Spotlight On: Ensuring the Jewish Future
One of The Jewish Federation’s top priorities is ensuring a strong and vibrant Jewish future. That’s why our Federation provides programming that engages young Jews from birth through young adulthood, giving us a variety of options for choosing how we want to participate in—and perpetuate—Jewish life.
PK-12 – Birth Through High School
Our PK-12 team works to provide and support the best, most enduring and most accessible Jewish experiences for as many children as possible. Our Federation supports critical programs like:
- PJ Library, which offers FREE Jewish-themed books, music and events for young children.
- Epic Israel, a unique summer teen Israel experience that builds and strengthens teens’ connections to our Jewish homeland.
- Jewish Summer Camp incentive grants and need-based scholarships to enable more children in our community to enjoy and benefit from this transformative summertime experience. Studies have shown that children who attend Jewish summer camps are more likely to be actively involved in Jewish life as adults. That’s why our Federation is holding its second annual Tour de Summer Camps on September 21st—a bike riding fundraiser for Jewish summer camp scholarships. Sign up now!
Young Adult Engagement & Leadership Development
This category of our Federation’s work offers opportunities for young adults—like you—to connect both professionally and socially and find community. Here are some areas in which our Federation is creating meaningful experiences and leadership opportunities for Jewish young adults in Los Angeles:
- Community Leadership Institute (CLI) – This Federation leadership program is for young professionals ages 25-40 who want to grow their network, connect with a life-changing mentor, sharpen their business skills and prepare to be a leader of our Jewish community.
- Birthright Israel LA Way - Many YALA participants have already been to Israel—but if you haven’t, you may qualify for this FREE 10-day journey! Our LA Way trips put you together with other travelers from Los Angeles, helping you create community both abroad and back home! We also offer opportunities for Birthright Israel alumni to stay connected and get involved in our community upon their return.
- Ayalim – This life-changing, highly subsidized 28-day trip to Israel for young adults ages 20-29 gives you a chance to explore less-travelled parts of Israel you’ve yet to see, help develop the Jewish state by building it from the ground up, participate in hands-on service learning and meet new friends from L.A., Israel and the Baltics.
- RuJuLA (Russian Jewish young adult network) – Connects Russian young adults ages 25-45, as well as Russian families with young children, to one another and to their heritage through social, professional and philanthropic opportunities.
- College Campus Grants – Our Federation awards grants to multiple campus entities based on an application process, including Hillels, Chabad, fraternities and sororities, Jewish Studies centers, Jewish graduate student initiatives and so much more. We also offer professional development opportunities for campus professionals.
- YALA Events – If you haven’t yet participated in an event with us, join us for an activity cluster like hiking or wine tasting, network in one of our business/professional groups, volunteer with us, travel with us—or just get to know us!
NuRoots is a new initiative of the Federation created to engage Jews in their 20s & 30s in meaningful Jewish life, particularly those who have not yet found their own Jewish community. NuRoots meets people: personally, peer-to-peer, getting to know them, their needs and interests; Jewishly, connecting them with Jewish content, ideas, culture, arts and wisdom; and geographically, supporting them to create, build and find Jewish community in their neighborhoods. NuRoots also convenes organizations, institutions, and program providers who passionately reach these young people, helping them share resources and best practices as well as leveraging their strengths. Key components of NuRoots are:
- Community Fellows – Experienced Jewish educators and community organizers igniting the Jewish journeys of their peers through neighborhood-based Jewish experiences and micro-community building. Click here to learn more.
- Grants to Synagogues & Organizations – NuRoots aims to allocate funds and resources to support fresh content, collaboration and creativity among our city’s original Jewish hubs.
- Community Platform – A roundtable where leaders and change-makers come to reflect, refine and leverage their strengths, including NextGen Engagement Initiative, PresenTenseLA Network, NuRoots Study Group/Beit Midrash and Grapevine.
- NuRoots Venice – In the years to come, Venice will be home to enhanced senior life, inspired young Jewish community and cross-generational programming and Jewish life, in partnership with Moishe House.
Spotlight On: Caring for Jews in Need
Because we believe it is our responsibility, The Jewish Federation leverages the strength of our community to provide aid for Jews in need throughout Los Angeles, in Israel and around the world. Through our partnerships with Jewish programs we sustain and build service networks and allocate resources to ensure that all individuals in our Jewish community have access to social services in their times of need.
