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WINTER 2020-2021 | CHOREF 5781


Engaging Community During COVID PAGE 6


OUR PURPOSE An inclusive and vibrant community PAGE 3

Twin Cities Jewish Population Study PAGE 6

Celebrate Shevat with Keshet Berlinsky Edry, Shlicha PAGE 7

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Community creates light and hope Dear Friends,


We hope that you and your family enjoyed a Fl happy Hanukkah. Its au mC message of hope and EO rededication is so important now, as we face a surge in COVID-19, ns kP financial uncertainty, extreme political RESIDENT partisanship and racial and economic disparity. It feels like we are living in very dark times. d


This is exemplified by our $1.9 million Annual Campaign that helps rescue vulnerable Jews and provides a range of Jewish educational, cultural and social programs here and in 70 other countries.



In response to COVID-19, we are launching a supplemental Yad B’Yad Campaign to support individuals, families and agencies in our community affected by COVID-19. More than $1 million is necessary to meet COVID-19 related needs. This is in addition to the $1.9 million we Each member of our Jewish community are raising for our Annual Campaign.

Yet we Jews create light and hope. We light the menorah at dusk and place it in a window to is like a Hanukkah candle. While an remind ourselves and individual deed can serve as a light, our To those who already have others that a single light contributed, thank you! For those collective actions are even brighter. makes a difference. We who have not, please consider light an additional candle donating before the end of the year. for the next seven nights so by the eighth night, the Jewish Federations of North America is offering a 50% menorah glows bright. These lights act as a beacon for match of up to $100,000 on all gifts that are in addition all the world to see. to a donor’s usual Annual Campaign contribution. To

Each member of our Jewish community is like a Hanukkah candle. While an individual deed can serve as a light, our collective actions are even brighter. The St. Paul Jewish Federation is the menorah of our community because we bring individual community members together to be that bright beacon in the darkness.

make a gift, contact Susan Lieberman at 651.695.3185 or go to www.jewishstpaul.org/donate. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to the time when we can physically convene again as a community. We wish you all the best in 2021. Be safe and stay well,

Can we talk? Stay in touch with everything happening in Jewish St. Paul. Sign up for our enews today at www.jewishstpaul.org

GET INVOLVED! Let’s talk about how you can use your talents in our community. Connect with us at jewishstpaul@stpaulfed.org

CONNECTIONS is a publication of

the St. Paul Jewish Federation Editor: Julie Swiler Contributors: Michael Stiefel Alperin, Marilyn Ruby Graphic Design: Teri Springer

ON THE COVER: Engaging during COVID, see p. 6. David Fhima leads Challah Bake, students social distancing on Talmud Torah of St. Paul playground, connecting at Sholom, Minnesota Hillel learning fellows, Alex completes Israel Kit art project.

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THIS IS US. The St. Paul Jewish Federation is driven by our belief that when we work together, we make our community a better place for all. This belief is embodied in our new purpose statement:

We believe no Jew should ever feel alone.


We exist to ensure the lasting presence of an inclusive and vibrant Jewish community in St. Paul. We unite people to care for the most vulnerable in St. Paul, Israel and 70 countries worldwide. We provide pathways to engage in Jewish life, and we inspire leadership,


philanthropy and initiatives that deliver impact for our community. Our commitment is to the vitality and financial stability of our community at large. We work alongside individuals, organizations, and synagogues within every facet of Judaism to create a robust Jewish presence in our community. We believe this entails informing our community and mobilizing to meet its needs, maintaining a connection to other Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, and ensuring that all Jews feel welcome and excited to live in St. Paul.





By last March, Minnesota’s substitute teachers found themselves completely out of work due to the pandemic as learning went online. Mark (not his real name) was a full-time substitute teacher who found himself unemployed and could not pay his rent. He turned to Federation partner Jewish Family Service of St. Paul for emergency financial assistance. He received money toward his May rent, which helped him stay in his home until he could receive unemployment benefits.

