May 22, 2015  |  4 Sivan 5775

Yesterday we lowered our flags in tribute to police officer Kerrie Orozco.  Her death has generated a great deal of compassion, awareness, and support in our community and from around the world.  During Omaha Gives! the Omaha Police Foundation experienced an incredible out pouring of support. I have been asked by many people in our community how to reach out and show support. The Jewish Federation of Omaha has already reached out to the Omaha Police Department to express our condolences and support. Here are a few places to show your support:
  • The Officer Kerrie Orozco Family Fund is accepting donations at both locations of the Police Federal Credit Union: 3003 S. 82nd Ave. in Omaha and 10791 S. 72nd St. in Papillion.
  • Donations can be made online to the Omaha Police Foundation at
  • If you were planning to donate food, Omaha police ask that those donations to go to homeless shelters in honor of Orozco.
  • The Sarpy County Sheriff's Office is accepting diapers, baby supplies and gift cards at 8335 Platteview Road in Papillion.
As we enter into the dual holiday weekend of Shavuot and Memorial Day it is an opportune time to reflect on the role and impact we have in both the Jewish community and in Omaha.

Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach,

Alan Potash
Jewish Federation Annual Meeting and Awards Night
June 1  |  7:00 p.m.  |  JCC Theater
The entire community is invited to join us June 1 when Board President Jay Noddle will convene the Federation's Annual meeting. In addition to community remarks, Noddle will recognize the outstanding service of the 2014-15 Board of Directors and install the 2015-2016 Board. 

We are grateful to "retiring" Jewish Press President and JFO Board member Andy Ruback for his many years of service, guidance and wisdom. New Board members include: Eric Dunning, Jason Epstein, Bruce Goldberg, Dana Kaufman, and Scott Meyerson.

Noddle and CEO Alan Potash will also honor this year's Federation award winners.

JFO Humanitarian of the Year Award
Ted Seldin and Family       

Phil and Terri Schrager Spirit of Federation Award

Phil and Nancy Wolf

Bruce Fellman Memorial Young Leadership
Jason Epstein
Lois Jeanne Schrager Memorial Young Leadership  
 Dana Kaufman

Robert and Ellen Gordman Jewish Teen Leadership Award
Elissa Weiner and Max Gendler     

Community Service Awards
* Fabric of Survival
* Typecast Recast
* Omaha Jewish Reunion

Jody and Neal Malashock Award for Professional Excellence
 Rabbi Steven Abraham

Volunteers of the Year:
* JFO - Bruce Friedlander
* CJE - Patty Nogg
* IHE - Jill Sideris
* JCC - Stacey Atlas
* ADL - Roberta Deremer
* JSS - Deborah Platt (RBJH), Barton Arnold (JFS), Jim Wax (JSO)
* The Jewish Press - Silvia Rothman
Omaha Gives and Gives!
May 20 was the 4th Annual Omaha Gives, the city's 24 hour charitable challenge presented by the Omaha Community Foundation.  The Jewish Federation of Omaha participated, along with the ADL, the Institute for Holocaust Education, Friedel Jewish Academy, the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society, The National Council of Jewish Women, Temple Israel, Beth El Synagogue, Chabad and Beth Israel Synagogue for a combined total of $269,249 dollars raised!
The Federation engaged and celebrated with donors by setting up donation stations across campus and promoting social interaction through Facebook and Twitter. Donors posted selfies with "I gave to the Jewish Federation of Omaha! #OmahaGives #GiveJFO on their social media profiles.

Top photo: Jack and Jack
Bottom photo: Ezra and Adeev Potash
Senior Development Director Steve Levinger teased donors on Wednesday, announcing a "surprise" mystery tweeter. By Thursday morning, followers learned the mystery was Omaha native Jack Gilinsky, tweeting a request to "support his homies" and matching the first 50 $10 donations. Later in the day Gilinsky tweeted, "Support the ADL in Omaha. Anti-bullying education is on point," and offered to match gifts to the ADL to $500. After lunch, Ezra and Adeev Potash arrived on campus to perform live on the App Periscope, to further the social media conversation.  