Here are just a few of the ways our Federation cares for Jews in need:
Safety Net Services & Self-Sufficiency Services
We partner with programs that provide basic necessities to low-income Jewish households, including those who have not yet fully recovered from the economic crisis. We also help Jewish individuals improve their lives by connecting them to career and vocational training, education, and employment with an adequate wage. An example of our work in this area is:
- The Ezra Network – This community network of social service resources offers free one-on-one sessions with a social worker, legal counselor or job counselor, as well as a wealth of other services, right in the comfort and privacy of local synagogues throughout Los Angeles.
Services for Holocaust Survivors and Vulnerable Jewish Seniors
Seniors are living longer and a growing percentage of our community’s elderly is frail and vulnerable. That’s why our Federation partners with programs that assist low-income Holocaust survivors and Jewish seniors with multiple, complex needs, including case management; in-home help; social, educational and recreational opportunities; financial assistance; proper nutrition and more. One area of focus is:
- In-Home Care Crisis for Holocaust Survivors – There are 300 low income Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles who are in need of in-home supportive services that they are unable to afford including transportation to medical appointments, bathing, meal preparation and other basic necessities. Together with Jewish Family Service we are working to meet the needs of these Survivors in our community so that they can age in comfort and dignity.
At-Risk and Special Needs Populations
Our Federation works to help Jewish youth and adults who are at-risk due to financial instability, addiction, or unfavorable living conditions, as well as those who have special needs such as autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. Our Jewish community is becoming more and more inclusive thanks to our:
- Special Needs Jewish Engagement Initiative – Our Federation provides funding for opportunities that allow children with special needs to engage fully in Jewish life, including programs at camps, day schools, religious schools, and more.
Spotlight On: Community Engagement
One of The Jewish Federation’s strategic initiatives is Engaging with the Community. What does that mean? It means offering community service projects that touch thousands of lives throughout Los Angeles. Our Federation also provides civic leadership training for young adults—like you—who will one day become leaders in the community. In addition, we work together to educate others about Israel so they have a greater understanding of our Jewish homeland. By building bridges both within and outside of our local Jewish community, we are actively making Los Angeles a better place for us all.
Here are just a few examples of what our Federation does in the area of Community Engagement:
LA Israel Network – Fosters meaningful connections to Israel by offering events and programs that highlight Israel as a world leader in areas such as Start-Up and Innovation, the Gay Rights Movement, Global Humanitarianism and Environmentalism.
Holy Land Democracy Project – Gives non-Jewish educators at charter, private and religious schools a first-hand experience with Israel and helps provide an interactive curriculum for teachers to share with their students upon their return.
Building a Better Los Angeles
KOREH L.A. – The largest volunteer children’s literacy program in the city, which places volunteers one-on-one with kids from the greater community, helping them learn—and love—to read.
Community Service Days – Encourages members of our Jewish community to repair the world through projects that involve preparing and serving food to people in need, working with veterans, beach clean-ups, and much more. We often offer exclusive opportunities just for YALA!
Government Relations – We build relationships with both local and state policy makers to advocate on behalf of Jewish families, our community and Israel.
New Leaders Project – Our Federation’s civic leadership training program that enables participants to gain the skills they need to become the next generation of Los Angeles Jewish leaders—alumni include elected officials and City Commissioners, non-profit directors and business professionals!
Spotlight on: Jewish Education
The Jewish Federation’s initiative for kids and teens from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade provides opportunities for families to have access to the best possible formal and informal Jewish education for their children. The Jewish Federation ensures formal education by supporting pre-schools, religious/synagogue schools and day schools.
Financial Aid for Jewish Education:
We make $1.6 million available for assistance every year for accredited schools to provide financial aid for families that desire to send their children to Jewish day schools to assist them in their commitment to full time Jewish education. This benefits nearly 10,000 students annually!
Our informal Jewish education efforts include programming such as:
- Jewish camping in which we help subsidize hundreds of kids’ formative summer experiences. We provide "One Happy Camper" grants of up to $1,200 for first-time campers. www.onehappycamper.org
- The PJ Library which provides Jewish values and culture to families with young children, ages six months to five and half years, by sending them free monthly Jewish-content books and music. For more information or to sign up, visit the PJ Library website, www.pjlibrary.org or contact Risa Goldstein at (818) 464–2852 or RGoldstein@JewishLA.org.
