New York City + Social Justice + Jewish Journeys = One Inspiring Summer (Sponsored)

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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!

(Sponsored.)

Posted on February 9, 2015

70 Faces Media is Hiring!

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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.

Posted on January 27, 2015

Introducing Jewcer: Kickstarter for the Jewish Community (Sponsored)

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What do the Women of the Wall, a Jewish rock album, and a web series about making aliyah have in common?

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.

(Sponsored.)

Posted on January 13, 2015

Learning for Edgar

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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.

Posted on January 7, 2015

Our Hanukkah Gift Guide 2014

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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.


Modern Menorah



2
. Rainbow Colored Beeswax Hanukkah Candles
: Light up your holiday with these colorful and aromatic beeswax candles!


Wax Hanukkah candles


3. Star Wooden Dreidels:
 Sweet and colorful, these Star of David shaped spinning tops are perfect for night of dreidel playing.


Wooden dreidels

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!


Grown-up gelt


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.


Hanukkah sweater

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.


Hanukkah songs

 7. Latke Server: Pass around your potato pancakes in style with this funky server.


Latke Server

8. Shlep Bag: What could be a better way to carry around all these fantastic Hanukkah gifts than with this Yiddish tote bag? 


shlep bag
We hope you enjoy the selection as much as we do!  Happy shopping, and happy Hanukkah to you and yours!

 

Posted on December 9, 2014

Delightful New Videos for All Your Jewish Lifecycle Needs

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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:

Join in the conversation with our weekly Modern Jewish Life newsletter. Sign up here!

Posted on October 30, 2014

We Just Won a 2014-2015 Slingshot Award!

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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!

Posted on October 20, 2014

Our 2014 Delicious High Holiday Gift Guide

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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.

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 24, Yom Kippur at sundown on October 3 and Sukkot on October 8. So nosh fast!


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).

Delicious basket
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.

Posted on September 17, 2014

We’re hiring a Director of Audience Development

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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.

Key Responsibilities:

  • 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.
  • Posted on July 8, 2014

Pushing Jewish Day Schools to Be More Inclusive of Special Needs

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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.

Posted on February 26, 2014