A Legacy for Ohef Sholom Temple

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 12:46pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

2199 Etched upon the doorposts of Ohef Sholom is our mission, "My House shall be a House of Prayer for all Peoples." Our open, inclusive community is a mosaic of multigenerational Jews and their families, all connected by a search for spiritual meaning, moral purpose, and a sense of belonging.

We are inspired by high caliber clergy, programming, worship and volunteer opportunities that create fulfilling social networks. Although we are the oldest and largest Jewish organization in Hampton Roads, we have not only adapted but also thrived with changing times by incorporating innovation into all facets of Jewish tradition, education, and life.

Who We Are

Ohef Sholom is a house of worship for all peoples as we are all created in the image of God. We embrace Jewish people of every age, couples, and families, who represent all forms of Jewish practice.

Additionally, we welcome who have traditionally faced closed doors, including special needs communities, LGBTQ individuals, and interfaith couples and families. Membership is open to everyone regardless of ability to pay the full cost.

Together we honor our past, embrace change, and live our values.

What We Do

  • Express pride in our heritage by preserving our Temple and its long history as a house of Reform Jewish continuity with uplifting worship, soulful music, and engaging programming. 
  • Rejoice in lifecycle events. 
  • Encourage Jewish learning with programs for all ages to study Torah and Jewish texts. 
  • Commit ourselves to Israel, by learning about our religious, historical and cultural connections 
  • Look outside of our congregation to see how we can repair and enhance our community. 
  • Connect with our community through outreach to share our faith with both Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and celebrate what we have in common.

What We Need

Prior generations provided us with an exceptional house of worship. Now as our 175th Anniversary approaches, Ohef Sholom has partnered with Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to ensure our future for generations to come with endowment gifts to our Life & Legacy.

New Legacy donors Mandi and Ross Firoved want people to know that you don’t have to be a millionaire to leave a legacy gift. They leveraged their young age with a TJF program that helps pay insurance premiums that allowed them to leave a substantial legacy gift. “It is our responsibility to leave behind a foundation to continue to teach Jewish traditions and beliefs for our children and our grandchildren. If we don’t support our Jewish institutions, who else will?”

Matthew Fine, chair of OST’s Life & Legacy program, says, “By making a legacy commitment, you can express values instilled in you by your parents and grandparents. You can preserve programs and organizations that support Jewish life. And, you can perpetuate cherished Jewish traditions for future.

For more information about Life & Legacy, please contact Linda Peck at (757) 625-4295.

Ensuring the future of JFS

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 11:37am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Stanley Samuels and his wife Linda are well aware of the ever-growing needs in our community and all that JFS does to help those who need it most. Stanley was president of JFS from 1982-1984 and their daughter, Marcia Samuels, followed in his footsteps when she served as president of the agency more recently, from 2012-2014. Because of their involvement with JFS and other great organizations in our community, the Norfolk residents know first-hand how JFS’ mission of promoting quality of life helps so many. That is why they chose to become JFS Life and Legacy donors.

As Stanley says, “Not everyone is fortunate enough to never need to ask for help. Many of the people JFS helps never thought they’d need the assistance. We are so grateful to be in a position to provide such help and do a mitzvah. We feel it’s so important to keep the legacy and mission of JFS going strong for generations to come.”

“Often our focus is on the short-term - the needs we have in the next week, the next month or the next year,” comments Betty Ann Levin, JFS Executive Director. “The Life and Legacy program is an opportunity to focus on the future and ensure that JFS is in a position to deliver essential services in the long-term.”

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JFS strengthens our community by providing essential services that help people overcome life’s challenges to live fuller, healthier and more meaningful lives. Whether it’s children coping with the loss of a loved one, families facing financial crisis, individuals recovering from surgery, or older adults with a debilitating illness, more than 3,000 individuals benefit from services each year.

JFS provides a continuum of home-based solutions, including home health care, counseling for families and individuals of all ages, care management, acculturation, guardianship, conservatorship, meals on wheels, adoption services, food and financial assistance, transportation to medical appointments and services to the developmentally disabled and chronically mentally ill.

JFS continues to provide unparalleled caring, support and resources to meet the needs of our community and is committed to providing our community with the highest level of care and expertise. Whether in home health care or social services, highly trained staff and volunteers provide a level and consistency of care rarely found in other social service agencies. The agency’s wide range of programs and services for individuals enables JFS to offer integrated services tailored to meet each client’s individual needs regardless of faith, age, ethnic background, and income.               

Lawrence Steingold, JFS immediate past president and legacy program chair states, “We are thrilled with the level of community support we have received thus far for this program.  We know how much community members care about JFS and it is heartening to have these conversations and hear how committed our donors are in ensuring the sustainability of our services into the future.”

For more information on leaving a Life & Legacy gift, call Betty Ann Levin, JFS Executive Director, at 757-321-2222, or Scott Kaplan, Tidewater Jewish Foundation President and CEO, at 757-965-6109.

Elie Wiesel Tribute

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 10:38am

Posted in: Holocaust Commission

2086 By now I'm sure all of you have heard the news that Elie Wiesel passed away last weekend.  As the tributes to this Holocaust survivor, author, Nobel Laureate, humanitarian, and dedicated teacher poured out, the sorrow of losing one of the most powerful voices for Holocaust remembrance and against injustice of any kind was overwhelming.

An iconic spokesperson for the Holocaust’s enduring lessons, Elie Wiesel was one of the most recognizable voices through which millions first encountered the dark history of the Shoah. But most importantly, he broke the silence and refused to let the world forget.