- Scholarships to send thousands of high school teens on educational missions to Israel.
The School Twinning Program:
One program in particular connects schools, teachers and students in LA with their counterparts in Tel Aviv, and the Baltic States. The School Twinning Program connects schools in Los Angeles with schools in Tel Aviv to facilitate reciprocal student exchanges and create personal bonds between students in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. The cultural and educational exchange between students transforms school cultures, transcends the distance between Israel and L.A., and creates a shared Jewish identity and destiny.
Founded in 1997 with 4 schools, the School Twinning Program now includes 41 schools and over the years has supported over 8,000 delegations and 120,000 students, parents, faculty, and community members through jointly prepared curricula, teacher training, and delegation exchanges. In 2011, a new triangle program between a school in Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, and Vilnius was launched. This revolutionary program is the embodiment of the Twinning Program’s ultimate goal: to create relationships between and unite Jewish communities around the world.
For additional information about these initiatives, contact us YALA@Jewishla.org
Federation Community Spotlight: Safety Net Services
If we don’t take care of our community who will?
The Jewish Federation's Caring for Jews in Need Strategic Initiative provides assistance to Jews in need whether they are around the corner, in Israel or around the world. The core priorities for this work are to combat Jewish poverty by supporting the safety net, promote self-sufficiency, provide services to the elderly including Holocaust survivors, and address the needs of our growing special needs and at-risk populations.
We support and strengthen the Jewish social safety net through our work to provide hunger relief, financial assistance, and resource and referral programs that efficiently and effectively link Jews with appropriate services. Federation is committed to promoting innovative models that will broaden the safety net to catch people wherever they may be in the community; especially those that are turning to social services for the first time.
Our programs include:
- The Financial Assistance Network has provided Emergency Cash Grants of almost $3 million to 5,000 families and individuals to cover immediate financial assistance for rent, healthcare and other urgent needs, with support from the Jewish Community Foundation. We also provide gas vouchers and childcare reimbursement for families dealing with medical crises, subsidies for employment training and crisis assistance to address homelessness.
- The Caring Community program, which makes social services more accessible by bringing social workers, pro bono lawyers and job counselors into synagogues, also enables congregations to respond to their members’ needs discreetly and personally. (This program runs in partnership with Jewish Family Service, Bet Tzedek and Jewish Vocational Service, with funding support from the Jewish Community Foundation.)
When you get involved with Federation, you’re speaking up on behalf of Los Angeles Jews who need help. Your partnership means the world to us, and to them. Thank you for your continued support.Spotlight on Our Work & Partners Overseas:
Our Federation cares deeply about our fellow Jews around the world and in Israel. We proudly fund a vital partnership with The Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The JDC). The JDC works around the Jewish world to support Jewish communities and develops and incubates cutting-edge programs to support Israel’s most vulnerable populations.
Our Federation also funds and partners with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) which has helped build the state of Israel. JAFI continues to support "aliyah" (moving to Israel to become an Israeli citizen) and the integration of immigrants to Israel as well as supporting Israel’s continued development in peripheral communities and work with vulnerable populations. JAFI has also dramatically expanded its Jewish engagement work in serving as a bridge between world Jewry and Israel, working to ensure the unique place of Israel in Jewish life.
Here are amazing programs we support abroad:
Welfare for Children and Elderly in the Baltics
This program helps the Jewish communities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to provide a range of humanitarian services to 3,830 senior citizens and 2,373 children and their families who have no one else to turn to for aid.
Baltics Mazal Medical Project
The recently implemented Mazal Medical Program funded by the Federation has opened fully operational medical clinics at JCCs in Vilnius, Lithuania; Riga, Latvia; and Tallinn, Estonia, and have provided services to members of the Jewish communities in each location. Given the economic crisis facing the Baltic region over recent years, these medical services are critical for providing a response to the needs of the communities' members. In addition to providing consultations and various procedures, the Mazal clinics provide people with free anti-flu vaccinations, coordinate medical home visits, and deliver multivitamins to children under the age of 12.
