies in the US, geared to the individual consumer.

Nadine Halevy, previously a senior recruiter for Fortune 500 companies such as Tyco International and Goldman Sachs & Co, is the program director for the series at  Samost JFCS, and says, "It can be very daunting to look for a job, especially in this market," she explains. "I don't find people jobs, but I re-energize and empower them to find their own. Some people need only one session to get re-energized, and for others it takes longer. People are so grateful for this help, and I feel like I am making a significant impact."

The next seminar is on October 18th, and will feature internationally-renowned business etiquette speaker, coach, and author, Barbara Pachter. Participants will hear advice on establishing relationships easily, writing and speaking confidently, using social media successfully, and making a powerful first impression.  Then, on October 22, Sarah Vaynerman, Founder and President of the Manhattan-based Esvee Group, will share her niche expertise of strategic online communications.  Attendees will gain insight into how to build an online presence, navigate the platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest , write captivating blogs, develop content strategy and manage their online reputation.           

To register for either no-cost program, or for more information, contact Meredith Seligman at 856-424-1333.    
highlightsjfs colorado

Throughout the month of September, Jewish Family Service of Colorado volunteer para-chaplains and Rabbi Eliot Baskin, Jewish community chaplain, will lead High Holy Day services for Jewish residents at more than 30 locations throughout metro Denver and Boulder. Para-chaplain volunteers serve Jewish individuals in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, retirement communities, mental health centers, and correctional facilities.
"These invaluable volunteer para-chaplains help create a warm Jewish connection and provide spiritual support by making a difference in the lives of people suffering from serious illness or isolation," said Nancy Benyamin, JFS's director of volunteer services.
Guiding Supporters to Action Through Creative Design
Your website is more than just a pretty picture. It's a tool that should be built on a solid audience-centric strategy and used to engage your audience visually. In order to create a successful nonprofit website, you must create a strategic plan, considerblackbaud webinar graphic your audience first and incorporate visual elements and cues that reinforce your brand, tell your story and inspire action.
Join Blackbaud for a 4-day Guide Series where we'll review everything from creating a solid strategy to organizing and designing for your audience through creating an engaging, impactful visual design.
Analyzing Your Audience - Monday, August 27th
Creating an Online Strategy - Tuesday, August 28th
Engaging Visual Design - Wednesday, August 29th
Testing Your Visual Story - Thursday, August 30th
The 2012 Fundraising Effectiveness Project
There are over a million nonprofit organizations in the United States and each of them is fighting for the same donor dollars you are. Wouldn't you love to know the secret to increasing your fundraising at a faster pace?
Join Blackbaud for a free webinar, and dive into the results of The 2012 Fundraising Effectivesness Project and discover:
  • How to measure, compare and maximize your annual growth in giving
  • Where to invest resources and efforts to improve fundraising 
  • How to make better informed, growth oriented budget decisions that boost donor revenue  
Proven Ways to Maximize Your Donor Giving Program
Tuesday, August 28th, 3:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Making the Most of the New NCOA Crossroads
Did you ever wish you could ask a colleague's advice and didn't know who to call? Attend NCOA's free one-hour webinar on hncoa logoow to use NCOA's newly updated online community, Crossroads. Learn how it can connect you with aging-field professionals nationwide--and help you in your job.
Take a tour through the site's discussion areas and library and learn how to change your email settings--and more. See how Crossroads can help you:
  • Connect with colleagues.
  • Share best practices.
  • Find ways to do your job better--and improve the lives of older adults. 
Making the Most of the New NCOA Crossroads
Wednesday, August 29th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Interactive Webinars on the Health Care Law
The Health & Human Services Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive webinars discussing the benehhs logofits and provisions of the health care law, the Affordable Care Act.


All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any question you may have about the health care law. Please submit questions you would like to have answered on the webinar to ACA101@hhs.gov. To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred dates from the list below and submit the necessary information.
National Webinars
Tour of www.HealthCare.gov
Tuesday, August 21st, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE 

The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
Tuesday, August 28th, 2:00pm ET -REGISTER HERE 


The Health Care Law 101 (in English)
Thursday, September 13th, 12:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE

The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
Tuesday, September 25th, 2:00pm ET - REGISTER HERE

Save MORE Money For Your Nonprofit

Executive Directors, HR Directors, and CFOs are invited to join 501(c) Agencies Trust for a webinar. 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 nonprofits reimburse, safely and securely, with services to reduce your costs.  

Please 501c for newslettercontact Geri Lesko at 800-442-4867 x132 with questions.
Save More Money For Your Nonprofit
Wednesday, September 5th, 2:00-2:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE  

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