Jewish Federations of North America

Can Judaism Stay Cool Beyond The Vegas Desert?

TribeFest may not have lured the unaffiliated in big numbers, but it may have helped JFNA leaders seek new connotations for term ‘federation.’
Assistant Managing Editor

Las Vegas — When Sandra Graff attended a “Vodka-Latke” social event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara (Calif.) last Chanukah, she submitted her e-mail address for updates on future events.

A few months later Graff, 32, found herself in Las Vegas, one of 1,200 young Jews to gather for TribeFest, three days of entertainment, socializing and discussions intended to cultivate better Jewish engagement among people of her generation.

The world music group Yemen Blues performing this week at TribeFest. Saul Sudin

Federation, Jewish Agency Leader, Yitzchak Shavit, Dies


(JTA) -- Philanthropist Yitzchak Shavit, a leader in the Federation movement and the Jewish Agency, has died.

Shavit, the senior vice president of Communal Advancement at The Jewish Federations of North America, and the executive vice chairman of the United Israel Appeal, died Sunday at the age of 67.

A dedicated supporter of Israel, Shavit led North-American fundraising for the Israel Education Fund and oversaw donor-directed philanthropy for overseas.

Jewish Groups Worry Over Domestic Budget Cuts


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish groups expressed concerns about proposed Obama administration cuts in poverty assistance, but praised the U.S. budget for preserving aid to Israel.

The White House's proposed budget, released Monday, projects cuts in programs such as heating for the poor and in blocs of money funneled to the states for social programs, and increases funding for education and for "clean energy" development.

Obama budget a huge problem for Jewish social justice groups, but will they fight?

A Jewish community that relies on federal, state and local government programs to help fund a wide range of health and social services is about to feel the repercussions of a budget fight in Washington that will almost certainly result in severe cuts; the only question is, how severe.

Yesterday President Obama presented his $3.7 trillion budget outline that includes substantial cuts in a number of programs long favored by Democrats. Education and health would get more under the Obama plan; anti-poverty programs would get clobbered.

Federations Launch $5.5 Million Campaign for Ethiopian Aliyah


NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish Federations of North America is launching a $5.5 million fundraising campaign for Ethiopian immigration to Israel.

The campaign comes at the behest of the Israeli government, which agreed last November to bring up to 7,846 additional Ethiopians to Israel. Like Israel’s commitment, the federation’s campaign comes with an eye toward concluding mass Ethiopian aliyah; it’s called “Completing the Journey.”

Steven M. Cohen Promotes "Meaningless Jewish Associations"

Regular readers of this blog know that I have, on more than one occasion, criticized sociologist Steven “Intermarriage Is The Greatest Threat” Cohen. But to tell you the truth I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the guy.

While I doubt he cares about my blog missives, and while there is of course something noble about sticking to your opinions even when they are no longer fashionable, Cohen, who is a professor at Hebrew Union College and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive, seems to be increasingly out of step with the non-Orthodox American Jewish community. 

House Urges Care for Elderly Holocaust Survivors


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution urging care for elderly Holocaust survivors.

The Delegitimization Dance

As federation system, Hillel launch new efforts, questions linger over how inclusive bid can be.
Associate Editor

When five young Jews disrupted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at last month’s Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly — yelling “the settlements delegitimize Israel,” “the occupation delegitimizes Israel” and “the loyalty oath delegitimizes Israel” — they were greeted with anger and quickly whisked out of the room.

BDS supporters demonstrate

Are We Doing Enough For Poor Blacks? TV’s David Simon Spars With Federations

Not surprisingly, David Simon’s recent and highly public remarks critical of the funding priorities of Baltimore’s Associated Jewish Charities did not go down well with that Federation or its parent group, The Jewish Federations of North America, which gave the TV writer and creator a platform at its recent General Assembly in New Orleans.

Encouraging In-Marriage Versus Welcoming Interfaith Families: The Great Debate

In the aftermath of his big debate with Steven "Greatest Single Threat" Cohen — “Can the Jewish Community Encourage In-Marriage AND Welcome Interfaith Families?” —’s Ed Case has posted some of his own remarks on the topic.

The two went head-to-head at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly earlier this week in New Orleans. (Incidentally, Ed did not make it to the Jewish Community Hero semifinalists, but the winner was Jay Feinberg of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Congratulations to you Jay, even if you're not intermarried -- hard to begrudge the victory of someone who is doing important, life-saving work!)

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