What Community Looks Like to Me

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 9:31am

Part 1 of a series of reflections, memories, observations and images shared by members of the Tidewater Jewish community. Super Sunday 2014—and beyond. On Super Sunday, January 26, 9 am – 1 pm, be extraordinary. Take the call. Make a gift. Volunteer your time.

1564 Members of the 2014 Super Sunday Steering Committee share their definitions of community:

Guy Berkowitz, 36
Community to me is a feeling of belonging between its members that comes with a strong bond to support and help each other and keep our traditions. As an Israeli leaving abroad, I appreciate the importance of our community life here in Hampton Roads. I see Super Sunday as more than a fund raiser, it's actually an acknowledgement and support from community members to the important initiatives and activities that the UJFT is taking -  not only by giving back to our community but also by supporting others in need, locally and worldwide.
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An Israeli Bedouin: an unusual story of an unusual man!

Tue, 12/10/2013 - 3:54pm

1544 Ishmael Khaldi
Diversity in Israel Today
Thursday, December 12th at 7:00pm
Sandler Family Campus
Free and open to the community with RSVP.


Here's a fact: I am a Bedouin and proud Israeli citizen.


I was born the third of eleven brothers and sisters, in Khawalid, a small Bedouin village nestled on the hills of the western Galilee, in northern Israel. My mind straddles east and west, with bridges made from fibers of time. I live in two worlds – more than two worlds, actually – east and west, Muslim and Jewish, traditional and modern, secular and religious, conservative and liberal.
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…God used the descendants of Ishmael to save the Jewish nation

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 10:18am

1538 Could one person be a Muslim, a Bedouin, and an Israeli diplomat? Some would say it’s impossible; some would say it’s a miracle.  For Ishmael Khaldi, it’s just his life.  Readers of the great American novel, Moby Dick, will recall that the narrator and protagonist of  that 1851 novel is named Ishmael and it is through his eyes that the reader experiences the story of the ship, Pequod. The Bible declares that Ishmael will be the savior of the Jewish Nation.

Ishmael Khaldi is the narrator and protagonist of this slim memoir. While not about Israeli politics, not about war and conflict, and not about economy and culture, this memoir manages to roll all of the above into the wonderful story of Ishmael’s journey from tending his family’s sheep in a small Bedouin village in northern Israel along the winding path that brought him to where he is today.
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L’Dor V’Dor, and Pass the Turkey!

Wed, 11/20/2013 - 8:49am

1517 Next week American Jews will celebrate the infamous hybrid holiday, Thanksgivukkah. My husband, Eliot, and I, along with the rest of my immediate family, will be altering our Thanksgiving plans this year. Next week we will traverse the overcrowded airports during the most frenzied travel week of the year; we will fly to Florida, to gather with over 50 of my family members.  Every few years my mom and her many first cousins gather all of the children and grandchildren together for a Thanksgiving/family reunion weekend. This year we are doing just that—but this year we have even more to celebrate, and even more to be thankful for.  The family reunion is spurred by the 90th birthday of my great-aunt Rene, who is an Auschwitz survivor, and the only remaining family member of my grandparent’s generation. As a giant, raucous, crazy family, we will celebrate Thanksgiving, light the Chanukah menorah, and light the candles on Aunt Rene’s (surprise) birthday cake. Thanksgivukkah 5774 will be special, indeed.
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The Story of Thanksgivukkah

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 4:41pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater


1507 The story of Thanksgivukkah will become American Jewish lore as two holidays, one Jewish and one secular, overlap into the most delicious celebration you will ever experience. This year, for the first time, the first day of Chanukah will fall on Thanksgiving Day. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, dubbed Thanksgivukkah, will not occur again until the year 79,811!
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How-To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah in Tidewater

Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:41pm

Posted in: Shalom Tidewater

1506 The stories of Chanukah and Thanksgiving are not so different.  Both tell the tale of a people who, despite all odds, survived and continued to live for generations based on their belief systems, history, and traditions. Both holidays evoke a kindness in our hearts of charity, family, and togetherness. At Thanksgiving, we offer gratitude to those who have assisted and supported us as we recall the surprising bond formed between two strange cultures. During Chanukah, we recognize the great sacrifices made by our ancestors as they fought to preserve our shared culture and traditions. As we recite the stories of the first successful harvest in a new land and the wondrous miracle of the burning oil, it is easy to be overcome with hope for the future.