So here's our shout out to Jack Gilinsky and Ezra and Adeev Potash: Thank you for your support of Jewish Omaha!
BBYO Senior Send-off
 It was a beautiful night on Tuesday May 12, when BBYO said farewell to its senior members at its annual outdoor barbeque at the JCC pavilion. We wish them all the best of luck!  Headed off to college in the fall are: 

(L to R)
Jackie Wax - University of Wisconsin
Max Gendler - University of Kansas
Jake Baron - University of Michigan
Jessica Shandell - University of Kansas
Elissa Weiner - University of Nebraska Omaha
Max Polack - University of Nebraska Lincoln
JCC's Summer of Awesomeness enhanced with mini-library
Thanks to a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, JCC summer camp is receiving complimentary mini-sets of PJ Library books, CDs, posters and Tzedakah bozes as part of the "PJ Library Goes to JCC Day Camp" program. This opportunity creates an added layer of connection for campers to Jewish life, holidays and values. The JCC Summer of Awesomeness was one of only 50 summer camps chosen and it is expected these materials will enhance drama, arts and crafts and exploratory programming at camp this summer.
Holocaust Education through Art
More than 800 middle-school students participated in IHE's Art and the Holocaust program and enjoyed a public reception of their work on May 14 in the JCC Gallery.
Community's Yachad group
at Stinson Park
It began in the rain but those in attendance crowded onto the stage under cover and danced to the upbeat music for one hour.
Jewish Family Service and the OllieWebb Center, Inc.have partnered to provide a collaborative fitness program for members of Yachad, the community's group of adults with developmental disabilities. Members participated last Sunday at "Get Fit in the Park" and enjoyed the Farmer's Market.   

The JFO/JFS's Yachad program was awarded a $5,000 Quality of Life grant earlier this year by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation for health and wellness programming.

We are grateful to the MDRT Foundation and Jim Farber, grant sponsor and long-time JFS supporter, for providing this incredible opportunity to our Yachad members. JFS supports Yachad beyond social networks to include respite services (when grant dollars are available) and assistance with Medicaid/Medicare and social service related issues.
Omaha Teen Trip to Israel
Cultivate a personal relationship with the people, land and history of Israel. ALL Jewish Omaha teens in 11th & 12th grade* are invited to come along for this trip of a lifetime! The program will include round-trip airfare, accommodations, meals, activities and touring. Registration is now open! Contact your synagogue clergy. The trip will be heavily subsidized, so everyone can go!

*Must be in 11th or 12th grade as of the fall of 2015. All participants must be registered for a synagogue religious school program and meet attendance requirements.
Success at B'nai B'rith Charity Sports Banquet
UNL head football coach Mike Riley
and Phil Wolf
600 sports enthusiasts gathered for a great cause at the annual B'nai B'rith event.  Funds raised through partnerships and ticket sales help make Jewish life more affordable for members of our community.

The Henry Monsky Lodge of B'nai B'rith also honored a graduating male and female high school student, who shared a $4000 scholarship provided by the Adam Jacobs Memorial Tribute Scholarship Fund of B'nai B'rith.

Community partners included the Jewish Federation of Omaha, the Cornerstone Scholarship Fund, BBYO, Beth El, Beth Israel and Temple Israel Synagogues.
Anti-Semitism Forum
Photo by Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90
Jerusalem was the site for the 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, hosted by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year's meeting, described by attendees as both "vital" and "intense",  is the premier bi-annual gathering for assessing the state of anti-Semitism globally and formulating effective societal and governmental responses. The Forum is an important meeting place for a current assessment and exchange of ideas for combatting global anti- Semitism.
Ambassador Gideon Bachar, Director of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Remembrance at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the conference stated, "anti-Semitism is an international problem, not just a Jewish problem, and is a human-rights issue."

