AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue
2013 Kovod Award Winners

My name is Loni Kaye and I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of my year of service is to expand Bet Tzedek's capacity to assist Holocaust survivors whose U.S. public benefits are threatened, reduced, or terminated. Tragically, up to 30% of all U.S. survivors live at or below the federal poverty level. Thus, many survivors rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other U.S. government benefits to meet their basic needs. According to federal law, U.S. government agencies must disregard Holocaust survivors' reparations payments when determining their eligibility for need-based benefits. Unfortunately, U.S. agencies often mistakenly include Holocaust reparations in eligibility determinations, which can trigger a termination, reduction or over payment of vital benefits and result in unnecessary confusion, fear, depression, anxiety, and extreme financial hardship for survivors. 

During my year of service, I have helped Bet Tzedek create trainings and materials on public benefits matters for advocates who are part of Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Survivors Justice Network (HSJN). The HSJN is a nationwide initiative created in 2008 that links social service agencies across the nation with law firms to provide free legal assistance to Holocaust survivors. Members of the Network can access a private "pro bono" website which includes a host of advocacy resources, such as training manuals, sample advocacy letters, and advocacy forms. If you are an attorney or social service provider and would like to join the Network, please call Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Program at 323-549-5883. In addition, please visit our website.
Seniors Threatened by Hunger

JFCS Southwest FL
The Naples Senior Center and Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida were featured on the PBS News Hour. Click here to view the Friday, May 22nd segment.

Click here
to view the PBS website photo essay presenting a more in-depth look into the lives of the Naples Senior Center members featured in the story.  As one member says, "Without them (JFCS) we would be starving".
SafeLink - A Benefit For Your Clients & You

June 3rd, 3pm ET

Have you heard about SafeLink, but aren't sure how to go about providing your low-income clients access to it? Learn more about the program including how you can enroll your clients. Along with providing background information this webinar will be an opportunity to ask questions.

SafeLink Wireless provides your eligible clients the opportunity to apply for a free cell phone with free monthly minutes through the Federal Lifeline program. SafeLink is currently available in 39 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. Some of the many benefits of SafeLink for your clients include use in an emergency and assistance in seeking and retaining employment by having the ability to communicate with employers. Additionally, SafeLink provides you with a mechanism to reach your clients should you need.

Phone: 1-888-453-4221 
Passcode: 2022632971# 
Senior Resource Connect - AJFCA's New Older Adult Services Website

AJFCA recently launched our new older adult services website, Senior Resource Connect. The website aims to leverage the expertise of Jewish family services agencies assisting older adults in the community, increase referrals to member agency programs, streamline referrals between agencies, and act as an information hub on all matters of senior services.

Has your agency gotten involved? Don't miss the chance to be listed as a member on this new platform. Make sure we have your information and contribute your resources for older adults and their caregivers to the site by emailing Liz.
Please add and/or update AJFCA's logo on your agency website.

Contact Megan with questions.
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May 29, 2015  
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D'Var Torah 
Lee I. Sherman

On September 29, 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi occupying forces in Czechoslavakia (known as the "Butcher of Prague"), issued an order from Czernin Palace closing the synagogues and Jewish religious institutions for housing "subversive activity." Of the 92,000 Jews living in Prague at that time, over 2/3 perished in the Holocaust and most others fled.  Of the 250,000 Jewish Czechs at the beginning of World War II, only 15,000 remained after 1945. This week, Shelley Rood and I sat in Czernin Palace, now the home of the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic, with representatives from the governments of 39 countries, the European Union, 59 non-governmental organizations, and a number of Holocaust survivors for the International Conference on Welfare for Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution. For two days, speakers discussed welfare services for the 500,000 survivors worldwide, and the commitments of these countries to continue this work. Rovana Plumb, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly of Romania, put it this way: "The Holocaust does not belong to one country - the Holocaust belongs to mankind."  The sense of shared responsibility for the welfare of survivors was pervasive.

Earlier in the week, I visited the site of the concentration camp in Theresienstadt. Using the existing walls of an 18th century fortress, the Nazis developed Theresienstadt as a "model" camp, one they could show to the Red Cross and other observers. The outward appearances of gentility (Terezin is an active town today with 700 families) belie the evil that occurred there. Thousands died in Terezin and most who passed through the "model" camp were murdered once transported to extermination camps like Auschwitz. A haunting, unsettling experience.

