Gemara Berura, Computer Learning Tool, Jerusalem
Targum Shlishi continued its support of the innovative educational program Gemara Berura during 2005 through initiatives to promote interest in this radically new approach to teaching Gemara through technology. Targum Shlishi’s efforts included letter writing campaigns and organizing a successful effort with other foundations to subsidize the program’s implementation in five day schools in South Florida. In addition, Targum Shlishi has actively promoted Gemara Berura to foundations and schools throughout the U.S.
Sippurim, Jewish Children’s Books Website, New York
Looking for quality children’s books on topics related to Judaism and Israel? This website, created by the new organization Sippurim, includes a searchable database to allow people to identify books by several criteria such as subject (Israel, Rosh Hashana, Jewish identity, Holocaust, etc.), author, title, and age range. The website also includes author information and links to websites for Jewish families. Targum Shlishi supported the site’s development and launch, after proposing the concept of the site to Sippurim, which is involved in several other initiatives to promote children’s books involving Israel and Jewish subjects. The website launched in summer 2005 and has already been featured in an article in LILITH magazine and in a presentation at the 92nd Street Y.
Hazon Eli, The Targum Shlishi Jewish Library, Thane, India
Targum Shlishi donated and organized the first shipment of books on Jewish topics to a brand-new library serving the Jewish population of Thane and Bombay, India. The library is part of the Jewish Learning Center, run by the foundation Hazon Eli (Vision of My God), which opened in fall 2004 and offers a variety of programs to the 3,000-member Jewish community. This community as a group does not have a strong Jewish education and has not had much access to Jewish books in the past. The library is free, open from 9 am to 9 pm, and it is hoped that it will become a valuable and well-used community resource. The library “will be a spiritual haven for the community, which has unfortunately become estranged from its roots,” predicts Rabbi Joshua Ezra Kolet, chairman of Hazon Eli. Rabbi Kolet describes the community as a unique Sephardic community with little formal Jewish education. Support from Targum Shlishi will also cover a second installment of books in 2006.
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Electronic Resource for Teaching Judaism Through the Arts, Jerusalem
Currently in development, this website will provide access to an electronic catalogue of four thousand works of art related to Jewish themes for use by Jewish educators, providing a unique educational resource integrating the arts and Judaism. The images, which are being scanned from slides, catalogued, and indexed, will be made available with information in Hebrew and English. A Russian language version is planned for the future. It is estimated that the project will take approximately three years to complete.
The Jewish Museum, Saphyr Web-based Project, New York
The artist Tobi Kahn’s 2002 sculpture Saphyr was used to create an interactive, web-based Omer calendar. Saphyr, a wooden sculpture, is an Omer calendar, used to count the forty-nine days between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. The counting reminds observers of the link between Passover (the Exodus) and Shavu’ot (the giving of the Torah). Mr. Kahn’s sculpture has forty-nine pegs used to count the days, each conceived as a miniature house. Funding from Targum Shlishi and from partner Daniel Sawicki supported the creation of an interactive version of the calendar hosted on The Jewish Museum’s website. In addition, support from Targum Shlishi along with four other individual donors (Nick Bunzl, Marvin Haas, Daniel Sawicki, and Michael Sonnenfeldt) made possible the original purchase of Saphyrby The Jewish Museum.
JESNA (Jewish Education Service of North America), Program Innovators Project with Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas, New York
JESNA’s aim is to make quality Jewish education available to Jews throughout North America. Bikkurim is an organization dedicated to finding innovative Jewish ideas and nurturing them to sustainability. Since its founding in 2000, Bikkurim has provided over a half million dollars in in-kind support to a total of sixteen new Jewish organizations. Currently, eleven groups are in the incubator. Bikkurim participants receive office space and professional support while in residency in the incubator, a period which may last for up to four and a half years. Bikkurim is a joint project of JESNA and the Kaminer Family Foundation. JESNA’s Program Innovators project is working with Bikkurim to match innovative new educational programs with congregational schools and Targum Shlishi is supporting this effort.