Here are some other great programs we support in Israel:
Café Europa – Cultural and social service program for Holocaust Survivors, including peer group gatherings.
- PACT Beit Shemesh – Wraparound services for Ethiopian children ages 0-6 and their families.
- Ethiopian National Project (ENP) – Educational support for Jewish Ethiopian high school students.
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Youth Futures – Comprehensive program providing wrap around services for at-risk youth grades 3-8 and engages young adult Israelis as social workers.
Special Needs National Self Advocacy/Israel Elwyn & Beit Issie – Training and support for self determination groups by people with developmental disabilities.
Supportive Housing for the Disabled/JDC – Independent residential living options for people with disabilities, specifically to renovate existing housing.
Ayalim Association – We support Ayalim, which engages Zionist young adults in villages in the weakened south of Israel to be a powerful and positive force for change. The students build villages, volunteer in needy neighborhoods and strengthen communities. We also bring hundreds of Angelinos to Ayalim every year. Our support has included funding for their CFO, support for specific capital projects and funding for bringing young adults from Los Angeles to experience Ayalim in the Negev.
Spotlight on Israel Education and Advocacy:
Our Federation has identified three strategic areas to focus on in our Los Angeles Jewish Community and abroad. These are engaging with the community, ensuring the Jewish future and caring for Jews in need. This month we are spotlighting how our Federation engages with the community through Israel education and advocacy.
We Connect LA to Israel
We reach into the Jewish community to nurture a passion for Israel and work with partners in the non-Jewish communities to ensure a supportive bond with Israel. With dramatic change sweeping the Middle East, our community must be connected to Israel – engaging with friends and neighbors to do everything we can to promote the values, vibrancy and safety of our Jewish homeland with our friends and neighbors. Our LA Israel Network Map highlights the connections we have made through our work.
Our Israel Programs:
The LA Israel Network offers a network to foster meaningful connections to Israel. This is an opportunity for individuals to create and participate in a network of like-minded people, who learn more about Israel and promote her as a vibrant and democratic country. The LA Israel Network also offers events and programs that connect individuals and groups to topics and causes that highlight Israel as a world leader. Some of these include: Start-Up and Innovation; Gay Rights Movement; Global Humanitarianism; and Environmentalism.
The Weinberg Israel Fellows experience is an Israel experiential learning and advocacy training program, geared towards building personal connections to Israel and empowering Jewish teens with the tools and confidence it takes to be pro-active on campus and beyond. The program is comprised of a 30 fellows, passionate teens in 10th-12th grade, who are interested in making new like-minded friends, learning from inspiring speakers, and educators, and exploring their own identity. This is a free program of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and was generously sponsored by Barbi and Larry Weinberg.
Included in the program are intensive training programs for the fellows, community teen events, and shabbaton. Do you know any teens who should apply? They can check out our video, apply for the program, or download the resource guide here.
The Holy Land Democracy Project brings Israel education to charter, private and religious schools throughout Southern and Central California. We do so by taking educators to Israel for a first-person experience with the Holy Land, and upon their return we provide an interactive curriculum that these teachers use to share their knowledge with their students.
For the last ten years Holy Land has taken over 50 teachers in over 100 schools to Israel. The teachers attend a teacher's weekend retreat prior to their trip where they, among other learning, are trained to teach the 5-lesson course The Many Faces of Israel. After their 10-day tour of Israel the teachers then teach The Many Faces of Israel to their students. To date, this curriculum has reached over 29,000, spawning a handful of student trip to Israel.
The Holy Land Democracy Project was launched in 2003 primarily through a partnership between the Jewish Federation and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties in local Catholic Schools. Today we continue to work with our local Catholic Schools, but have expanded to independent private, charter, and public schools.
If you are interested in learning more about our Federation's work in this area or becoming a part of the LA-Israel Network, please email Dan Gold at DGold@Jewishla.org..
Spotlight On: Support for Vulnerable Seniors
Our Federation has identified three strategic areas to focus on in our Los Angeles Jewish Community and abroad. These are engaging with the community, ensuring the Jewish future and caring for Jews in need. This month we are spotlighting two ways our Federation cares for Jews in need with Survivors and Vulnerable Seniors.
