Federation In the News



Deborah Gordon Appointed to National Role with Jewish Federations 

January 27, 2020


Rochester – The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is pleased to announce that Deborah “Debbie” Gordon has been appointed to the board of directors of National Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).  


This national volunteer appointment follows substantial leadership on Debbie’s part at the local level. She currently serves as chair of the Lion of Judah and the Lion of Judah Endowment program on the Women’s Philanthropy Executive Council of the Rochester Jewish FederationDebbie has also participated in several national missions to Israel and the International Lion of Judah Conferences. 


“Debbie is passionate, generous, and has a deep love for her Jewish community,” said Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester“She is a valued leader in the Jewish community and she will make important contributions on the national level. She will also have the opportunity to represent Rochester and our needs, which will benefit us as a community.”  


Debbie is an active member of Temple B’rith Kodesh, the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester, Miriam’s Circle of the Jewish Senior Life Foundation, Advisory Council of the Jewish Family Service of Rochester and the Women’s Giving Circle of the Sarasota-Manatee, Florida Jewish Federation. In addition Debbie is an avid supporter of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. 


Debbie Gordon will follow in the footsteps of other committed Rochester Federation leaders, including Mona Friedman Kolko and Leslie Crane, with this appointment to the National Women’s Philanthropy board. JFNA represents 146  Jewish Federations and over 300 network communities, which raise and distribute more than $3  billion annually and through planned giving and endowment programs to support social welfare, social services and educational needs. 


Debbie and her husband, Michael Gordon, reside in Brighton and are proud parents and grandparents. 

Rochester Jewish Community Looks To Increase Security Following Monsey Attack

Spectrum News

January 2, 2020


Lipman's Kosher Market, a staple on Monroe Avenue for 70 years, is a favorite of the large surrounding Jewish population.


Aharon Baruch has owned the market for the last three decades. He grew up in Israel and served in the Israeli Army.


Baruch keeps a close watch on the news, and says the recent machete attack at a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, north of New York City, is prompting him to be even more vigilant in his effort to stay safe.


“The concern is that it will repeat again and it’s troubling,” he said.


Mark Henderson, director of security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, said concern across the Jewish community is the highest he’s ever seen it.


Henderson is among those in the area calling the increase in violence against members of the Jewish faith alarming. 


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Levine Center to End Hate to Host Inaugural Event “Why Do We Hate?” 

A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist in Dialogue 

October 3, 2019


Rochester, NY – Pardeep Kaleka lost his father, a leader of the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, when a white supremacist opened fire in the neighborhood temple in 2012. Arno Michaelis, a former skinhead who spent years committing violent acts in the name of white power, helped start the gang that produced the mass shooter. 


The Levine Center to End Hate is pleased to announce its inaugural event, “Why Do We Hate? A Community Conversation” with Kaleka and Michaelis on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the Lyric Theatre in Rochester. 


In 2013, the two men met for the first time. They’ve been in dialogue ever since. Kaleka and Michaelis are co-authors of The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate. Since 2013, their educational organization Serve2Unite has engaged thousands of school students to address a host of social issues including racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, Holocaust remembrance and genocide prevention. 


The Levine Center to End Hate is proud to welcome Michaelis and Kaleka to share their stories and kick off a greater dialogue in the Rochester community on how to combat hate. 


The Levine Center to End Hate seeks to unite the greater Rochester community in overcoming hate through education, dialogue and positive action. Partnering with local agencies throughout Greater Rochester, the Levine Center amplifies efforts to foster tolerance and understanding across our community through programming that explores differences, develops skills for dialogue and activates cooperative and collaborative responses to hate in all its forms. The Levine Center is an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. 


For more information about the Levine Center to End Hate, visit www.endhateroc.org

Mark Henderson Hired to Direct Security Efforts in Jewish Rochester

Former Brighton Chief of Police Takes on New Role 

August 27, 2019 


Rochester - Mark Henderson will be joining the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester as Director of Community Security beginning late September. This new position was created in partnership with the Secure Community Network (SCN), dedicated to homeland security initiatives on behalf of the American Jewish community.


