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Marsha’s Musings – October Edition

Colorado Community Update - from the desk of Marsha Hurwitz, JEWISHcolorado Interim President and CEO.

Marsha’s Musings

Marsha Hurwitz, JEWISHcolorado Interim CEOShana Tova and thank you for this opportunity to serve as your Interim CEO. I’d like to thank Doug Seserman for all he’s done for JEWISHcolorado and for Klal Yisroel. We know his good work will continue to benefit the students and faculty of Ben Gurion University, Israel and the Jewish people.

As this is the first issue of Marsha’s Musings, allow me to offer some initial thoughts about you …me .. and JEWISHcolorado.

As you may know, I have had the privilege of spending the past 36 years in small southern Jewish communities, large west coast Jewish communities and medium size midwestern Jewish communities. 

Yes, it is true. Every community has its own unique characteristics. That said, please know this—the JEWISHcolorado community is quite special and very unique …and not something to be taken for granted.

From young leaders to veteran leaders, native Coloradans to transplants, college students to Moishe House residents, camp madrichot and religious school shlichim .. there is a passion, a ‘love’ for, and a pride inthis JEWISH community – that one doesn’t find in most other cities.

And there is an eagerness, a burning desire, to make JEWISHcolorado thrive, to welcome and engage more people in doing JEWISH individually and collectively – and to do it TODAY – NOT TOMORROW AND NOT NEXT YEAR.

And we can prove it! In the past 27 days JEWISHcolorado has partnered with community members to:

  • Raise almost $200,000 in Hurricane Relief (representing donations from over 400 community members)
  • Serve more than 1,500 Kosher Meals to our Seniors including a special Rosh Hashanah meal (in partnership with JFS and JCC Denver)
  • Enable over 2,000 Jewish students ages 3-23 (and yes we do this every YEAR) to be touched by our Shinshinim program – learning about Israel (see story below)
  • Raise over $1,750,000 for our 2018 Annual Campaign 
  • Bring together more than 250 Young Adults for an evening of fun, friendship and philanthropy at our Inaugural Elevate YAD Event
  • Commit to our JEWISHcolorado Capital Renovations Project (see pictures below) and raise $328,000 for a total of $6.75 Million toward our $10M goal

building renovation plans
So, hineni, I am here, with all of you. It is September 29, 2017. Tonight, we along with millions of Jews around the world, will gather in our synagogues, chavurahs, parks and living rooms for Yom Kippur and for the next 25 hours we will reflect upon the year that has passed and how we can make this coming year even better.

…And I have the distinct privilege to serve as JEWISHcolorado’s Interim CEO—I have a responsibility to partner with you and our team of professionals to address today’s challenges and convert them into tomorrow’s opportunities.

So here is my pledge, on behalf of JEWISHcolorado to you:

  • We will seek you out to PARTNER with you to build on the solid foundation past leaders have built
  • We will COLLABORATE with you, our agencies, our synagogues, our organizations, to continue our work of sending more of our children to Jewish summer camps, deliver more kosher meals to seniors, here in JEWISHcolorado and in the Ukraine; send more teens on our annual Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour (IST) – to meaningfully IMPACT more Jewish lives in the most efficient way …  
  • We will be ACCOUNTABLE to each of you, for we are the fiscal stewards of a most precious assetour JEWISH community. 

So I close with the following Yom Kippur thoughts:

To those I have wronged, I ask forgiveness
To those I may have helped, I wish I did more
To those I neglected to help, I ask for understanding
To those who helped me, I sincerely thank you

Shabbat Shalom. Gmar Chatima Tovah – May You Be Inscribed in the Book of Life for a Good Year.

Marsha Hurwitz
JEWISHcolorado Interim President & CEO

Program Spotlight:
Colorado’s Israeli Ambassadors – the Shinshinim

From left to right: Hadar Curiel, Osnat Fox, and Inbal Eliyahu

From left to right: Hadar Curiel, Osnat Fox, and Inbal Eliyahu

In 2018, Israel celebrates its 70th Anniversary. JEWISHcolorado along with communities around the world are planning a year of celebrations to honor Israel.

Here in Colorado we engage the next generation in being Jewish through our Israeli Ambassador Program, our Shinshinim. Every year, two Israeli teens volunteer to spend a year in our community, interacting with students of all ages about the similarities and differences between Israel and the United States. They share Israeli politics, populations, cultures, Israeli slang and jeopardy. They discuss the complexities of life in Israel and learn about Jewish life here in Colorado. They attend religious school classes, visit schools, attend BBYO events and Shabbat dinners.

In August, we welcomed our newest Shinshinim, Hadar and Inbal, to share their unique insight into Israeli Jewish life and are looking forward to having them as part of our Colorado community until next summer.

The benefits of this program are well known and received throughout our community. Host families and supervisors at the more than 14 day schools, public schools, religious schools and youth movements where our Shinshinim visit tell us our emissaries have made significant impacts on their teens and families. Our Shinshinim share that they have enjoyed making personal connections with over 2,000 teens throughout their year here.

We are thrilled to share that we will be working towards expansion of this program in the future! Our Board of Directors has agreed to expand the program to four teens in Fiscal Year 2019, pending full funding by our organization partners. With these additional emissaries, we will be able to touch 1000 more youth in our community’s religious schools and summer camps.

To showcase just how impactful this program is to both our community and our emissaries, we would like to share a special blog post written by Inbal after her first experience at High Holy Day services in Denver. A beautiful testament to this unique partnership:

Read the full post on Facebook

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