It is hard to even comprehend what the world must have been like when everyone, including Jews, only wanted to forget the Holocaust. What a different universe we would live in if Elie Wiesel had not had the courage to speak and remember.
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Notes from Neve Michael: Purim and the Princess Dress

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 7:49am

by Hava Levene, Neve Michael Children’s Village director of public relations

About Neve Michael Children’s Village:  Located in Pardes Hanna, Israel, Neve Michael provides a home for 250 children. The majority of the children are victims of mental, physical or sexual abuse; ages range from 4 to 18 years old. Children living there have been removed from their parents’ care by Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Services—usually because of unimaginable traumatic circumstances.

Your generous donation to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign directly and positively impacts the lives of children at Neve Michael.

Hava writes:
From Rosh Chodesh Adar to Purim, there are fun activities in Neve Michael Children’s Village. The children are a mosaic of Jewish culture and traditions including Ethiopian, Israeli, Russian, Moroccan, Libyan etc. We try and make sure to encourage the uniqueness of each culture through songs and traditions.

This is a story about “Batya,” who arrived at our Emergency Crisis Center.

UJFT donors strengthen Jewish identity 5,000 miles away

Mon, 03/14/2016 - 9:12am

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater helps Jewish families in Romania learn more about their heritage and religion through a camp in Cristian, Brasov.

Building strong Jewish communities and empowering Jewish identity--everywhere--are important UJFT goals.

Zoberman reflects on Yoffie

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 3:00pm

My distinguished colleague and dear friend, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, was ordained as a Reform rabbi in 1974, just like me, at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Whereas he attended the New York City Branch of the seminary, I was at the Cincinnati one which dates back to 1875 and is the oldest of the four campuses.

Rabbi Yoffie, President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), is a rabbi’s rabbi and a true “mensch”, who has left an indelible mark on the largest religious Jewish movement in America which he led with distinction from 1996 to 2012. Prior to it he served as executive director of ARZA, the Association of the Reform Zionists of America.

While president of URJ his emphasis was on greater engagement with Torah study as well as joyful celebration of Shabbat. In the spirit of K’lal Yisrael he challenged Reform Jews to also deepen their bond with the State of Israel, while urging the Jewish state to reflect a pluralistic Jewish world, recognizing the non-Orthodox religious movements.
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Behind the Story: Israeli Arab Tech Expansion Prompted by JDC Partnership

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 9:22am

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Israel & Overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, better known as JDC or The Joint, continues its vital work of empowering Israel’s future.

Here’s a recent story highlighting one of its programs you may have seen, but never realized you played a part in!

Behind the Story: Israeli Arab Tech Expansion Prompted by JDC Partnership

A New York Times story “All-Bedouin Tech Company Hints at Shift in Israel” published on January 9 highlights the growing inclusion of Israeli Arabs in the tech industry and job market in Israel.

“Israel, with a population of about eight million, has long been a global leader in high technology. But the country’s Palestinian Arab minority, which makes up about a fifth of the population and includes the Bedouins of the arid south, one of the poorest and most neglected sectors of Israeli society, has been largely left out,” the piece said, setting the context for the increasing numbers now being employed in Israel.
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MLK Day – Why just one day a year?

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 8:59am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

2020

Our seven-year-old came home from school on Friday and said, “Mommy, I am grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr.”  She went on to tell me that, “without him, I wouldn’t be able to be in the same class as my friends.”

I told her that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of my favorite holidays, too, because each year it reminds us of the importance of being inclusive and to use our voices to stand up for what is right.

We are constantly looking for ways to have meaningful conversations with our kids and this time, our daughter started a great one.  I decided to do some googling and found a ton of great ideas to further the conversation and to build on Dr. King’s great work at home.  Here are two ways that you, the Tidewater community, can bring the conversation into your home!
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Happy Chanukkah from the Kaplan Family!

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 2:56pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1985 Dear friends,

Tonight is a special night, as we will light six candles on the Chanukkah menorah, and also light the Shabbat candles. On this Shabbat in particular, we will talk about sharing the joy of Chanukkah with others, and encourage our daughters to choose a worthy organization to give a gift of tzedakah. This season is commonly associated with gift giving, and I have often thought how meaningful Chanukkah could be if every family dedicated one night as a night of giving to those less fortunate as opposed to receiving gifts. We could give our children, our friends and neighbors, our community, the gift of philanthropy! Consider ending the calendar year, or winding down the celebration of Chanukkah, by creating a legacy to benefit our Tidewater Jewish community for generations to come.

It is my hope that the warmth and light of the Chanukkah menorah bring you and your loved ones happiness and fulfillment. From my family to yours, Happy Chanukkah!

Warm regards and Shabbat Shalom,
Scott, Erica, Liora and Eden Kaplan

Denise and Jason Hoffman Talk Legacy

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 8:32am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Tradition and custom were a big part of childhood for both Denise and Jason Hoffman. Both experienced structure and ritual—but the juxtaposition was huge. While close geographically, their experiences were worlds apart.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Jason’s family was fairly observant. Weekly Shabbat dinners took place in his kosher home and attended a Solomon Schechter day school. Jason says of his childhood, “Being Jewish was certainly part of who we were.”

Across the water in New Jersey, Denise Vastino was busy living her own life. “We did all of the Catholic things. There was much structure and many rules. However, as I got older I began to stray from that mold,” Denise says of her own upbringing. “Like Jason in the Jewish world, I lived in a very Italian neighborhood. My friends were primarily Italian Catholics. We stuck together.”

Fast forward to 1999, when Jason and Denise meet at a mutual friend’s party. Denise was not feeling well, and Jason offered her his coat. The rest is history. Differences in their faith were not an issue. As their relationship progressed, the issue of faith took on more relevancy. “In my family there was an expectation that you would marry someone Jewish. The fact that I was moving towards not [doing so] was met with disapproval.” Denise and Jason focused on their relationship and what had brought them together: their common values and morals.

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