Our Complex Community: Getting to the Heart of Who Matters

Written by Miriam Gross on . Posted in Community News

This past Thursday, 85 Jewish communal professionals attended a diversity forum hosted by The Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development, a program of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. The event was a culmination of a year-long cohort learning process on appreciating diversity and inclusion, funded by the Blaustein Fund of The Associated.

The first speaker at the forum was Allison Fine, renowned author and innovator of the term “matterness.” The key to success for any community program, fundraising campaign, or general engagement initiative is addressing the universal human need to “matter,” she said. Fine cautioned that in our era of digital marketing, we tend to lean too heavily on social media as a primary tool of engagement. The best use of this tool would be to enhance and support real human relationships. Creating and maintaining those relationships marks the path of success for any nonprofit.

Teen Entrepreneurs Compete in BBYO’s ‘Shark Tank’-Style Innovation Showcase

Written by Haley Cohen on . Posted in Community News

BETHESDA (Md.) — Young entrepreneurs gathered on Tuesday March 21 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club to participate in Impact L’Atid’s culminating event.

Funded by pluralistic Jewish teen movement B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) and Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, Impact L’Atid is an entrepreneurship training program that challenges teens to develop ideas for enhancing the lives of the Jewish community of Greater Washington. Over the past five months, eight teams, each consisting of one or two BBYO members, worked on turning their social innovation ideas into a reality. The teens then had an opportunity to showcase their work to the community in a forum modeled after the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” in which real-life entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of highly-successful potential investors. Scholarships for immersive Jewish experiences were awarded to first, second, and third place groups.

How Does Attending a Bowl-a-Thon Help Kids With Disabilities?

Written by Ahuva Orlofsky on . Posted in Community News

Sulam’s first Annual Bowl-a-Thon was held on Sunday March 19 at Bowlmor Bethesda. Funds raised at the event support the mission of Sulam, which is to enable students with disabilities to attend general education community schools. Sulam students have varying forms of learning differences; including intellectual disabilities, autism, ADHD, and language-based disabilities; amongst others.

I not only play the role of Director of Marketing at Sulam, but also (and more importantly) as Mom to a very feisty, and equally phenomenal, redhead named Elana, who has Down Syndrome and attends Sulam.

Ambassador Haley at AIPAC: ‘The Days of Israel-Bashing Are Over’

Written by Zachary Leshin on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley said that “the days of Israel bashing are over” during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference on Monday.

When discussing her experiences when she began her job as ambassador to the UN, Haley noted that “talking about the Middle East, there’s a lot to talk about, and whether you’re talking about Hezbollah or ISIS, all the issues in Syria, which is a problem, that’s what I expected us to talk about. I didn’t expect an Israel-bashing session.”

Jewish Professionals Connect at Federation’s Stellar Network Event

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON — The purpose of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s sold-out networking event on Thursday March 16 was to “provide business professionals with the opportunity to mingle in the context of support for the Jewish community,” said Neil Gurvitch, co-chair of Federation’s Network Division.

Indeed, it was evident that many connections between the 400 professionals of various and diverse ages, backgrounds, and professions were being formed. Friends, colleagues, and acquaintances introduced each other to their various connections over food and drink for over an hour at the outset of the night.

1,000 Jews Celebrate Purim at Chabad Events Across DC

Written by COLlive reporter on . Posted in Community News

Typically, American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, D.C., organizes a plethora of celebrations in honor of Purim all over the city, from Capitol Hill and the White House to the Israeli Embassy and college campuses.

This year, despite Purim occurring on a Sunday in the midst of spring break, over 1,000 Jews of all ages and backgrounds celebrated the holiday in the nation’s capital.

OU and Maryland Parents for Education Advocate for Security Grant Program for Private Schools

Written by Gabe Aaronson on . Posted in Community News

ANNAPOLIS (Md.) — Maryland lawmakers are considering bills to create a security grant program for private schools before the legislative year closes at the end of April.

House Bill 1661, introduced by Maryland State Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D – District 21) on March 10, would empower the Maryland Center for School Safety, an independent government entity, to award security grants to private schools and daycares deemed “at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or mission.”

DC Synagogue Kesher Israel Hires New Rabbi

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON — Whether it’s through a class held in a bar, an Introduction to Mussar program in conjunction with the local Jewish federation, or a study session at a local university, Rabbi Hyim Shafner says he believes in an Orthodox synagogue model that “removes the barriers to entry.”

That is the model that he hopes to bring to Kesher Israel, the Modern Orthodox synagogue in Georgetown whose board recently announced his hire as
full-time rabbi. Rabbi Shafner, who replaces Rabbi Avidan Milevsky, will join the synagogue in August 2017.

Tales of a Wannabe Kollel Wife, Part II

Written by Yael Levy on . Posted in Community News

Author’s note: These vignettes are true stories based on true stories. All characters are real; names have been changed to protect the innocent. Hindsight is 20/20. I share my world with you because 1.) my life is crazy and hilarious, 2.) we are so immersed in our mundane hectic lives that we forget to stop and smell the roses, and 3.) by stopping to hear my tales, maybe you’ll be reminded to see the silver lining in your life and take some laughs along the way.

Greater Washington Celebrates Launch of Yachad Branch

Written by Suzanne Pollak on . Posted in Community News

To the casual observer, it would seem like just a regular evening: 15 young adults ate ice cream, played icebreakers games and chatted away with their new friends. A few even danced to the music playing in the background at the March 22 event at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac.

But it was almost too much for some of their parents, who have tried so hard to find welcoming places for their Jewish children who, because of their disabilities, have difficulties making friends or feeling wanted.