AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Agency Highlights  

JFS Dallas expands Career & Employment Services for Job Seekers 18-34
JFS Dallas
Jewish Family Service Career & Employment Services announces an expanded program for young adults ages 18-34. The new Career S.T.E.P.S., Strategies and Tools Empowering Progress and Success, includes one-on-one job counseling, job placement, networking groups and workshops to any under employed or unemployed Millennial for as long as needed.
Former Soviet Refugee Gives Back

Twenty-three years ago, HIAS and partner, JFS Buffalo, helped Roman start a new life in the U.S.  Now, the former refugee from Moldova is a successful property manager, helping JFS find affordable housing for newly-arriving refugees.  Read the full article here.
JFS Buffalo
Holocaust Survivors Face Financial Crunch

Danielle Hartman, CEO of Ruth & Norman Rales JFS Boca Raton and Ken Moskowitz, CEO of JFS Broward County were interviewed by Jewish Life TV on the needs of Holocaust survivors in South Florida.  Both execs told reporters of the unique needs of the survivor population and how their JFS agencies step in to help. To read  the article and watch the video, please  click here.

Samost JFCS Special Needs Department "Soups and Sweets" Program Enters Second Season
samost jfcs
 When it comes to programs helping those with special needs, it doesn't get any sweeter than this.  The Soups and Sweets program is a collaboration of the JFCS Special Needs Department and Congregation Beth El. Soups and Sweets is a food service training program designed to provide young adults with special needs an opportunity to gain transferable culinary skills.
Project Chessed
jfs detroit
Project Chessed is a referral network of health care providers managed by JFS of Metropolitan Detroit to provide pro-bono health care to uninsured Jewish families. Project Chessed, an innovative health care program that became a model for others across the country, served nearly 10,000 individuals in the Jewish community by providing services, medication and even surgery from local volunteer physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and companies. Click here  to learn more about this program in the Detroit Jewish News.
Calls & Webinars

Supporting People Toward Citizenship, Relationships and Full Life in the Community



Wed, Feb. 26, 2014

1-2:30 pm ET

People who live with the label of disability often tend to have few relationships outside of paid staff. Supporting the creation of strong, lasting, unpaid relationships -- those that assure safety, provide natural supports and lead to quality of life -- has been a key part of the work of Neighbours, Inc. over the past 17 years.  Join us for a webinar featuring Patti Scott, Founder and CEO of Neighbours, Inc., to explore the strategies and approaches that have been successful for Neighbours, Inc. 
This call was rescheduled due to inclement weather.  Please email Sandy Rosenbaum to register or re-resigter for the new date.  

Opportunity to Connect with Keshet


Wed, Feb. 19, 2014

1 pm ET

  Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life.  Keshet would like to work collaboratively with AJFCA member agencies to enhance programs and services to the LGBT community.  Join AJFCA and Catherine Bell, National Program Director at Keshet, to discuss potential collaborations.


Please email Sandy Rosenbaum to RSVP to this call.  

Lead, Learn and Live. Join
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps

AVODAH's application is open for the Jewish Service Corps, a prestigious year long program combining work for justice, leadership development, Jewish learning, and community building. Learn about AVODAH  and how to spend the next year fighting poverty in one of four cities around the country.  Join a network of hundreds of Jewish social justice leaders that will challenge and support you!  Watch this video to learn more.  To apply, click here. 
Application deadline is February 10th, 2014.
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January 24, 2014  
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D'Var Torah
Lee I. Sherman


The Academy Awards nominations were announced this week and one of the top nominated films was "Twelve Years a Slave."   I have not seen the movie, but I have had the book by Solomon Northup on my iPad for some time, and I keep going back to it to read and reread passages.  As a reader, it is incredibly easy to feel anger and frustration at the events that befall Solomon as he is maliciously taken from his life as a free man to the bondage of twelve years in the pre-Civil War American South.  Yet, beyond those feelings, the dignity and unrelenting resolve of Solomon are even more compelling.  And, as a personal narrator of the horrors of slavery, Solomon is a voice that is both knowledgeable and wise on the depravity of this most inhumane of human institutions.


Slavery has a frequent presence in Torah.  Over the past few weeks, we have read about the Israelites' bondage in Egypt and their march to freedom.  This week's parashah, Mishpatim, begins the recitation of many instructive laws to the Jewish people with rules about slavery, particularly addressing the Hebrew manservant and the Hebrew maidservant.  How do we reconcile the codification of laws that promote the institution of slavery so soon after the Israelites have first tasted freedom?  Is it a justification to argue that these laws are more humane than the norm of neighboring nations and tribes?


I understand that we must read texts in the context of the times they were written.  But, now that I have read Solomon Northup's account of his bondage, these are his words that keep coming back to me:  "There may be humane masters, as there certainly are inhuman ones - there may be slaves well-clothed, well-fed, and happy, as there surely are those half-clad, half-starved and miserable; nevertheless, the institution that tolerates such wrong and inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one."   Slavery in any form is not to be tolerated, whether in Biblical times, in 19th century America, or totalitarian outposts across the globe today.


Shabbat Shalom.

