AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue
JFNA Grants Bulletin
April 4, 2016
Please click here to view funding opportunities. Kindly let Liz Leibowitz, Director of Government Affairs, know if you intend on applying for any of them or if you have any questions.
April is Autism Awareness Month
About 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. Autism Awareness Month aims to "promote autism awareness and acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year." On April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, communities in nearly 150 countries participated in the Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue Campaign

How is your agency working to build awareness in your community? Share your programs and events on the AJFCA Disabilities Service Professionals Facebook page. Learn more about Autism and about Autism Awareness Month. 
May is Older American's Month 
May is when we celebrate Older American's Month (OAM), acknowledging the perennial contributions of older adults to our nation. The 2016 OAM theme is Blaze a Trail. Let's use this opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults, in addition to highlighting the ways that older Americans are advocating for themselves, their peers, and their communities. Learn more about what the Administration for Community Living is doing for OAM and check out their resources here.
Share what your agency is doing with the AJFCA network by emailing Liz.
May is Mental Health Month
Mental Health Month has been observed for more than 65 years. This year's theme Life with a Mental Illness. Agencies are encouraged to reach out to individuals in the community to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to Mental Health America anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed on a special page on MHA's website. Download the toolkit here
Share what your agency is doing with the AJFCA network by emailing Liz.

JFS Northeastern NY Announces
 Bob Marmor, New CEO

jfs neny albany  
Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has hired Robert Marmor as President and CEO. Bob served as President and CEO at JFS Western MA for 13 years. When he started at JFS in 2001, the agency had one location in Springfield, MA, seven staff and a budget of $450,000.

Despite being lean, the agency helped nearly 1,000 people annually. With Bob's vision and leadership, after 14 years, the agency now has four locations, 42 employees and a budget close to $3 million. Continue reading here.

April 15, 2016  
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The Voice and Vision for Stronger Communities

D'Var Torah 
Lee I. Sherman 
With one week to go, I am in full planning mode for our upcoming family Seders. Recent community studies across North America have shown that more Jews attend Passover Seders than any other form of Jewish observance. Their Seders may vary greatly in presentation and adherence to tradition, but the act of getting together for this special meal, and the sharing of four cups of wine and some matzot, is clearly a significant event. I particularly love the fact that three or four generations of family can gather around the same table and spend meaningful time together. In today's world, in which we are spread across many time zones, this does not happen often, as opposed to past generations who often lived together under the same roof all year round.  Passover is a time for family and friends to strengthen their bonds with their histories and with each other.

Passover is also a time of opportunity. We learn that the Passover story is one of redemption. We know that in the Biblical event being recounted the Jewish people are delivered from slavery into freedom, redeemed for a better life both physically and spiritually. The Seder presents the chance for us to examine our own place in the world and what we can do to contribute to the act of redemption. We know that within our own personal lives and families there is constant redemptive work to do. As we look at the world around us, the possibilities for redemptive work are endless. Whether with seemingly small acts like recycling or treating one another with civility, or dedicating great portions of our lives as professionals and volunteers to the difficult work of helping others and improving their lives, or taking up the great causes of social action, we all do much, and can do more, to strive for the better future that is at the center of redemptive acts.

This year at our Seders, as we tell the familiar story, we look forward to taking some time to discuss our own part in redeeming the world. Maybe, some of you will have similar conversations. What can we all do, individually and collectively, to ensure the positive change that will result in the fulfillment of our dream of Next Year in (a spiritual or physical) Jerusalem?

