The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora of Bar-Ilan University, Enhancing Jewish Education in the Baltic States
There are four Jewish day schools in the Baltic region, none of which has 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 committed to its Jewish heritage and eager to learn.
Canfei Nesharim, True Joy Through Water, New York
True Joy Through Water is an initiative whose goal is to foster the appreciation of water and the connections between Torah, nature, and our responsibility to protect the environment. Canfei Nesharim organized this initiative over Sukkot and Shemini Atzeres when it brought its programming to more than thirty communities. Targum Shlishi’s funding supported the development of resources to help educate communities about the importance of valuing and protecting water including shiurim written by environmental Torah scholars, Sukkah decorations, eco-reminder stickers, and Internet based e-cards. Canfei Nesharim (“the wings of eagles”) is a new organization, launched in 2003, that 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. True Joy Through Water was Canfei Nesharim’s first broad-scale environmental program.
Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, Excellence in Teaching Awards, Miami
Targum Shlishi is funding a multi-year awards program to recognize the contributions of exceptional teachers at day schools, congregational schools, and early childhood programs in the Miami area. The awards program is intended to identify and promote Jewish educational leadership at the local school level and to encourage and motivate educational innovation and excellence. Teachers at the following schools received the 2006 awards: Greenfield Day School; RASG Hebrew Academy; Yeshiva Toras Chaim; Temple Beth Am Day School; Temple Beth Am Religious School; Congregation Bet Breira Schimmel Binder Religious School; and Bet Shira Religious School.
Midreshet Lindenbaum with David Project, Israel Fellows Program, Jerusalem
Articulate students who understand the history and politics of the Middle East are needed on U.S. college campuses. In response to this need, an innovative program at Israel’s Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem was inaugurated during the 2006-07 academic year to prepare high school graduates for the challenges they will face as Jewish college students committed to Israel. A dozen students were selected through a competitive process to take part in a year-long study program designed to prepare them as leaders on campus in the effort to present Israel in a fair and accurate light. The David Project Fellows Program exposes students to top Israeli lecturers from academia, the military, and the business world. The syllabus includes an in-depth review of modern Jewish and Israeli history as well as topics that are “hot-button” issues on campuses, such as post-colonial thinking, human rights, and dealing with the media.
Chabad on Campus, Washington University St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
Chabad campus centers are inclusive and open to every Jewish student regardless of background or observance level. Chabad’s aim is to ensure that students graduate as stronger and more empowered Jews than when they entered college. To that end, the organization seeks to be a “home away from home” for Jews on campuses and offers a wealth of social, educational, and spiritual programs at campuses across the U.S. and around the globe. The organization welcomes all students and serves their needs on a social, educational, and spiritual level. It allows students to discover their heritage at their own pace, helping to foster the creation of the next generation of empowered Jewish leadership. Targum Shlishi’s funding went towards general support for the Chabad on Campus serving Washington University and the St. Louis region.
Targum Shlishi Initiative, New Sages of Israel
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 currently in development that will profile twenty-five individuals working in a range of fields, and all working in some way to improve our world.
Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El, Artists’ Beit Midrash, New York
This was the second year of a two-year grant from Targum Shlishi that in 2006 made possible expansion of the Artists’ Beit Midrash. A beit midrash is literally a “house of study,” but a more appropriate translation might be “community of learners.” The Artists’ Beit Midrash was co-facilitated by Rabbi Leon Morris and Tobi Kahn, a renowned modern artist, and designed to allow artists to explore Jewish sources within a community of peers and create new works inspired by the texts that they study. Each year the Artists’ Beit Midrash focuses on one particular theme, exploring it through biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish texts. The theme for 2006 was “The Universal and the Particular in Judaism.” Targum Shlishi’s support was applied to new outreach efforts, the expansion of an end-of-year exhibition featuring works created in the Beit Midrash program, and the publication of selected works by the artists in the Skirball Center’s course guides.
The Jewish Week, Jewish in America: A Conversation, New York City
This annual conference gathers prominent American Jews from a multitude of professions and brings them together for a three-day event designed to facilitate learning, networking, socializing, and the exchange of ideas. The goal of the project is to stimulate attendees to think about and discuss how being Jewish informs their work and/or their personal lives. The program typically has sessions ranging from small discussions to workshops, seminars, and larger plenaries. The Conversation is organized by The Jewish Week.
Jewish Educational Services, UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, Israel Engagement Project, River Edge, New Jersey
More than one hundred students from six different high schools were involved in the first academic year (2005-06) of the Israel Engagement Program, whose goal is to engage high school students and “turn them on” to Israel. The program, which Targum Shlishi also supported in 2005, reaches out to Jewish public school students in northern New Jersey who have little engagement with Israel or contact with the Jewish community. The Israel Engagement Project is implemented through extra-curricular club programs, several of which work with Jewish Educational Services to provide a major Israel component throughout the year. The program’s high point is a subsidized trip to Israel, in which thirty-six students participated. Jewish Educational Services plans to determine the program’s impact monitoring the extent of the students’ future involvement in Israel advocacy groups, Jewish student organizations, and their additional trips to Israel. The program expects to increase the number of high schools involved in the near future. 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.
University of Miami School of Education, Holocaust Through Film and Literature course, Coral Gables
Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Ph.D., was the instructor for the course Holocaust Through Film and Literature, offered to undergraduate students at the University of Miami in spring 2006. The purpose of the course was to provide a framework for studying and teaching the Holocaust through film and literature, along with the historical knowledge essential to that endeavor. According to the course description, “students will encounter the devastating effects of a social and political movement that allows racism and prejudice to produce the very basest of human behavior.” The texts and films were supplemented by accounts of Holocaust survivors and a trip to the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach.
Jewish Museum of Florida, museum website, Miami Beach
Targum Shlishi is supporting a redesign of the museum’s website, which was originally designed more than ten years ago and was difficult to navigate. The redesign, currently in progress, is intended to make the site more sophisticated and user-friendly. The Jewish Museum of Florida opened to the public in 1995. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the material evidence of the Florida Jewish experience from 1763 to the present. It is the first museum in the country to document the history of an ethnic group within a state, and Florida is the first state to have a museum chronicling its Jewish history.