Thanksgivukkah will become American Jewish lore as two holidays, one Jewish and one secular, overlap into the most delicious celebration you will ever experience. This year, for the first time, the first day of Chanukah will fall on Thanksgiving Day. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, dubbed Thanksgivukkah, will not occur again until the year 79,811!

So, as you plan your menu (turkey or brisket?), send out invitations, and gather the necessary supplies, ask yourself … how can you celebrate Thanksgivukkah in Tidewater?
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Jews Are Twice as Likely to Leave Bequests Than Non-Jews

Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:25am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1501 By Alex Daniels, posted at www.philanthropy.com on October 10, 2013

Twenty-three percent of American Jews have provided for charities in their wills, nearly twice as many as people who don’t follow that faith, according to a study released today.

Jews were also more likely to have wills—74 percent of them do, compared with 60 percent of non-Jews.

What’s more, the study found that the people most likely to leave a bequest to any kind of charity, not just Jewish nonprofits, were Jews who are connected to their tradition—such as those who attend synagogue, take part in Jewish civic organizations, or travel to Israel.

Forty-five percent of Jews who belong to Jewish organizations make planned gifts, the study found, compared with 15 percent of Jews who don’t belong to a faith-based group.
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U.S. Trust Study Reveals Disconnects in Philanthropic Conversations Between HNW Individuals and Professional Advisors

Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:09am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1502 Originally posted October 9, 2013 by Melody Griffin on the Planned Giving Design Center website, pgdc.com.

This is a must-read for advisors currently working with or wanting to work with HNW families, couples or individuals. Advisors are missing the boat according to the new study just released by The Philanthropic Initiative and commissioned by U.S. Trust. Learn when clients want you to start the philanthropic conversation, what they want to discuss, and what percentage of HNW individuals indicate they would be more likely to choose an advisor who is knowledgeable about charitable giving!

NEW YORK – Professional advisors almost universally agree that philanthropy plays an important role in their high net worth (HNW) clients’ wealth experience, and that engaging clients about their philanthropic ambitions is good for their own business. However, a recent U.S. Trust study reveals several disconnects between HNW individuals and advisors centering on the initiation and substance of philanthropic conversations. For instance, many advisors underestimate their clients’ desire to discuss their charitable goals and passions, and overestimate the importance of tax benefits as a motivation for giving.

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Preparing for another sleepless night….

Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:44am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

1493 From the CRC Director's Desk

After returning from the AIPAC Policy Conference in March, I found myself experiencing one sleepless night after another, eventually stretching into weeks of restless tossing and turning.  Throughout the conference, I learned more disturbing information about Iran’s progress and intentions with regards to their nuclear weapons program than I had ever wanted to know.  Though I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference with concerns focusing on Israel’s safety and how an Iranian nuclear weapon would affect Israeli security, I wound up learning more and more about what that program would mean to us as American citizens and gaining a profound appreciation for just how concerned we should be.  This information embedded itself in my brain only to resurface, without warning, as nightly wake up calls.

I’ll admit that I’m not a good sleeper anyway; often waking up in the middle of the night mentally tallying off all the things I need to accomplish the next day or later that week, worrying about my family, work, or with anxiety concerning events in and around Israel.  Though this happens often, this is the first time I have woken up with worries about America’s safety.  

What is causing me to lose so much sleep?
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Veterans Day Event

Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:42am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Special Events

1492 Monday, Nov. 11, 11 am

When the nation celebrates Veterans Day, a solemn ceremony will also take place at the Jewish Veterans Memorial on the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish community.

Now three years old, the memorial was created through significant donations, as well as by the purchase of pavers inscribed with the names of Jewish veterans who served in the past as well as those currently serving in the Armed Forces. Veterans from Russia, Canada and Israel are also honored.
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