The facilitation and development of a sense of community and connection among the diverse Jewish population of Tidewater is of utmost importance to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. New initiatives such as a Community Concierge, Shalom Tidewater website, and Synagogue-Federation grants are part of a broader strategy unveiled in the UJFT Strategic Plan: the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community.
Our collective efforts will strengthen our community and create a more inclusive environment for Jews of all backgrounds and denominations.
One of the major initiatives of this partnership is to hold semi-regular Shabbaton weekends, in which the UJFT helps bring a scholar-in-residence to our synagogue partners in discussions open to all members of the Jewish community. The idea is that if we all share in the same conversation—led by our shared scholar-in-residence—we move toward greater unity and community.
Since 2012, the UJFT has hosted two Shabbaton weekends and brought in a motivational speaker and educator. At our first Shabbaton in February 2012, Shoel Silver, Chair of the Unity of the Jewish People Committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel, served as the community’s scholar-in-residence. The second Shabbaton, held in October 2012, featured David Elcott, the Taub Professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and co-founder of B-3/the Baby Boomer Platform.
In February 2013, the community was fortunate to attend a weekend of discussions with Ron Wolfson, an expert on synagogue and Jewish community transformation, a professor at the American Jewish University, and best-selling author. This successful weekend was a great example of how the UJFT and area synagogues have worked together to strengthen the community through outreach and inclusion, and made great use of the Synagogue-Federation Partnership Grants program.
The 2013 Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community grants include:
Ohef Sholom Temple
Congregation Beth El
Kempsville Conservative Synagogue
Congregation B’nai Israel
Projects of the the Synagogue-Federation Partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community include:
A Community Concierge - to engage newcomers and unaffiliated Jews in Tidewater through a warm welcome, resources and referrals to synagogues and Jewish agencies.
Community Grants Program- dollars will be allocated to help synagogues develop programming, marketing, promotional and public relations materials.
UJFT Website- A tech-savvy Synagogue page will include descriptions of each Synagogue and include a slideshow and calendar.
Jewish News- the Jewish News will feature Synagogue events in the published community calendar and run stories on synagogue life.