Reflections on the turning of the fiscal year

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The Jewish calendar includes a number of new year’s days (four, according to the Mishnah). January 1 is not among them. Nonetheless, since the transition to 2016 does coincide with the start of Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah’s new fiscal year, this is perhaps an opportune time for me to do some reflecting on the past year and some anticipating of what is to come.

Perhaps the pivotal moment of the past year for me came relatively late, in October, with the publication of a Statement on Jewish Vitality, an effort, signed by 74 leaders from various parts of the Jewish community, to mobilize support for a series of programmatic investments aimed at strengthening American Jewish life. The statement was directed at funders (like our foundation) and policy makers. It touched off a vigorous debate about the analysis and strategy underlying its recommendations, as well as the tone of the statement itself. As part of that debate, we as a foundation did something we rarely do: we issued a formal statement in response, laying out our reasons for dissatisfaction with the original statement and outlining our own vision and strategy for promoting Jewish vitality. Continue reading

Learnings from 2015 – A Candid Look at What Could Have Gone Better

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This time of year we reflect on life’s big questions.

Is the Maccabeat’s latest Chanukah video better than last years? Is Adam Sandler’s fourth remix of the Chanukah song worthy of the airtime? Where are the new videos by women? (As if by magic, as I was writing this, Jewniverse deposited an answer in my email — a viral Hannukah video “There’s Pot in the Latkes” by MC Flow – Note: the video is not appropriate for children and the foundation doesn’t endorse activities which may be illegal depending on the state in which you reside).

Hey, stop watching those videos and read the rest of this blog post. I’m going to get to the real content now. Continue reading