The Caring for Jews in Need Strategic Initiative is dedicated to helping Holocaust Survivors maintain healthy and dignified lives wherever they may live. There are approximately 10,000 Survivors in the LA area and roughly 33% are low income or live in poverty; in Israel there are about 180,000 -190,000 Survivors with a 21% poverty rate; and in the Former Soviet Union there are 80,000 with the majority living in poverty. As this population ages, their needs grow for basic necessities like food, shelter, in-home care, and medication. Through our partnerships with the JDC, Aviv L'Nitzolei HaShoah, Cafe Europa, Survivor Mitzvah Project, Jewish Family Service, and Bet Tzedek we are able to work together to provide Survivors with direct financial support, legal services to access reparations, social programs, in-home care, home delivered meals, medical attention, and more.
Second, senior nutrition is a priority of our Jewish community. In many corners of Los Angeles, Israel and Eastern Europe, Jewish seniors are struggling each day with the choice to pay for medication or to buy groceries for the week. Our Federation is committed to providing nutritious kosher meals to seniors so they don’t have to make that choice. Locally and around the world, Federation’s support ensures that Jewish seniors have access to home delivered meals, senior meal sites, groceries, and financial assistance for food, through our partnerships with Jewish Family Service, JDC, and Survivor Mitzvah Project.
If you are interested in learning more about our Federation's work in this area or volunteering with seniors, please email Elana Hutter YALA@Jewishla.org.
Spotlight On: Service & Volunteerism
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles serves as the go-to resource for ways in which the Jewish community can participate in community service activities. Volunteering with our Federation's program partners is an amazing way to experience first-hand the positive change our work does in the community. Since February 2011, the Federation has partnered with over 60 organizations across Los Angeles and engaged over 1,100 volunteers—many of whom are young adults!
Did you know that every Community Service Day has a project exclusive to YALA volunteers?
During 2013, the Federation will provide volunteer opportunities through six Community Service Days including Jewish World Watch’s Walk to End Genocide, The Federation’s annual Toy and Book Drive, Gear Up for Camp Day benefitting Camp Max Strauss and our famous Senior Prom for senior citizens! Click here to be placed on our community service email list. For more information, contact Neuriel Shore at NShore@JewishLA.org. And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!
Save the date for our next YALA community service opportunity on March 31st.
Spotlight On: Inclusion Awareness Month
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles believes that everyone in our Jewish community should have the opportunity to experience and celebrate our shared values, history and traditions. Making Jewish life more accessible for all is one of our top priorities, which is why we are promoting Inclusion Awareness Month February 1st - 28th, part of a national effort to inform and raise awareness about members of the Jewish community with disabilities.
Events include an inclusive Shabbat morning service and brunch, a virtual book club, and volunteer opportunities on Super Sunday, February 10th. We invite you to join The Jewish Federation and our community partners in support of our efforts to foster inclusion in Jewish Los Angeles. To learn more go to www.JewishLA.org/Inclusion.
10 Tips for Being More Inclusive:
- Volunteer your time with one of the amazing Jewish organizations in LA that support people with disabilities. Or participate in Federation’s Community Service Day on February 10th.
- Treat others the way they want to be treated. R-E-S-P-E-C-T…find out what it means to me.
- Be aware of eye contact. When talking with someone who has a disability, speak directly to that person rather than through a companion who may be present.
- Ask more questions. Is my camp handicapped accessible? Does my synagogue have an American Sign Language Interpreter? What technology is available that will improve accessibly in my institution?
- Look to the Torah. Some of our most important Biblical leaders like Jacob, Leah, and Moses had a disability. Everyone has the power to make history.
- Listen. Everyone feels respected when they know you’re listening to their point of view.
- Offer assistance. Offer to help to a person with a physical disability, if you sense the person need assistance but wait until your offer is accepted BEFORE you help. Listen to any instructions the person may want to give.
- Plan inclusive activities. If you have a friend, classmate or family member with a disability, remember to plan activities that allow for meaningful participation.
- Focus on the positive. Always look at the strengths of a person with disability and encourage them on what they do well.
- If you are parent, a sibling, or a friend, you can turn to your Jewish community for help. Contact JFS/HaMercaz, the central resource for families with children with special needs at 866.287.8030 or email@example.com .
