Federation awards 7 Philip L. Holstein community program grants

By Judith L. Stander

The Jewish Federation of Central New York announced that seven grant applications to the Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund were approved for funding by Federation’s Board of Directors at a January 11 meeting.

The recommendations were presented by the Allocations Committee, its chair, Mark Field, and members Michael Balanoff, Marc Beckman, Adam Fumarola, Mickey Lebowitz, Todd Pinsky, Cheryl Schotz, Ruth Stein, David Temes, Steve Volinsky and Ellen Weinstein. The total amount approved for funding for this cycle of program grants totaled $34,550.

Each of these programs adds a new or expanded component to the community’s Jewish life, heritage and culture. Listed alphabetically, the grants were awarded to:

Hillel at Syracuse University Israel fest – $7,500

Hillel at Syracuse University will celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday with an event on the SU Quad featuring several stations and activities with Israeli food, technology, experiential education about Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron, and Israeli music and visual art projects. The project is designed to meet a mission goal of Hillel and parallels mission goals of Federation which are designed to “enrich the lives of Jews in Central New York. This highly visible celebration of Israeli culture will include foods, a replica of the KOTEL (the Western Wall in Jerusalem), virtual goggles to “take” people to Israeli cities and observe the tie-dying custom of Israel-themed Syracuse t-shirts. Organizers hope that this will also provide an opportunity for SU students to feel safe celebrating Israel on campus.

Hillel at Syracuse University Community Passover – $1,500

Hillel at Syracuse University, in partnership with Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Temple Adath Yeshurun, Temple Concord and the Syracuse Hebrew Day School, proposes a community Passover meal at Hillel’s kosher dining hall during Passover. The inclusion of members of the greater Jewish community along with representation from the Jewish students on SU campus would strengthen the bonds with each other. Both Federation and Hillel have similar mission goals to strengthen the relationships between students and community members. The Hillel dining hall is the only source of kosher Passover dining on campus and it is often filled with students and faculty sharing the season’s traditions. Organizers hope that this dining experience will be extended to include the community around the campus and will be offered at an affordable price, with convenient, affordable parking accommodations.

Jewish Community Center of Syracuse – $4,050

A special series of three family events for the community will be offered at no charge to participants. Each has been designed to provide a seamless transition from one program to another as children in the family age upward and take their families along with them. Funding includes expenses such as rental of equipment, upgrading existing games and materials and kosher foods.

A pajama movie day will utilize the big screen facilities in the JCC auditorium. Children will be encouraged to come in their pajamas and a theme will be planned to corollate with the movie. A component from the PJ Library will be included.

A winter wonderland on a Sunday afternoon will include weather-appropriate outdoor and indoor activities for all age groups to enjoy together.

The JCC’s annual Purim Carnival is the place to go as a community site for all local Jewish organizations to gather to celebrate together. One of the largest community gatherings to celebrate a Jewish holiday, it includes special games, activities, and foods.

Jewish Home of Central New York – $5,000

Menorah Park of Central New York will provide specially designed programs to enable individuals with developmental disabilities to become more physically and socially active in society. Organizers hope that these programs will work toward overcoming feelings of isolation, frustration and sadness and focus on improving quality of life and family. The programs will allow freedom of choice and hopefully, give purpose and meaning to life through activity and involvement.

The newly-opened Center for Healthy Living incudes a bistro, Arts and Minds Community Room, movie theater and computer lab. It will be the gateway for these programs, which also include nutritional counseling, fitness programs and other activities to help reach the primary goal of integration of these individuals into the community, sustaining or improving quality of individual experiences and networking with providers with the flexibility to meet individual needs for all age groups.

Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies – $4,000

To promote Jewish continuity, identity and culture, a special school-wide Passover seder will be led by students of the Haggadah elective class. They will study seder in the fall semester and then lead a spring seder designed to demonstrate their working knowledge and ability to share their new perspectives with their school community.

This will be a full seder experience with kosher foods catered by The Oaks. In attendance will be the students who are planning and executing the seder, along with 75 or more students and adults in attendance who will also be able to influence other seders, which they will attend or lead. A common edition of the Haggadah will be purchased so everyone will experience the same seder and will be able to identify similarities and differences from other seders they attend.

Syracuse Hebrew Day School – $5,000

To move ahead in promoting the quality of its presence as a Jewish day school in Central New York, the SHDS Board feels a need for consultations between a market professional and the current admissions director, along with the SHDS social media and marketing content creator. The goal will be to focus staff on current best practices in the areas of advertising and social media, content marketing and branding. If the cost of these consultations exceeds the grant, a private donor has pledged funds to ensure the project’s success.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut Community Celebration – $7,500

The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center and partner organizations, including Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord, along with the Rabbinical Council of Syracuse, Chabad House, Syracuse Hebrew Day School, Rabbi Jacob Epstein School of Jewish Studies, Beit Tikvah Residence, Hillel, Menorah Park and The Oaks are planning a community SIMCHA event to celebrate Israel’s 70th year of independence.

The celebration will be held on Thursday, April 19 at Temple Adath Yeshurun and will include a special performance by the Symphoria Orchestra, along with its pops chorus. Special guest conductor Cantor Joseph Ness will conduct instrumental and vocal music from his original score.

Among the offerings will be activities for children and adults, including an Israeli-style SHUK, a free gourmet-style Israeli supper, games and a kosher wine sale.

The applications for Federation funding through the Philip L. Holstein Community Program Fund must meet one or more of these community priorities:

  • Improving the quality of life for our seniors and aging population
  • Creating a welcoming community for young people and their families
  • Improving community communication
  • Outreach to the unaffiliated and intermarried
  • Strengthening formal and informal Jewish education