Through SCN, Henderson will direct Jewish community security efforts throughout Western New York. Henderson stepped down as Chief of Police in Brighton recently after a decades-long career with the department. 


Henderson will work closely with Federation partner agencies and synagogues to provide best practices for community security. He will also organize and lead community security training. 


Meredith Dragon, Jewish Federation CEO, commented on the new position. “We are thrilled to have Mark Henderson on board. He brings years of experience in law enforcement to the position and has already cultivated very strong relationships with our Jewish community leadership. In times like these, with increased antisemitism and other forms of hatred around the country and the world, it’s time to step up our coordinated efforts.” 


The Federation, already a partner of SCN, has begun security trainings and committed supplementary funding to enhance security in local synagogues over the past year. 


Mark Henderson has had a long and successful career as a police officer in the Greater Rochester region. He worked his way up the ranks of the Brighton Police Department, serving as Chief of Police from 2010 to the present. 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester works to build and protect a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, engagement, education and advocacy.


Federation Welcomes Julie Nusbaum as President


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is delighted to announce that Julie Nusbaum, of Brighton, has begun a two-year term as president. Julie brings exceptional skills and experience as a leader in the Jewish community to this new role.


“Julie has helped strengthen the Federation and the broader Jewish community with her experience in leadership development, advocacy and coalition building,” said Meredith Dragon, Federation CEO.” We are so lucky to have her as the Federation’s lead volunteer as we work with our partner agencies, synagogues and organizations to navigate the important challenges ahead.” 


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Jewish Federation Celebrates HOPE on September 12 

Miriam Peretz, Winner of the Israel Prize, is Guest at HOPEning Event


Rochester, NY – The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester welcomes community members to its HOPEning Event on Thursday, September 12, 2019. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to hear from special guest speaker Miriam Peretz, winner of the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement. 


The HOPEning event is a celebratory kickoff to the Federation’s 2020 Campaign. The event will take place at Temple Beth El, 139 S. Winton Road, at 6 PM.


Miriam Peretz received the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the State of Israel's highest cultural honor, in 2018. Past recipients include Golda Meir and Amos Oz. 


Peretz transformed her tragic personal story of loss into one of hope, determination and resiliency. She travels worldwide inspiring audiences with an uplifting and unforgettable message. A biography about her life, entitled Miriam’s Song: The Story of Miriam Peretz (Gefen Publishing House) by Smadar Shir, was published in 2011.


The event will feature an open bar and (kosher) gourmet food stations. The cost to attend is $100 per person. Guests will be invited to pledge their support to the 2020 Federation campaign. 


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"Every Voice Counts" Survey Launches June 18

Jewish Rochester seeks broad regional input as it builds a vibrant and secure future


We are seeking answers from people throughout the region as we plan for the future and respond to a growing climate of hate crimes and rhetoric against many groups, including Jews. The highly inclusive survey is open to those who identify as Jews, have Jewish heritage or have relationships within the Jewish community.


The “Every Voice Counts” survey is underwritten by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation and administered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. It is open to individuals in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming, Yates, Seneca and Genesee counties. 


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Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Commemoration


On May 1, 2019, hundreds gathered at the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester to remember the Holocaust and stand with the communities that have been affected by recent acts of violence.


The Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester hosted the event, which featured social welfare scholar, Dr. Nurit Fischer-Shemer.  Dr. Fischer-Shemer discussed how individuals, families and communities across generations are affected by mass traumatic events, and the importance of children and grandchildren sharing their stories.


View the press coverage:



Keynote speaker Nurit Fischer-Shemer addresses hundreds Thursday at the Jewish Community Center during a Holocaust remembrance ceremony. (Photo: Will Cleveland/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

Locals react to California synagogue shooting that took place on April 27, 2019

RochesterFirst.com, April 28, 2019


Rochester locals, including Federation CEO Meredith Dragon and Rabbi Peter Stein, Senior Rabbi of Temple B'rith Kodesh, share their reactions to the shooting that took place at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California on April 27, 2019.

