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The East Valley JCC received a grant for its Klezmer Fest, which included a film screening, a Yiddish Experience and a Klezmer Music Festival.       

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix has awarded $225,136 in discretionary grants to new programs ranging from Holocaust education and interfaith outreach to senior enrichment and genetic testing.

The 2019 grants benefit the Jewish community locally and in Israel through JCF’s unrestricted endowment funds, the Jewish Women’s Endowment Fund and other field of interest endowments.  

Four of the local grants are related to Holocaust education. 

“We are excited to bring some new educational programs and speakers to the Valley, especially since Holocaust education isn’t mandated in Arizona,” said Francine Coles, chair of the Foundation’s Grants Committee, in a press release. “A recent survey by the Claims Conference showed major gaps in Holocaust awareness and a desire for Holocaust education.”

These programs are:

Bureau of Jewish Education, Veterans Day Teen Holocaust Forum: ($3,000) This one-day program for high school juniors and seniors provides the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust, its lessons that are relevant in today’s society and to hear from a Holocaust survivor about the imperative to fight injustice and intolerance.

Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Student matinees of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’: ($15,000) For the past 24 years, The Jewish Ensemble Theatre has produced “The Diary of Anne Frank” for students in the Metro-Detroit area. This grant is to produce a show at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix with a goal is educate approximately 5,500 primarily Spanish-speaking students about the Holocaust and impart the important lessons of tolerance. 

Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Creative Aging: ($5,000) Creative Aging utilizes the arts to advance an assets approach to aging, tapping into and bolstering individuals’ strengths and potential, no matter their age. The engagement for Holocaust survivors project targets a new population for this program. 

Phoenix Holocaust Association, ‘The Holocaust by Bullets’: ($15,000) Father Debois, a French priest, renowned Holocaust educator and scholar in mass violence and genocide, will present the keynote address at the 2020 Focus on Holocaust Day and Genocide Awareness Week at Scottsdale Community College. The program includes the exhibit “Holocaust by Bullets,” and a corresponding teacher seminar, to help reach high school and college students. This three-part program will educate and engage Arizona students and the general public. 

The JCF also awarded grants to the following local organizations and programs:

Chabad of Arizona, Smile on Seniors Rehab and Senior Living Facilities Program: ($5,000) This program will provide Jewish enrichment programming for West Valley Jewish seniors at rehabilitation, assisted living and memory care centers. 

East Valley JCC, Jewish Life and Learning program expansion: ($11,652) The goals of the two programs, one for interfaith families and one for parents, include promoting Jewish culture to Jews and non-Jews in the East Valley; illuminating interfaith couples’ and other people’s understanding of the basics of Judaism; and ensuring that parents are helping their children gain leadership skills and improve their understanding about Jewish culture.

Hillel at Arizona State University, holistic student support: ($17,225) This grant is for hiring a rabbinic intern who would lead high holiday services, support the enhancement of Shabbat, create new Saturday Shabbat programming and be a regular presence to provide support and pastoral care for students in need.

Jewish Genetic Diseases Center, Founder 3: ($15,000) This program aims to educate the Jewish community about possible risk factors associated with BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 founder mutations and to provide genetic counseling and access to genetic testing for interested individuals of Ashkenazi heritage between the ages of 25-65. Testing will be subsidized when insurance will not cover the cost.

 Valley Beit Midrash, Alternative Young Professional Jewish Learning: ($3,500) This program will provide young professionals a space to learn about Jewish wisdom, social entrepreneurship and leadership, and engage in events that focus on character development through alternative engagement opportunities. These programs will be held at “third” spaces and some will feature a national thought leader. 

Gesher Disability Services, summer camp inclusion resources: ($2,292) The Physically Disadvantaged Children’s Fund grant enables children with special needs to attend typical day camp programs. 

The JCF also put $18,102 into its discretionary reserve that may be used for requests that are cultivated or solicited by the foundation outside of the annual grant cycle, or for responses to emergencies, man-made or natural disasters affecting the Jewish community.

In the summer of 2017, the JCF introduced a new small grants program, which allows local nonprofit organizations to apply for a one-time grant of up to $5,000 outside the annual grant cycle for a program or project that serves the Greater Phoenix Jewish community. 

The six programs that received small grants totalling $9,100 this year are: 

Day of Learning: ($500): The Bureau of Jewish Education brings together preschool teachers from every Jewish preschool in the Valley for a meaningful day of learning. This grant to the Valley of the Sun JCC will be used to help bring in keynote speaker Lisa Murphy, who links hands-on activities to educational standards and her commitment to creating play-based early childhood environments. 

By Choice: Experiential Learning for Jewish Converts: ($3,500) This Valley Beit Midrash program is to create a retreat for those looking to, or who have recently, converted to Judaism.

Initiation of the Yeshiva High School of Arizona Venture Crew: ($1,600) This grant initiates the formation of a Venture Crew at Yeshiva High School of Arizona. This is a program of the Boy Scouts of America that seeks to provide teens with skill acquisition, leadership experience, community service and character development while planning and leading their own adventures.

Shabbos Project 2018: Great AZ Men’s Event: ($1,000) Shabbos Project Arizona, Inc. is part of a global, grass-roots movement and this grant was for an educational event just for men. 

Klezmer Fest: ($1,250): The East Valley JCC hosted the screening of “The Last Klezmer,” a Klezmer Music Festival, a Yiddish Experience and an art exhibit from the David Labkovski Project in January 2019 with the goal of increasing people’s understanding of Ashkenazi Jewish music (especially Klezmer music), culture and history.

