BJF Young People Called For Advice; Iran's Award-Winning Cartoon
BJF WELCOMES BAMA PRESIDENT
The Birmingham Jewish Federation extends hearty congratulations and a BJF welcome to new University of Alabama President Dr. Guy Bailey who was hired Wednesday.
His predecessor, Dr. Robert Witt, now Chancellor of the UA System, played a dramatic role during his tenure expanding the number of Jewish students at Alabama and helping Jewish life grow. The BJF worked closely with Dr. Witt to strengthen Jewish life and we look forward to working with Dr. Bailey to continue these efforts.
BIRTHING 'EM RIGHT
Attachment to Israel is increasing among young Jewish adults, according to a survey. Birthright Israel, a program funded by The Birmingham Jewish Federation that provides Jews ages 18-26 with the opportunity to visit Israel, is seen as one of the factors in these results.
The Internet survey of 1,000 American Jews was conducted in late April and early May by Steven M. Cohen of the Berman Jewish-Policy Archive at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Samuel Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College and Stanford University. Cohen said the survey shows the cumulative impact of Birthright Israel in bringing so many young Jews to Israel.
"While this finding is the first statistically significant result of its kind, it's very suggestive and very policy relevant," Cohen said. "Should other evidence of a similar nature emerge, we will have mounting support for the notion of what could be called the 'Birthright Bump.' "
Cohen said the bump is a trend upward in Israel attachment for an entire cohort of young people, owing to their far more frequent travel to Israel due in large part to Birthright trips. Birthright Israel has sent nearly 300,000 young Jewish adults to Israel since 2000 including an estimated 250 from Birmingham.
Photo is of Birmingham's Scott Godchaux enjoying a camel ride during his recent Birthright trip to Israel. Scott attends Auburn University and his shirt, a gift from The BJF, says Auburn in Hebrew. Parts of the above story are from Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
BJF YOUNG PEOPLE CALLED ON FOR ADVICE
The Birmingham Jewish Federation's success in recruiting young professionals and volunteers to become part of our organization continues to attract national attention -- and the best part is that people who are calling us from other Federations want to talk to the young people themselves.
New staff member Amanda Weil, who joined our staff in March, did a phone consultation the other day with the executive director of a Jewish Federation in Florida. The person who called, an Update reader, wanted to learn more about LIFT -- Leadership Initiatives For Tomorrow, a new BJF strategy.
"We are anxious to initiate a Leadership Development initiative here and hope that your LIFT program will serve as our model," he wrote to Amanda in connection with the phone call.
This was the second such phone consultation Amanda has done with another Federation. Daniel Odrezin, a recent law school graduate who will be joining our staff August 15, has spoken to both the Huntsville and Mobile Jewish Federations on engaging young people. Amanda and Daniel are in their 20s.
Amanda, a product herself of LIFT through her previous volunteer and current professional experiences, noted that about a fourth of our BJF board is made up of people in their 20s and 30s. "In my opinion, developing young board members was the most influential part of the LIFT program because it made young people feel as if they had a voice -- and they did," she wrote the caller in a followup email.
She also noted the opportunities that young professionals and volunteers have in our organization, sharing one of our basic BJF mantras: "There's no kids' table at The BJF."
In her phone consultation, she also stressed the impact of our new Inter-Generational Leadership model which pairs younger people with leadership potential with more experienced community leaders in top volunteer roles.
In her consultation with the director from Florida, Amanda also talked about our new Leadership Writing Project, a unique initiative that provides young adults with the opportunity to discover and affirm their leadership voices by writing for Update and other venues.
Finally, she emphasized that probably the most important thing that the young professionals are gaining from The BJF's LIFT strategy is growth through hands on experiences. "We are able to see and participate at the top of the organization," she said referring to herself and other young staff members.
Much of the above has happened as a result of leadership provided by BJF president Jimmy Filler who is currently serving an unprecedented fourth consecutive year as president. When he first took office, Jimmy promised that "New Faces, New Ideas" would be one of the themes of his presidency.
If you'd like to hear more about LIFT, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-803-1512.
IRAN'S AWARD-WINNING CARTOON
The Anti-Defamation League reacted Wednesday to the results of an Iranian cartoon contest, in which the winning entry depicted three religious Jews praying in front of a representation of the Western Wall in Jerusalem labeled "New York Wall Street."
"Once again, Iran takes the prize for promoting anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The winning cartoon takes the most sacred site in Judaism and perverts it into a shrine of greed. It is offensive on so many levels."
ADL, which monitors and combats anti-Semitism worldwide, is one of the 32 agencies and programs funded by The Birmingham Jewish Federation Annual Campaign.
FROM THE GRASSROOTS: A GREAT BJF 2012
The Birmingham Jewish Federation reached out to a couple recently on behalf of Operation Grassroots. In an email, we asked them to consider raising their gift at least $100 to be part of our Operation Grassroots effort.
We received a warm response from the wife. "I was actually thinking about doing that the other day. Tell me the best way to increase my gift. I want you to be able to use the money where it is best needed. Just let me know where to make the donation," she wrote, adding, "Hope 2012 is good to you so far."
The BJF has had a great 2012 because of our donors, like this great couple, who continue to send such wonderful, heartfelt responses. Operation Grassroots is an unprecedented BJF effort to raise 1000 new gifts or increases of at leat $100 to receive a $100,000 challenge gift.