The Jewish Day School Consortium of Southern New England, Jewish Day School Education and Quality of Life: An Empirical Investigation of Current Students, Parents, and Schools, West Hartford, Connecticut
This research project, currently in its preliminary phases, investigates the impact of Jewish day school attendance on the quality of one’s adult life. The project addresses two core questions: 1) Do Jewish day schools provide their students with an advantage over their same-age peers not attending Jewish day school? and 2) Do parents who themselves attended Jewish day school differ from parents who did not in terms of satisfaction with their lives? This research has the potential to positively impact both enrollment and jslifunding of Jewish day schools.
Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, Miami Jewish Film Festival, Miami
The Miami Jewish Film Festival typically screens more than fifty Jewish-themed films from around the world. The festival focuses on international films that are artistically significant, touch on some aspect of the Jewish experience, and speak to the diverse Jewish community. The films include personal documentaries, short films, and Academy-Award nominated features. Many screenings are accompanied by special programs, such as discussions with producers, directors, and actors. The film festival is organized by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE). In 2005 Targum Shlishi sponsored the closing night film Epstein’s Night, a 2002 film about the exposure of the truth about how a man protected his childhood friend and his sweetheart in the camps.
MUSE Film and Television, Film on Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, New York
Targum Shlishi is providing seed funding for a documentary film on Hebrew illuminated and illustrated manuscripts that will be the first of its kind. The film is being created by MUSE, a nonprofit company that creates film on visual arts and culture. “The finest works of art in the Hebrew tradition are the manuscripts, and though there are some books that have been published on great pages or codices, nothing of quality has ever been done on film,” says Karl Katz, executive director of MUSE. In the past, MUSE made a well-received film on the Book of Kells and is currently working on a corpus of Spanish Romanesque manuscripts.
Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, Live from the 92nd Street Y, North Miami Beach
The 92nd Street Y in New York City is one of the country’s leading cultural centers, and offers a range of enriching programs, including lectures with internationally renowned figures. Now many of these lectures are available to the South Florida community, thanks to a program established by the Michael-Ann Russell JCC, which receives lectures that are broadcast from the Y. Targum Shlishi supported the purchase of satellite equipment that allows the JCC to receive the signal broadcast from the 92nd Street Y. Lecturers in recent years have included Thomas Friedman, Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, William Safire, and many others.
Targum Shlishi, Funding for Dissertation Research on Jewish Studies Topics, Miami
In 2005 Targum Shlishi awarded three grants of $1,800 to support doctoral candidates doing dissertation research and/or writing on Jewish Studies topics. Recipients are: Deborah Glanzberg-Krainin, an ordained rabbi and Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Religion and Culture at Temple University, who is writing on contemporary Jewish American women’s memoirs; Alan Selis, a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum Theory and Development in the Department of Education and Policy Leadership at the University of Maryland, who is exploring religious differences in a community day school; Valerie Thaler, a Ph.D. candidate in Yale University’s Department of Religious Studies, whose topic is “The Reshaping of American Jewish Identity, 1945-1960.”
Edah, International Conference, New York
Targum Shlishi helped support Edah’s Fourth International Conference in February 2005. The conference’s theme was, “The Challenges. The Opportunities. Diversity, Change, Meaning, Justice.” The conference addressed significant issues confronting Modern Orthodoxy in North America and Israel and included eighty sessions presented by sixty scholars from North America and twenty from Israel. More than one thousand people attended the conference. Edah is an organization dedicated to strengthening the Modern Orthodox community from both within and without by promoting the movement and directly addressing the challenges posed by modernity.
The Shul of Bal Harbour, The Sixth Miami International Torah and Science Conference, Miami
Targum Shlishi sponsored the “Health, Modern Medicine & Halakhah” session of this three-day conference, held December 13-15, 2005. The conference, held every two years, brings together world-renowned professors from diverse fields in the sciences and humanities together with rabbis, students, and the general public to discuss controversial religious/scientific issues that face the modern world. The conference is open to the public and free of charge.
Canfei Nesharim, Website, New York
Canfei Nesharim (“the wings of eagles”) is dedicated to inspiring the Orthodox Jewish community to understand and act on the relationship between Jewish law, traditional Jewish sources, and modern environmental issues. This community has until now not been active or concerned with environmental issues. This new organization (launched in 2003) hopes to help Orthodox Jews understand today’s environmental challenges as well as the Jewish laws relevant to environmental protection and to empower them to take positive action to address these challenges. It is Canfei Nesharim’s hope that it will develop resources and models that can be used by other conservative religious communities to understand the moral imperative implicit in protecting the world. Targum Shlishi’s funding supports the development of a web-based product and resource library.
