Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Congrats to 10 Young Pros Chosen for the 2011 Rubin Israel Trip

This was originally posted at Jewishinstlouis.org, but it is great news for area young adults:

Hilary Bair, Hilary Cedergreen, Jason Cohen, Vadi Dodge, Stephen Lieberman, Lisa Nixon, Cheryl Perry, Jennifer Scissors, Doug Snyder, Lisa Suffian will soon be taking the trip of a lifetime to Israel -- for the first time. They are the 10 young professionals chosen for the 2011 Rubin Israel Experience which is from Sunday, Oct. 30, through Wednesday, Nov. 9. The trip is being offered by Jewish Federation of St. Louis and underwritten by philanthropists Ron and Pam Rubin.

This is the 4th Rubin Israel Experience. Forty young adults have been chosen to participate in this experience since it was launched in 2008. The Rubins created the unique trip for St. Louis Jews between the ages of 27-40. The purpose is to address one of the most important issues facing the Jewish community – how to engage young Jewish adults, forge connections that build community and cultivate young leadership. This is the first and only program of its type in the country for this age group.

The group will meet and connect with Israelis. They will learn about the country from the source – soldiers, VIPS, men and women on the street. The itinerary will include an opportunity to see most of the country and visit the historic spots -- Massada, the Dead Sea, sacred sites in Jerusalem. One of the trip’s highlights is time in St. Louis Partnership 2000 sister-city region Yokneam-Megiddo.

“The Rubin Israel Experience is a unique way for a first-timer to dig below the surface of Israeli society, to make a personal connection with the land and to build relationships with not only each other, but with everyday Israelis,” said Margo Newman, Jewish Federation development professional who staffs the Rubin Israel Experience. “The participants not only get a strong overview of the country, they get a good look at what the North American Jewish community funds through visits to JDC and JAFI sites and to St. Louis’ sister-city to really understand how their gifts make a difference.”

It is the goal of the Rubin family to recruit young professionals for these trips to continue to inspire a new generation of strong St. Louis Jewish community leaders. “Part of the mission is to strengthen Jewish pride and identity in each of the participants and have them bring this back with them and spread their stories to the community. It is an initial step in building future community leaders and in five to 10 years, many of these young adults will move into positions of top leadership in our community,” said Pam Rubin.

During the 10-day trip, participants in the Rubin Israel Experience will blog on www.JewishinStLouis.org with personal stories, photos, video and more.

Jewish Federation of St. Louis is the Jewish community’s central philanthropic, planning and community-building organization. Founded in 1901, it is one of the region’s most respected and effective nonprofit organizations. Federation is committed to the ongoing development and enhancement of a thriving Jewish community through a family of more than 50 local, national and international agencies, programs, services and innovative projects. Federation’s annual Community Campaign and ongoing Planned Giving opportunities raise funds necessary to provide services to engage both young families with children and young adults, support Jewish learning, educate and advocate for a strong Israel and safe Jewish world, and provide a safety net for vulnerable Jews. Find out more at www.JewishinStLouis.org/JFed. Jewish Federation is a proud member of the United Way.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

On the Importance of Partnerships

The Jewish communal world, which started to bring together and find synergies amongst the many Jewish non profit agencies often has a hard time collaborating with new comers. Organizations have staked out their funders, their niche, and working with others might be seen as acknowledging that they are less than perfect. Sure, we've covered this before, but it is worth repeating, particularly in regards to some new developments.

Good partnerships allow organizations to supplement their effectiveness by taking advantage of the strengths of one another.

Recently, Next Dor and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis have begun testing a partnership with Birthright Israel NEXT. Birthright NEXT has a presence in a number of major American cities, with staff and program budgets that have proved effective in reaching out to past Birthright participants and helping them engage in Jewish life and community. In cities like St. Louis, NEXT has not had the staff to support its program, and has been looking for partnerships to extend its impact.

Locally, the Jewish Federation has made young adult engagement a top priority and has put money behind it by funding a position to do Birthright follow-up. Next Dor, as a local conduit for young adults and activities is always looking to expend the number of people connected to it.

As you can see, there is a lot to work with.

One of the tangible results is this page, on Birthright NEXT's site, listing young adult focused events in St. Louis.

By focusing on what each organization brings to the table, each organization is able to be more effective with minimum additional spend.

Partnerships like this will be crucial to the next chapter in the Jewish communal world in which dollars are tighter, resources are stretched, and collaboration is essential Read More......