September 4, 2020
15 Elul 5780
Dear Friends:
Shabbat Shalom!
I want to thank all of you who tuned in last weekend for The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s 2020 Annual Meeting. If you missed it, you can view by clicking here. A hearty congratulations to our honorees and a special thank you to all of our participants.

Tomorrow marks my six-month anniversary in Birmingham. Little did I know that when driving south on I-65 to our new home that the world would change so drastically in the days to come. Over the last six months we have all faced the challenges of a new reality. COVID, civil unrest and now political mud slinging are our trials of the day. During the 14-hour drive from Omaha I was planning my activities for the first six months on the job. I would arrive and spend my time making house visits, hosting shabbat dinners and getting to know each of you. However, life happens and we have to pivot.

Together as a community we have turned at such speed it's almost like the life we knew six months ago never really existed. But pivoting isn’t all that bad, it has shown us our strength as individuals and as a community.

Six months ago, half of us had never heard of zoom, yet today is a primary form of communication for all us and makes our separation more bearable. Six months ago, we barely knew our neighbors and now we sit on our porches and wave hello each day. Six months ago, we didn’t know how we would celebrate the impending Passover and now we have solid plans on how to make Rosh Hashana meaningful. Six months ago, I didn’t know you and you didn’t know me. It’s amazing – while the pandemic has taken away our comfortable lives, it has given us so much, showing us as humans and as Jews how resilient we are as a community, but this is nothing new. For thousands of years, Jews and human-kind have faced trials and tribulations. From the exodus of Egypt to the dark days of WWII, Jews have always pivoted and how AMAZING is it that we, you and I, are here alive approaching 5781? Remarkable, no?

None of us know what the next six months will look like.  None of you have been to my house for Shabbat but I do feel that we know each other on a deeper level and despite my best laid plans something even better emerged. Our relationships with each other have strengthened and I feel that we know each other on a deeper level. I am still making my way down lists and trying to zoom or socially distance visit as much as I can with each of you and we talk on the phone as well. I want to say thank you. Thank you for making time for me in the middle of chaos. Thank you for allowing me to zoom into your homes and talk about plans and dreams. Thank you for your participation in the Federation’s programming and your generosity to our campaign. Thank you in short for being exactly what I knew you all to be, before I even knew you – a warm, loving, passion, strong and vibrant Jewish community. A community that has proven no matter what comes our way, we push on and prevail.

The last six months have been an amazing journey. I wake up every morning ready to serve you and I thank you for choosing me to do so. I look forward to the next six months and the six months after that and after that, working with you all to continue to strengthen our community.

Wishing you a restful Shabbat and a week of peace.
From The Birmingham Jewish Foundation
Proud To Be A Partner!

Last Sunday’s BJF Annual Meeting highlighted so many of the great things happening at our Federation. The Birmingham Jewish Foundation is very proud to be a major funding partner for so many of the items mentioned. In addition to helping to underwrite the annual meeting, The Foundation will be the funder of two of the major new programs mentioned—the quarterly women’s philanthropy programs and the new community wide on-line calendar. In addition, the foundation will help as a major funder for the Federation’s upcoming strategic plan, the first in over a decade. The Foundation’s Andrew David Abroms Fund is the Birmingham sponsor of the great PJ Library program you heard about and The Foundation’s Unrestricted Fund makes a grant to the Israel World Jewry Bureau each year.  And all of this in addition to the great support The Foundation gives the Federation Annual campaign. Stay tuned for our annual report coming out this fall to hear about more of our highlights.  
High Holidays at Home:
A PJ Library Family Guide
For the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Making Things Right), many families normally go to synagogue. This year, to stay safe, many are staying home. For this unusual new year, PJ Library is offering you and your family an opportunity to explore ways to connect with the High Holidays at home.

We hope this guide can support your Jewish New Year journey during this year and in the future, as your family continues to grow and celebrate. Let’s begin our new year together!
As COVID-19 continues to affect communities across the globe, access to safe water, hygiene supplies and sanitation infrastructure is more important now than ever.

IsraAID's WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) experts are continuing to create and implement WASH interventions in some of the world's most vulnerable communities. 

Through an IsraAID and Government of Vanuatu project, filtration systems, taps and pipes have been installed; hundreds of community members have been trained in hygiene and sanitation projects and operation and maintenance of the water systems.

The project has prioritized women's engagement and participation, ensuring that all members of the community have the opportunity to contribute and develop their own skills. So far the project has reached 11 villages totaling 1300 people, built 72 tap stands, trained 420 community members in hygiene practices and infrastructure maintenance, and built 7 Rainwater Harvesting and Gravity Fed Water Systems - and the project isn't even finished yet!
To learn more about what it means for the community - watch here now!
The JFNA's Communal Kvell
Federations from across North America will be coming together for a program filled with inspiration, storytelling and entertainment.  

Be inspired by how our Jewish community stepped up during the current crisis, at home and around the world. You and countless others have made this day possible. So what are you waiting for? Register for the event here!
PJ Library has this Sept. and Oct. "In the Bag"
Community Programs
Visit the community calendar for more details!
The Federation and Foundation have been having issues with our post office box. Please send all correspondence to our physical address at 3966 Montclair Road, Birmingham, AL 35213
The Birmingham Jewish Federation