Calling all Jewish high school students! Searching for an exciting and challenging way to spend the summer? You’ll definitely want to check out Justcity Leadership Institute, an innovative Jewish program for rising seniors and juniors that’s happening this summer in New York City, from June 28 through July 12, 2015. The program is run in collaboration with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Camp Ramah, United Synagogue Youth, and American Jewish Society for Service.
At Justcity, you’ll think deeply about your personal Jewish and social justice journeys and find ways in which you can be a leader for change in your home and in the world. This program lets you put your passion into action through group service and goal-oriented projects. You’ll spend mornings in dynamic classes exploring Jewish texts and developing the tools to maximize your social impact, all while enjoying the excitement of New York. Plus, scholarships are available. Click here to learn more!
Looking for a job in the media industry? Want to work for a wonderful Jewish non-profit organization? You’re in luck! Our parent company, 70 Faces Media, is currently hiring for two positions.
Assistant Director of Development
70 Faces Media is seeking a high-energy, results-driven Assistant Director of Development to lead our grant development process by identifying new sources of funding and facilitating all aspects of grant writing and reporting. She/he will also be responsible for developing initiatives to engage readers and donors in the annual campaign.
Learn more about how to apply here.
Digital Editor (JTA)
70 Faces Media is hiring a razor-sharp editor with digital savvy and creative vision to help lead our JTA News team into the future. For nearly a century, JTA has been the definitive global source of news, analysis and features on issues of Jewish interest.
Learn more about how to apply here.
They all raised funds by creating a community around their ideas with the help of Jewcer, a Jewish crowdfunding platform.
Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Jewcer addresses specifically Jewish initiatives. The founders argue that if these campaigns succeed, then it can benefit and even enhance the Jewish world. But it’s not just the focus on Jewish communal endeavors that makes this platform different.
Jewcer’s all about mentorship. They help folks turn their ideas into realities by walking them through the fundraising process, from start to finish. So if you’ve got a new project, big or small, that you think can make a positive impact on the Jewish people or Israel — through arts, music, technology or lots of other forms — this is the platform for you. And given their track record (they’ve helped raise over a million dollars for Jewish projects), there’s a very good chance you’ll exceed your goals. Visit Jewcer to get a mentor, start your campaign and get your philanthropy on.
It is a bittersweet week.
On Monday night we celebrated the creation of 70 Faces Media, the new organization bringing together JTA, MyJewishLearning and Kveller. Later this week marks the first yahrtzeit of one of our honorary founders, Edgar M. Brofman, of blessed memory, the legendary businessman and philanthropist who created MyJewishLearning in 2002 and gave his blessing to the merger before his death in December 2013.
Edgar was a prince of his people, whose contributions to 70 Faces Media and, for that matter, the entire Jewish world, cannot be measured or sufficiently acknowledged. As just one act of our deep appreciation, and out of love and respect for Edgar’s passion for Jewish learning, we join The Samuel Bronfman Foundation in asking people to study and teach about Sh’mot, this week’s Torah portion, in Edgar’s memory.
In that spirit, let me share a few thoughts on this week’s parsha that connect to Edgar, as well as to his legacy that we at 70 Faces Media are working to uphold.
Parshat Sh’mot starts with the enslavement of the Israelites, the birth of Moses and the story of how he ends up being raised as a prince of Egypt. As the Book of Exodus and the rest of the Torah unfolds, Moses will earn his reputation as the greatest of all the prophets, when as God’s emissary he leads the Israelites out of bondage, delivers them the Torah and brings them to the edge of the Promised Land. But Moses’ first step back into the Jewish fold — his killing of the Egyptian taskmaster — is sparked not by a divine directive, but an inner sense of justice and concern for his people. Only years later would Moses realize his religious destiny.
Edgar did not start out life as an Egyptian, he never killed anyone, and he was never a believer in the traditional sense. But, still, he walked a similar path: Born the heir to a beverage empire, Edgar was in many ways a prince who was cut off from the everyday experiences of his people. Yet, like the princely Moses, he found it in himself to speak up and to speak out on behalf of his fellow Jews.
Edgar’s heightened sense of Jewish solidarity evolved to produce an equally passionate commitment to Jewish learning. He was not a man of faith, but he had great faith in the power of wrestling with sacred Jewish texts. Doing so, he believed, would help us both understand our traditions and past, and serve as a compelling way to bring diverse Jews together to think collectively about our present and our future.
We at 70 Faces Media are similarly dedicated to connecting as many people as possible to the unfolding Jewish story. And we share Edgar’s deep belief that — just like the Jews themselves — the Jewish story is an ever-changing one, made up of a multitude of perspectives and beliefs, reflecting the experiences of people and communities around the world.
By creating 70 Faces Media, we are working to ensure that everyone has a chance to connect to the Jewish story, whatever their level of Jewish knowledge or sense of Jewish identity — whether they are interested in ancient traditions or breaking news, pop culture or parenting, recipes or rituals.
Let the wrestling begin.
Hanukkah this year begins on Tuesday evening, December 16th. In anticipation of the Jewish festival of lights, we’re sharing our top eight picks for eight spectacular holiday nights!