Targum Shlishi, New Sages of Israel, Miami
Who are our heroes? Who inspires us, makes us think, gives us hope? Who is making a difference in the Jewish world today? New Sages of Israel is a book and multimedia project that will profile twenty-five individuals working in a range of fields, all working in some way to improve our world. Targum Shlishi initiated and is now developing the New Sages project. We’ve hired writers in Israel, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere to meet, spend time with, and write about these extraordinary people (selections are made with the help of an advisory board). It is our hope that by making people aware of the accomplishments of these sages we will encourage innovative thinking and the development of new ideas.
The Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University, Enhancing Jewish Education in the Baltic States, Baltics
There are four Jewish day schools in the Baltic region, none of which have effective Jewish Studies programs. Targum Shlishi is working with the Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University and partnering with the Greenfield Family Trust to improve the Jewish Studies programs at these schools by funding a training program to address curricular materials and pedagogical skills. Why the Baltics? In 1930 the region (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) was home to almost 200,000 Jews. Today, the Jewish population is approximately 23,500. The small Jewish population remaining in this once-thriving region is generally not well educated Jewishly, but is eager to learn.
Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El, Artists’ Beit Midrash and Writers’ Beit Midrash, New York
The Skirball Center is a relatively new organization that offers continuing Jewish education in a pluralistic setting. Batei Midrash are learning communities (the translation is “houses of study”), a traditional model of learning in a study group that is a community circle. The Writers’ Beit Midrash and the Artists’ Beit Midrash allow creative individuals to explore Jewish sources within a community of peers and create new works inspired by the texts studied. In 2005-06 the theme explored is “The Hidden and the Revealed.” At the conclusion of each year, the groups have an evening of presentations with an exhibition and readings of their work.
Chabad Lubavitch of Cannes, Jewish Children’s Library, Cannes, France
Targum Shlishi funded the establishment of the Jewish Children’s Library at the Jewish School of Cannes, which opened in September 2005. The school, run by Chabad of Cannes, is one of only two Jewish schools in the South of France. The lending library is a resource both for the school’s students and for children not enrolled, who are invited to borrow books.
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora at the School of Education of Bar-Ilan University and The Shul of Bal Harbour, International Conference on Jewish Education, Miami
Targum Shlishi helped support the International Conference on Jewish Education, held January 11-13, 2005 in Miami. The conference brought together experts in Jewish education from Israel, the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. Participants found it inspiring to be among a group of dedicated professionals, benefited from the conference by interacting with peers, and received much-needed support, advice, and training.
Nefesh – The International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals, Web-based resource directory, Teaneck, New Jersey
Nefesh, founded in 1992, is an organization of observant mental health professionals with members from around the world. Its mission is to provide leadership and education in dealing with mental health issues that confront the Jewish community. Members include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, rabbis, educators, chemical dependency counselors, nurses, and others. Targum Shlishi supported the creation and online posting of an International Directory of Jewish Social Services – organizations and services with programs specifically for or sensitive to Jewish individuals and families. This directory has been completed and was posted online in summer 2005.
Areyvut, Bnai Mitzvah Resource Project Database, New York
Areyvut is a young organization dedicated to helping Jewish youth develop core Jewish values of kindness, charity, and social justice. A year ago, Areyvut created the Bnai Mitzvah Resource Center with the goal of encouraging students to enhance their Bar or Bat Mitzvah by actively participating in community-based projects and incorporating volunteerism into their celebrations. Targum Shlishi’s support is funding the expansion of the Bnai Mitzvah resources on the Areyvut website and the development of a database that organizes programs by themes and interests.
Jewish Spiritual Literacy, Website Enhancement, Baltimore, Maryland
Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld is the founder of the Jewish Spiritual Literacy and author of the book The Art of Amazement (Penguin, 2005). He has developed a pedagogy that communicates traditional spiritual wisdom in a way that has proven inspiring to educators, students, and parents. While his ideas are explained in his book, he has also developed a full curriculum to help educators and parents teach his concepts. Targum Shlishi’s support is for website enhancement, which includes posting curriculum materials on the site. This project is currently in development.
