10/15/21: A Special Shabbat Message From Nora Gorenstein — Interim Executive Director, JFWM

Watch the second in our Community Partner Highlights Series, with the Jewish Community of Amherst’s Director of Communal Life and Learning Keren Rhodes!

Dear Friend, 

Foremost in my mind this week is engagement. When we become involved with a cause, topic, or activity, we make the choice to be a part of something. Today’s video from our new Community Partner Highlights Series features Director of Communal Life and Learning Keren Rhodes of the Jewish Community of Amherst. This video series will continue to introduce the partners we support through the Annual Campaign, grants, and other community resources and programs.

There is more change ahead! Our next step in response to the 2019 Western Massachusetts Jewish Community Study is a shift in organizational priorities of the Federation to match the changing demographics of our community. We will continue to engage and support Jewish families and the rest of our community with renewed passion and the knowledge that we continue to meet our 95-year commitment to sustain vibrant Jewish life.

Starting November 1, 2021 the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. will no longer be responsible for the administration of PJ Library in Western Massachusetts. This shift will allow the Federation to focus on its core mission to serve our entire Jewish community, support those in need, convene and collaborate with other organizations, and strengthen our Jewish community’s relationship with other minority communities. As part of this transition, Elise Barber has chosen to join the Springfield JCC staff as of Nov. 1 and continue in her role as PJ Library Coordinator. We wish Elise the very best in her new role at the Springfield JCC. We are grateful for the experience of partnering with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to implement its now-international PJ Library program here in our community, where it began.

Over the past two years, the Federation has focused on its mission and role within the community as the inspiration for the local PJ Library program. We will continue to collaborate with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and our local partners in new ways that will further support families raising Jewish children and expand to engage all demographics in our community.

We will continue to serve our community with determination and focus and will take this opportunity to further expand and provide accessible opportunities for people of all faiths, ages, and identities to connect and engage with our Jewish community. We are already engaged in a process of evaluating organizational priorities and staffing needs and expect that we will continue to be involved with young family engagement in line with our core mission.

If you are interested in getting involved or sharing your input, please reach out at any time.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nora Gorenstein
Interim Executive Director