OTS Amiel BaKehila Celebrates its 100th Delegation

This week, OTS Amiel BaKehila celebrated the departure of its 100th delegation, as Rabbi Jaron Engelmeyer, Gaza border farmer Avichai Koch, and Educational Artist Sarit Gizbar departed for an eight-day delegation to Vienna, Basel and Bratislava. We are deeply gratified to have such wonderful partner communities who warmly welcome our delegations, and such incredible artists, educators and speakers, who have brought their talents, wisdom and knowledge to Jews of all ages in communities around the world!

1 Month (November 2019), 3 Continents, 13 delegations, 39 Communities

After taking a well-deserved break for the holidays, we’re back at full speed, excited that over the coming month 13 delegations will visit 39 communities on 3 continents!

Over the coming month, seven delegations travel to Latin America. For example, in addition to the talented Jewish educators traveling to each community, Hi-tech expert Daniel Ben Shimon will visit the communities of Parana, Santa Fe and Rosario, Argentina. Dani Limor, a former Mossad agent, will speak in Montevideo, San Juan and Bahia Blanca. Journalist Jana Beris will speak in Cordoba, Salta and Tucuman.

In the United Kingdom, Ethiopian activist Penina Redai joins Chef Yahav Kriti and Rabbi Reuven Spolter. In France, the communities of the Marseilles region welcome Marc Amouyal and technology and investment expert Bruno Malki. We also send our inagural delegation to Spain, as Rav Aharon Gulman accompanies hasbarah expert Gustavo Perednick and musician Ianir Kilinsky to Tormolinos, Barcelon and Palma de Majorca. Continue reading “1 Month (November 2019), 3 Continents, 13 delegations, 39 Communities”

Three Questions about the Jewish Community of…Buffalo, NY (USA)

With Rob Goldberg, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Buffalo

Tell us about Jewish Buffalo:
Jewish Buffalo is a relatively tight-knit community of approximately 10,000.  While it only represents less than 1% of the greater population in the region, its impact is felt through the leadership of so many families in law, medicine, education, and the arts.  Nearly 75% of the population lives in suburban areas, concentrated mostly in the Town of Williamsville.  There is a JCC system with both a city and suburban building, two Reform congregations, one Conservative congregation, 6 Orthodox shuls and a variety of other non-affiliated worship groups. The Federation system raises nearly 3M annually and supports a range of agencies – from the Hillel on the campus of the University of  Buffalo to a Jewish Family Service and Holocaust Resource Center – as well as a number of educational and engagement efforts that touch all sectors of the community.

Tell us five things that are unique to the Buffalo Jewish community? 

  • An overall spirit of cooperation among synagogues, rabbis and leaders
  • A warm and welcoming atmosphere that is symbolic of many Midwestern communities
  • An embrace of our reality as a smaller community (60 years ago we were double the size) and the commitment to be “small” and “mighty”
  • Innovation – Buffalo is a city known for innovation in aerospace, manufacturing, architecture, the arts and a variety of other sectors, and the Jewish community reflects that, in particular, the Federation that is always seeking new ways to engage more Jews in having a meaningful Jewish experience
  • Our proximity to Niagara Falls and the Canadian border
Please share a community program or activity that you feel would be beneficial for other communities to know about:
Security has been at the forefront of our agenda since the Tree of Life massacre last fall. Buffalo moved swiftly to raise funds (over $225,000), hire a dedicated security professional, and to begin to distribute grants for synagogues and agencies to harden their buildings, train leaders, etc. In less than a year, we’ve accomplished that and so much more and serve as a model for other communities of our size. There is, as a result, a general sense of appreciation among community members for this commitment to ensure a safer and more secure Jewish Buffalo, and the need and effort have brought us even closer together.