1. Modern Menorah: Let’s start with the basics. We love this beautiful, sleek and simple menorah that’s sure to shine each night.
2. Rainbow Colored Beeswax Hanukkah Candles: Light up your holiday with these colorful and aromatic beeswax candles!
3. Star Wooden Dreidels: Sweet and colorful, these Star of David shaped spinning tops are perfect for night of dreidel playing.
4. Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Gelt: What’s a good game of dreidel without the proper gelt? We love these chocolate coins, made especially for grown ups!
5. Hanukkah Sweaters: Hey, they might call these ugly, but we call them an instant classic. Snuggle up with this fun and bright sweater, filled with Hanukkah symbols.
6. Songs in the Key of Hanukkah: Get into the festive mood with some classic Hanukkah tunes as well as some new ones! This album includes English, Hebrew or Ladino songs, sung by stars like Idan Raichel, Yasmin Levy and Y-Love.
7. Latke Server: Pass around your potato pancakes in style with this funky server.
8. Shlep Bag: What could be a better way to carry around all these fantastic Hanukkah gifts than with this Yiddish tote bag?
We are tickled to announce that our friends at G-dcast have just released a series of adorable new animated shorts all about Jewish lifecycle events, from weddings to baby namings to funerals. You’ll find them all around our site, starting right here on this page. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
1. Why We Break the Glass at Jewish Weddings:
2. What is a Huppah All About?
3. All about the Ketubah, the Jewish Marriage Contract:
4. How to Dance a Hora:
5. Read about the Gomel, the blessing for new moms:
6. How to help a friend in mourning:
We have good news to share! We just learned that the Slingshot Fund has selected MyJewishLearning and Kveller as being among North America’s most innovative Jewish organizations.
In Slingshot’s words, “MyJewishLearning.com and Kveller.com are unique in their ability to host Jewish content in an agenda-free space.” We love being in a pluralistic community with readers as diverse and curious as you, and we value your engagement, whether you’re a first-time reader or a regular visitor.
We are so honored to be featured for the sixth year in a row and, as always, to be in such good company. See here for the complete list of this year’s most innovative Jewish organizations.
Thank you, readers, and thank you, Slingshot!
The High Holidays—like many Jewish holidays—are a foodie’s delight. Whether we’re feasting on Rosh Hashanah or abstaining—and then feasting—on Yom Kippur, it’s safe to say that many people’s experience of the holiday season is replete with delicious nosh. And the foods are rich with symbolic meaning.
With the holidays approaching, you might be wondering what kinds of gifts are appropriate to give to family members, friends, and dinner hosts. Since everyone loves a gift they can eat, we’ve pulled together this gift-giving FAQ with help from our friends at Kosher Gift Box.
What are some basic gift items you recommend?
Since we’re talking edible gifts here, we dig Kosher Gift Basket’s Rosh Hashanah Traditions Basket and their Sweet New Year Basket. If you’re looking for a gift appropriate for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, we recommend this delicious apple cake or traditional round challahs (perhaps paired with a delicious assortment of honey).
Is it appropriate to give a Rosh Hashanah gift to clients and customers?
Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the High Holidays as it is with Hanukkah, but we’ve never known of anyone to protest. And it can make good business sense. Some popular corporate choices are Shana Tova Wine Duo or Rosh Hashanah Elegance Basket.
What should I give my Jewish boss or coworker for Rosh Hashanah?
The best gifts for work-related recipients are probably non-personal items such as a gift basket that reflects Jewish tradition. Popular choices are our 5775 Breakfast Basket or a Honey Server and Dish Set with honey.
What do you recommend for a college student?
No better way to nudge college kids to mark the Jewish holidays than to lure them with delicious traditional foods. Our Rosh Hashanah Traditions Basket includes challah, babka, and rugelach—or you could send our holiday challah set. These gifts reflect holiday traditions and are great for sharing with roommates.
Does my gift need to be kosher?
Unless you know for a fact that your recipient does not keep kosher, providing certified kosher food ensures that everyone can enjoy the gift. All items at Kosher Gift Box are certified kosher.
We are going to our neighbors’ for Yom Kippur break-fast. What should I bring?
After fasting on Yom Kippur, a typical menu for break-fast is a dairy meal: lox and bagels, sweet kugel (noodle pudding), assorted cheeses, blintzes and fresh fruit. For dessert, our Sweet New Year Rugelach Collection, apple cake, or our Holiday Lox and Bagel Basket.
What is an appropriate gift to bring to dinner in the Sukkah?
Because Sukkot celebrates the harvest, gifts that reflect this are optimal. A dried fruit platter or fresh fruit basket make excellent choices.
As we announced a few months ago, MyJewishLearning, Inc. and JTA are merging. Now we’re looking to hire a marketing professional to join our team as Director of Audience Development for JTA to join us in our New York City office.
