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WINTER 2018 | CHOREF 5778









A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT When I was a new attorney just starting out in St. Paul, the president of my law firm invited the other new associates and me to lunch. Naturally, I was rather pleased and honored to be given this kind of attention from a boss I greatly admired and somewhat feared.

Steve A. Brand PRESIDENT

I support Federation– it’s our community’s way of coming together as one to take care of everyone and make sure no need goes unmet.

Community is the reason I’m involved in Federation. It’s our way of taking care of everyone and making sure no need goes unmet. One of the most gratifying things for me looking back at my What I didn’t expect was the message he had for years of service, is knowing I’m part of a caring us that day. He spoke about our obligations outside community. Those of us who are able, help those the firm. Lawyers, he told us, have a responsibility who cannot help themselves. to give back because of the blessings we have and You may not now need care services or emotional, would continue to receive from practicing law in financial or other support, but one day you may. our community. Join with us now — with your support, Federation That directive was closely followed by prodding will be there to help. Collectively, we can do so from a mentor and teacher, the late Sidney much more than any one of us can do alone. Kaufman. Sid was active in Mount Zion Temple and I’m excited about the work Federation is doing to was an employee of Jewish Vocational Service of make sure our community is strong and vibrant St. Paul (JVS). His message was the same—I had an into the future. We have professional leadership obligation to give back to my community because initiatives as well as new initiatives to engage young of what it had given to me, including a scholarship people, educate our youth and connect more from JVS. Sid made sure I became involved in people to Jewish life thanks to your input into Mount Zion and JVS. That was the start of a 44+ our Community Planning Process. See page 9 for year journey through various leadership roles details. within our community. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Really, I didn’t need much nudging. As I became Chanukah and look to the new year, I wish you a involved in each organization, I came to understand joyous holiday season.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 3  CEO Message 4 Only Federation 6  2018 Community Campaign: Everyone Counts 8 Legacy Giving: A Year to Celebrate 9 The Community Plan for a Strong Jewish St. Paul 10 Helping Neighbors in Crisis 12 Chanukah in Israel — Interview with Tal Dror 12 Announcing Shalom Baby 13 Federation Helps Hillel Reach Students Across the State

 Harry Kay Leaders Visit Budapest and Israel 14 Seen in St. Paul 2 CONNECTIONS

its value to our community and what it means to support one another—to be a community.

CONNECTIONS is a publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul Julie Swiler, editor Marilyn Ruby, copy editor Contributors: Steve A. Brand, Rob Jacobs Graphic design: Sheryl Thornberg Graphic Design Cover photo: Jonathan Levine/Jewish Federations of North America


Rob Jacobs CEO

The reality I’ve seen in the nonprofit world is that our institutions have to compete for the same funds and people, which can divide the community. But, looking back through recent history, it’s clear to me that our Jewish community does better when we all collaborate and support each other.

Happy Chanukah! I’m looking forward to spending my first Chanukah in St. Paul. My first five months on the job have been a whirlwind of meeting people, learning about our local organizations, and taking a new look at the St. Paul Jewish community and our Federation.

• The St. Paul JCC, JFS and Sholom partner to deliver kosher meals on wheels. They recently created a brochure together, partly financed by Federation, that details community services for older adults. We’re working together to plan the future of this collaborative effort.

What I’ve learned is, first, that we are a community and we want Jewish life to thrive. We want to see multi-generational families stay here and new young Jewish families choose to live here.

• PJ Library collaborates with Beth Jacob, Mount Zion, Temple of Aaron, St. Paul JCC and Talmud Torah on programs for young children.