Have a restful Shabbat in preparation for a busy week.  
Call to Action:  WJRO Launches Campaign to Unite Holocaust Survivors claims conference logo & Younger Generation Regarding Property Restitution
On May 2nd, a few days ahead of Yom HaShoah, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, (WJRO) will launch a grass-roots campaign to unite Jewish Holocaust survivors and younger generations in the ongoing effort for restitution of property stolen from Holocaust victims. Many people do not know that the Nazis' systematic looting of Jewish assets - of victims' every possession - was an integral component of the Holocaust, and that survivors generally did not recover their possessions and were victimized a second time under the Communist nationalization of property.
OAA Reauthorization Act Passes Congress and Heads to the President's Desk 
AJFCA is thrilled that the House version of the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization Act passed the Senate late last week and should be signed by the President into law very soon. Furthermore, we are pleased that the final version of the bill retained the new provision JFNA and AJFCA worked to include on Holocaust survivors, and both organizations look forward to working with the Administration on drafting guidance for how states should serve Holocaust survivors. Click here to see JFNA's press release on the OAA Reauthorization Act’s final passage. For more information, please contact Liz Leibowitz.
Join the National Council for Behavioral Health for its Public Policy Institute/Capitol Hill Day  national council behavioral health
On June 6th & 7th, the National Council for Behavioral Health will be hosting its annual Public Policy Institute & Capitol Hill Day, a free, two-day event which brings together hundreds of behavioral health providers, administrators, board members, consumers and community stakeholders to learn more about federal behavioral health policy. Come join the Jewish Federations of North America's staff and the National Council as we advocate for more federal funding for certified community behavioral health clinics. For additional information, please contact Elizabeth Cullen, JFNA's Senior Legislative Associate.
JFNA Submits Official Comments on Proposed Change to Federal Rule on Substance Abuse Treatment
The Jewish Federations of North America recently submitted comments to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the agency's proposed rewrite of a federal rule for the privacy of substance abuse treatment records. The JFNA praised the agency's effort to modernize its policy to reflect the health industry's widespread shift from paper to interoperable electronic health records and to promote care coordination, while urging continuation of heightened privacy protection due to the sensitive nature of this information. Jewish family and children's agencies that provide substance abuse treatment to patients will have to comply with the new requirements once finalized. The JFNA's Strategic Health Resource Center has followed this issue closely as part of its advocacy work to expand federal funding for health information technology in the behavioral health sector. Should you have any questions on this matter, please contact Elizabeth Cullen, JFNA's Senior Legislative Associate.
Weaving the Stories of Contemporary Refugees into Passover
Wondering what a shoe has to do with Passover? Check out HIAS' full Passover campaign, which includes 4 great ways to weave the stories of contemporary refugees into the Passover narrative and take a stand with refugees. Included, you'll find a Seder supplement developed by Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer, a blessing to read as you open the door for Elijah, a special opportunity to take a stand in support of refugees, and a social media graphic to share your commitment to welcoming refugees.
Secular Is Not the New Queer
In his April 12th piece, "The New LGBTQ Community Within (or excluded from) the Jewish People," David Steiner, a secular humanist Jew and rabbinical student, explains that he has learned empathy and understanding for the experiences of LGBTQ Jews as a result of his own experiences of marginalization as a secular Jew.

I am the Boston Regional Director at Keshet; I work as an educator and advocate for LGBTQ people in Jewish communities, and this experience of deepening empathy is a familiar one. Continue reading here.
2016 AJFCA Annual Conference
Join AJFCA for a dynamic and informative conference full of networking opportunities and engaging speakers in sunny San Diego. Learn more about the conference here. Contact Megan with questions.  
AJFCA Domestic Violence Professionals Call: 
Domestic Violence Legislation & Advocacy

When caught up with the day-to-day details of providing critical services and/or education on domestic violence, it's easy to forget that decisions at the state and federal level can directly impact agencies' abilities to serve the most vulnerable. As such, we hope you will join us on Tuesday, April 26th for a domestic violence public policy informational call with Liz Leibowitz, Director of Government Affairs at JFNA and AJFCA. Liz will discuss recent federal domestic violence legislation that's been introduced or is pending, as well as over-viewing steps that agencies and individuals can take to advocate on behalf of domestic violence issues locally and federally. Professionals are encouraged to prepare questions and to share any advocacy efforts with which they may have been or currently be involved.

Domestic Violence Legislation & Advocacy
Tuesday, April 26th - 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Board Roles and Responsibilities board source
BoardSource developed a checklist to help board members keep vital responsibilities front-of-mind at all times. Click here to view the checklist.
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