JCF Grants-in-Action Update #31, January 2023
This past year has seen a much-needed return to in-person initiatives hosted by organizations across Southern New Jersey, following the pandemic shutdown.
The JCF is thrilled to share some recent successful initiatives that were funded all or in part by JCF Grants, and we know there will be many more to look forward to in the year ahead!
Happy, healthy 2023 to all!
Enjoy the following recaps:
Congregation Kol Ami
In December, Congregation Kol Ami held a "Hanukkah Family Paint Night & Nosh" (pictured top and right) with some 60 people in attendance to celebrate the holiday, its first as a unified synagogue following the merger of Congregation M'kor Shalom and Temple Emanuel. Here is a recap of the event, courtesy of Kol Ami Vice President Stephanie Zinn:
"COVID had hit this particular demographic (young families) very hard, and parents have been eager to socialize with one another. Since there is little interaction at school dropoff, the ECC wanted to provide an evening bonding activity that would be fun for the whole family and enable new friendships to form. Congregation Kol Ami is a new Reform shul in the community, a unification of two legacy congregations, Temple Emanuel and Congregation M’kor Shalom. A number of previously unaffiliated families have joined as well and many have not had an opportunity to meet one another yet. This event was a night for ECC families to enjoy company, Hanukkah songs, treats and a ceramic menorah painting activity. The menorah was fired and returned to children as a new family heirloom."
Congregant and event attendee Sarah Zalcmann raved about the program, adding the following statement (edited for brevity):
"It was the PERFECT ECC synagogue event and since I've been an ECC parent for a decade now, I have been to so many of these! Everything was set up and organized so beautifully when we arrived and the craft was perfectly selected for this age group. Having Elizabeth serve as DJ added to the festive nature of the night.
"My daughter Cayla absolutely loved socializing with her friends in this way. It was special to get to go back to her school for such a special night. For me too, it was extra special because Kol Ami represents a transition for us, like it is for so many.
In October, over 300 SNJ residents of all ages participated in a free visit to the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, as coordinated by the Katz JCC.
Of note: this memorable outing received funding from the JCF in two ways: through a JCF Grant and also through the new Barnard & Amy Kaplan Family Endowment Fund.
We don't want to spoil all of the details-- to learn more, read this article from the Voice, published in November.
Politz Day School
First, we are thrilled about the opening of Politz Day School's building expansion, which took place in December.
This multi-year project was the culmination of extensive hard work and fundraising by Politz Day School leaders and contains a new gym, STEM lab, and more. The JCF proudly contributed a special JCF Grant to support this campaign.
The Voice provided an in-depth recap for this momentous event.
We offer a mazel tov to the entire Politz community for bringing this project to reality that will benefit students for many decades on end.
Also at Politz Day School, a new Sensory Room (pictured) has been created thanks to a JCF Grant, providing a space for a sense of calm for students.
Per Leslie Gordesky of Politz, "We have created a sensory space where our students who have ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorders) or difficulty can go and calm themselves. The students go into the room with an adult and usually return to class within 30 minutes in a calm state allowing them to return to learning and socialize appropriately with their peers."
Thank You, Grantees!
Thank you to Congregation Kol Ami, the Katz JCC, and Politz Day School for these tremendous accomplishments benefiting our community! Here's to continued success in 2023 ahead.
Spring 2023 JCF Grants Cycle
Interested in applying for a JCF Grant for your organization that serves SNJ? The Spring 2023 JCF Grants Cycle is launching, with the application deadline set for Wednesday, March 15th at 5:00 p.m.
A complimentary Grants Workshop will be held on Friday, February 10 at 9:00 a.m., please contact the JCF at 856-673-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or sign up.