Second, the reality I’ve seen in the nonprofit world is that our institutions have to compete for the same funds and people, which can divide the community. But, looking back through recent history, it’s clear to me that our Jewish community does better when we all collaborate and support each other. Each of our Jewish organizations has its own institutional interests that they have the responsibility to advance. But by working together, we can do even more. I’m excited to join with our Jewish organizations and community leaders to build and strengthen St. Paul’s Jewish community. Here’s some of what we’re currently working on: • Federation, Jewish Family Service of St. Paul (JFS), St. Paul JCC and Sholom are seeking ways we can jointly save on healthcare plans and other employee benefits, group purchasing of common supplies, and other administrative costs. • Beth Jacob, Mount Zion, Temple of Aaron, Talmud Torah and your Federation are working to establish an affordable communal after-school Jewish high school program that will bring young Jews from across the community together weekly.

• Agencies and synagogues already co-sponsor some events together, but we can do much more. Your St. Paul Federation is now looking for more ways to expand on these partnerships and identify new ways to collaborate for our mutual benefit. Moreover, we’re identifying what we need for our Jewish community to grow. We need more educational opportunities. We need more community-wide celebrations. We need to do a better job of sharing opportunities for engagement and encourage ownership of our community by helping those with common interests find each other and identifying and supporting the next generation of Jewish institutions and programs. If you have ideas about collaboration, community needs, or other issues in our Jewish community, please share them with me. I hold open office hours every Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Federation – no appointment needed! Or, contact me directly and we can schedule a meeting at your convenience: email or call 651.695.3192. I want to hear from you. Happy Chanukah to you and your family,




Federation makes an impact on our Jewish community in ways that no other organization can. Yes, we support our vital, well-known organizations that provide senior services, family care, arts and culture, and education. But we also support lesser known but equally critical needs. Here are just three ways we work for the community:


WE LOOK AT OUR COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE • We identify critical needs and mobilize resources and organizations to address them. • We secure planned gifts and investments for the community to ensure that we have the financial resources to meet our future needs. • We help ensure that the widest array of agencies and programs will still serve our community years into the future.

INITIATIVES 2. FEDERATION BUILD JEWISH LIFE • We build and enhance Jewish St. Paul by working with community members to identify community priorities and implement them. • We build Jewish identity through PJ Library, and Jewish camp and Israel Experience scholarships. • We engage young adults through the Harry Kay Leadership Institute and our Twin Cities Young Adult Engagement manager.

Photo: Rick Busch/BizStory.Biz

“There are many Holocaust survivors who went through the camps and live in our community in old age. After everything they went through, they deserve to live out their lives in dignity.” Fred Hirsekorn, Holocaust survivor, on Federation-funded services. See our Holocaust Survivors Fund on page 7.

“An amazing opportunity available to students is a new class that Hillel created called the Israel Education class. It has been really helpful specifically in responding to BDS and over-the-top criticism of Israel that our campus has been facing in the past.” Eli Singer, University of Minnesota Hillel vice president, on Federation-supported programming for students.


Go to to learn more about


• We can quickly raise and distribute funds when Jews face crises overseas and in Israel. • The St. Paul Federation provides a greater percentage of the money we raise—23 percent—to support Jews overseas than other Federations our size and more than all but the largest Federations on average. • We unite the majority of our diverse community around Israel and provide lifelong connections through our partnership with the Sovev Kinneret.

“We read ‘Little Red Rosie’ every single day, multiple times. We almost exclusively read PJ Library books at naptime and bedtime. Luna asks for them by their title. She especially loves, ‘Good Night, Lila Tov.’ These books have completely enriched our family life.” Deborah Taillon on the PJ Library books her daughter Luna receives each month.


“When I first went there, Tikvah was hard for me. After the years and years I went, I made a lot of progress. I’ve developed a lot of self-help skills. It really gives me an opportunity to learn a lot of new social skills.” Zachary Sadoff on the Tikvah program at Camp Ramah, for which he received a scholarship from Federation. Photo: Sofya Barth

“Camp is almost like therapy 24 hours a day. They are in this immersive environment that you can’t replicate anywhere else. We’ve seen him develop by leaps and bounds.” Tammy and Naften Sadoff, on their son Zachary’s experience at Tikvah at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, a program for children who are higher functioning on the Autistic Spectrum.