“RAJMN is meaningful to me because it brings our community together. It’s people who come from Russian Jewish families like mine, so we all have that similarity,” said Sarah Braginsky, a participant in Russian American Jews in Minnesota’s (RAJMN) Teen Fellowship Program. This past year, 30 high school students explored who they are, community and Jewish life. The students interacted with public figures, created holiday events and raised money for Holocaust survivors and war veterans. Participants are inspired to remain active in Jewish life into adulthood.

Recently, eight Twin Cities young adults met to explore their Jewish and giving values through the lens of the Federation’s overseas work and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) global response to COVID-19. This virtual giving circle, sponsored by Federations’ YALA Twin Cities and JDC Entwine, gave members the chance to decide where to send their charitable contributions. The group chose to allocate a gift in support of a lifesaving JDC program that helps elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union.

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seniors receive services so they can continue living in their homes

people in St. Paul connect to Israel through our Israeli shlicha

Twin Cities young adults are inspired to connect to Jewish life

impoverished Jews around the world receive life-saving aid

2020 Annual Campaign Help us address our community’s most critical needs.


You help people like Jack who was in constant pain and didn’t believe anyone could help him. His new case manager from Federation partner Jewish Family Service of St. Paul worked to win his trust. She arranged for personal care assistant services, which provided help with daily living activities. While Jack’s pain has not diminished, he has a more positive outlook on life.

Support the 12 St. Paul Jewish community agencies that rely on Federation to do their important work, as well as our overseas partners that serve Jewish communities in Israel and 70 countries worldwide. Create a vibrant and inclusive Jewish community in St. Paul with opportunities for young families, teens, young adults, professionals and individuals of all ages.


Give today with the envelope here or at jewishstpaul.org/donate. Questions? Cont 4 CONNECTIONS SPFed_Connections_Winter_2020_v5.indd 4

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Please give to the Annual Campaign and the Yad B’Yad Campaign to help our neighbors now when they need us most.




$1 million+


increase in emergency financial assistance requests

increase in demand for kosher meals on wheels

in revenue losses

per week cost for COVID safety measures

Yad B’Yad Campaign for COVID Relief Join the community response to the unexpected, onerous needs that our local agencies face.

THE CHALLENGE Ensure that dramatic increases in needs by vulnerable community members are met, including financial emergencies, food insecurity, mental health crises and more. At the same time, relieve the financial pressures that our Jewish institutions are facing including revenue losses and increased expenses.

You are a lifesaver for the dedicated front-line workers at Sholom, the heroes who go to work each day to care for vulnerable seniors.

THE SOLUTION 100% of the funds raised for COVID relief will support programs that provide emergency financial aid, food assistance, mental and physical health and safety, as well as safety measures for frontline workers and resources for those laid off or furloughed.

Every new dollar pledged by Dec. 31, 2020 up to $200,000 will be matched by 50%. (Your gift to Yad B’Yad must be over and above your Federation 2020 Annual Campaign gift to qualify for the match.)


uestions? Contact Susan Lieberman at 651.695.3185 or slieberman@stpaulfed.org. JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG SPFed_Connections_Winter_2020_v5.indd 5


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Creating Community During COVID Federation and our community partners are finding ways to beat isolation with meaningful connections during these challenging times

Introducing PJ Our Way


In addition to sending 467 children ages 6 months to 8 years free PJ Library books each month, Federation now offers PJ Our Way, free Jewish-themed books for children ages 9-12. Join the 99 local kids who have already signed up by contacting Anna Burnstein Gillette, PJ Library Engagement Specialist, at aburnstein@stpaulfed.org.

The Twin Cities Jewish Population Grew ...A Lot We grew 23% to 64,800 in 2019, up from around 40,000 when the last study was done in 2004. Of that number, 22,000 Jews (36%) live in Greater St. Paul. There is plenty of data to digest in the new Twin Cities Jewish Population Study. It shows that we are a growing, diverse, complex and committed Jewish community. This information will be extremely useful to local Jewish organizations now and in the future in developing outreach and services that are most meaningful to community members.

Dive into all the details of the Twin Cities Jewish Population Study at www.jewishstpaul.org.

