AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Hannah Mandel
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Hannah Mandel is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. With around 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles, Hannah has completed a community needs assessment, identifying the most important issues affecting the different survivor communities including survivors from the Former Soviet Union, child survivors, and older survivors. Hannah has used this assessment to develop three new programs for JFS as well as created a manual on how to best work with survivors, which she uses to train volunteers in these programs.
For the first program, Hannah applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the County of Los Angeles to place iPads in the homes of homebound, socially isolated survivors. Hannah approached the LA Museum of the Holocaust and is partnering with their 3rd Generation group, having its members visit survivors at their homes bi-weekly to teach them how to use the iPads, helping them become technologically literate, learn to use applications such as Skype to communicate with family that may be in another state/country, and provide them with routine socialization. This year-long program addresses a population in dire need of new programming. 

Secondly, Hannah connected JFS with Nachshon Minyan, a congregation in the San Fernando Valley, where 16 families volunteered to be paired with 16 survivors in the Valley, adopting them into their family for a year (though she expects the relationships will last much longer). These survivors were selected because of their homebound status, social isolation, and/or lack of family in the area. The families will visit the survivors once a month, call bi-weekly, and bring the survivors to services, establishing routine socialization, which will subsequently improve their health.
Furthermore, Hannah developed a monthly art therapy class for survivors, providing another outlet for the survivors to express themselves and socialize with one another. Hannah is honored to be working with the survivor community in Los Angeles, developing relationships with survivors that have changed her life and relationships that will continue well after her time in AmeriCorps VISTA.

Appointment of Interim Executive Director at JFS Northeastern NY

jfs neny albany  
The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has appointed Scott Hollander as Interim Executive Director. Scott has spent over 40 years in the Human Resources and Quality Management fields working with start-up companies and those undergoing rapid and dramatic change.

After his retirement, Scott was the Interim Executive Director of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center for nine months. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several nonprofit organizations in Albany County, New York and in Berkshire County in Massachusetts. He has been a Board Member at the Albany Jewish Community Center and also Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany.
JCCA Ametz Adoption Program to Close

Kathy Brodsky has decided to retire from the JCCA at the end of February after 28 years, 6 as a consultant and then 23 years as Director of the Ametz Adoption Program.

Kathy has developed and grown the Ametz Adoption Program almost single-handedly and is recognized in New York, and around the country, as a leader in the field. Her knowledge, expertise and devotion have made Ametz a model for high quality, sensitive and individualized service. Recognizing her contribution to the field, she was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2011.

In light of Kathy's retirement, the difficult and changing world of adoption and the need for JCCA programs to be sustainable and mission central, JCCA's CEO Richard Altman and the JCCA board have made the difficult decision to close Ametz at the end of February.
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D'Var Torah

Lee I. Sherman 
[I wrote this Shabbat message a number of years ago, but I repeat it here because this week's parashah always calls forth this strong memory in me.]

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. Fifteen 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. On the one hand, 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. Moreover, 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.  
Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
In observance of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in the Jewish community, AJFCA will be highlighting member agencies that promote inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities. Click here to view the Resource Guide and sign up for Jewish Disability Awareness Day.

Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville, Florida has identified a common challenge within its community:  lack of awareness and/or meeting the needs of children with disabilities who are students in their private day schools. Additionally, JFCS is working to open the door to families who desire to have their special needs child educated in a Jewish Day school but heretofore found a lack of support, special curriculum and/or counseling, all necessary for a positive outcome.
JFCS tackled the challenge head on by partnering with the Jewish Day Schools in their community by  hiring a school counselor, special education teacher, and providing teacher training to deal with the needs of students with disabilities. JFCS has found that education and support for parents of these talented children helps reduce the stigma associated among special students, unaffected siblings, parents, general population students, staff and the community. JFCS's involvement is the first time the needs of students with special needs have been addressed in the Jewish community, leading to rapid growth in sensitivity among school staff, families and importantly, identifying these students.
The program was developed after JFCS conducted a comprehensive needs assessment that identified a lack of knowledge, awareness and support for children in the Jewish Day School setting. In fact, according to Gail Furman, Manager of Jewish Services at JFCS, children with disabilities in Jacksonville receive little support in the private school setting, with schools forced to accept as little as 30 minutes to one hour of support per week. Therefore JFCS has tapped the Jewish Community to rally support (including financial) to provide these vital resources. The program, which launched this year, has made solid gains in identifying students who require extra support, which concurrently increases their chances for success, not only in school but as independent members of the Jewish community and society at large.

JFCS is working to increase awareness and acceptance within the community via education events and discussions with community members. Several community synagogues have begun developing inclusion committees and are increasing accessibility in their synagogues. The agency is sponsoring community events to raise awareness and support inclusion in their community throughout 2015 with a February Jewish Disability Awareness Month kick-off that offers a support workshop for siblings of children with disabilities. JFCS  is also sponsoring an inclusion panel discussion and subsequent sensitivity training for Jewish Day School students led by Batya Jacobs, Director to the Center for Inclusion and Special Education of Yachad/NJCD. JFCS has also partnered with Nemours Hospital Bright Start Reading Program to introduce to the community a nationally recognized speaker, Jonathan Mooney for another February event on "Growing Up Dyslexic."
To learn more about the work being done at JFCS Jacksonville to support children with disabilities contact Cindy Land, Community Inclusion Coordinator.
Prodding the Jewish Organizational World into Thejewish philanthropyird Space
Prodding the Jewish Organizational World into Third Space, February 16, 2015, eJP, by Gary Wexler
The Jewish organizational world needs to move away from risk-averse strategic planning at its core, and move to risk-taking creativity as its culture. Continue reading here.   
The Art of Healing
The Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, is hosting The Art of Healing: A Daylong Conference on Spirituality and the Arts on March 8th. Discover how to draw on creative exploration and expression for spiritual sustenance through a variety of workshops and seminars. Registration, as well as more information on the sessions and presenters, can be found here

Click here to REGISTER!

Click here to book your room at the Hilton Miami Downtown.

Click here to view a tentative schedule, list of sessions and descriptions, optional Monday luncheons and details surrounding the Sunday evening Host Community Event and CEO Council.
The Changing Landscape of Community and Residential Supports for Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series
Professionals, self-advocates, and family members are invited to this 4-part webinar series presented by the Task Force on Jewish Residential Alternatives for Adults with Disabilities outlining the changing landscape of community and residential supports for persons with disabilities. Spring (March 18th) and summer (June 17th) sessions will provide participants with an understanding of self-advocacy and best practices related to life planning and transitions from school to emerging adulthood. Fall (October 21st) and winter (December 16th) sessions will focus on changing policy impacting the creation of and access to residential services as well as changes to Medicaid and other policies that impact access to an array of support services.

The series is offered free of charge to all AJFCA network professionals and available to clients of AJFCA members and professionals and clients at non-member organizations for a fee. Read more and register for each session individually or sign up for the entire series here

Share these webinars with your network. Click here for marketing materials. Contact Liz with questions.
Introduction to Legal Shield: Benefits for Employees & Clients
Join Legal Shield, AJFCA's newest partner, for a 30 minute presentation. We will discuss the services Legal Shield has to offer AJFCA Member Agency employees and clients served while highlighting how Legal Shield can specifically support your agency's domestic violence and other programs. Additionally we'll go over:
  • Vision of the partnership between AFJCA & LegalShield
  • Introduction to LegalShield
  • How Legal Shield will serve the employees/community of AFJCA
Introduction to Legal Shield: Benefits for Employees & Clients
Thursday, March 12th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
The Search for a New Nonprofit CEO Needs To Be Realistic huffington post
"It's important for a nonprofit board to consider diversity and cut down on interpersonal conflicts when selecting a new CEO," writes Eugene Fram. "If there is a high level of interpersonal discord, the board is setting up the new executive director for failure, no matter how strong the executive's background or talents." Read more here.
The Only Thing You Need to Know About a Successful Sustainer Strategy network for good
The Only Thing You Need to Know About a Successful Sustainer Strategy, February 9, 2015, Network for Good, by Alia McKee
Two words: Lifetime value. OK, it's a little more complicated than that. But understanding lifetime value is where a successful sustainer strategy starts. Too often organizations don't recognize the tension between lifetime value and immediate budget goals. They want a sustainer strategy to increase their donor pool's lifetime value, but they don't want to sacrifice immediate revenue in the door. Continue reading here. 
The 2015 State of Major Gift Fundraising 
The 2015 State of Major Gift Fundraising, February 16, 2015, Business 2 Community, by Steven Shattuck 

It's not a stretch by any means to say that major gift fundraising is an art and a science. Researching, cultivating and asking (and asking and asking) prospects is a tough gig - even when it's your only responsibility, which it seldom is. We wanted to know how fundraisers approach major gifts, so we asked our friends and followers. Learn more here.  

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