Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

“Esau said, ‘I have plenty. Let what you have remain yours.’” (Genesis 33:9) This week’s perspective on the weekly parasha is dedicated to the memory of Shmuel Benalal, z”l, a Jewish educator instrumental in the establishment of the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, who was killed in the Mali hotel attack. Yehi Zichro Baruch. May […]

Groomed for Success: Focusing on Talent in the JCC Field

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By Joy Brand-Richardson Of the last 14 open executive director positions at Jewish Community Centers, nine were filled by current JCC staff, either an assistant executive director moving up in his or her own organization, or by one moving from another JCC, or an executive in a JCC in one city moving to another. That […]

Terror doesn’t discriminate

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Evil reached us today—Israelis, American Jewish citizens and an innocent Palestinian, all victims of terror attacks. It began when two Israelis were murdered, stabbed in an attack in southern Tel Aviv just outside a synagogue. The terrorist responsible was in Israel legally, working for a nearby restaurant. And shortly after this attack, another terrorist killed […]

Parashat Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

“Shaken, he said, ’How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God and this is the gate of the heavens.’” (Genesis 28:17) Parashat Vayetzei describes Jacob’s flight from Canaan to Haran to escape Esau’s anger. His uncle Lavan tricks him into working fourteen years to marry his two daughters, Leah […]

Illuminating the darkness

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Today we mark the first day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. A month in which we celebrate Hanukkah, the holiday that commemorates the victory of the Israelites over the Greeks in a series of battles taking place around the year 165 BC. Hanukah symbolizes our very basic right to celebrate Jewish identity under Jewish […]

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:8)

“Esau said, “Look, I am going to die, so of what use to me is the birthright?” (Genesis 25:32) Parashat Toldot introduces Esau and Jacob, twin brothers whose rivalry begins in the womb (Gen. 25:22) and haunts them into adulthood. Ultimately, their differences turn them into archtypes, symbols of evil (Esau) and good (Jacob) in […]

The keys to Jerusalem—and JCCs

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Having completed JCC Association’s first Innovation Lab: Jerusalem last Saturday night, Sounding Board is pleased to share a slightly adapted version of the program’s opening remarks for your reading pleasure. It’s taught that when the first Temple was destroyed, the leaders of the community climbed to the top of the ruins with the keys to […]

Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

“And afterward, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. “(Genesis 23:19) Parashat Chayei Sarah describes the first crisis of Jewish continuity. Abraham must find a wife for Isaac to fulfill God’s promise to become a “great nation.” (Gen. 12:2) […]

6 Second Hebrew: Crayons, Eat, Book

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Saving best for last

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What is third place? It’s not the bronze medal, but rather that home-away-from-home that JCCs aspire to be. Several New Jersey JCCs have created a learning hub, and they got together on a Sunday in October at JCC Association’s offices, to brainstorm about just this, with Marc Dunkelman, author of Striving for Third Place.

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