November Life & Legacy Spotlight: Chabad of Tidewater

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:36am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Chabad On a warm and sunny Sunday in September, people walking down Colley Avenue in Ghent were greeted with quite a sight. Children were busy sawing goat horns and rabbis were using a table saw. On a cold December evening, hundreds of people could be seen at the base of a GIANT Menorah - ready to celebrate Chanukah- and religious freedom - for all to see. These are just two simple examples of what Chabad of Tidewater does.

Established in 1979, Chabad of Tidewater has been serving the Tidewater Jewish community in a wide variety of ways. Chabad of Tidewater is welcoming to people from all walks of life and all levels of observance. The staff at Chabad of Tidewater strives to help Jewish people of all ages and stages grow in their connection to Judaism. As an open home to all Jews regardless of affiliation or Jewish practice, Chabad of Tidewater is on the front lines helping community members with a wide variety of needs, ranging from spiritual to physical.

Through innovative and creative programming, Chabad of Tidewater offers educational opportunities to adults and children alike. Whether seeking an intellectual Torah text study or a hands on way to learn about an upcoming holiday everyone can find something to fit their needs and lifestyle.

In addition to the educational programming, Chabad of Tidewater also provides opportunity for one on one study, visits Jewish inmates, and provides support and Kosher food for hospital patients and their families. Many a time Chabad of Tidewater has helped a family get back on their feet in a time of financial need.

Leaving a LIFE & LEGACY gift to Chabad of Tidewater helps to ensure a strong Jewish future in Hampton Roads. A LIFE & LEGACY gift ensures future financial security, enabling Chabad to grow their efforts, expand their reach and continue to do their important work in the area for years to come. Please consider Chabad of Tidewater for a legacy gift.

For more info feel free to contact me or visit

Blessings for continued success,
Rabbi Levi Brashevitzky
Chabad of Tidewater
Office: 757-616-0770

September Life & Legacy Spotlight: Hebrew Academy of Tidewater

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 8:58am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

2272 Established in 1955 as the only pluralistic Jewish community day school in Hampton Roads, The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (HAT) provides high quality, integrated Judaic and general studies education that establishes a strong foundation for lifelong learning in a dynamic, supportive, and enriching Jewish environment.  Because all families are welcomed, regardless of their denomination or level of observance, we build bridges across the Jewish community.

Students enrolled in HAT are intellectually curious, self-disciplined, and independent thinkers.  They are involved in a holistic community that engages them in the world around them, and they emerge from our program as better students, better people, and better citizens.  They are happy, respectful and devoted to their education because of the close student-teacher relationship, small class size and differentiated learning that takes place in the classes.

HAT Graduates excel after leaving our community and serve as leaders in their academic, philanthropic, and Jewish communities. The future of the Jewish people is stronger because HAT students are secure in their Jewish identity and have a strong commitment to the State of Israel.

It is no secret that a Jewish day school education is expensive.  We chose to participate in the LIFE & LEGACY program to ensure that HAT will be funded for generations to come.    What is amazing about the LIFE & LEGACY program is that people of every age and capacity can make a commitment to secure the future.

By becoming a legacy society member, you will show the community that you:

  • Recognize that Jewish education is a cornerstone of our Jewish community;
  • Believe that every child, regardless of financial circumstances, deserves a Jewish day school education;
  • Understand that instilling a love for learning, Torah, and the State of Israel in our children will inspire future generations to make Judaism a vital part of their lives.

Support Jewish education for tomorrow’s generation, by leaving your Jewish legacy today!

For more information about leaving your Jewish legacy, contact Patti Seeman, 757-424-4327 or

August Life and Legacy Spotlight — Toras Chaim

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 8:47am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Spotlight on Toras Chaim –


Ensuring a strong Jewish community in the future is about creating a strong connection between our past and our children.  That is the mission of Jewish Day School.  Each generation is a link in a long chain, and the Jewish people will only continue to exist by ensuring that we pass the torch of our history and beliefs on to our children as it was passed to us.  A predictor of the future strength of a community is the quality of its educational institutions of today.