Fred’s, Eli’s and the Sadoff family’s stories.

Photo: Camp Ramah



2018 COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN: teacher | caregiver | survivor | entrepreneur | seeker | faithful | dis Through Federation, I take care of everyone. I feed the hungry, care for the sick, fight antiSemitism and build Jewish community. I respond to disasters, support the arts and send young people to Israel. Federation makes sure that everyone counts.

Deb Frishberg Women’s Philanthropy Chair

Alan Bernick Men’s Campaign Chair

I love St. Paul and my Jewish community. As a college student, I spent many a lunch at Hillel and made lifelong friends. My children attended the St. Paul JCC daycare and preschool, and then Talmud Torah. My parents received rides to doctor appointments from St. Paul JCC drivers and kosher meals on wheels from Jewish Family Service of St. Paul. My mother was a resident at Sholom’s Benston Family Assisted Living. She received quality care and lived her final years with dignity. I appreciate what the JCRC does for our community during these troubling times of increased anti-Semitism. Through Federation, I can support all these organizations at once and ensure they will be here for the next generation.

The reason I’m involved with Federation is surprisingly simple — tzedakah. I was raised in a family and a community that views tzedakah as a religious obligation to do what is right and just, which is broader than the traditional definition of charity. My generation inherited a vibrant, caring and generous Jewish community thanks to the generations that came before us. We need to be a steward of this great legacy, so we can pass it along to future generations … l’dor v’dor. There is only one organization with a sense of obligation — a sense of tzedakah — to support the needs of our entire local Jewish community in Greater St. Paul. That’s Federation. That’s why I’m involved.


Bruce Goldfarb 2019 Men’s Campaign Chair-Elect 6 CONNECTIONS

Linda Perry 2019 Women’s Philanthropy Chair-Elect

Marni Tselos Women’s Board Chair

EVERYONE COUNTS advantaged | reformer | ailing | student | volunteer | philanthropist THANK YOU TO OUR 2018 CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEERS Sandy Aaron Mark Adelman Amy Alch Wendy Baldinger Betty Baumgarten Stuart Bear Sharon Benmaman Beryl Berke Alan Bernick Lisa Bernick Merrill Biel Steve Brand Avrom Brendzel Sheila Brod Holly Brod Farber Jon Brod Farber Dori Denelle Neil Derechin Sherman Devitt Joan Farber Mark Fellman Charles Fodor Deb Frishberg Tom Frishberg Loren Geller Barry Gersick Bob Gillman Barry Glaser Bruce Goldfarb Carol Goldstein Jules Goldstein Edith Goodman Karen Gordon Leslie Hahn Jerry Helfand Brian Kamin Laurie Kamman Jennifer Kaplan Nancy Karasov Harold Katz Luciano Kolodny David Krco Nancy Lane Randy Lane Esther Lerman

Jimmy Levine Stephanie Levine Michael Levitt Rick Linsk Sally Lorberbaum Don Mains Rhoda Mains Ron Matz Michael Minsberg Susan Minsberg Dan Mogelson Charlie Nauen Sara Lynn Newberger Linda Nides Jeff Oberman Jon Parritz Linda Passon-McNally Linda Perry Bob Perry Bonnie Resnick Aron Rolnitzky Betty Rosenstein Marty Rosenstein Mitch Rubinstein Barbara Rutzick Jim Rutzick Sandy Rutzick Lynne Sanders Michael Saxon Polly Saxon Roz Segal Yoav Segal Michelle Shaller Eli Skora Marilyn Smith Susan Spiers Leslie Strohm Jerry Swarsensky Tracy Truesdell Alex Tselos Marni Tselos Mark Usem Mary Ann Barrows Wark Sandy Wolkowicz

We apologize for any names inadvertently omitted or misspelled. Please advise us of any changes for future publications.