Jewish Unity Learning: ($1,250) In this program by Project Inspire Arizona, participants are matched for weekly learning sessions on a Jewish topic of their choice. The program includes socializing and monthly learnings with a speaker for the entire group, to build friendships and build a grassroots Jewish unity movement.

Nine small grants totalling $16,000 funded projects from August 2017 through March 2018. These were: 

• Young adult & LGBT programming for Schmooze ($1,500)

• Limmud AZ ambassadors ($750)

• An alumni retreat for the Women’s Jewish Learning Center ($3,500)

• Cteen Kosher Food Club for Chabad of the East Valley ($2,000)

• The Arizona Jewish Historical Society’s 2018 Summer Music Series ($1,500)

• A Jewish Genetic Diseases Center education & screening event at Arizona State University ($3,500)

• The Red Rocks Music Festival performance of “In My Father’s Footsteps” ($1,000)

• The expansion of the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival to Tempe ($1,000)

• The development of JSisters at ASU ($1,250)

The recipients of the Israel grants are:

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Families First: ($5,000) To help low-income families break out of poverty, Families First focuses on empowering families to be active participants in improving their own lives. In addition to addressing issues such as financial, health and employment needs, Families First focuses on strengthening clients’ overall state of mind. 

Bina: The Jewish Movement for Social Change, Mechinat Masabacha ( Journey through Israeli Society): ($10,000) During this pre-army program for Jewish and Arab Israeli high school graduates, 30 young adults aged 18-19 embark on six-month immersive journeys through Israel, gaining a deep familiarity with diverse communities in Israel, including an Arab village, a religious Zionist settlement community in the West Bank and a kibbutz. 

Hillel — the Right to Choose, Support for Former Haredi Single Mothers: ($7,500) Hillel provides resources to help these women triumph over integration challenges, effectively serve their families and achieve financial independence. Program components include housing assistance, mentorship, psychological counseling, empowerment workshops, cultural and educational activities, and legal aid.

ITworks, Securing Israel’s Future Through Employment,Vocational Training and Placement for Single Mothers: ($5,000)  The program’s goal is to guide a group of single mothers through a comprehensive framework until they have attained quality employment in high-tech. 

Kol Israel Haverim, Gateway to Graduation (Shearim LeBagrut): ($5,000) The program targets schools in socio-geographic peripheries whose Bagrut eligibility rate (e.g., percent of students who complete a full Bagrut diploma) is low.

Merchavim — The Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel, Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools: ($10,000) This joint initiative with the Ministry of Education aims to place 500 Arab Israeli teachers in Jewish schools to teach core subjects (English, math, and science). The program addresses the realities of Israeli’s separate school streams, in which Jewish students may never have a substantive and sustained encounter with an Arab citizen or learn anything about the Arab culture. 

Orr Shalom, Economic Empowerment for Women: ($12,000) The program provides graduates of Orr Shalom’s out-of-home placements, foster care and therapeutic family group homes, the support they need as they enter independent life, post army or National Service. 

Presentense, Yazamiot Venture Accelerator for Haredi Women in Jerusalem: ($5,000) This eight-month program serves Haredi women entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, and includes an in-depth entrepreneurship curriculum with seminars on topics such as business model development, value proposition, marketing, pitching, and budgeting; hands-on workshops; high-level mentoring and consulting; and round-table discussions with relevant experts. 

Sindyanna, Sindyanna’s Visitors Center: ($5,000) An NGO economic endeavor designed and operated by Jewish and Arab women, Sindyanna strives to mitigate poverty by training and empowering Arab women. These women will learn new skills (catering, basket weaving, Hebrew) and guidance and marketing exposure to be able to enter the job market. The visitor’s center serves to create a bridge-building venue between the Jewish and Arab societies. 

Women’s Spirit, Crossing the Street: ($10,000) This community-focused, long-term program provides women with tools, knowledge and support to help them break free from violence and build a safe and independent life. The program includes: employment skills workshops, mentoring/coaching by trained volunteers, small business training for independent business owners, professional skills trainings, computer/language courses, financial literacy, and job placement.

Yozmot Atid, Taking the Leap: ($5,000) The program, a small business incubator program for Israeli women earners from the lowest income brackets, is designed to help each participant develop, launch and grow a viable business within one year. 

Shekel Community Services for People With Special Needs: ($9,947) The Physically Disadvantaged Children’s Fund grant is for medical supervision at Hettena Day Center, a residential home for severely developmentally disabled children.    

The grants from the Jewish Women’s Endowment Fund are: 

Adva Center, The Power to Empower! Coalition Building Among Mayoral Advisors on Gender Equality: ($5,000) The program will directly serve about 60 Jewish and Arab women Mayoral Advisors on Gender Equality from an equal number of local authorities in three geographical clusters who stand to gain knowledge and acquire the skills required to succeed in their assignment of improving the status of women in their localities. 

The Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, The Gender Index: A Database for Social Equality Action: ($10,818) A critical knowledge tool, it informs decision-makers and activates social change agents concerned with promoting gender equality in Israel. The Index provides a detailed annual picture of gaps between women and men in multiple fields of life, including education, political and economic power, culture and media, employment, gendered segregation of professions, poverty, family status, violence against women, health, Arab society and the periphery. The Index pinpoints areas of severe gender inequity and makes these statistics available to policy-makers, activists, educators and researchers through an easily accessible digital platform. JN


For more information about the Israel grants, see the online version of this story on

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