AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue
D'Var Torah
2013 AJFCA Awards
2013 Repair the World Volunteer Initiative Cohort
Sequestration Readiness
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day
VAWA Passed
JTA Article
COA Webinar Series
Adoption and the Family
Healt Insurance Marketplace
Intellectual Disabilities
Importance of Endowments
Content for Social Channels
21st World Conference of GLBT Jews
Five of the Houston Zoo's Asian elephants were chowing down on hay Tuesday morning, and 20-year-old Ian Spindler was determined to get a good photo.

He put his walking stick aside and peered at one of the bigger elephants, unsure how to get a good angle.

"Step back a little," Courtney Bent told him. "Bend down and look through the railing. Press the button now ... hold still ... there you go." His camera clicked once, then twice. Spindler, who has developmental disabilities, stood up. He looked at his picture, then at Bent. "I can see the trunk," he said. "Thanks for the tips."

Bent, a former fashion photographer , has spent the past 15 years putting cameras into the hands of people with disabilities. She's in town this week for Wednesday's screening of "Shooting Beauty" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The documentary is the final event of ReelAbilities: Houston Disabilities Film Festival.
"Shooting Beauty" - which Bent made with her husband, George Kachadorian - tells the story of a group of adults at a United Cerebral Palsy day center near Boston. Bent gave them cheap plastic cameras and told them to document their lives, and the results were both beautiful and eye-opening.
Today, as Bent travels the country to introduce the film at screenings, she also re-creates the project with short workshops for kids and adults. On Tuesday, she accompanied nine people with mental and physical disabilities to the zoo.
All nine work for Celebration Company, part of the Disability Services division of Houston's Jewish Family Service. Three days a week, they prepare boxes for Three Brothers Bakery and make candles and cards to be sold for Jewish holidays.

Melissa Shapiro, 33, warmly shook the photographer's hand and said, "Courtney, I am going to need your help, because I don't know a thing about cameras."
Almost none of them, in fact, had ever used a camera. For some, it's been a practical matter - their hands can't grasp a standard camera or manipulate a shutter button. Continue reading here
Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City and the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition are delighted to partner with the Jewish Community Center on their production of "Next to Normal."  This rousing musical is a great starting point for a frank discussion around mental illness. 
next to normal logo
Through the Mental Health Coalition, mental health professionals will be at the various talkbacks following the production, offering attendees a chance to learn about the realities of living with mental illness: that it's real, it's common and it's treatable.  

In recognition of the importance of this conversation, the UMKC School of Social Work is offering 3.5 clock hours of Continuing Education Credit for mental health professionals attending the show and the talk-back. Continue reading here
Gulf Coast Bank is giving away $5,000 each to ten charities. Jewish Children's Regional Service is the only Jewish organization eligible. Register and vote today (and every day) here. Voting ends on Monday, March 4th.
How do I vote?
* Register your email address
* Gulf Coast will send you an access code
* Choose Jewish Children's Regional Service (JCRS) from the list and enter your access code
* Then press VOTE
* Go online and vote every single day using the access code 
Calls & Webinars
Visit  AJFCA's Calendar to learn more about free calls and webinars. For more information login to For Our Members on the AJFCA website, followed by Webinars. Contact Megan at 410-843-7327 with questions.

Global Webinar:  Jewish Tradition, Innovation and Community in a Virtual Era
Feb., 20th, 10am ET

Tour of HealthCare.gov
Feb., 21st, 12:30pm ET

What's at Stake in the Federal Deficit Debate
Feb., 21st, 1:30pm ET
The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
Feb., 26th, 3:00pm ET
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Outreach and Enrollment Campaign
Feb., 27th, 2:00pm ET

The Health Care Law 101  March 7th, 1:00pm ET
The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)
March 19th, 3:00pm ET
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February 15, 2013 
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D'Var Torah
Lee I. Sherman

For many years, I used a small tallit bag that had belonged to my grandfather, apparently given to him on the occasion of his bar mitzvah in the late 19th century in Russia. At one time, the bag had embroidery, including a depiction of a synagogue and my grandfather's name in Hebrew. Over the years, much of the embroidery had disappeared making it difficult to read the letters or get any sense of the original work. Twenty or more years ago, my wife finally took the bag from me so I would not destroy it any further and had it placed in a double-sided Lucite frame so it can now be viewed and preserved.