Holocaust Survivors Fund

A special appeal to help survivors in our community We are the hand

Holocaust survivors in our community need our help. Current German reparations are insufficient to meet their needs as they age and become more frail. We must make up the difference—for health care, counseling, emergency assistance and more. This year, Federation is offering an opportunity for you to help Jewish Family Service of St. Paul meet this need. When you make your gift, please also give to the Holocaust Survivors Fund. Those who survived the unspeakable deserve to live out their lives in dignity.

that comforts the spirit

that survived

the unspeakable.

WE SUPPORT THE IMPORTANT WORK OF THESE BENEFICIARY AGENCIES: Jewish Community Center of the Greater St. Paul Area Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas Jewish Family Service of St. Paul Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest Lubavitch Cheder Day School Macalester Jewish Organization Minnesota Hillel Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company

Nechama, Jewish Response to Disaster Rochester Chaplaincy Talmud Torah of St. Paul Twin Cities Jewish Community Government Affairs Program OVERSEAS AGENCIES American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Jewish Agency for Israel World Ort

If you would like to volunteer or donate, contact Sharyn Effress Pesses, Women’s Philanthropy Director, at 651-695-3186 or WWW.JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG








IT’S YOUR LEGACY just celebrated its first year of programming in the Twin Cities, and we are pleased to announce that 28 participating Twin Cities Jewish organizations have secured 464 legacy commitments worth an estimated $18 million. This future influx of funding for our Jewish community is nothing short of transformational. The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, in partnership with Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY™ program, initiated IT’S YOUR LEGACY as part of the national effort to infuse legacy into the culture of our Jewish communities.

MAZEL TOV TO ALL! Each organization participating in the incentive program of the LIFE & LEGACY grant met its goal of either 18 or 25 signed Letters of Intent from future legacy donors. The Harold Grinspoon Foundation will issue incentive grants of $5,000 and $7,500 respectively for those achievements this fall.


ON LEAVING A LEGACY As part of the one-year celebration, we asked donors about their desire to leave a legacy gift to the local Jewish community and how It’s Your Legacy helped shape that process. Here’s what they said: “If not us, who else? It’s our obligation to make sure we protect the future generations of the community in St. Paul.” — Deb & Tom Frishberg

“We only hope that we can help provide the means for each generation to reinvent the community in a way that suits them.” — LeeAnn & Joe Rubenstein

“We always planned to leave money to the things we care most about. It’s Your Legacy formalized that.” — Karen & Russ Rubin

“We want to make sure that a certain chain that was established generations ago continues for those who come in the future.” — Diane & Dr. Richard Smookler

For information about how to establish a legacy gift, contact Juliana Sellers, IT’S YOUR LEGACY manager, 952.417.2322 or

Congrats to: Adath Jeshurun Congregation: $7,500 Beth Jacob Congregation: $5,000 Heilicher Jewish Day School: $5,000 Jewish Community Action: $5,000 Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas: $7,500 Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis: $7,500 Jewish Family Service of St. Paul: $7,500

Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul: $7,500 Minneapolis Jewish Federation: $7,500 Mount Zion Temple: $5,000 National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota: $5,000 Shir Tikvah Congregation: $5,000 Temple Israel: $7,500 Temple of Aaron: $7,500

THE COMMUNITY PLAN FOR A STRONG JEWISH ST. PAUL Over the last five years, we’ve engaged in a community planning process to build a vibrant, cohesive and inclusive Jewish community. Now is the time to implement! Strengthen Jewish Education

Warm, Welcoming Connections • We’re collaborating with TCJewFolk and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation to create a community-wide online portal for Jewish events and information under the TCJewFolk banner. Start date: January 2018. • Federation is launching a pilot program to provide social media consulting to three agencies/synagogues serving the St. Paul Jewish community. Start date: January 2018. • PJ Library St. Paul and Jewish Family Service of St. Paul launched Shalom Baby to link families with new children to community resources.

