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Interfaith Missions to Israel

22 Jun

For the past 4 years, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has invested in relationships with the Christian community through community programming and interfaith missions to Israel. This year, we had the opportunity to travel to Israel with another Federation community from the Heart of New Jersey. This unique trip consisted of clergy and leadership from Jewish, Presbyterian, Reform Church, Baptists and Episcopal communities. To read about this trip, click on this article

Below are quotes from two local leaders who traveled to Israel with the Jewish Federation on the mission highlighted in the article:

“Beyond the blessing of biblical locations and narratives coming alive in sight and context, the interfaith trip was a marvelous opportunity to explore deeper conversations and questions (even tough ones) about Judaism and Christianity’s heritage.  The trip also opened my eyes to the greater reality of everyday life in Israel – what it is and isn’t.  How refreshing to see and hear stories of hope and understanding – appreciating the effort to recognize and respect our common human dignity, regardless of background, and the desire we all have to make a better life for future generations.  I learned a lot and am forever grateful for such an educational and inspirational trip.”     – Rev. Michael Todd, Church of the Holy Spirit, Osprey, Florida

 

 

“Israel faces many complex challenges. So often in American mainstream media and around the world, Israel is painted in a negative light, despite the fact that they are daily confronted by an enemy that seeks to destroy their existence. Traveling there and getting to see and hear first-hand about these challenges and the strides Israel is trying to make, was such an affirmation of this bias in media. Truth matters – whether that’s here in America or there in Israel. We need to see both sides of the story and understand that what Israel is facing is complicated. One of the purposes of this trip was for us to see for ourselves what is taking place, to dispel the misconceptions we so often see.  I believe the trip accomplished this.” – Dixie Cline, Director of Development, CareNet Manasota, Bradenton, Florida

14 Jun

#PrayForOrlando smaller Jun2015

THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF SARASOTA-MANATEE IS OUTRAGED AND SADDENED BY THE TRAGIC AND HORRIFIC MASS SHOOTING IN ORLANDO

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is outraged and saddened by the tragic and horrific mass shooting this weekend at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This act of terror and hate, inspired by radical Islamic views, has left 49 people confirmed killed and at least 53 more severely injured. We were dismayed to learn of this horrifying attack on the LGBTQ community while Jews around the world were celebrating the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the anniversary of the day G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.

A key tenet of the Torah is that humankind was created in G-d’s image, and therefore we must treat one another with compassion and respect. The Jewish Federation strongly condemns those who target a particular community. We will not stand idly by and let terrorists and those who espouse hatred win.  Instead we as the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish community pledge our devotion and loyalty to all communities who are subject to hatred and discrimination. We will work together to fight back and stand in solidarity together.

The rising tide of extremism and violence, around the world and here in the United States, is profoundly disturbing and reiterates the threat of terrorism to the entire free world. We mourn for those murdered, offer our condolences to their families and pray for a swift recovery of the injured. All Americans were attacked, but the LGBT community was targeted.

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ and entire Orlando community.

Howard Tevlowitz
Executive Director

100 Days of Impact: Partnering

10 Dec

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee granted $35,000 to Embracing our Differences (EOD) in 2014, which provided program training to 220 teachers in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

EOD QuoteJoanna Fox has been teaching creative writing and language arts at Booker Middle School for fifteen years where teaching students to be a part of the community and not apart from the community is engrained into her curriculum.    By transforming her classroom into The Dragonfly Café, Fox has created a community environment where sharing of ideas is encouraged.  Through writing, students are taught that word choices can have an indelible impact on one’s destiny.  Fox’s work with Embracing our Differences (EOD) exemplifies partnership not just between students and teachers, but also between schools and the community.  By supporting our community’s students, EOD seeks to provide opportunities for every student in every school to participate in the program, as well as, visit the exhibit.

One of Joanna Fox’s students, Michael, was touched so deeply by EOD, that its impact literally transformed his life.  With the recent death of his father and abandonment of his mother, Michael moved in with his uncle and transferred to Booker Middle School.  With his world shattered, it’s no wonder why he arrived in class seemingly distant and unengaged.  But, submitting a quote to EOD and being selected turned Michael’s life around.  This simple, yet powerful recognition was described by Michael as “the best day of my life.”  After receiving a candy bar from the school’s principal as part of that recognition, Michael broke off pieces to share with the entire class, savoring the last bit for himself.  No longer feeling apart, Michael finally expressed desire in becoming a part of his community.

Michael’s Quote: The true color of people is not the shade of their skin but the tint of their personalities.

 

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100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact started on September 22 and will run through the end of 2014. Each week we will demonstrate the the collaborative impact that we and our donors make locally and globally.

MAKE A DONATION

You are the Jewish community. This is your Federation. Together, we do extraordinary things!

Interfaith: Mutual Honor & Respect

3 Dec

Heller IAI Interfaith MissionThis year, the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative (IAI) will be led by our first ever Executive Committee comprised of 7 Jewish and 7 Christian pro-Israel leaders in our community. After celebrating our 18-month long Israel@65 festivities in 2013 which brought together thousands of both faiths we realized that so many people in the Sarasota-Manatee community share a love of the State of Israel – just like we do. Also in 2013, Heller IAI implemented an interfaith mission to Israel that included 18-members of the Christian community
Faith2faithWith friendship and partnership between our faiths we bridge religious gaps and come together on one of our core values; Zionism. This is demonstrated through our events. In 2014, we had a program called “Faith to Faith; Christians and Jews Working Together for Israel”. We had 5 panelists of both faiths in a rousing and energetic panel that enabled the audience to leave the room with solid ways to be pro-Israel in their daily lives. Another instance was our “Interfaith Passover Seder”. It became apparent to us that many Christians celebrate the Passover Seder as a way to commemorate their gospel that Jesus’ last Passover Seder was his “Last Supper”.

