The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven embarked on a community study in 2020 to ensure a professional analysis of the changing priorities of our Jewish community.
With the professional guidance of the Melior Group and Panoramic Strategy, and a committed group of volunteers, a strategic roadmap was implemented which includes five main goals. In a very short time, the Jewish Federation, in collaboration with local agencies, synagogues, and organizations, have implemented positive change.
We are pleased to report that the following programs, services, and campaign strategies have been put into place to ensure a vibrant and strong Jewish community.
Uniting Our Jewish Community
• Increased collaboration with partnering agencies and synagogues.
• Key initiatives targeting diversity and inclusion include the hiring of a Rabbi-in-Residence/JCRC director, increased engagement with Chapel Haven Schleifer Center and JEDI (Jewish Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion). Empower Jewish Journeys • Increased virtual and in-person programs (Cultural Arts, JCRC programs & events, PJ Library, Shalom Baby, Women’s Philanthropy events and Dignity Grows program).
Securing our Jewish Community
Through a national partnership with SCN (Secure Community Network), the Regional Connecticut Security Initiative works to enhance the safety and security of Southern and Western Connecticut’s Jewish communities. Together, we are working to foster a culture of empowerment, collaboration, and vigilance, ensuring that all Jewish organizations operate safely and securely.
• Michael Shanbrom joined us as the Regional Security Advisor (for a report on Michael’s first year as RSA, see page 23).
• Installed safety measures at the JCC through a generous grant from the Arthur and Yvette Eder Security Fund, a fund at the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven.
• Increased security at all agencies and synagogues through training and advocacy.
• Increased communication and calls to action around critical and urgent issues.
• Supported JFACT sponsored Governor’s Mission to Israel.
• Increased partnership with the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League.
• Hired a full time JCRC Director & Rabbi in Residence.
Collaborative Programming through Impact Grants
A key priority was for our agencies and organizations was to reduce duplication of services and work together to provide and enhance Jewish content. One of the core responsibilities of the Jewish Federation is fundraising to support local and overseas humanitarian needs. As a result of the community survey responses, donors and stakeholders indicated that more funding should remain locally in our own community. Therefore, an initiative was implemented to create Impact Grants, providing the opportunity for new, creative, and collaborative requests to be made for funding. The Impact Grants are available to any Jewish organization, synagogue, or individual who has an idea that will address Jewish education, caring for the vulnerable, or engagement in the community.
The goals of this grant-based funding process are to:
• Unite our Jewish community, embracing diversity and strengthening relationships through shared values and goals.
• Empower Jewish journeys through learning and immersive experiences that create meaningful moments in Jewish life.
• Maximize impact by building bridges amongst the entire community to foster a robust Jewish community and encouraging collaboration between Jewish organizations to maximize resources. • Advocate as a voice of the collective Jewish community.
• Enhance the quality of life in Greater New Haven by engaging unaffiliated members of our community to ensure Jewish continuity. • Support creative and impactful community programs that nurture and advance Jewish values
There were four impact initiatives created in 2022 and new programs will be funded this year:
• Camp Laurelwood, PJ Library, & Temple Beth Tikvah – to provide engagement opportunities for intergenerational Jewish families living on the CT. Shoreline. The goal is to build bridges amongst the entire Greater New Haven Jewish community to maximize resources & support creative and impactful programs that nurture and advance Jewish values.
• Intro to Judaism Community Course – our local spiritual leaders are investing their time and talent to provide ongoing life-long Jewish learning opportunities. In partnership, Congregation Mishkan Israel (Hamden; Rabbi Brian Immerman), Congregation B’nai Jacob (Woodbridge; Rabbi Rona Shapiro), Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven (Orange; Rabbi Michael Farbman, Temple Beth David, (Cheshire; TBD) will initiate the program and have the commitment from the other leaders at Temple Beth Sholom (Hamden, Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic), and BEKI (New Haven, Rabbi Eric Woodward) will participate in offering Jewish learning classes.
