Sunday, January 19, 2020
"I think it is very important to have a group of people with similar backgrounds getting together to participate in activities, especially ones that include our Judaism. " - Kendal Jaffe
BJF Welcomes New YBIB Coordinator
The BJF has recently hired Kendal Jaffe to coordinate You Belong in Birmingham (YBIB) programming. Below Kendal writes about what inspired her to get involved.
Growing up in Birmingham, I was constantly exposed to our tight knit Jewish community and this feeling of belonging was definitely a factor when I was deciding about where to live after college. When I moved back home, I was excited to learn about our community's young Jewish professionals group, You Belong in Birmingham, which was geared towards people my age forming meaningful Jewish connections while attending social functions. As time went on and the group started to have fewer events, my sister and I realized that we were missing out on connecting with the Jewish people in our age group.
We reached out to The BJF and were given the opportunity to help expand YBIB. In turn, I am now managing YBIB, and have been able to create and facilitate several successful programs with many more being planned for the future. Most of the programs that I have already planned, as well as those I am planning for in the future, have some aspect of Judaism while still having a large social aspect. I hope to continue growing this organization and helping the young Jewish professionals of Birmingham connect with our city and realize the full potential that the Birmingham Jewish community has to offer. 

The YBIB program is being partially underwritten by a grant from The Birmingham Jewish Foundation’s Cy Steiner Fund.

The presentation of this concert documentary will coincide with the announcement of two new initiatives: the Birmingham Human Rights Coalition and the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund.
Dreams of Hope Documentary Premiere
The BJF was a proud sponsor in bringing the Violins of Hope to Birmingham in the Spring of 2018. The kickoff event, entitled Dreams of Hope, was held at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on April 11, and welcomed world-renowned Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein, founder of Violins of Hope, and his family to our city.

UAB Medicine and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham invite you to the attend the National PBS Broadcast Premiere of  Dreams of Hope: Birmingham's Historic 16th Street Baptist Church Welcomes Violins of Hope , Thursday, February 6 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets are free, but required.

Immediately following the screening of  Dreams of Hope , a panel discussion with audience participation will be moderated by Dr. Tina Reuter, Director, UAB Institute for Human Rights.

The deadline for submitting BJF Board of Director nominations is January 29.
BJF Board Nominations Open
Nominations are being sought for The Birmingham Jewish Federation's Board of Directors. As part of this process, The BJF invites community members to suggest names for our Nominating Committee to consider.
For criteria and information on how to nominate, please contact BJF staff member Florina Newcomb at (205) 803-1521 or . Community members are welcome to nominate themselves. The deadline for submitting nominations is January 29.
The Birmingham Jewish Federation Board is comprised of a cross-section of community volunteers who are committed to the work of the Federation and support its fundraising efforts. The board hears reports, oversees activities and policies of the BJF, supports all fundraising initiatives, and makes decisions regarding the allocation of funds. Hilary Gewant, Immediate Past President of the BJF, is chair of the Nominating Committee.
The overall goal of the Jaffa Institute is to help children break out of the multi-generational cycle of poverty and who will help build the modern State of Israel, rather than need to take from it.
Jaffa Institute to visit BJF
The Birmingham Jewish Federation and Foundation invite our community to hear from one of our overseas organizations that is supported through the Israel-World Jewry Bureau (IWJB). IWJB is a committee of the Birmingham Jewish Federation that vets overseas organizations and allocates Annual Campaign funds as well as monies granted from The Birmingham Jewish Foundation, to deserving programs . This ensures that everyone who contributes to the Annual Campaign can feel good about helping not just our local Jewish community, but also overseas Jewish organizations.

Yechiel Marcus with the Jaffa Institute will be speaking on Wednesday, February 5 at 8:00am in the LJCC Board Room. 

The Jaffa Institute is a model of cooperation between observant and non-observant Israelis, all working together for the benefit of children growing up under the most difficult circumstances. Serving children as well as isolated elderly and Holocaust survivors in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv, the Jaffa Institute serves 4,500 individuals each year - Jewish, Christian, and Arab. Its programs include afternoon educational enrichment centers, residential facilities for children and teenagers who have been removed from their homes by the courts, a parent-child center, food distribution centers and more.

Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, is the leading food rescue organization in Israel.
Leket Israel Thankful for BJF
Leket Israel recently expressed gratitude to The BJF for support of its food rescue activities benefiting Israelis in need. The BJF Annual Campaign and The Birmingham Jewish Foundation donate funds to Leket through the Israel World Jewry Bureau (IWJB).

In 2019 Leket Israel: 
  1. Rescued or grew 17,000 tons (37.4 million lbs) of healthy food for redistribution to 200 non-profit partners serving Israelis in need.
  2. Opened a hot meal distribution hub in the Haifa region, the second in northern Israel.
  3. Recruited staff of Israeli corporations to renovate the facilities of non-profit partners.

In 2020, Leket Israel plans to increase their food rescue output and to educate thousands of young Israelis about the problems of food waste and the environment with a youth ambassador program. This is, in part, thanks to the continued support of donors to The Birmingham Jewish Federation Annual Campaign and The Birmingham Jewish Foundation.

Upcoming Community Events

Little Scientist STEAM Series "Sensory Silliness"
Sunday, January 26th from 10:00-11:00 am at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. We’ll be focusing on our sense of touch as we conduct science experiments and become little engineers. Learn more

A Singing Shabbaton: Building a Community of Music
January 23-25 at Temple Beth-El. Music is the heart of our prayer service at Temple Beth-El. This special Shabbaton weekend, designed for the entire Birmingham Jewish community, focuses on renewing our experiences of synagogue through participation in song and is facilitated by Music & Youth Director Sarah Metzger. Make new friends, discover your hidden potential, and engage your mind and heart during this spirited weekend of programming. All are welcome. Learn more

Judaism's Gift to the World
A new 6-week course given by Rabbi Yossi Friedman is about how major Jewish ideas evolved into universal values: The Gift of Social Responsibility, The Gift of Guiding Purpose, The Gift of Respect for Life, The Gift of Equality and Individuality, The Gift of Work-Life Balance, and The Gift of Escaping the Cycle. Six Wednesdays at 7:00- 8:30 pm starting January 29, 2020 or six Thursdays at 11:30 AM-1:00 PM starting January 30, 2020. $89 per person (textbook included). Couples paying together take half off second tuition.

Community Mental Health Shabbat
January 31-February 2, Join the congregation of your choice during a community-wide focus on mental health. Programs at Temple Beth-El, Temple Emanu-El, Chabad, and Knesseth Israel are sponsored by Collat Jewish Family Services and the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Learn more

Tu B'Shevat DIY Terrariums
Thursday, February 6 from 6-7:30 PM at the LJCC. $18 per person, Pre-registration is required by February 1st. Celebrate Tu B'Shevat, the new year of trees, and get crafty! We will create our own succulent terrarium and taste the seven species of Israel. These are the seven foods the Torah describes as abundant throughout Israel and are traditionally eaten on Tu B'Shevat. Childcare will be available. Email Priscilla Denard at to sign up for childcare. Register online

Birmingham Holocaust Education Center Cabaret
Saturday, February 8, 7:30 pm at Virginia Samford Theatre. Cabaret , benefiting the BHEC. Tickets are $100. To purchase, click here and select "Get Tickets", then scroll to special BHEC event listed. The BHEC is grateful for this partnership with VST and having been given the opportunity to share Holocaust educational information printed in the programs for each showing of Cabaret .

Birmingham Hadassah Book Launch
Sunday, February 9 at 1:00pm at Thank You Books, 5502 Crestwood Blvd. Join Birmingham Hadassah for a book launch! Inspiring, accomplished, and bestselling author Zoe Fishman will be discussing themes such as family, grief, and addiction as they are portrayed in her latest novel "Invisible as Air." The event will be held at Birmingham's newest independent bookstore Thank You Books. Suggested donation: $18. Contact Jennifer Cordover with questions