• We’re working to establish a new 8-12th grade communal after-school program. Leadership of Beth Jacob, Mount Zion, Temple of Aaron, Talmud Torah of St. Paul and Federation have agreed to explore implementation. Enhance Cooperation between St. Paul and Minneapolis Jewish communities • The Jewish Metropolitan Council, a body that will encourage greater collaboration and cooperation across the Twin Cities, had its first meeting on November 27.

Engage the Next Generation • Recommendations to co-create a culture with 22- to 35-year-olds that engages young adults in Jewish life to be approved this calendar year. • St. Paul and Minneapolis Federations Young Adult Engagement Manager is reaching out to young people across the community. Inspire Giving • We’re developing a “local mission trip” that will enable community members to see the work of our beneficiary agencies. It will include an experiential volunteer component. • Federation is exploring the concept of giving circles. We are participating in an incubator program with Amplifier, the gurus in Jewish giving circles.

welcoming | engaging | sustaining | educating | cooperating SAVE THE DATE Sunday, April 22 Twin Cities Jewish community-wide celebration Minneapolis Event Center St. Anthony Main TWIN CITIES, MN WWW.JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG


FEDERATION HELPS NEIGHBORS IN A CRISIS EMERGENCY RELIEF FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS BEGINNING WITH HURRICANE HARVEY and quickly followed by Irma and Maria, the U.S. has seen the largest succession of massive natural disasters hit our shores in our nation’s history.


Maria had a crushing impact on several island nations and in Puerto Rico, where there is a Jewish community of about 1,500. The power grid for the island may be out for four to six more months, and the challenges ahead for residents are The Jewish community rallied immediately through Jewish enormous. JFNA is working with local leadership in Puerto Federations of North Rico to bring assistance as America (JFNA), establishing quickly as possible. IsraAid, an emergency relief fund. an Israel-based humanitarian JFNA’S Emergency Committee agency, also has a team worked with organizations operating in Puerto Rico on the ground to determine working directly with the Jewish where aid was needed most community. The American in the Jewish and broader Jewish Joint Distribution communities. Committee (JDC) has been coordinating emergency Locally, the Jewish Federation responses in several island of Greater St. Paul and the nations outside the U.S. that Minneapolis Jewish Federation have been affected (Cuba, set up a relief fund for our British Virgin Islands, etc.), and community to contribute to IsraAid has deployed in a few the JFNA effort. islands to provide emergency Photo: Getty Images/Jewish Federations of North America Here’s an update of our work response services. JFNA has in the aftermath of these disasters: remitted $900,000 in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition, JFNA acquired and delivered 212 urgently needed HURRICANE HARVEY generators to Jewish communities in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, The devastation across Houston is unprecedented. With and the Keys. approximately 2,000 homes flooded and eight major Jewish REACHING THE BROADER COMMUNITY community facilities severely damaged, the short- and longterm needs for the Jewish community are now estimated in JFNA’s response has consciously balanced an approach that excess of $30M. The Federation system has raised $17.9M meets the needs of the Jewish community while responding to thus far, with over $12M allocated through the Houston the needs of the broader community as well. Federation and the Emergency Committee to provide direct relief to flood victims, help people stay connected to Jewish life, and address institutional repair issues. HURRICANE IRMA The brunt of Irma was felt in the Florida Keys and U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), where enormous damage to power grids, water supplies, medical systems and more have brought life to a standstill. In addition, many homes were damaged; some devastated. Many people were evacuated from both locales, but some Jews stayed to assist in their roles in government, medicine or other critical fields. JFNA is supporting the synagogue communities in both areas. Photo: Jewish Federations of North America