ShinShinim to spend year in Rochester

Monroe County Post, March 18, 2019


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester announced the launch of the ShinShinim program in Rochester. 


ShinShinim — a Hebrew acronym for Shnat Sherut, or “year of service” — are among brightest of Israel’s recent high school graduates who defer army service for one year to serve as Israel emissaries in communities around the world.


In August, four ShinShinim will arrive in Rochester to volunteer, engage people of all ages with Israel and bring Israeli culture to life. They will live with host families in the community, learning more about American life and creating lasting bonds.


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Rochester's ShinShinim: (left to right) Yael, Keren, Gilad and Ori

The Levine Center to End Hate and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester organize gathering in response to the shooting in New Zealand

March 17, 2019


Dear Greater Rochester Community,


The March 17th gathering in solidarity with our Muslim community was remarkable. Thank you to all who were there – in body and in spirit.


While we did not seek out the press, the coverage was truly beautiful, highlighting the love and support that brought members from across our community together in the face of such a hateful crime.


With immense gratitude for your commitment to a peaceful and loving world,



Karen Elam


The Levine Center to End Hate

Press Coverage:


Tributes left near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Super Goal Gives Back to Rochester Area Children in Creative Way

13Wham News, February 3, 2019


Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Not only did the Super Bowl kickoff on Sunday, but so did the Super Goal.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester paired up with Foodlink to get in the Super Bowl spirit, by breaking into teams and seeing who could pack the most food.


The packages then go to children in the Rochester area.


Volunteers say the competition is fun, especially for a good cause.


"To know that people in the community can give, and maybe not see the difference right away, but knowing they are making a difference makes a big deal," said Kevin Wexler, volunteer with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.


"We know that in the end we're going home to a nice hot meal, so we're inspired to help others go home to a nice hot meal,” said Neal Morchower, board member with Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.


Volunteers say the real winner is the community.


This was the third year of the event. 


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The Levine Center to End Hate will Transform Rochester Landscape

$1 Million Gift Launches Center to Combat Bias and Intolerance

Press Release, November 1, 2018


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is honored to announce a gift of $1 million from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation to launch a center in their name that will lead the Greater Rochester community in efforts to combat bias and intolerance.

Todd Levine, president of the Foundation and the couple’s grandson, led the charge to establish the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation. 


“My grandparents were people of love, kindness and inclusion toward others,” stated Mr. Levine (right). “We want the Levine Center to End Hate to perpetuate their values and fight all of the negativity we see aimed at others due to differences in race, religion, sexual orientation, and more. With education, dialogue and positive action, we can bring about real change.”


Working in partnership with national and local organizations, the Levine Center to End Hate will utilize the broad network and pivotal position of the Federation to examine issues related to hate and implement solutions. A steering committee of business, non-profit, government, philanthropy and law enforcement leaders will guide the Center’s programming. The membership of the committee, as well as initial projects, will be announced toward the end of 2018. 


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Press Coverage:

Todd Levine, President of the William and Mildred Levine Foundation

Federation Leaders Thrilled about Record Setting $5 Million Achievement 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is thrilled to announce that we have surpassed our $5,000,000 fundraising goal for 2018. A record setting $5,036,180 achievement is an 18% increase over last year’s fundraising effort. This is the first time the Federation, charged with securing a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide, has topped the $5 million mark in a given fundraising year.


The lofty $5,000,000 goal was set in October when the fundraising season kicked off with several successful events, including the celebrated “An Evening with Andy Cohen”. Volunteers and professionals carefully planned and worked together to achieve this goal in a multi-pronged fundraising approach. 