Toras Chaim started in 2002 with the mission to provide an excellent education in both general and Judaic subjects in the context of a traditional Orthodox Jewish environment.  We teach students that the learning that they do in all subject areas should have an impact on their lives.  Their core curriculum classes are challenging and engaging, and they learn important moral lessons our three and a half thousand years of history have taught us.

Toras Chaim’s Judaic curriculum is primarily textually based.  Students are taught to explore original texts in Aramaic and Hebrew, both biblical and modern, to explore the remarkable teachings of their rich ancestry.  Our general studies program is fully accredited by Advanc-Ed, and provides an enriching classical approach to language arts and history, while providing a modern technology focused STEM program that teaches problem solving through science and advanced level math skills.

Toras Chaim, which provides a full day daycare starting at six weeks old, and goes all the way through 8th Grade, is growing and will have 115 students this coming year.  We are gaining renown in the Orthodox Jewish community outside of Tidewater for having a high quality program comparable to many of the larger and long-established Jewish private schools in other cities, while also being small enough to provide personal attention.

The TJF Life and Legacy program is important to Toras Chaim because we are trying to build a strong future for the Jewish community.  The community wide initiative calls upon people of all ages and capacities to think about the future and make a commitment. That is why so many young families have committed to making a Legacy gift to Toras Chaim.  They understand that Toras Chaim is important to the growth and vibrancy of the Orthodox community as well as the entire Jewish community, and by supporting for Toras Chaim’s future, they are supporting the community’s future.  



Rabbi M. Loiterman M.Ed., Ph.D.
Principal, Toras Chaim School
757-828-6724 (TC-TORAH)

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.

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.

Shifting Perspectives: Virginia Tech Student Adam Zelenka and the importance of Hillel

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 7:59am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Shifting Perspectives

The Tidewater Jewish Foundation recently partnered with Hillel at Virginia Tech for an event at the home of Brenda and Abbey Horwitz. This was an opportunity for local alumni, donors, parents, students and future students to learn more about what’s going on at Tech, the programs that are available through Hillel, and the importance of these programs to the students—and to ensure they are available for the next generation of Jewish students. One of our local Virginia Tech students, Adam Zelenka (sophomore), shared his feelings about Hillel:


Virginia Tech students Austin Sheffer, Adam Zelenka and Whitley Miller with Tech's Hillel Executive Director, Sue Kurtz

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Shifting Perspectives: Jewish Communal Work at the UJFT

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 2:31pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Shifting Perspectives

This article is the first of a continuing series that will spotlight local members of our Jewish community and its communal professionals. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation provides support for the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and all of our local Jewish agencies, plus many of the temples/synagogues.

Hometown: Chadds Ford, PA
Favorite Color: Purple
Occupation: Young Adult Division (YAD) Director of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

What do you find most fulfilling about your job?

As the YAD Director for the Federation, which is a very communal-based agency, I am in a unique position to be at the forefront of meeting the future leaders of our community, and seeing what they’re all about. I get to find out what’s important to them, and how we can make sure that our mission, our projects and our programs reflect those interests, to keep them engaged.

When you meet people who are interested in getting involved because they have heard how great YAD is, or how much fun their friends are having at YAD events, or how incredible a YAD leadership program is, and to see the same people keep coming back year after year, spreading the message and bringing new people with them—that’s really fulfilling. At a family Shabbat, when you see the same people you’ve been seeing for the last six years—plus ten new families who want to be engaged in the community—that’s really satisfying.
Read more »

'I-Am-From-The-IRS' Phone Fraud

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 3:10pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1817 At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 12, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Timothy Camus, explained the growth of an IRS "phone impersonation scam." Camus called the "I-am-from-the-IRS" phone fraud the "largest, most persuasive impersonation scam in the history of our agency."

The scam usually starts with a fraudster using a fake name who calls a victim. The fraudster gives a false "badge number" and claims the victim owes taxes. The scammer frightens the victim by claiming there is criminal liability without an immediate payment.
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