In Europe, you walk in the shadow of the Shoah. It is so different in North America. We do not have the places - the towns, cities, and countries that evoke memories. We have museums and memorials, but they cannot connect to the collective memory of place in the same way. But, we do have 120,000 lives among us who are our connection, who supply the link to a history no one wants repeated in any location with any people. Care for those survivors and care for ourselves.     

Have a peaceful Shabbat.

A Letter from JFS Houston

Thanks to our many AJFCA colleagues for your outreach to inquire about JFS and the Houston community.  Until this morning we did not have power and connectivity and were limited in our ability to respond.

The floodwaters which rose quickly Monday night were devastating to an area in Houston which has the greatest concentration of Jewish residents in the city and many of our Jewish institutions. Three synagogues were flooded.  It is estimated that 4000 homes took on water and many lives were lost. JFS is located in the heart of this area but gratefully did not become flooded. The JFS staff itself provides a snapshot of the impact. Seven staff members had water damage in their homes, including the home of our CEO who,  in a lighter moment, referred to the event  as "an equal opportunity flood", devastating property for people of all incomes and stages of life. 


More about the impact of the flood on the Houston community can be found here


We have learned that in these situations the news keeps the spotlight on for just a couple of days but the work continues long after. There are four ways people can help.

  • Able to give? Donate at www.houstonjewish.org/houstonflood
  • Able to provide physical labor (no training necessary)? Email Jfsvolunteer@gmail.com
  • Able to give gift cards for $50, $100, $200 or $500 good at groceries, pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS, big box stores like Target, Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot? Please drop them off or mail to:  Jewish Family Service at 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston, TX 77025. M-Th, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., F, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • If you have a contact in a business that can offer significant resources such as housing (especially needed) , furniture, mattresses, appliances, moving assistance and so forth, please email Adele at acroft@jfshouston.org to build database of resources for the coming months.

Those who need help can call JFS at 713 667 9336 or email  jfsstormhelp@gmail.com. 


Thank you for all your heartfelt offers for help, many of which we are accessing. We are grateful for organizations dedicated to emergency responses such as Nechama which has already sprung into action. We are proud of the cooperative spirit of our Jewish community and moved by the many examples of neighbors helping neighbors. 


For more information on the flood, click here.
Houston Flood Relief Fund
Over 11 inches of rain fell in some spots of Houston overnight and into the next day -- inundating byways and highways, slowing first responders, knocking out power and generally bringing the southeast Texas metropolis to a standstill. Hardest hit was Meyerland, Bellaire and Willow Meadows where so many have lost everything. It will take days to assess damages and many months to recover and rebuild. Please help fulfill our shared commitment to Tikkun Olam, healing the world, by donating here.
Holocaust Meeting Calls on Nations to Do More for Survivors
Lee Sherman, AJFCA's CEO and Shelley Rood, JFNA's Senior Legislative Associate represented the Jewish social service network and federations at "Living with Dignity," a two-day conference calling for the benefits Holocaust survivors get not to be taxed and counted toward other benefit programs because it reduces their ability to qualify for low income programs. Learn more about the event held in Prague here.
Jewish Abilities Alliance is Here for You
A community is a place where people of similar background come together, a place where you don't have to go at life alone, a place where you're supported by those around you. The Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) is that community for individuals with disabilities and their families. No matter what stage of life you're in, the JAA connects people to resources and services within their community. Explore JAA here.To learn how to bring JAA to your community, contact Liz.
Celebrating WITH Pride:  Using LGBT Pride Month to Strengthen Your Allyhood
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people, and their Allies, all across the country celebrate LGBTQ Pride in June. Pride events can be a great way for Jewish family and children's services agencies to show their solidarity with LGBTQ individuals within their communities! Using our shared Jewish values as a framework, Keshet will start the conversation by highlighting the importance of LGBTQ inclusion within a Jewish context.