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Rina Chessin

Federation President

Federation to Present Community Awards at June 18 Annual Meeting

Press Release, June 1, 2018


Rochester – Outstanding leaders and programs of excellence will be honored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester at the “Celebration of Community” that will serve as their annual meeting on June 18. The meeting will take place in partnership with Hillel Community Day School, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Senior Life and the Louis S. Wolk JCC. It will take place at the JCC, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, at 7 pm; it is free of charge and all are welcome.


Young Leadership Awards

The Federation will present its 2018 Young Leadership Awards to Aviva Schochat, Neal Morchower and Michael Silverstein. Aviva Schochat, recipient of the Raye K. Aiole Young Leadership Award, is a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America (2017 – present). She was co-chair of the “Watch What Happens When” Federation fundraiser featuring Andy Cohen last fall. She is an incoming member of the Federation’s Board of Directors and serves on the board of Temple Beth El. She chaired the Temple Beth El Chanukah party from 2013-16 and is an active Keshet and Hillel Community Day School parent.


Neal Morchower will be presented with the Benjamin Goldstein Young Leadership Award. An active Federation volunteer, Neal serves on the Federation Board of Directors (2014 – present). He has chaired the Federation’s Security Committee for three years. He participated on the Ramim program of Partnership2Gether, and currently serves on the Ramim steering committee. Michael Silverstein will also be presented with the Benjamin Goldstein Young Leadership Award. Michael serves on the Federation’s Board of Directors (2015 – present) and chairs the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) committee. He participated on the Ramim program of Partnership2Gether and serves on the Federation’s Corporate Sponsorship committee.


Elmer Louis Awards

The 2018 Elmer Louis Award for excellence in Jewish community programming will be presented to the Brighton High School Exchange Program with Modi’in Israel, an outgrowth of the Federation’s Partnership2Gether with Modi’in. Students from Brighton and Modi’in spend 10 days in each other’s community receiving home hospitality and creating strong people-to-people connections. Hillel Community Day School will be presented with the Elmer Louis Award for its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Instead of giving students that day off, the school engages them in Tikkun Olam benefiting the Greater Rochester community.


Jan Katz Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education

Tracie Glazer, Head of School at Hillel Community Day School, will be acknowledged as recipient of this year’s Jan Katz Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Tracie is now in her third year as Head of School at Hillel. She has also served as professor and chair of the Art Education Department and program director of the Saturday Art program for children and teens at Nazareth College.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester builds a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, engagement, education and advocacy.

Learn more about the annual meeting at www.JewishRochester.org or by contacting a participating agency.

Aviva Schochat
Raye K. Aiole Young Leadership Award

Neal Morchower
Benjamin Goldstein Young Leadership Award

Michael Silverstein
Benjamin Goldstein Young Leadership Award


Roc City Jews Launch, June 7

Press Release, May 18, 2018


Rochester, NY – The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is excited to announce the launch of Roc City Jews, an initiative designed to provide meaningful opportunities for young adults. All recent college graduates, young and established professionals and parents of young children are welcome to attend the Roc City Jews kick-off event “Summer Schmooze,” on Thursday, June 7. 


The event will take place at Radio Social (20 Carlson Rd.) at 7 p.m. Enjoy drinks, appetizers, bowling and good conversation. Get to know other young adults in the community. Learn about ways to get involved from social programs, casual meet-ups and small group gatherings like Shabbat dinners to volunteering and holiday-themed offerings. 


“It’s exciting to see the Jewish Federation develop a new initiative to connect young professionals in the Rochester Jewish community,” said Rachael Misch, Roc City Jews committee member. "We're looking forward to the launch party and sharing our vision for the future."

Tickets are $18 in advance until June 5 or $25 at the door. Register at www.JewishRochester.org/RocCityLaunch.


For further information, contact the Federation, working to build a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, engagement, education and advocacy, at 461.0490.

Jewish Agencies Make Annual Meeting a “Celebration of Community”

Federation and Local Agencies Join Together, June 18

Press Release, May 18, 2018


Rochester – The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester will join with partner agencies Hillel Community Day School, Jewish Family Service of Rochester, Jewish Senior Life and the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester for a jointly held annual meeting on June 18. The “Celebration of Community” will take place at the JCC, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, at 7:00 PM. The program is free of charge and all are welcome.