I was thinking of my grandfather's tallit bag when I was reading this week's parashah, T'rumah. The parashah contains a detailed description of the building and decorating of the Tabernacle which will house the Ark of The Covenant as the Israelites move through the desert. The richness of the detail signifies the importance of the Tabernacle and what it contains to the people, and to God's relationship with the people, for these are God's building instructions. The glory of the Tabernacle is a reminder of the power of the gift of Torah at Sinai, so that those that were there could always remember the moment. Additionally, the grandeur of the Ark's home provided the people a constant symbol of the great potential of the future, that God would always be among them.

I think that my attachment to the tallit bag was also a look back and a simultaneous look ahead. Certainly, each time I carried the bag I felt a connection with a grandfather I never knew and his relationship to Judaism. The bag also gave me a sense of potential, that the strength of our tradition was something tangible that I could pass on to my children and future generations. Perhaps we all have some kind of personal "tabernacle" that connects us to the power of the past, while engaging us in the potential of the future.     

Shabbat Shalom
2013 AJFCA Award Guidelines  2013 AJFCA AC logo
AJFCA is pleased to sponsor the 2013 Goodman Award (submission form), Distinguished Service Awards, Leadership Awards, Kovod Awards, TrailBlazer Awards and Joseph S. Kaplan Memorial Scholarship Award. Winners will be recognized at the 2013 Annual Conference with a reception in their honor, mention in the conference mobile app, and during the annual awards ceremony. Submission deadlines vary. On behalf of the Award Committees we look forward to receiving your submissions.
2013 AJFCA/Repair the World Volunteer Initiative Cohort
We are thrilled to once again present to you a wonderful opportunity to elevate the role and impact of volunteering at your agency and incrRepair the Worldease the engagement of young adults within the work of your agency.
At the 2013 AJFCA Annual Conference in Phoenix, May 19-21, AJFCA will again sponsor a cohort under the AJFCA/Repair the World Volunteer Initiative. Learn more here.
Sequestration Readiness 2013 - An update from JFNA
Earlier this week, our colleague William Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office of Jewish Federations of North America, shared some thoughts and critical information about the looming cuts to Federal spending. These potential funding reductions will not only affect direct dollars to programs at many AJFCA member agencies, but will have a significant impact on other services many of your clients are receiving and the financial health of your communities. See William's remarks here.
AJFCA Cosponsors Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill capital
On February 12th, 40 community leaders including Barbara Abrams, Special Needs Program Director at Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey,  gathered in Washington to address public policy affecting people with disabilities. The Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism hosted the event, which included a keynote address by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference, who shared her personal story about her son with Down syndrome. All together, participants conducted 20 Capitol Hill visits and advocated for the Community First Choice option under Medicaid, which would increase access to home and community-based services and the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would allow families to more easily save money for their children's long-term needs. AJFCA is proud to cosponsor this event for the third year in a row. Continue reading here.
Senate Passes Violence Against Women Act
In a final tally of 78 to 22, the Senate has approved the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a surprisingly controversial bill that aims to expand protections for female victims of vinational task force to end sexualolence and sexual abuse. The bill's next stop is with the Republican-led House of Representatives where supporters of VAWA are less confident that it will pass. Continue reading here.
D.C. Forum Looks at Protecting the Most Vulnerable in Jewish Community JTA logo
The JTA published an article on Monday, February 11th noting the importance and success of our Government Affairs Institute/Advocacy Mission held jointly with JFNA last week. During the three days, members from across the country enjoyed the opportunity to hear from experts on top issues of national importance, and then to share their priorities in   meetings with their legislative representatives on Capitol Hill. GAI documents can be found here. We thank our members who participated and invite all of you to participate next year. To view photos of the GAI - go to the AJFCA Facebook page. While you are there - be sure to "like" our page for updates moving forward.
Council On Accreditation's PQI Webinar Series
Sign up today for the February/March 2013 three-part Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) Webinar series designed to help organizations gain an in-depth understanding of COA's PQI standards. COA is an AJFCA partner organization. Member agencies receive a 25% discount on COA fees. Learn more about membership benefits here. Register for the webinar seris and learn more here.
PQI Webinar Series $75
Part One: An Introduction to COA's PQI Standards
Tuesday, February 19th, 3:00-4:30pm EST