HELPING DOING THE DIRTY FAMILIES WORK IN NEED MINNESOTA-BASED NECHAMA A Federation beneficiary, Nechama provides natural disaster response and recovery services nationwide. For many homeowners, Nechama assistance is critical to getting back on their feet. “It would cost a homeowner $15,000- $20,000 to do the work we do,” said David Kaplan, executive director. “Because we bring in volunteers and are experienced, it costs us about $1,000 per house.” When a disaster hits, Nechama works with local relief organizations and state emergency managers to determine where they are most needed. They identify neighborhoods that tend to be lower income and uninsured or underinsured. “These are areas where we can go in and make a lasting difference to families that might not ever recover from these types of events,” said Kaplan. Nechama partners with local Federations, synagogues and Hillels to recruit volunteers. Large numbers of volunteers fly in from around the country and even internationally. About 75 percent of Nechama volunteers are Jewish.


Photos: Nechama, Jewish Response to Disaster

IT’S CALLED MUCK AND GUT; the thankless chore of removing debris from homes devastated by flooding. Everything goes down to the studs – sediment washed in with the flooding, carpet, flooring, appliances, drywall and insulation. Nechama, Jewish Response to Disaster has been working in Houston and Florida to provide this much needed service to homeowners affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. MINNESOTA BORN AND BRED Executive Director David Kaplan says that Nechama, which began in Minnesota and is based here, enjoys consistent support from the Minnesota Jewish community, and a number of Minnesota groups continue to volunteer to help hurricane victims. A volunteer team is able to muck and gut 1.2 houses a day. To date, they have assisted 94 homeowners in the Houston area with the help of 327 volunteers donating close to 7,800 hours. In Florida, 41 Nechama volunteers worked in Flagler Beach, cleaning up 38 homes in a month’s time. They’ve since relocated to one of Jacksonville’s poorest neighborhoods where families, who have not received other assistance, are living in tents next to their houses, cooking on grills and open fires. TIKUN OLAM IN ACTION As the only domestic Jewish relief organization in the country, Nechama demonstrates the value of tikun olam to non-Jewish neighbors. “It’s an opportunity for us to interact with folks who may never have met Jewish people before. We engage the community, and we show the true face of Judaism,” said Kaplan, who points to their experience in Flagler Beach. “By the end of our work, our staff couldn’t have paid for a meal if we wanted to. We received an award from the mayor. We became part of the community.” Nechama is always on the lookout for more volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering to help in Houston, Florida, or on other deployments, go to WWW.JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG



 hat is your favorite holiday? W Q: Chanukah is my favorite. It’s a special time in Israel because it feels A: of sweetness andlikelight.everything is shining. It’s a holiday

Q: D o people take vacation time? hat foods are traditional? Q: W  School is out, but people don’t really take vacations. A: We do celebrate; families have Chanukah parties fried! Sufganiot (donuts), latkes and pancakes. A: Anything Everything should be fried to symbolize the miracle and light candles. There are also concerts and other special activities. There is a big musical show for kids called Festigal. I loved to go when I was a child.

Q: D o Israelis give presents? Children usually get money. We give money A: No. because it is tzedakah. By giving money, we

demonstrate that it is good to give money to others—to give tzedakah.

of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Syrian-Greeks. These days, people try to be healthier, so they bake, as well. My mom used to do a homemade donut night for my sister Shai, my brother Guy and me, and our friends. My friends loved it so much that even when I was in the IDF and couldn’t get home, they would call me and ask if donut night was still on.

SHALOM BABY WELCOMES FAMILIES IN ST. PAUL IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO welcome new people to St. Paul’s Jewish community, but a baby is a special blessing. That is why Jewish Family Service of St. Paul and PJ Library, a program locally supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, are partnering to launch Shalom Baby in St. Paul.


Contributing organizations include American Jewish World, Beth Jacob Congregation, Hadassah, Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, Mount Zion Temple, NCJW Minnesota, Or Emet, PJ Library St. Paul, St. Paul JCC, Sholom, Talmud Torah of St. Paul, TCJewFolk and Temple of Aaron.