AJFCA Senate Testimony Receives National Media Attention

Discussion in the press of the testimony heard at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing January 15
continues.  A key element to the testimony of many of the witnesses was that Holocaust survivors are better off aging in their own homes.  The emotional triggers that can be set off by institutional care can be devastating for them. Things that other residents would likely ignore can take aging Holocaust survivors psychologically and emotionally back to their traumatic youth or childhood. Confinement in an institutional setting with certain rules, schedules and uniformed staff can literally bring back nightmares.  Continue reading here.
US probes plight of impoverished Holocaust survivors

One fourth of the 140,000 survivors in America live at or below the poverty line, with institutional care unsuitable in most cases.  Holocaust survivors in the United States are better off aging at home and that requires assistance for the tens of thousands who cannot afford it, according to the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Government programs and health insurance providers generally favor institutional over home care for elderly needing assistance.  For many of these seniors, this means staying in their homes to receive medical care in their twilight years, a model of care not supported by the traditional Medicaid model. Read more here.
Deadline extended for 2014 Vol. Professional Cohort 
  We have received many applications for the 2014 Volunteer Professional Cohort, but given the MLK holiday this week followed by extreme weather in the Northeast and Central coastal states, we are extending the deadline to 
5 pm EST on Wednesday, January 29th to make sure everyone who is interested is given a chance to apply for this special stipend.  
Details, including full application instructions, can be found on AJFCA's website. Questions should be directed to Jennie Gates Beckman, Director of Volunteer Strategy and Repair the World Programming.
AJFCA - MAZON Solutions to Senior Hunger Program to Launch in February

mazon AJFCA is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the AJFCA - MAZON Solutions to Senior Hunger (SSH) Program.  Pursuant to this collaborative initiative, 13 AJFCA member agencies will receive a one-year grant of $25,000 for program costs and capacity building around the goal of increasing awareness of and access to SNAP benefits for seniors.  The participating agencies are: JFS Colorado, JFCS of the Suncoast, JFCS Jacksonville, Ruth & Norman Rales JFS Boca Raton, JFS MetroWest, New Jersey, JFS Atlantic & Cape May Counties, JFSA Cleveland, JFS Cincinnati, JFCS Pittsburgh, JFS Lehigh Valley, JFCS Philadelphia, JFS Dallas, and JFS Seattle.  The SSH Program will launch officially on February 10, 2014.
Inclusion in the Jewish Community    
There is a growing movement in the Jewish community to include Jews with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life, driven by the desires of families with children of all ages, people with disabilities themselves, professionals, advocates and private philanthropy. That's the good news. The bad news is that segregation in some cases is increasing, not decreasing. New segregated schools, housing complexes and other forms of segregation are still being developed as new ideas, as inclusion. They are not. Inclusion is part values and attitude, part law, part skillset and part funding. Values and attitudes are perhaps the most challenging thing to change of the four. To fully include people with disabilities, our communities must see them as valued participants. Not as recipients of Tzedek (justice), nor as part of Tikun Olam (healing the world), but as members of a community, valued for whatever contributions they make.  Continue reading here.
Creating and Maintaining a Value Driven Jewish Organization
Organizaejewish philanthropytions that live according to a clear set of values are far more likely to achieve grand and lofty missions and visions and sustain their success over the long run than organizations that do not. It is ironic that for a people so rich in values, few Jewish entities are truly value driven. How many organizations' staff, regardless of role, can clearly articulate the institutional values? How many of those organizations truly live by them in any objective manner? Part of the difficulty in discussing organizational values is that far too many assume a false choice. This binary way of thinking suggests that institutions must choose between expending resources on defining and living by core values, or achieving results associated with the mission of the entity. Read more here.
Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility Determinations Rise in December
Medicaid acmsnd the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility determinations grew throughout the end of 2013, especially in states that have chosen to expand coverage to more of their residents, according to a new CMS report released this week. According to the report, between October and December over 6.3 million individuals were determined eligible to enroll in Medicaid or CHIP through state agencies and through state-based Marketplaces. That includes 2.3 million people in December alone, an increase of over 20 percent from November. These numbers include both Medicaid and CHIP new eligibility determinations in states that expanded coverage, determinations made on prior law, and in some states, Medicaid renewals and groups not affected by the health care law. These numbers do not include medicaid eligibility determinations made through the Federally-facilitated Marketplace. Continue reading here.
How to Move Your Nonprofit Board from Fundraising to Financing
Nonprofit boards of directors are notoriously fundraising averse. There are often cosocial velocityuntless excuses nonprofit staff and their board members give about why some board members should be excused from fundraising. Some of the most popular excuses include: we want client representation on our board, but our clients don't have money; some board members aren't good at fundraising; we want board members with program expertise to focus on mission, not money; and some board members are uncomfortable with asking for money. Fundraising is hard.  But it is absolutely critical that the entire board of a nonprofit understand how fundamental money is to the work - without it, nothing else matters. And you simply cannot understand something that you only observe from afar. Continue reading here.
network for good How Does Your Donation Page Stack Up?
If you didn't see the online fundraising results you were hoping for in 2013 or you'd like to do even better this year, Network for Good has a new tool that can help. The Donation Page Grader will help you assess your donation page so you can see if you're getting the most out of your online efforts. Click here to take this short quiz to get your donation page grade and suggested resources to help you take your online fundraising to the next level.
nonprofit marketing guide
2014 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report
Last month was spent compiling and analyzing the answers from the 2,100+ nonprofit professionals who completed the annual communications trends survey. Now it's time to officially release the 2014 Nonprofit Communications Trends ReportClick here to see the infographic with key findings.
How to Write a Fundraising Letter That Wins Back Lapsed Donors    
Lapsed donors are donors who have not donated to your organization within the last year, two years or three years. Donors who have not sent you a gift in over three years are not lapsed donors -- they are former donors. Lapsed donors are valuable. Unlike strangers, they have supported you before. And they believe in your mission enough to have sent you a gift (or gifts). Click here to review some tips on writing an appeal letter that will win them back.
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