Spotlight on: Taglit-Birthright Israel
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a unique partnership between the Israeli government, local Jewish communities, and leading Jewish philanthropists. Birthright Israel provides a gift of first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. In Los Angeles, the Federation provides funding to support Los Angeles community trips. On LA community trips, all participants are from the Los Angeles area which allows us to continue their Birthright experience back home. All our LA Community trips enjoy the benefit of having their Israeli peers on the bus for the entire 10 days of the trip, have a unique itinerary tailored to our community’s interests, and have highly qualified American staff ready to connect participants to Israel and the greater LA Jewish community upon their return.
What is an LA Community Trip?
LA Community trips are an opportunity to make a long-term investment in the young adults in our community. Since 2009, our community has sent 45 LA Community trips with 14 more scheduled this year. Our LA Community uses three trip organizers:
• IsraelExperts – Our original partner, focus on young professionals (22-26), niche trips (e.g. “Innovative Israel,” “LGBT and Ally,” and “Living Well” buses)
• Israel Outdoors – Most popular organizer for campus based buses (18-22)
• Sachlav – Newest partner, focus on the LA Persian demographic
What is unique about LA Community Trips?
Our goal is to build cohesive groups of participants who return as micro-communities. We do this by recruiting all-star Madrichim (bus staff) from LA, incorporate Jewish Federation partner sites into itinerary and expanding the mifgash program (Israeli peers) to the full 10-days!
During each trip, our madrichim identify leaders within each group and empower them to create their own post-trip programs. Through a variety of leadership programs and fellowships, we connect our LA participants to the growing network of local opportunities and ensure that the impact of the Birthright Israel experience lasts far beyond the 10-day itinerary. For example, our Kahn Fellowship is an opportunity for LA Community trip alumni to build on the enthusiasm from their Israel trip by providing their bus with social, educational, and cultural programs based on the interests of their bus and fellow-participants. We’ve seen groups stay together up to four times longer than those without these LA Community trip opportunities.
Birthright Israel Fun Facts:
• 330,000 alumni, 21,232 of which live in LA
• 45 LA Way Community trips sent, 14 more in 2013
• 50% of returning participants have said they will marry Jewish
• Because of Birthright Israel, over 2 billion NIS (Shekel) has entered Israel's economy
• The Majority IDF’s Lone soldiers are composed of Birthright Israel alumni
Pre-Registration for L.A. Community Summer 2013 Birthright Israel Trips opens February 11th! For more information about Taglit-Birthright Israel, e-mail Michael at MGropper@Jewishla.org.
If you have already been on a trip to Israel and are looking to go back on a long term, study, volunteer or service trip, you can! E-mail Maor for more info MRodman@Jewishla.org
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Spotlight on: Shahram Hazany
Shahram Hazany is a Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch where he helps a select group of successful families and individuals with investment and wealth management needs. When one of his clients told him about the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Business Leaders (JBL) group, Shahram realized that joining this team would help him combine his passion for philanthropy with his desire to become more involved in the Jewish community.
Shahram quickly realized that to truly make an impact, he needed to become involved in a leadership position. He joined various committees and was recently invited to serve as the Executive Committee chair to the Federation’s PresenTense LA – a program providing social entrepreneurs the leadership skills, business tools and connections to turn their idea into ventures that will transform the Los Angeles Jewish Community.
Having built a successful Wealth Management practice at Merrill Lynch, Shahram identifies with the entrepreneurial spirit. He is excited to help young people engage that spirit for the greater good. Since this is the first year that PresenTense comes to Los Angeles, Shahram believes that he and the other committee members have an opportunity to create the blueprint that will help future social entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life for years to come.
If you are interested in learning more about the Present Tense LA Fellowship please email Julia Moss at JMoss@jewishla.org or check out the website www.PresenTenseLA.org
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Spotlight on: Rachel Fleischer
Rachel Fleischer got involved with the Jewish Federation in 2009, initially joining the Entertainment Council. She quickly found an inspiring sense of community there. In 2011 Rachel was accepted into EILI, an entertainment leadership program through the Federation. Rachel also sits on the Social Action Committee for YALA and is passionate about using her skills and time to make the world a better place.
