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JCF Grants-in-Action Update #24, December 2021

Organizations that have received JCF Grants over the past two years have had the challenge of not just planning whether a program service can be held in-person or if it can be held virtually, but if it should be postponed to a later date, or if it can be held at all. It's been a challenging stretch.

Fortunately, several JCF Grant-funded programs and services have taken place or will be taking place in the SNJ community in recent months, and here is an update on four JCF Grants-in-Action from BBYO South Jersey, Temple Har Zion, and Young Israel of Cherry Hill, in approximate reverse chronological order:


Temple Har Zion:

ShabbaTune Series at THZ in January 2022

"Our first of two events will be Jan. 14-15, 2022. It’s Shabbat Shira, the perfect time for the start of our ShabbaTune series!

"Funded by the Jewish Community Foundation, THZ will welcome a visiting rabbi/scholar. Rabbi Ora Weiss of Boston will lead traditional service on Friday night at 8, a Renewal service on Saturday at 10, and a mystical Havdalah service/teaching followed by a wine and cheese reception to end the Sabbath at 5:45 on Saturday night. On both days, she will share her vision of Restorahtive Judaism – a return to the religion’s roots that restores each human’s dignity, self-empowerment, potential to choose ever-fuller consciousness and agency.- and lead study on 'The Energetic Torah.'

"True to the series name, services will be filled with plenty of singing!

"ShabbaTune! will be held in person at THZ as well as on Zoom."


BBYO South Jersey Region:

Fall Conclave, December 2021

Per Jenny Oswald, Regional Director:

"SJR’s Fall Conclave was our first full weekend-long convention with teens staying overnight since 2019. With your generous support, we were able to hire a professional song leader to enhance all of our Shabbat services throughout the weekend. She was a huge asset to the program and made our Judaic moments feel more professional and engaging. The weekend of convention fell on BBYO’s Global Shabbat weekend- an International BBYO event where BBYO communities all over the world observe Shabbat separately, but together in spirit. This year’s theme was Yad v’Yad, Hand in Hand. It was especially meaningful to come together for our first fully in person convention Shabbat with this theme in mind, and it was beautiful to see the teens joyfully sing the prayers while truly hand in hand."


BBYO South Jersey Region:

Aleph Engagement, Fall 2021

Per Jenny Oswald, Regional Director:

"Our Fall AZA Athletics (aka AZAA) is a long-standing tradition in BBYO South Jersey Region that was sorely missed in the 2020-2021 school year. This year, with (support from a JCF Grant), we were able to not only bring flag football back to the teens of BBYO, but we were able to make the program better than ever. For the first time we were able to hire league commissioners who organized the rules for the league with the teens and oversaw the game days to make sure everything ran smoothly. These commissioners also hired official referees (also a new addition to the BBYO league) which made the game play feel more official, and also more organized and respectful. AZAA is a huge asset to our fall recruitment efforts. So far this school year, we have grown by 92 members, which is well over halfway to our goal of 150 new members for the 2021-2022 year. Notably, exactly 50% of those new members are AZA (boys) members, meaning both our AZA membership and BBG (girls) membership grew at the same rate this fall. Across most BBYO regions, BBG typically grows at a rate 5-10% higher than AZA. The inclusion of activities such as AZAA are a huge support in allowing BBYO South Jersey Region to be the outlier of that statistic!"


Young Israel of Cherry Hill:

Shabbos of Inclusion & Inspiration with Rabbi Judah Mischel, Nov. 5-6, 2021

Per Rabbi Jonathan Bienenfeld:

"Rabbi Mischel offered three presentations over the course of Shabbos, drawing from his expertise in the fields of Jewish education, both formal and informal, as well as inclusion of community members of varying abilities, talents, personalities, and backgrounds. Rabbi Mischel drew from lessons of the weekly parsha and the upcoming holiday of Chanukah to discuss critical themes of believing in our children, truly loving them even when they fall short of our own expectations, and recognizing that the true potential of every individual will be fulfilled in markedly different ways."

Mazel tov to each organization on hosting these successful initiatives to benefit our wonderful community!


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