 

Interfaith Cross and Star“As a Christian, I have kept Passover for many years out of love and respect for my Lord and Israel, but this event was like nothing I have experienced. I was so touched by the honor and respect shown by the Jewish Community to us as Christians.” -Shirley Fenton, co-Chair of the Interfaith Passover Seder

 

 

 

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100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

 

100 Days of Impact started on September 22 and will run through the end of 2014. Each week we will demonstrate the the collaborative impact that we and our donors make locally and globally.

MAKE A DONATION

You are the Jewish community. This is your Federation. Together, we do extraordinary things!

Feeding with All Faiths Food Bank

20 Nov

All Faiths Food Bank

 

All Faiths Food Drive

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee granted $25,000 to the Campaign Against Summer Hunger this year. We wanted to show you in real numbers just how far donor dollars go.

“Our new mobile pantry grew by the minute! We served 250 children and families in just 2 hours. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of those children!”
~ Chuck Bonura, AFFB Mobile Pantry Coordinator

 

In the first 2 weeks of the program:
• 3,232 children were given backpacks with food for the weekend
• 1,300 children received snacks
• 2,102 children and 4,069 of their adult family members (6,171 total) received food from our mobile pantries

In addition:
• 14,419 breakfasts were served
• 29,406 lunches were served
• 3,000 dinners were served

Howard Tevlowitz, Federation Executive Director; Sandra Frank,  All Faiths CEO; Ilene Fox; Mark Harrison and kids from Wilkinson Elementry

Howard Tevlowitz, Federation Executive Director; Sandra Frank, All Faiths CEO; Ilene Fox; Mark Harrison and kids from Wilkinson Elementry

 

You are the Jewish community.
This is your Federation.
Together, we do extraordinary things.

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100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

 

100 Days of Impact started on September 22 and will run through the end of 2014. Each week we will demonstrate the the collaborative impact that we and our donors make locally and globally.

MAKE A DONATION

We couldn’t do it without your generous support.

 

Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative: Passionate Support of the State of Israel

13 Nov

The Bob and Esther Israel Advocacy Initiative

The Bob and Esther Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative was created to deal with a number of efforts both locally and abroad.

These efforts include:
● Advocate for peace and security in Israel through education, information and community awareness.
● Raise awareness of and actively confront anti-Semitism and radical Islam on a global level.
● Directly address anti-Israel activities in Sarasota-Manatee.

Example of BDS propaganda

Example of BDS propaganda

IAI will make these efforts through: Educational programs, community outreach and partnerships with Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and public officials. And through this process, IAI hopes to engage Jews and non-Jews in Israel 3-D: Demonization, Double Standards & Delegitimization. Learn more about Israel, advocating  and combating anti-Semitism by visiting www.SarasotaLovesIsrael.com.

But let’s, for a moment, think about the world over the last 70 years without Israel.

The obvious first point is that Israel is a beacon of hope for democracy and justice in the 21st century in the region of the Middle East. But if you wanted to imagine your life without Israel it may go something like this:
Your connection to family members who live around the world would be much harder because you can’t Instant Message them or text them. Israelis invented both of those technologies. That flash drive you keep in your purse or pocket wouldn’t exist. If you’re so inclined to social justice and want to help those in developing countries drink safe and clean water whenever they want, you would probably need the process of desalinization, which was invented by Israelis. Or, you’re a medical professional who is the first to volunteer when disaster strikes around the world. Without IsraAID or the IDF by your side, you may not be able to get your triage X-Ray machine built and working within 24 hours of landing, or see more live rescues from a collapsed building than not.

Israel was first to respond to the 2010 crisis in Haiti

Israel was first to respond to the 2010 crisis in Haiti

It is for these reasons and so many more that we are passionate about our support of the State of Israel.

 


 

100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

 

100 Days of Impact started on September 22 and will run through the end of 2014. Each week we will demonstrate the the collaborative impact that we and our donors make locally and globally.

MAKE A DONATION

You are the Jewish community. This is your Federation. Together, we do extraordinary things!

 

 

 

Mensch of the Month – Jesse Schein

1 Jul

jesse scheinThe Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has been privileged to send hundreds of students on travel experiences that take them to Israel. Many of them return with a new profound outlook on their Jewish identity. This is certainly true for our Mensch of the Month, Jesse Schein.

Jesse is an outstanding student with a drive and a passion unlike most people his age. One of Federation’s first interactions with Jesse was when he became a Bob Malkin Young Ambassador in the summer of 2012, which takes high school students to Israel on a 2 week leadership mission. It seemed as if Jesse automatically fell in love with land, people, culture and even more so, his Jewishness. Since that time, Jesse has taken on many roles within our Jewish community, volunteering his time with us and Chabad in Lakewood Ranch. Most recently, Jesse returned from the March of the Living mission which has a heavy focus on Holocaust and genocide awareness. If Jesse’s past experiences didn’t fully impact him, this one surely did. It has been over a month since he returned from this journey and to see how much he has grown personally is incredible. Shabbat has become more important, family has become more important, and overall Jewish pride has become more important to Jesse.

It is because of this passion that Jesse has for his Jewish heritage that we selected him for Mensch of the Month for July. Jesse will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall and we know that this mensch will continue to be a powerful force in our community.