1654 Society, Congregation Shearith Israel, New York
The 1654 Society is dedicated to promoting awareness of the achievements and history of the early American-Jewish community. The endeavor is named for a group of twenty-three Jews from Recife, Brazil who arrived in America’s colony of New Amsterdam in 1654. This group established the first and oldest continuous Jewish community in North America and played a role in the country’s founding. The synagogue they established, Congregation Shearith Israel, was the only Jewish congregation in North America for almost eighty years and became a cornerstone of American life. The newly established 1654 Society was founded on the occasion of the congregation’s 350th anniversary with the mission of preserving the legacies of both the congregation and early American-Jewish life. The founders of the 1654 Society believe that illuminating this under-recognized history is essential to fostering respect among the American public for the valuable achievements of the early American-Jewish community.
Hillel Community Day School, Various Programs, North Miami Beach
Targum Shlishi supported several initiatives at Hillel Community Day School in 2005, including a trip to Israel for students and a scholarship fund.
National Jewish Outreach Program, Website Revision, New York
The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) was founded in 1987 and has grown to be one of the largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations in the world. It reaches out to unaffiliated Jews, offering positive and meaningful Jewish experiences. Examples of programs include free “Crash Courses” in Hebrew Reading, Basic Judaism, and Jewish History; “Turn Friday Night into Shabbat” programs and others. Targum Shlishi’s funding is supporting the redesign of NJOP’s website. The objective of the redesign is to better serve NJOP’s core audiences and showcase the organization’s work.
Jewish Legal Heritage Society, Podcast, Jerusalem
The Jewish Legal Heritage Society is dedicated to promoting the ideals, ethics, and values of Jewish law and to educational efforts designed to demonstrate the relevance of Jewish law to modern society. Among the organization’s activities are seminars, workshops, and publications. Targum Shlishi is supporting the development of a podcast based on the society’s work entitled Environment – Jewish Perspectives. This is the first podcast that Targum Shlishi has supported, and it is part of the foundation’s commitment to utilizing the tools afforded by technology to further Jewish education.
Jewish Educational Services of Northern New Jersey, Israel Engagement Program, River Edge, New Jersey
The goal of the newly created Israel Engagement Program is to reach high-school age students and connect them to Israel. The program reaches out to Jewish public school students in northern New Jersey who have little engagement with Israel or contact with the Jewish community. The program is implemented through extra-curricular club programs, several of which are working with Jewish Educational Services to provide a major Israel component throughout the year. The Israel Engagement Program culminates in a subsidized trip to Israel. The 2005-06 school year is the program’s first year, and it expects to reach one hundred students in six different high schools. Jewish Educational Services’ mission is to enhance and support the work of Jewish educators across denominations for both congregational schools and day schools. It offers several types of support services, including a teachers’ center with curricular materials, a media center, a teacher placement service, and teacher in-service education.
Jacobson Sinai Academy, Multi-Media Film Production Jewish Journeys Project, North Miami Beach
Jacobson Sinai Academy has an on-site, multi-media film production studio that is often underutilized. Targum Shlishi’s funding is supporting the establishment of the Jewish Journeys Project, in which students use the production studio and computer technology to create multi-media films that trace their Jewish roots. The project not only teaches students technical skills, but educates them about their family histories. It is hoped that through exploring their ancestry, students will begin to consider their unique place in the world and be encouraged to develop passions in the areas of tzedakah, tikkun olam, values, and ethics.
Jewish Museum of Florida, Tobi Kahn Student Workshops and Museum Website, Miami Beach
Targum Shlishi is supporting five educational student workshops for day school students taught by artist Tobi Kahn in conjunction with the exhibit of Kahn’s work entitled Avoda: Objects of the Spirit, on view at the Jewish Museum of Florida. In addition, Targum Shlishi is supporting a redesign of the museum’s website.
Multimedia Learning Project, Targum Shlishi, Miami
Targum Shlishi generated the idea for and is organizing and funding the development of a series of high-quality, single-unit multimedia educational materials for middle and high school students to be used with substitute teachers. This project was borne of frustration with the poor quality of education that typically occurs with substitute teachers. We are currently meeting with educators, brainstorming ideas, and developing a prototype. Our goal is to develop a model and then attract other foundations to partner with us to fund further development.