The Twin Cities Jewish Population Study is a collaboration between the St. Paul Jewish Federation, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and the Harry Kay Charitable Foundation. 6 CONNECTIONS SPFed_Connections_Winter_2020_v5.indd 6

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A Message from Keshet Berlinsky Edry

The Great Big Challah Bake

On Nov. 5, Twin Cities Chef David Fhima welcomed more than 150 people into his home for our virtual challah bake. David showed us how to make challah step-by-step and offered insights on the science of baking and why the right ingredients matter. See the video at www.jewishstpaul.org. A space for Jews of Color to connect and build community

The Multiracial Jewish Association (MJA), which has 35 participating households so far, recently received a Twin Cities Federations’ YALA Mini Grant, funding for young adults to start their own Jewish project. “We want to reach people who have never been reached before, who have not felt welcomed,” said Rafi Forbush, MJA founder and acting executive director. “MJA wants to be a resource to the organizations here in town, to be a guide and help our leaders navigate these conversations.” To learn more visit MJAMN.org.

Leadership at Hillel

“I gained knowledge on how to be a Jewish leader and what it takes to be a leader at Hillel. Most of all, I got to meet other Jewish freshmen.” That’s one student’s take on their Minnesota Hillel Learning Fellowship experience, launched this fall by Minnesota Hillel. The Fellowship deepens students’ connection to Judaism, helps them find community during this isolating time, and provides professional and leadership development experiences.

Dear Community,

Back in the classroom

The Newman School of Talmud Torah of St. Paul is safely open with 25 students and limited class sizes. “We check in with students to see how they’re feeling every day. Their emotional needs are just as important as their academic learning needs,” said Director of Education Heidi Tarshish. In addition to their studies, the students do social service projects including collecting donations to bring to Neighborhood House during Gratitude Morning. Federation delivered Israel kits to 285 children

Kits were made by young shlichim from The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) who could not be in our summer camps this year. Longtime Camp Butwin campers Cole, Noa, and Alex enjoyed their kits, which included an art project, letter from an Israeli child and a deck of cards highlighting seven Israeli families from different racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

What a crazy year! This year we had to put aside many expectations and dreams about the future. When I started my shlichut in August 2019, I couldn’t imagine where I’d be now. At the same time, I’ve had the opportunity to learn new tools, experiment with different teaching skills and see myself from other angles (mostly through the computer lens). I’m excited to announce two amazing programs for the month of Shevat (1/14-2/12): Tree to Tree, an opportunity to plant a tree in our Sovev Kinneret Partnership Region and a virtual Tu B’Shevat seder on Thursday, January 28. Watch for details! Let’s stay in touch! Please follow me on Facebook or contact me at kedry@stpaulfed.org. When asked why I want to be a shlicha, my answer is the Jewish story. There is nothing more important to me than getting to know your stories, struggles and triumphs. It’s been a privilege to be with you this past year, and I wish us another beautiful and successful year ahead. With great love,

Keshet Community Shlicha JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG

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Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE


790 Cleveland Avenue S. Suite 227 St. Paul, MN 55116

Twin Cities, MN Permit No. 2064

Zooming 2Gether: Facets of Social Activism Community Strength During COVID-19 Sunday, January 3, 12-1:15 p.m. Featuring Beth Gendler, Executive Director, National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota Environment and Sustainability Sunday, February 21, 12:30-1:45 p.m. Featuring Lisa Lane, Senior Director of External Affairs, Open Arms of Minnesota


Protest and Action—The Different Ways of Protest Sunday, March 14, 12-1:15 p.m. Featuring Sam Farber and Matt Foman LGBTQ Activism Sunday, May 23, 12-1:15 p.m. Featuring Lys Akerman Frank

Learn more and RSVP at www.jewishstpaul.org A program of the St. Paul Jewish Federation, Milwaukee Jewish Federation and Sovev Kinneret Partnership

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Summer 2021 Camp and Israel Experience Scholarships Apply January 1 through March 31, 2021 Federation offers scholarships for Jewish overnight camps and approved Israel experience programs for Jewish children and young adults living in St. Paul. Go to jewishstpaul.org to apply. Questions? Contact Sharyn Effress Pesses at spesses@stpaulfed.org or call 651.695.3186.

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Profile for Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul


A publication of the St. Paul Jewish Federation


A publication of the St. Paul Jewish Federation


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