Rachel is an activist in the fight against homelessness. She uses her skills as a director, writer, actress, musician and photographer in her fight. Fleischer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Film at The USC School of Cinematic Arts. After graduation, she began work on her first feature film, the award-winning documentary WITHOUT A HOME. The film chronicles her personal experiences documenting the lives of the homeless in her native city. Last month Fleischer’s film screened at The Arclight in Hollywood where she helped raise more than $50,000 for Hollywood 4WRD, an organization whose goal is to end homelessness in Hollywood in ten years.
In keeping true to her activist roots, Fleischer, launched a digital campaign called “What Can I Do?” to raise awareness and compassion about homelessness through art and social action. Fleischer’s Huffington Post Blog features articles and videos which discuss homelessness and offer information and tools to help others become more informed and compassionate about the issue.
Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachfleischer to learn more about Fleischer’s film WITHOUT A HOME or purchase a copy, please visit the film’s website www.withoutahomefilm.com or find the film on Facebook & Twitter.
Find out more about Fleischer’s digital campaign What Can I Do? www.whatcanidocampaign.org
Stay up to date with the campaign and find out what you can do by following them on Twitter and Facebook.
Please click here to view our previous Spotlights!
Spotlight on: Suzanne Mortimer-Crawford
In February 2011, Suzanne Mortimer-Crawford began searching for a group of young adults with whom she could visit Israel. Since this would be her first trip, she wanted to make sure it was a trip with a purpose – and with the right group of people! That's when she found the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. In October of 2011, she visited Israel for the first time as a participant on the Federation’s Centennial Mission to Israel. One of the highlights was meeting new friends and reuniting with old ones. Encouraged by her experience, Suzanne became more involved in the Federation. This past March, Suzanne attended TribeFest in Las Vegas. It was at TribeFest that Suzanne first heard from Rochelle Shoretz, a breast cancer survivor and Founder of Sharsheret.
Hebrew for “chain”, Sharsheret is a national not-for-profit organization supporting young women and their families, of all Jewish backgrounds, facing breast cancer. In recent years, one way in which many women have chosen to support Sharsheret is by competing in triathlons and marathons. Having previously completed 17 triathlons, Suzanne heard Rochelle speak and decided this was her opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women all over the country. Over the past few months, Suzanne has been training for an Olympic distance triathlon, in which she will compete in New York City on July 8th. In addition to training, Suzanne has also recently been certified as a USA triathlon level-one coach. When asked about her dedication to helping others get all they can out of life, Suzanne says, "When you're a kid, you get excited about ice cream and playing at the park. When you reach adulthood, how many things really get you excited? For me, it's triathlon racing; being in the moment, giving your all, and feeling pure joy and satisfaction. And, it's not fattening like ice cream!"
Learn more about Suzanne and her efforts to raise awareness about Sharsheret, health, and fitness, by visiting her website: http://www.sharsheret.org/content/runner/suzanne-crawford.
5/2012 - JCC Without Walls
Are you a young, Jewish couple in your 20s and 30s looking to connect with other young, Jewish couples in a fun and meaningful way? Do you have a young child and are seeking out opportunities to meet other Jewish families?
JCC Without Walls, a program of the Jewish Federation funded by the JCC Development Corporation, strives to create uniquely urban social and educational programs for young Jewish couples and families with young children (newborn to age 4) in the Los Angeles Jewish community.
In March, JCC Without Walls hosted a couples Passover cooking class at Sur La Table at The Grove. A professional chef taught the group six modern French dishes inspired by Passover to celebrate the holiday. In celebration of Earth Day, JCC Without Walls in partnership with the Santa Monica Farmers Market and Sustainable Works, offered a behind-the-scenes tour and tasting of the Market for young couples. The group learned the Market’s history, the role it plays in the City of Santa Monica and heard directly from local farmer’s on the importance of buying local products to support the local economy. At the Playa Vista Branch Library in April, families with young children participated in a toddler-centric story time that featured Jewish and non-Jewish children’s story books.
Up Next: On Sunday, June 3, families with young children are invited to Pan Pacific Park Recreational Center for a fun-filled folk-rock children’s concert by famous children’s singer, Elana Jagoda! Meet JCC Without Walls, PJ Library and Zimmer Children’s Museum at 10AM, before the show, to celebrate summer and make some noise, while learning to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Your child will have the opportunity to create recycled child-friendly musical instruments to play during the concert. Register now or email Marisa Saltzman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.