Part Two: Outcomes and Measures
Tuesday, February 26th, 3:00-4:30pm EST

Part Three: Closing the Loop
Tuesday, March 5th, 3:00-4:30pm EST
Adoption and the Family - 19th Annual Conference
Couples and families dealing with fertility and adoption issues will learn from a wide range of experts about the basics of domestic and international adoption at the 19th annual conference Adoption and the Family. The conference, sponsored by the Ametz Adoption Program of Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA), will take place on Sunday, March 10, 2013, 8:00am-5:00pm at The Conference Center, 130 E. 59th St. in Manhattan. Ametz has been a leader in domestic and international adoption since 1984. Continue reading here. jcca
HHS Announces Health Insurance Marketplace, New Tools to Learn More hhs logo
In eight months, starting on October 1, 2013, millions of Americans will be able to sign up for quality, affordable health care. In January 2014 the health insurance coverage will begin. HHS has created new tools to educate people about the new insurance options. To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit www.HealthCare.gov and click on the orange tab. You may also want to sign up for updates on the Marketplaces on this page as well. Continue reading here.
Fostering a Self-Advocacy Movement for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Israel
The human rights approach to disabilities shapes the piercing social message of "nothing about us without us". This message can raise the awareness of people with diverse disabilities, including people with intellectual disabilities, to their right to be involved in making decisions concerning all aspects of their life. Unfortunately the actualization of this basic human right is severely lacking in most people's day-to-day reality.  People with disabilities have been discriminated against for centuries and they have not had access to civic and political participation. This is particularly prevalent for people with intellectual disabilities.Continue reading here.
The Importance of Endowments: Building a Stronger Organization with Smarter Asset Management 
While every vibrant Jewish nonprofit today should pay attention to building a strong endowment, some organizations haejewish philanthropyve approached the process through two concurrent (and compatible) philosophies: seeking more philanthropic support as the primary objective and, at the same time, developing ways to reduce costs and enhance investment strategies. Both are important. Continue reading here.
How To Easily Repurpose Your Content for Social Channels 2.13 infographic
Your organization uses an editorial calendar to plan out content for different channels, but there is still need the need to optimize it for different channels and do that efficiently. Optimizing your content for social channels does not have to be labor intensive. Many organizations create great content for their web sites or blogs and slightly tweak it for Facebook or Twitter - with a focus on making it visual. And, of course, there are benefits to visual content like increased engagement. Continue reading here.
21st World Conference of GLBT Jews
21st world conference glbt
The 21st World Conference of GLBT Jews will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, July 5 - 7, 2013 at The Winnipeg Convention Centre. Keshet l'dor v'dor, Rainbow of Pride from Generation to Generation, will feature keynotes by Joy Ladin (Through the Door of Life), Jay Michaelson
(God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality.) and Leslea Newman
(A Letter to Harvey Milk; In Every Laugh A Tear, and Heather Has Two Mommies), plus local, national and international speakers and entertainers. With the development of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, this is the place to celebrate diversity. Keep informed here.
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