Shalom Baby is a successful national program that welcomes families to the community by linking those with babies by birth or adoption to community resources. Shalom Baby offers an avenue to help new parents identify synagogues, agencies and organizations that will provide support and help them build Jewish connections during this special time in their lives. In just the first week, we identified four new or expecting families. 12 CONNECTIONS

All identified families will receive a gift basket and a home visit by Marni Tselos, PJ Library St. Paul coordinator or Jodi Saltzman, JFS Family Life Education Program coordinator. The basket includes gift items for the baby and resource information provided by local organizations and synagogues.

Families with new babies will receive a basket full of “swag” items and information about Jewish organizations, services and programs.

Anyone who is welcoming a new addition to the family or knows someone who is, can contact Jodi Saltzman at 651.313.6623 or; or Marni Tselos at 651.695.3195 or

FEDERATION HELPS HILLEL REACH STUDENTS ACROSS THE STATE FRIDAY, OCT. 13 HERALDED an exciting first at the University of Minnesota Duluth. That evening, Minnesota Hillel Duluth held its first Shabbat dinner. This new Hillel program is the direct result of St. Paul Federation’s special campaign last year, the Minnesota Hillel Statewide Project. When Federation asked the community to help Minnesota Hillel reach beyond the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to Jewish students across Minnesota, 148 generous donors gave a total of $16,000!  These funds enabled Minnesota Hillel to launch outreach programs at the University of Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State University, Augsburg College and University of St. Thomas. A PLACE FOR JEWISH COMMUNITY Alaina Phillips, Minnesota Hillel Duluth president, said that having a place for Jewish community on campus is important to her, especially in a place where there is not a large Jewish presence. “Something was missing. It is important to me to have a community of people to connect with,” said Alaina. She worked with fellow students Max Stillman and Rand Phillips to create programming for Hillel’s inaugural year. Front row: Alaina Phillips; second row (L-R): Lauren Kuller, Madeline Arnott, Madalina Kelner, and Lily Kivens; back row (L-R): Phil Merman, Sheryl Grana (faculty advisor), and Max Stillman.

The students also have the opportunity to develop as Jewish leaders. Alaina attended the Ruderman Inclusion Summit, which provided skills to integrate individuals with special needs into Hillel programming. She and another student will go on the Hillel Leadership Mission to Poland and Israel in January. AT AUGSBURG AND ST. CLOUD STATE Activities are ramping up at other schools, as well. The Augsburg group held a lunch-and-learn and plans to make that into an ongoing program. St. Cloud State students will have a Chanukah table on campus this year. Alaina said the first Shabbat dinner gave her the opportunity to connect with Jewish students on campus whom she had not known before. “It was really awesome, so everyone who came the first time, came again to our second Shabbat dinner.”

HARRY KAY PARTICIPANTS — THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS — VISIT BUDAPEST AND ISRAEL IN NOVEMBER, 46 YOUNG LEADERS from across the Twin Cities traveled to Budapest and Israel to experience firsthand the impact of Federation on Jewish communities worldwide. It’s part of the two-year Harry Kay Leadership Institute, which gives young adults tools to be community leaders. In Budapest, they learned about life under Nazi and Communist rule, and how the Jewish community is being revitalized. In Israel, the group learned about the complexity of life with discussions about Zionism and pluralism. They also toured our Partnership communities and experienced the vibrancy of Israeli life. Harry Kay Leadership Institute participants in the Old City of Jerusalem.

——Continued on page 15 WWW.JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG


SSTe.ePnAUINL RAJMN (Russian-American Jews in Minnesota) Teen Fellowship connects teens to local Jewish organizations. Recently, participants volunteered with B’Yachad to create gift bags for families in need during the holidays. RAJMN works with teens, young adults and families, and generates 30 to 40 programs a year.

Nearly 600 people attended the Twin Cities Cardozo Society 18th Annual Dinner on Nov. 2. (L–R) Robert Aronson, Oren Gross (keynote speaker), Karen Schanfield, Alan Milavetz (dinner chair), & Melissa Weiner. Karen Schanfield and Robert Aronson received the Sidney Barrows Lifetime Commitment Award. Melissa Weiner received the Arthur T. Pfefer Memorial Award.