We’re a small organization that has a big impact in the Jewish world, but we need help growing even bigger.If Facebook, emails and search engines optimization make you happy, this might be the right fit for you. We are looking for a strategic, hands-on, metrics-driven person to manage and execute online audience growth and engagement initiatives. In addition to working on JTA.org, you’ll oversee audience development for our partner sites Kveller.com and MyJewishLearning.com as well as help launch other new endeavors.
The Director of Audience Development will oversee it all: SEO, SEM, email newsletter, social media, partnerships, and site recirculation. You should be an expert at understanding our users’ behavior and enhancing their interaction with our sites . The best candidates are those who can big pictures but also enjoy jumping into day-to-day operations.
- Strategy. Build and execute marketing programs focused on generating unique visitors and increasing engagement. Test, evaluate, revise and repeat.
- Analytics & Reporting. Use Google Analytics, email analytics and other tools to interpret data about our users and translate into action-oriented recommendations all of our staff and stakeholders can understand.
- Email. Find and implement opportunities to growth the email newsletter subscription base and optimize performance of current products.
- Social Media. Develop social media strategy. Supervise and contribute to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and other social media presences with assigned editors.
- Page Optimization. Influence conversion through messaging, promotion, and landing page optimization.
- Search Engine Optimization. Serve as our resident SEO expert and continually deploy best practices in to grow organic search traffic.
- Online Marketing. Work with outside consultants to manage organization’s Google Adwords grant, paid SEM, and other marketing to drive highly qualified visitors to the site.
- Partnerships. Identify, negotiate and implement traffic-building partnerships with other digital media organizations.
Salary commensurate with experience. This is a full-time, salaried position with paid vacation, health benefits, pension plan, and federal and Jewish holidays off.
Desired Skills and Experience:
- 3-5 years of experience in consumer-facing online marketing roles, particularly with a content-based organization. Demonstrated track record of developing diversified digital marketing programs that drive sustained audience growth.
- Deep understanding of the digital media space and broad understanding of digital strategies and best practices.
- Excellent analytical skills and experience working with Google Analytics and Excel.
- Familiarity with Photoshop and HTML a plus.
- Self-starter who enjoys balancing multiple projects and priorities with varying deadlines.
- Strong interpersonal skills – the ability to work closely with creative teams and to influence and educate on digital marketing principles..
- Excellent communication skills and ability to write effective marketing copy.
- Knowing about online fundraising, working in an editorial organization and enthusiasm for Jewish topics are all plusses.
- Bachelor’s Degree required
Please send resume, cover letter and the following items to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Description of something you’ve recently promoted (e.g. brand, event, or product) and the steps you took to boost your audience.
- Writing sample (e.g. blog entry, e-newsletter, press release, pitch letter) from a job or initiative with a similar capacity.
The recent Kveller post by Benay Josselson on her son’s positive and enriching experience at Rockland Jewish Academy made me hopeful about the prospect of a full, participatory Jewish day school education for special-needs children. Her tone, which greatly contrasted with her blog post from one year earlier when she assumed it would be tough to find a Jewish day school that would be able to work with her son who had been diagnosed with autism, reflects the steps the day school field has taken to make inclusion an educational priority. It also reflects more specifically the community that is being created at Rockland Jewish Academy under the leadership of Nellie Harris. (Full disclosure: Nellie is a Fellow in RAVSAK, the Jewish Community Day School Network’s, inaugural Head of School Professional Educational Program, which mentors exceptional new heads in the first years of their headship).
We already know Jewish day schools play a crucial role in helping develop the next generation of Jewish leaders, but now we see schools of all sizes taking a closer look at their policies on special needs students. As an organization committed to advocating the myriad benefits of Jewish day schools, this is an issue I have seen start with rudimentary programs and expand into mission-driven work, with full support from leadership and the community, at a growing number of schools. Overall, this is a huge positive for families of all types.
In the past, day schools have struggled to meet the educational needs of students with a variety of learning disabilities and other social, emotional, behavioral or health challenges. Today, great strides have been made, and more and more schools are working on identifying opportunities to increase access and developing an inclusive process for teaching students with far-ranging capabilities.
The ultimate goal is for children to become integrated into and embraced by the Jewish community, regardless of need. That’s what parents want, what the kids want, what everyone wants — to be full members of the community. Truly, a day school community can only call itself that when it reflects the make-up of the entire community from which it sources its members.
At the recent RAVSAK/PARDES Jewish Day School Leadership Conference, we dedicated an entire learning track to “Special Needs and the Diverse Classroom” to better educate those within our network and help them develop plans and strategies to become truly welcoming and inclusive institutions. Many attendees noted that it was an eye-opening experience that allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of the range of students characterized as special needs and learn new approaches to special needs inclusion.
All students benefit socially, emotionally and intellectually when children with special needs are educated alongside their classmates. With February designated as Jewish Disability Awareness Month, it is important to raise awareness not only about the psycho-social needs of students but the expanding response of the larger Jewish day school community and their ongoing commitment to make Jewish day school education a gift that all can share.
Certainly, this work is far from over; there are too many students for whom day school is not yet an option due to their specific challenges. But we have to recognize the small steps with which we begin a long journey, as it is by following the footsteps of others that change can gain momentum.