This collaborative effort will include the presentation of community awards, election of board members and brief agency highlights. An ice cream sundae reception will follow the program.


“For the second year in a row, we are joining forces to maximize our community members’ time as well as organizational resources,” said Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation. “We had great success with this last year. We’re a busy community with a full schedule of activities, especially at this time of year.”


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester builds a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, engagement, education and advocacy.


Learn more about the annual meeting at www.JewishRochester.org or by contacting a participating agency.

Leading Israeli Foreign Policy Expert to Address Zionism in the 21st Century

Einat Wilf will deliver lecture as part of Israel@70 lecture series, May 1

Press Release, April 10, 2018


Rochester – Einat Wilf has served as a member of Israeli parliament and as a leading intellectual on matters concerning Israel and the Jewish people. She will address “Zionism and Pluralism in the 21st Century: Rethinking Israel and the Jewish People” for the final lecture in Israel@70: The Series, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.


The program will take place on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m. at the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester. It is free of charge and all are welcome.


Dr. Einat Wilf is a leader on matters of foreign policy, economics, education as well as Israel and the Jewish people. A member of the Israeli parliament from 2010-2013 on behalf of the Labor and Independence parties, Dr. Wilf also served as a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Senior Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres. She is the author of four books and numerous articles exploring key issues in Israeli society.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester works to build a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, education, engagement and advocacy.


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Rochester Celebrates Israel@70, April 18

70th Birthday Party Includes Israeli Band, Kids’ Activities and More

Press Release, April 5, 2018


Rochester – The state of Israel celebrates a major milestone on April 18, which marks 70 years of statehood. In just 70 years, Israel has become a world hub for technology and innovation as well as the only democracy in the Middle East.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester will sponsor a community celebration of Israel’s 70th Independence Day featuring a live band, activities for kids and more from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. on the 18th. The event will take place at the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, a partner in the celebration.


The Israeli cover band Capa’im will provide dance music. A slideshow of images from community members’ travels to Israel will set the stage.  Mediterranean (kosher) food from area eateries will be available for purchase.


The event is free of charge.


Learn more at www.JewishRochester.org/israelindependenceday.

Jewish Federation's Young Leadership Engagement Efforts Take a Big Step Forward

Gitana Mirochnik Selected as Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellow

Press Release, April 4, 2018


Rochester - Creating meaningful experiences that engage young adults with the Jewish community is among the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s most important priorities as it works to build a strong Jewish future. The Federation is proud to announce that Gitana Mirochnik, Director of the Federation’s Young Adult Initiatives and Social Media, has been named a Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellow.


Selected through a competitive application and interview process of the Jewish Federations of North America, Ms. Mirochnik was selected for the 18-month comprehensive program, made possible by the Jim Joseph Foundation, which offers participants the tools and training they need to work with the critically important 20s and 30s demographic. Joining forces for the first time, JFNA has brought together the North Carolina-based Center for Creative Leadership and the Jerusalem-based M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education to develop coursework and meaningful experiences that grow Federation professionals’ leadership skills and connect them more deeply to Judaism. The new initiative will also position them as innovators and leaders in the Jewish Next Gen space.


“We are very proud that Gitana has been selected for this important fellowship program and we know that our Jewish community will benefit greatly by her involvement,” said Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. “We look forward to watching her work with the young adults of Jewish Rochester expand in new and innovative directions.”


“I am honored and humbled by this amazing opportunity,” said Gitana Mirochnik. “I'm excited to learn from others and bring it back home.”


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester works to build a strong Jewish future in Rochester, Israel and worldwide through philanthropy, education, engagement and advocacy.


Learn more at www.JewishRochester.org.


