Shabbat Shalom from CEO Nora Gorenstein

Dear Friend

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. The Jewish Federations’ Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma is awarding grants totaling $5.4 million over two years to support Holocaust survivors and older adults with a history of trauma. These funds will support the work of dozens of Jewish and non-Jewish agencies that deliver social services to tens of thousands of both Holocaust survivors and diverse older adults with a history of trauma, along with their family caregivers. For a JNS article on the grants, click here. Please share the Center’s website for resources, ways to get involved, and ideas for how to remember this terrible event in our history. Locally, we will come together to commemorate Yom Hashoah in April; details on events will be shared in the weeks ahead. You can also visit our Community Calendar any time to see upcoming events.

Coming up next week, we are offering you an opportunity in partnership with The Braid to enable members of our community to attend LIVE virtual performances of an original Jewish-themed production entitled “Remembrance of Things Present.” It features empowering stories of Jewish strength from the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. We invite you to register to attend either performance, a live reading of these important stories. With gratitude for all of our 2022 Annual Campaign donors, we are offering a free ticket to any current donor who would like to attend, and a subsidized ticket cost to any community member who is not yet a donor. Thank you for making our essential work possible. We hope that you will join us for this important performance.

Additional updates and reminders from our national network:

Jewish Federations are proud to support the Holocaust Education and Antisemitism Lessons (HEAL) Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill that would require the Department of Education to conduct a study on Holocaust education efforts across the country. To read more, click here.

We continue to partner with the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) to present a webinar series on the new Israeli government. Yesterday, we held a program on the debate about altering the Law of Return. Click here for a recording.

The next installments in the series will take place on two consecutive Thursdays in February:

  • On February 9 at 1 pm ET, we will dive into the future of religion and state in Israel, exploring explore which changes may be made under the new government, and the possible consequences of such moves. Register here.
  • On February 16 at 1 pm ET, we will look at new research and mapping in the field of shared society between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Register here.

The first Birthright Israel group from Ukraine since the Russian invasion arrived in Israel this week. Birthright Israel is a member of the Israel Educational Travel Alliance (IETA), a coalition of immersive Israel education travel programs housed at the Jewish Federations of North America. Click here for an article in The Jerusalem Post.

Early Bird Rates Ending for Israel at 75 General Assembly: Don’t miss our celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Jewish State! Early bird rates end on Tuesday, January 31 for the Israel at 75 General Assembly, which kicks off on Sunday evening, April 23 and concludes on Wednesday, April 26. We will explore issues facing both Israel and the Diaspora, enjoy uniquely Israeli experiences, and join festive celebrations of Israeli Independence Day. For FAQs and the draft itinerary, click here. To register, click here. Also, don’t miss the exciting National Mission that will kick off on Wednesday, April 19 and continue through the General Assembly. The price includes the General Assembly and accommodations throughout both the lead-up to the conference and the conference itself. For questions, contact Lindsay Matloff.

Black History Month in February: In celebration of Black History Month, Jewish Federations and our partners join together in a four-part series to collectively mobilize the Jewish communal ecosystem to celebrate, educate and take action in the name of the struggle and triumph found in the Black American social, cultural, spiritual and communal experience. Click here to register.

There are many ways to get involved in the Western Massachusetts Jewish community and our network, so please let us know if you would like to learn more! We are happy to connect you with opportunities to volunteer or participate not only with the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, but also with our constituent and partner agencies.

Shabbat shalom,

Nora Gorenstein
Chief Executive Officer