Celebrating WITH Pride
Wednesday, June 10th - 1pm ET - REGISTER HERE
When You Do Not Understand the Strategic Planning Process, You Are Planning for Failure  ejewish philanthropy
Before beginning to plan for the future, it is critical to take a step back and review what the agency stands for and how it envisions its future role before planning for those years. Read more here.
Refugee and Migrant Sharing Platform
The Red Cross, a 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference sponsor recently launched HumanitarianCommunity.com, an information sharing platform for refugee and migrant programs/organizations. More than 35 organizations actively participate by submitting content they'd like to share with the larger refugee and migrant community. Content can include blogs, newsletters, reports, event information, social media content, volunteer opportunities, etc. Submission are due the second Friday of each month. Subscribe here. Learn more about HumanitarianCommunity.com during a 45-minute conference call designed specifically for AJFCA member agencies.

Refugee and Migrant Sharing Platform
Thursday, June 25th - 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Presenter:  Liz Corrigan, International Department at American Red Cross
Domestic Violence Professionals Fly In
Member Agency Domestic Violence Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Domestic Violence Professionals Fly In on Sunday, August 9th & Monday, August 10th at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago. Member agency domestic violence professionals will discuss engaging Jewish Institutions in education and policy development,  reaching out to the Orthodox community, long term outcomes and clinical and community work. There will be time for networking and facilitated discussions on key topics. We hope you will join your colleagues for this informative and energizing day. Learn more here.
Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting
Member Agency Senior Service Professionals are invited to attend AJFCA's Midwest Older Adult Services Meeting on August 30th & 31st at Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit. Registration to those outside of the Midwest will open on July 1st. Click here to learn more.
VISTA Positions Available 
AJFCA is searching for AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members for 7 positions located throughout the country. AmeriCorps VISTA offers year-long service positions with a bi-weekly stipend designed to address poverty in local communities while building the experience and skills of talented individuals. Local projects focus on building the capacity of Holocaust survivor services by assessing community needs, strengthening existing services and processes, creating new programs that support Holocaust survivors to age in place, and developing funding through grants and partnerships, among other activities. To learn more about the open positions click here and search VISTA.
Senior Resource Connect: Planning & Delivery of Older Adult Services 
Join AJFCA for this webinar and discussion about our new online platform, Senior Resource Connect. Learn about AJFCA's work to bring older adult services providers from our membership together under one aging services network and see how your agency can benefit from this effort. Member agencies will have the chance to ask questions, provide feedback and discuss how we can effectively get the word out about our new network.

Planning & Delivery of Older Adult Services
Thursday, June 11th - 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Marketing Professionals Webinar:  Online Resources & Networking 
AJFCA marketing professionals are invited to share their favorite and most useful online resources. Network with one another and learn more about your fellow agencies' successful marketing tools. Explore AJFCA's Marketing Bank. 
Online Resources & Networking 
Thursday, June 11th - 3:30pm ET - REGISTER HERE 
Facilitator:  Sherry Kaplan, Director of Marketing, JFS Cincinnati
2015 AJFCA Annual Conference
The 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference was a success thanks to the hospitality of the host community, Jewish Community Services of South Florida, our talented speakers and presenters and enthusiastic attendees and supportive sponsors. Please complete the Conference Evaluation Survey. Your feedback is valuable as we use the survey to help plan for next year. Click here to read Lee's conference message, access the attendee list, session presentations, and continuing education credit forms. Conference photos can be seen here.
How to Get Your Board on Board with Social Fundraising  network for good
A social fundraising campaign can help make it easier for your board members to fulfill their "give or get" commitment to your organization. Of course, the idea behind social fundraising isn't new, but combining the age-old structure of board support and your fundraising assets with technology that makes it much easier to ask for a gift can amplify your outreach, resulting in more donors and more donations for your mission. Continue reading here.
Apricot Essentials:  A Platform for Small (D&E size) Agencies
JFS Canton and JFS Lehigh Valley currently use Apricot Essentials, software for nonprofits. Join your fellow agencies to increase community funding and impact! Community TechKnowledge, a 2015 AJFCA Annual Conference offers live presentations of Apricot, an extremely secure and flexible nonprofit software solution that offers case management, client, donor and volunteer tracking as well as outcomes management in an all-in-one solution on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and 3pm CST. Learn about the pricing model, implementation/support, data security and ongoing support. Click here to register.
Volunteer Management: Once More with Meaning  nonprofit quarterly
Volunteering is widely recognized as a key strategy of community engagement and participation. Providing much-needed support and services at a community level, volunteering also delivers on civic and philanthropic values within society at large. Volunteering has been widely highlighted in "big picture" discussions about community development, social inclusion, social capital, and community health. Read the entire article here
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