Annual Holocaust Remembrance Opportunities, April 11-12

Power of the Arts in Teaching Holocaust History is this Year’s Focus

Press Release, March 27, 2018


Rochester - Keeping the testimony of Holocaust survivors alive once they are unable to share their stories in person is central to the mission of the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.  At this year’s annual Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust remembrance, program on Wednesday, April 11th, keynote speaker Dr. Erika Hughes will address the power of teaching Holocaust history through the arts.


The Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester, co-sponsor of the program, will present an excerpt from Survivors, a play by Wendy Kout, commissioned by the JCC and comprised of testimony of Rochester area Holocaust survivors. A candle lighting ceremony will also be part of the program which will take place from 7-8:15 PM at JCC.


Dr. Erika Hughes is Senior Lecturer in Drama and Performance at the University of Portsmouth. She has held research fellowships in Jewish Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Bonn, and the Technical University of Berlin. Her work has been published in numerous journals including the Journal of European Studies, Theatre Topics, Youth Theatre Journal, and Performance Research, as well as a number of edited volumes. Her work as a director for the stage has been seen in the United States, Germany, Israel, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom.


The JCC is located at 1200 Edgewood Avenue. The program is free of charge and all are welcome.


Lunch & Learn, April 12


Community members will have an additional opportunity to learn from Dr. Erika Hughes at a Lunch & Learn on Thursday, April 12th from 12-1 PM at the Louis S. Wolk JCC. Dr. Hughes will address “Speaking Resistance: Performance, the Holocaust and Contemporary Jewish Identity” at this program, also co-sponsored by the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation and the Louis S. Wolk JCC.


You can register for the Lunch & Learn at www.JewishRochester.org/Events.


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Jewish Community Will Miss Rep. Louise Slaughter

By Rina Chessin, President, and Meredith Dragon, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

Democrat and Chronicle, Saturday, March 17, 2018


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester mourns the loss of U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter. Congresswoman Slaughter was a close friend of the Jewish community. A vital partnership was forged with her over social, educational and international issues of importance to both Congresswoman Slaughter and our community. In particular, Louise lent a strong voice to critical Jewish needs, including freeing Soviet Jewry and supporting Israel.


During a recent visit by members of the Federation’s Government Affairs Committee to Louise’s district office, she spoke fondly of Israel and described several trips she made to the country. Louise dedicated her career to tikkun olam (social justice) and led with humility and grace. We express our deepest condolences to Louise’s family, friends and work colleagues. She will be sorely missed by the Jewish community. May her memory be a blessing.

Jewish Women's Day Debuts, March 8

February 22, 2018

Rochester -- Whether you're into spirituality and Kaballah, viewing work through a Jewish lens or defining your own success, there's likely to be something that interests all Jewish women at the first ever Jewish Women's Day on Thursday, March 8th. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester in partnership with the Louis S. Wolk JCC, area synagogues and other organizations, the event starts at 7:30 a.m. and runs through 9 p.m. Most activities take place at the JCC. 

The varied day of learning, which also includes art projects and yoga, will kick off with a breakfast program featuring prominent scholar, author and media figure Arna Fisher who will address, "Doing our Work with a Jewish Lens: What does this Mean for Women Professionals and Volunteers?" A lunch time program is entitled "Getting in Touch with Your Spiritual Side: 4 Secrets from Kaballah for Achieving Lasting Relationships" with internationally renowned teacher, lecturer and activist Rivkah Slonim. A variety of panelists will tackle "Defining Your Own Success" over dinner, followed by "Breast Cancer: Genetic Testing and Beyond" at 7:30 p.m. 


Read the article (page 11) 

Jewish Family Navigator Connects Families with Disabilities 

February 7, 2018


When a child or other family member is diagnosed with a disability, the question of how and where to access support for that family member can be overwhelming. Institutions also struggle with meeting the needs of their diverse constituents.

The newly instituted Jewish Family Navigator program, a resource for families coping with disabilities, aims to address this need from a communal perspective. The program, a partnership between AutismUp and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester with funding support from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, launches on February 7, 2018.