• Jewish Family Services and JFS of Greater Hartford Uniper program— provides case management, emergency assistance, and homecare support for 248 Holocaust survivors across Connecticut, 92 of whom live in Greater New Haven. A shocking number of survivors live in poverty, and we work one-on-one with these individuals who have endured so much to help them age in place and live life as fully as possible. This new program uses free, user-friendly, TV-based Uniper technology that connects older adults with local community programs, helps them stay connected to friends and family, allows them to participate in online classes, and much more.
• Towers Community Garden – opportunity to revitalize the community campus to include a basketball court, functional garden for sustainability and educational purposes.
We are fortunate to have received support to invest in a community educator and Community Relations Director. Rabbi Josh Pernick has been a valuable addition as a resource and leader. Some new programs include:
• Beit Midrash – learning opportunity The New Haven Beit Midrash is presented in partnership with Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Congregation B’nai Jacob, Ezra Academy, Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI), Congregation Mishkan Israel, Temple Beth David, Temple Emanuel, Temple Beth Tikvah, Or Shalom and Westville Synagogue.
• Slifka Center at Yale – partnership to present Dara Horn
• PJ Library – partnership on Jewish Latin and Ladino Programming • Israel Education including the Beit Ha’am Film Series, a 3-part interactive series with our Israeli Partnership region of Afula – Gilboa. This was a value added program for those traveling with the community to Israel.
Israel and Overseas
A top initiative for the community was to offer an intensive learning and sightseeing trip to Israel. In collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, over 150 people will participate on an Israel adventure in March 2023. This opportunity is a direct result of the strategic plan and request to share about the impact of the work taking place locally to support Jews around the world. The trip also includes an optional extension to experience Jewish Morocco.
Additionally, our local Jewish community was very supportive and engaged with the Ukraine Relief efforts. Our local emergency campaign raised $175,000. Dr. Steven Fleischman and Amy Holtz represented the New Haven community on a 48 hour fly-in to the Ukrainian/Poland boarder with over 400 pounds of medical supplies.
The Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign uses the power of the collective to help Jews in need and to build a vibrant community in Greater New Haven, Israel and around the world. Through the generosity of donors, year-in and year-out, the Annual Campaign raises over $2.4 million to allocate to our agencies and programs. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven continues to ensure quality education for children and adults, provides engaging experiences throughout the year for families, as well as for seniors and the home-bound elderly.
Women’s Philanthropy, Shalom Baby, Jewish Community Relations Council, and PJ Library are just a few of the ways to connect and engage with the Jewish Federation.
The Federation annual campaign allocates funds to more than 30 different agencies, organizations, and programs including (in alphabetical order):
In addition to providing for the current needs, the future remains a key priority. New Haven is fortunate to be a part of a National Life and Legacy initiative to ensure a healthy future. The Jewish Foundation and the Jewish Federation together are working tirelessly to meet the Beckerman Family PACE Challenge. Established in partnership with the Beckerman Family Foundation, the $2 million Beckerman Family PACE Challenge is a 1:1 match intended to secure the future of the Greater New Haven Jewish community through newly established and increased Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment (PACE) funds.
A PACE Fund is a permanent endowment fund for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven established in your name to perpetuate your annual commitment to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. As an endowment fund, principal is not touched and the fund is invested with the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven. The interest earned from the fund is distributed to the Federation’s Annual Campaign will be made in perpetuity in your name.
Anyone can start an endowment fund, no matter your financial situation. The minimum amount required to start a fund is $10,000, but it doesn’t need to be funded up-front. An endowment can be funded over time through periodic donations (a great way to mark a milestone or special occasion!) or with a single gift. Donations can be made in the form of cash, stock and/or planned gifts such as a bequest in your will, an IRA distribution or life insurance designation.
For more information and details about establishling a fund, contact Lisa Stanger, Executive Director of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Holtz, Interim Chief Executive Director / Chief Development Officer at email@example.com. In summary, the Jewish community of Greater New Haven is thriving and expanding. There is so much that can be experienced locally, in every aspect from cradle to grave. The Jewish Federation, as the community convener, is proud of the work taking place and invites everyone to engage. The involvement and commitment of many has increased and we look forward to growing and