Sunday, June 7, 2020
The Birmingham Jewish Federation has awarded seven Greatest Need grants to local community organizations.
BJF Awards Greatest Need Grants
The Birmingham Jewish Federation has awarded seven Greatest Need Grants from the 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Relief Campaign totaling $75,437.

Recipients of the grants are:
  • Birmingham Holocaust Education Center
  • Chabad of Alabama
  • Collat Jewish Family Services
  • Knesseth Israel Congregation
  • Levite Jewish Community Center
  • N.E. Miles Jewish Day School
  • Temple Beth-El

The grants were awarded to organizations that provided needed services to the Jewish and broader Birmingham population as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monies awarded will be used for counseling services, financial assistance for food, rent, utilities and prescriptions, daily food services, PPE supplies, enhanced programming for young children and older adults shut in and affected by the virus. Additionally, monies will go to institutional preservation, expanding Jewish outreach and services, and technology support for additional fundraising initiatives.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Campaign launched in March and has raised more than $150,000 to date. As part of the campaign, donors were able to direct their funds to Birmingham Jewish agencies, the United Way of Central Alabama and the Greatest Need Fund. These directed gifts are as follows: Collat Jewish Family Services $14,412, Greatest Needs (as awarded above) $75,437, Israel World Jewry Bureau $500, Levite Jewish Community Center $19,277, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School $4,446 and the United Way of Central Alabama $36,244.

The Greatest Need allocation committee was chaired by Steven Corenblum and Carlie Stein Somerville.
"You may have never needed CJFS before. In fact, you may have been a volunteer or a donor. You have been here for us. We want to be here for you."
Affirming Our Roots: Jewish Financial Assistance Available Through CJFS
Before there was a Collat Jewish Family Services, the Birmingham Jewish community had a special group of mensches who ensured that when someone lost a job or a family breadwinner passed away, no one went hungry or lost their home. Though I know it was a larger network, I have been privileged in my career to learn from three of them—Bubba Friedman and Sidney Ziff, of blessed memory, and Fred Friedman.

As a young social worker at what was then Jewish Family Services of Birmingham, I learned from those three how they quietly reached out and gathered funds to assist; the guiding principle of their tzedakah was preserving the pride and dignity of those receiving aid. Today, with the instability and uncertainty brought about by COVID-19, I am reminded of their generous hearts and wisdom.

Now is the time to take the opportunity to teach your child about tikkun olam!
PJ Library Presents: Resources for Talking with Kids About Racism
Repairing the world,  tikkun olam , starts at home. Right now, even if it feels uncomfortable, it's important for families to talk about race and racism together. The following resources offer starting points for parents, educators, and caregivers about how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children. Since there is such a wealth of information available online, the PJ Library team has curated a selection for parents to get started with these discussions at home. This post is by no means an exhaustive list, and PJ Library will continue to update it as well as share pertinent posts, videos, and book lists on their Facebook page .

In this photo from the Jewish Agency, Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog greet 119 new immigrants from Ethiopia at Ben Gurion Airoport, May 21, 2020. (Shlomi Amsalem)
119 Immigrants from Ethiopia Arrive in Israel
The Times of Israel recently featured a story about how immigration to Israel has not stopped during the pandemic.

"A plane carrying 119 immigrants from Ethiopia landed in Israel on Thursday, as the country marked the annual memorial day for Ethiopian Jews who died en route to the Jewish state.

The immigrants were greeted by the new Immigration Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, the first female Ethiopian-born minister in Israel’s history, and Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog."

This is your opportunity to join forces and make a difference where it is needed most. Sign up to join IsraAID’s relief efforts on the ground.
Do you have family or friends that live in California, New York or New Jersey who want to help make a difference?
IsraAID, which receives funds through the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s IWJB (Israel World Jewry Bureau), is looking for volunteers to help support warehouse distributions for communities heavily affected by COVID-19. If you have family or friends who live in California, New York or New Jersey, and you think they would be interested in making a difference, please share the link below:

Community Programs & Announcements

Unorthodox : The Inside Scoop
Sunday, June 7 at 7:00 pm via Zoom. Unorthodox is a popular Netflix show that took the world by storm and left many with unanswered questions about dating, relationships, marriage and intimacy within the Orthodox community.  What is the truth on these personal and sensitive topics? Is the depiction accurate and authentic? Chabad of Alabama will host Mrs. Miriam Lipskier, co-director of the Chabad Student Center at Emory University, an international lecturer and dynamic educator, for a candid and enlightening evening of discussion centered around your questions. There is no fee but registration is required. Register here

Virtual CARES Support Group
Mondays at 1:30 pm and Thursdays at 7:30 pm via Zoom. To help dementia caregivers cope with stress, Collat Jewish Family Services CARES is now offering its Virtual Support Group twice weekly. Meetings are offered via Zoom and are free and open to all. To register and receive the Zoom link, email .

Fresh Baked Challah Pickup
Chabad of Alabama has weekly curbside challah pickups from 12:00-3:00 pm. Challahs are first come, first serve and can be reserved by emailing Chabad or sending your payment for your challah via Venmo. Challahs are $5 each.

Virtual Counseling Available
If you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety, depression or simply under unusual stress, virtual counseling is available from Collat Jewish Family Services for people of every age, religion and income level. Services are offered on a sliding scale and may be covered by Medicare and/or insurance. To learn more, email or call (205) 879.3438.

AIPAC Birmingham Virtual Roundtable with Labriah Lee Holt
Wednesday, June 24 at 12:00 pm. AIPAC invites you to participate in a Virtual Roundtable featuring AIPAC’s National Outreach Director, African American Constituency, Labriah Lee Holt. Labriah will reveal AIPAC’s recent work with the African American constituency and answer your questions about broadening the pro-Israel movement. For more information or help with registering please contact Deryn Sousa at or (202) 271-5388.
Support our Local Agencies and Synagogues with Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile, a website operated by Amazon lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Please visit: If you have an existing account, you use the same account on AmazonSmile. All of our Birmingham agencies and synagogues are listed on Amazon Smile and you may choose one of them as the beneficiary of your purchases.