This newly instituted service will link families in the Rochester Jewish community with needed services, consolidating information and referral and providing individual family consultations.  The Jewish Family Navigator will also work with local Jewish institutions to support their efforts to be inclusive.  


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Israeli Educator Impressed by Pittsford Schools

By Alex Howard, Spectrum News, December 11, 2017

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Israeli educator Ziva Babian was wowed by what she saw at Calkins Road Middle School, and not just by the snow.

"Everything is so big, so tall, so different. Even the classroom is very well-planned, but the kids are the same kids, but the things that you do with them is so different," said Babian.

"We all want to be educated, but in a different way. The ways that I've seen here are amazing, and I plan to take then with me to my school in Modi'in."

Babian is visiting the United States for the first time through a Jewish Federation of Rochester-sponsored program called Partnership2Gether, which promotes international cultural connections between students and educators.


See coverage 

True Meaning of the Holidays: Supporting Our Refugee Neighbors Event Makes a Difference

By Pam Sherman, Democrat and Chronicle, Dec. 8, 2017


Last weekend, as I drove into the parking lot at Temple Brith K’odesh to drop off items for an event sponsored by the Refugee Committee of the Jewish Federation, I couldn’t help but think about my own paternal grandparents who came from Russia in the early 1920s. 


My grandfather had been a doctor there, but he, my grandmother and my aunt left their home behind to come to America.  They ended up moving to Staten Island, where my grandfather was eventually able to begin his practice, becoming the first doctor in the area to own a car for house calls.


Their journey was made easier by the Jewish community that welcomed them to this country. They went on to be one of the founding families of a small Jewish congregation that exists to this day on Staten Island.


Here in Rochester, the Jewish Federation’s event, Supporting Our Refugee Neighbors, was inspired by recent proposed changes in immigration rules. It’s part of a long legacy of the Jewish community supporting refugees.


Read the article

Essay: At its Core, Chanukah a Celebration of Religious Freedom

By Meredith Dragon, Guest essayist

Democrat and Chronicle Dec. 6, 2017 


Next week the Jewish community will be celebrating Chanukah.


At its core, Chanukah is a celebration of religious freedom. When the Chanukah lights are kindled for eight nights of the holiday, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to live free from religious persecution. There have been too many times in Jewish history when this was not the case.


In celebrating our religious freedom, we understand that there are people who still suffer today from religious persecution. Because of our history, we are keenly aware of the importance of insuring the safety and well-being of all people.


December 6 marks a date in history when those who were pursuing religions freedom left an indelible mark. Thirty years ago on that date the Jewish community arrived in Washington to demand from Mikhail Gorbachev freedom for more than 1 million brutally oppressed Soviet Jews. It was the eve of the summit between Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. Over 250,000 people from across the US marched on Washington in solidarity with people whom they had never met, but for whom they felt a primal duty and obligation to help. 


Read the essay

Supporting Refugees in Rochester – Event to Gather Supplies for Local Refugees

13Wham News, December 3, 2017


Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The local community came together Sunday to help refugees.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester partnered with eight local agencies to collect supplies for local refugees Sunday.


People donated items like clothing, shoes and toiletries, to help refugees get on their feet.


Organizers say they did not know what to expect, but were overwhelmed with the turnout and the support they received. 


Karen Elam with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester said "It completely blew away my expectations."


See the coverage

Jewish Federation to Participate in National Legacy Program

Messenger Post Media, Nov. 20, 2017


The Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is one of nine organizations recently selected to join 43 others in a national Jewish legacy giving program that, to date, has secured more than 15,700 after-lifetime commitments with an estimated value of more than $500 million for communities across North America.

The Foundation, the planned giving program of Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, will partner with Harold Grinspoon Foundation through Life & Legacy to start a community legacy giving program, creating a shared goal for the organizations to work toward. 

“Life & Legacy is truly a game changer for our community,” said Don Onimus, program co-chairman. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for growth, and we can’t wait to get started.“


Read the article