We nearly filled the room at the Community Gala in September as we launched the 2018 Annual Campaign. Pictured (L–R): Scott & Carrie Rodman, Jeffrey Perlman, Emily Paper & Jessica Fine. Photo: Sofya Barth.

In October, Federation hosted four Ethiopian-Israeli women who participate in the Ethiopian National Project’s (ENP) SPACE program which has helped thousands of Ethiopian-Israeli students excel in school. (L–R) Adi Tespay; Asya Alemu; Ariela Lacovsky, originally from St. Paul, now assistant director of International Relations, ENP; Yerus Zeleke; Lea Teka.

Deb & Bernard Weiss and Jim & Sandy Rutzick at the Gala. Photo: Sofya Barth.

In October, our community came together to make challah and learn about its deeper meaning at the International Challah Bake. This team made it happen! (Top row L–R) Arlene Kurs, Leslie Strohm, Sandy Lowenstein & Sharyn Effress Pesses. (Bottom row L–R) Sheila Brod, Linda Perry, Deb Frishberg & Ilana Volodarsky. Photo: Peggy Kipp. 14 CONNECTIONS

(L–R) Rebecca Glass, Chana Cohen, Marsha Schoenkin & Elaine DuFresne at the Challah Bake. Photo: Peggy Kipp.


Federation hosted Andrea Arbel, director of the Partnership Unit for The Jewish Agency for Israel and Anat Sharvit, director of our Sovev Kinneret Partnership. (L–R) Rabbi Adam Spilker, Rob Jacobs, Holly Brod Farber, Ron Matz, Anat Sharvit, Andrea Arbel, Steve Hunegs & Barry Glaser.

Our shlicha, Tal Dor, is leading a group of young people going to Israel in December on Federation’s Teen Mifgash program. They’ll connect with Israeli teens and work on an environmental project. (Top row L–R) Emi Stiefel, Gabby Tselos, Tal Dror, Dani Orloff, Marisa Goffman, Zipporah Cohen. (Bottom row L–R) Max Gantman, Zach Glaser and Rose Adler-Rephan.


(Continued from page 13)

Participants David Krco and Jennifer Kaplan spoke about their experience. What was the most meaningful part of the trip? David Krco: “The most meaningful thing to me was bonding with the group and then returning home knowing there was a very engaged group of young leaders ready to serve the community.” Jennifer Kaplan: “It was the group itself. The close ties we formed will make us better problem solvers. I can already see us having difficult conversations while listening with an open mind to different perspectives and concerns.” What did it mean to have this uniquely Jewish experience?

The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul offers scholarships for Jewish overnight camp to Jewish children and young adults living in St. Paul. The scholarship deadline is March 30, 2018. Scholarship awards are based on family need. A limited number of scholarships for teens for Israel programs are also available. Go to to apply. For more information, contact Sharyn Effress Pesses at 651.695.3186 or

David Krco: “It was getting out and seeing things on the ground, what the challenges are, seeing how Federation dollars are being used and then instantaneously being able to talk about it. We saw people who were facing all kinds of tough circumstances. It strengthened my sense of identity to see their persistence.” What was the most memorable thing you saw? Jennifer Kaplan: “The trip to Budapest was eye-opening. There is a Jewish renaissance happening, despite the fact that Hungary is severely economically depressed, and their government harasses Jewish businesses. Against many odds, a largely secular Jewish community is reinventing itself and rediscovering its religious tradition. There is much that we can learn from their successes.” WWW.JEWISHSTPAUL.ORG


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the candles you add to the menorah, you can bring light, warmth and comfort to those who are struggling in the dark.

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Connections Magazine - Winter 2018  

A publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul

Connections Magazine - Winter 2018  

A publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul