It’s what we do every day. Whether it’s the food we favor…a bagel with shmear… or the drive to repair the world…tikkun olam, we Jews are there, especially in Rockland County, where there are plenty of opportunities. We plan to bring some of them to you every week, on Friday, for a new, sometimes fun, sometimes serious way for Doing Jewish.
More than many other Jewish holidays, the High Holidays take place in the synagogue. While most Jews associate Passover, Hanukkah and Shabbat primarily with home celebrations, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur conjure up memories of hours spent in services.
But these synagogue-based holidays can be enhanced through home rituals that add meaning to the messages of the day. Here are some ideas, old and new, for bringing the lessons and themes of Rosh Hashanah into your home.
Listen to Rivkie Feiner talk about one of the reasons why she supports Federation: Federation’s Community Relations Council and the impact this Federation initiative has made on Rockland County's Jewish community. If the CRC’s work is important to you and it's why you donate to Federation, please let us know.
To see what people are saying about why they give to Federation follow the link below:
A few short weeks ago Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would engage in a boycott of Israel. Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, a multinational corporation with its North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Unilever is feeling the pain of this terrible and misguided decision by their subsidiary. Let’s keep up the pressure!
Federation seeks to generate at least 500 emails or phone calls to Unilever expressing the great disappointment we all share.
Please make a phone call and leave a message (800)298-5018 or send an email through the comments section on the Unilever website.
A simple message such as, “I’m very disappointed in Unilever’s decision to allow its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, to engage in a boycott of Israel.”
As the world slowly emerges from the Covid pandemic, people everywhere are re-discovering the importance of community. At the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland County, we have striven to maintain our Rockland Jewish Community throughout the pandemic. And the response has shown that people care about belonging.
Rockland’s synagogues are coming out of this pandemic with an eye towards the future. They are looking for new ways to create that sense of belonging, a sense of extended family. If you are Jewish or connected to someone Jewish, you are part of this family. We want to help you find your spiritual home and community.
The pages in this brochure are a starting point — use them to explore and find a community where you feel at home, one that will help you on your Jewish journey and that feels like family.
L’shalom, Cantor Barry Kanarek
Director, Jewish Education & Engagement
The connection between Rockland’s Jewish Federation and Kfar Silver Youth Village is a recent one when a group of Rockland County residents visited the school, which is supported by ORT. The agricultural/residential school located just eight miles from Gaza is part of the Zionist dream to make the Negev bloom.
Students come from all over to Kfar Silver, some born in many parts of the FSU…former Soviet Union, as well as students from Ethiopia who were airlifted to Israel with their parents. One third of the student body—750 students—live on the campus. Many come from low socio-economic and single parent families, the disadvantaged part of Israeli society. By the time these kids graduate and move on to the IDF and further educational opportunities, Kfar Silver will have given these kids a leg up they might otherwise not have had.
Rockland County’s Jewish community supports Israel in many ways. Federation’s direct support of Kfar Silver is as much about supporting Israel as it is about supporting a special project we feel a connection with…one we have grown to love.
For those who stopped learning about what it means to be Jewish during their last Sunday school session before their bar/bat mitzvah…
For those who have studied Jewish customs, religion, and culture on their own, but are hungry for more…
For those who want to be educated about who they are and where they came from, but know little or nothing of what it means to be Jewish…
For those who aren’t Jewish but are fascinated with Judaism in all its many forms and want to learn about it…
Rockland’s Adult Jewish Education classes are for you. Background doesn’t matter. Level of education doesn’t matter. A desire to learn and participate in riveting, fascinating classes is all you need. Join our classes taught by fascinating, articulate teachers and enjoy!
For young moms and dads, reading stories to their children is something many do every night at bedtime…or even in the middle of the afternoon! PJ Library, which is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, is underwritten in Rockland County by Rockland’s Jewish Federation. It provides Jewish-themed books for children, ages 2-8 every month and gives those moms and dads a wonderful way to help them understand and appreciate what it means to be Jewish…even at a young age.
PJ Library books are wonderful additions to every Jewish family’s library. It doesn’t matter what the family’s background, knowledge or family make-up or observance is. There are PJ Library books for every kind of Jewish family.
But PJ is not only about books. It’s also about Jewish-themed activities…like Zoom classes on cooking for the holidays. And outings where young Jewish families can meet and make friendships with other young Jewish families.
Leket Israel is the largest food bank and food rescue organization in Israel. Rockland’s Federation has had a long-standing relationship with Leket because we know how important it is to take care of the most basic need of making sure people who struggle to feed themselves and their families have food to put on the table each and every day.
During the year of the pandemic, Leket Israel had to change the way it feeds people in need. It went from rescuing good, nutritious food from restaurants, hotels, and even the IDF, and feeding more than 200,000 Israelis per week, to buying 12,000 meals a day because just like here in Rockland County, the need for food increased tangentially as the Pandemic worsened and people lost their jobs.
Here in Rockland County’s Jewish community, we have a strong relationship with Leket Israel. It’s a special project we support directly and that has come to mean a lot to us. Through donations to Jewish Federation, we can see the difference those donations make in the lives of those who are helped by Leket Israel.
Community Relations Council
If you see something…
The Community Relations Council is Federation’s advocacy arm. One of its prime roles is as the Rockland Jewish community’s voice with elected officials at every level from national to local. The CRC has developed relationships with many of these people and will contact them when there’s an issue that is of concern, and must be addressed. From gatherings the were highly visible, such as the one that occurred after the Monsey stabbings, to those that are strictly behind-the-scenes, the CRC takes a strong and active role in combatting antisemitism no matter where it occurs.
The CRC makes sure our elected officials understand the pernicious effects the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) has on the State of Israel, and the hateful rhetoric that is too pervasive on certain social media channels and group pages in and around Rockland County. When the CRC becomes aware of such hate speech or any violent threats against the Jewish community, it makes sure our local officials are aware of them so they can be dealt with.
The most important role Jewish Federation plays in the community is in community weaving. Federation has built a platform where all organizations and individuals can come together to share common concerns. Through Community Weaving, Federation brings synagogues and organizations together to work for the common good of Rockland’s Jewish community.
Whether it’s to learn how to apply for security grants, or the PPP during the pandemic, or learning how to set up endowment funds for the financial security of an organization through Life and Legacy, Federation has made Community Weaving the important initiative it is for the community.