Synagogue Connections
Tuesday, December 16, 2014Forward this message  Forward this message

In this Issue:

• New Round of Breakthrough Fund Grants

• Data-Driven Educational Innovation

• JUF Young Family Happenings

• College Students Can Apply Now for JUF's Paid Summer Internship Program

• Family Health History Month

• Onward Israel Program for Young Adults

• JUF Beneficiary & Affiliated Agency Programs


jBaby Chicago helps families with children 0-24 months make new connections, build community, and explore Jewish life in Chicago.

Learn more & request jBaby Chicago swag


New Round of Breakthrough Fund Grants

The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago has issued its 2015 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Breakthrough Fund, a new grant program launched last year to encourage smart growth and innovation in Chicago’s Jewish community. Letters of Intent will be accepted through 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

JUF will award up to $750,000 in new grants for innovative programs, capacity-building efforts, research and development initiatives, and new approaches that address the wide array of needs, interests, individuals, and identities that reflect the diverse Jewish community in Chicago, in Israel and other countries overseas.

In addition, JUF will distribute $488,000 in second-year funds for Breakthrough Fund grants committed during its first cycle. All told, the Breakthrough Fund will provide nearly $1.25 million in FY16.

Breakthrough Fund grants will support both established organizations with a legacy of creating and expanding value-added programs and services, and also early-stage organizations and entrepreneurs whose voices, visions and ideas are just emerging.

For more information, contact Sarah Follmer, Senior Planning Associate, Strategic Partnerships or visit

Data-Driven Educational Innovation

If your congregation has a supplementary school, your education professional will soon be receiving a request to complete a data-collection process that will go a long way towards improving resources and opportunities for your school.  JUF has partnered with Brandeis University’s JData research program to glean a common baseline of data about all of the congregational schools in the greater Chicago area.  This information, which will be made available to all participants in a format that preserves confidential information upon completion, will allow JUF to provide more targeted resources and support to congregational schools as well as assist the schools themselves in understanding their own position in a variety of areas so that they may partner with other schools with similar challenges in developing new method cooperatively to meet those challenges.  Contact Rabbi Scott Aaron, Executive Director of Community Foundation for Jewish Education, for more information.

JUF Young Family Happenings

JUF Young Families Winter Tot Shabbat List

JUF Young Families and PJ Library are compiling a list of all Tot Shabbat opportunities open to the community this winter.  Tot Shabbats are a great way for your congregation to engage young families, welcome both members and non-members and help families with young children start their Jewish journey – our goal is to share these opportunities with the community.   PJ Library will be sending an eblast to all 6000 PJ Library subscribers with the link to this resource and we hope to include your congregation’s programs. 

To submit a Tot Shabbat Program for January-March 2015 please click HERE. Please contact Rachel Rapoport with further questions.

PJ Shares: Helping Our Community

This special PJ Library volunteer program is geared for families with children (ages 2-8) with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  It will bring together families for fun activities with a big impact as they work together to make mishloach manot packages, tzedakah boxes, and more.  The National Lekotek Center will facilitate sensory storytime and adaptive play.  This event is presented in partnership with Encompass, Keshet, Jewish Child and Family Services (JCFS), and JUF’s Tikkun Olam Volunteer (TOV) Network.


  • Date/Time: Sunday, February 22, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
  • Location: Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe
  • Cost: $10/family (to help offset supply costs)
  • Contact Deborah Shub at 312-444-2844 for more information.


JUF Right Start Expanded to Preschoolers!

To make the joy of Jewish preschool available to even more families, the Jewish United Fund’s JUF Right Start program has expanded to include children as young as 6 weeks of age who are the first in their family to enroll in a Jewish early childhood program. For a child attending five days a week, that’s up to $2,000 to help with tuition. Gifts of $500, $1,000 or $1,500 are available for children attending two, three or four days a week.

JUF Right Start vouchers are available to any Jewish family in the Chicago area that, for the first time, enrolls a child in one of the dozens of participating Jewish preschool programs. The child must be the first sibling in the family to attend Jewish preschool.

See a list of participating schools or call 312-357-4513 for more information.

College Students Can Apply Now for JUF's Paid Summer Internship Program

Applications are available for the Jewish United Fund’s Lewis Summer Intern Program, which provides a wide range of paid internships in fields such as business development, marketing, social work, accounting, teen programming, grant writing, Jewish communal work and more.  This summer also includes select positions with for-profit businesses in our community.  In addition to getting hands-on experience, interns also explore their Jewish identities and develop professional skills at weekly seminars and a weekend retreat.

The application deadline is February 6th, 2015.  All applicants must be Jewish undergraduate students (18-22 years old) who reside (parental residence) or attend school in Illinois. Applicants must have completed at least one year on campus (excluding a freshman year abroad) as of the summer start date, and have at least one semester left on campus after the internship program.  For more information or to apply, please visit  Contact Lisette Zaid with any questions.

Family Health History Month

Family in for the holidays? Take a minute to talk about your family health history.  The Center for Jewish Genetics’ education, counseling and carrier screening program is now available from the convenience of your own home! The Center is the first community screening program that is exclusively using an advanced DNA sequencing test, allowing you to be screened from the privacy of your own home, with just a small saliva sample. You will now have two opportunities a month to participate in the Center’s education program via an online webinar given live by our own genetic counselor. Center staff is always available to answer any questions you may have; the new program includes an expanded panel of more than eighty disorders, including Tay-Sachs disease, Gaucher disease and Cystic Fibrosis. Preregistration is required, and will take about 5 minutes at

Onward Israel Program for Young Adults

Registration is now open for Onward Israel, a program that will send 20 young adults from Illinois campuses to Israel this summer to strengthen their resumes through a custom-designed experience.

Onward Israel is a partnership between JUF’s Israel Education Center and the Jewish Agency for Israel that addresses many of the obstacles preventing larger numbers of young adults from returning for second immersive experiences in Israel, such as cost and students’ need to strengthen their resumes.

The eight-week program places participants in internships based on respective fields of study or areas of interest. They will spend four days a week at placements, with one day set aside for educational content. The Illinois delegation will live in Tel Aviv, but also will spend a weekend in Chicago’s Partnership Together region of Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir.  Preference will be given to students currently attending college in Illinois. Register now.

JUF Beneficiary & Affiliated Agency Programs

1/2 Way to Summer Party - imagine fun in the "sun" with JCC!
Are your families looking for something to do on December 25th?  Join JCC for open gym, open swim, bouncy houses, crafts, a dance party with Personalities D.J. and more! Dress in summer attire and bring your bathing suit and towel.  $35 per family.  Advanced registration is appreciated.  Visit

2015 HIAS Chicago Academic Scholarships

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2015 HIAS Chicago Academic Scholarships through February 09, 2015.  Undergraduate and graduate scholarships are available and students must be enrolled full time.  For complete information, please visit Please contact or 312.357.4666 with any questions.

Synagogue Federation Commission | Congregations | Subscribe | Forward to a colleague