Federation In the News




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.


Learn More

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.  


Learn More 

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