Listen to Ambassador Bachar via podcast
Jerusalem Post commentary
After second Quake, Jewish aid to Nepal continues
JEWISH COALITION FOR DISASTER RELIEF, a consortium of 49 Jewish organizations including Federations, allocated $25,000 to Chabad of Nepal. In the wake of two devastating earthquakes, the Chabad house has become a refuge for hundreds of stranded Israeli tourists, and its volunteers are working to help thousands of Nepali survivors meet their basic needs.

FEDERATIONS' NEPAL RELIEF FUND has raised just over $800,000 to help survivors of the two devastating earthquakes. Federations' partners are working around the clock to help the 17,000 injured victims and 600,000 homeless families in one of the world's poorest countries.
JFNA update on Ukraine
UKRANIAN JEWS continue to relocate to Israel, with aliyah numbers increasing nearly 100% this year. Since March 2014, Federations have raised $5 million to help Jews caught in the conflict in Ukraine. But 9,000 people, who have either been displaced or are unable to leave their homes, still depend on Federations' support.
Learn more
A Birthright Summer thanks
to the JFO
The concept behind Birthright, which provides a free trip to Israel for Jewish adults ages 18-26, is that it is our "birth right" to be able to see and experience the land of Israel first hand. With funding from The Jewish Federation of Omaha and others, 28,000 young Jews will be experiencing their "birth right" this summer, according to a report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Birthright has grown tremendously over the past 14 years; allowing young Jews to experience Israel, make lasting connections and impressions and form a love for Israel.  Prior to 2000, only 1,500 Jewish American young adults visited Israel each year, according to Taglit-Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark.

"In our first year, we brought 9,000-plus participants. Today, we have increased that number to nearly 45,000 participants annually from around the world," Mark said.
Obama celebrates Jewish heritage at D.C. synagogue today.
President Barack Obama will address Washington DC congregation, Adas Israel, to mark Jewish American Heritage Month; recognizing contributions of Jewish Americans to American society and culture. #JAHM
What we're reading and watching
Israel and Nepal have released a joint stamp that features the highest and lowest places on the planet - Mount Everest and the Dead Sea. (BBC News)
Read news report

It's Spring! In a nod to America's pastime, here's list of Baseball's Jewish home run kings (Tablet)
Read news report

Illinois Passes anti-BDS Law (Tablet)
Read news report

Michael Kotzin, Chicago Jewish United Fund senior counselor to the president, has released a three-part blog series for the Jewish Book Council entitled "Radical Islamism's War Against the Jews: Who Cares?"
Read blog

What's next for Britain's Jews? A five-part series from Tablet Magazine 
Read news report

Marco Rubio: No 2-state solution today (JTA)
Read news report

We're not as White as we Used to be
--- And 9 other new facts from Pew (JTA)
Read news report

Welcome to Jewish Omaha, an on-line community resource from the Jewish Federation of Omaha covering local events and programs, global Jewish perspectives and news links of interest to our community members, donors, supporters and friends. Sign up for bi-monthly delivery!
Upcoming Events


Beauty & The Beast, Jr.
May 28  |  7pm
May 31  |  2pm & 5pm
Tickets on sale May 4
Federation Annual Meeting
and Awards Night
June 1  |  7pm
JCC Theater

B 'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
AIPAC Regional Director
Craig Gardenswartz
guest speaker
June 3  |  12pm
RBJH Auditorium

BBYO Council Campout
June 4-5

Life & Legacy Community Celebration
June 11  |  6:30pm

Jewish Federation of North America General Assembly 2015
November 8-10
Washington, D.C.
New to Jewish Omaha?
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Contact Louri Sullivan to find out about all the programs and services we offer. Become a part of one of the most vibrant and active Jewish communities in the country. 

Louri Sullivan
Director of Community
Impact & Special Projects
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