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Home » About the Federation » Our Community »  November 22, 2017
E-News - November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017  |  4 Kislev 5778

From our CEO
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I sometimes think of this holiday as a combination of Passover and Sukkot. Stay with me here - Sukkot is a festival holiday that recognizes the vulnerability of nature and our dependence on the harvest. We also construct a shelter that symbolizes welcoming guests into our home. Now Passover, that's family, food, history, stories, more food! These three holidays all focus on bringing people together, engaging in conversation and enjoying foods with meaning and historic representation. Thanksgiving has turkey, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, cranberries; Sukkot and Passover have matzah ball soup, roast chicken, brisket, gefilte fish, get the idea.

The true connection of these holidays is bringing people together to celebrate at home. Often these are diverse collections of people with a wide range of beliefs, ideas, and opinions. Sometimes balancing all those opinions is trickier than roasting the turkey! Let's remember that like a sukkah, our homes are sacred spaces created to welcome all people for the sake of peace.

On another note, I am pleased to report; lay leaders and professionals from Omaha attended the Jewish Federation of North America's annual meeting in Los Angeles - the GA. I will provide more detail in a later article in the Jewish Press but did want to share that Omaha was well represented. The theme for this year's General Assembly was "Venture Further" acknowledging our history but focusing on the future of our Jewish communities. I had the privilege of sitting on a panel to discuss different federation models. I shared the strong history of Omaha's Jewish community and how our dedication to leadership and looking forward have been key to our success. We all have heard the question - "Are there Jews in Omaha?" In the Federation world, Omaha is looked up to as a leader in building a sustainable community. We need to remember and celebrate that!

JCC Aquatic Complex
The aquatic complex is taking shape - check out this short video of the progress.

Enjoy your time with family & friends!

The Jewish Federation of Omaha and the Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE) will present the final film of the 16th Annual Omaha Jewish Film Festival on Saturday, December 2 at 7pm in the JCC Theater. Please join us!

A US documentary released in 2016 in English. The film presents untold stories of four once thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on.

 Tickets may be purchased online in advance or at the door.
No movie night is complete without something to munch on. Popcorn, snacks, and beverages will be available each evening.

Burn the Bird - A Thanksgiving Day Group Exercise Event at the JCC
JCC members and their guests are welcome at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, November 23rd for a special BURN the BIRD workout event! This two hour event will sample popular Group Exercise classes. Members can attend any or all of the 30 minute sessions. Participants will also enjoy snacks and chances to win prizes! This is a FREE event open to all JCC Members.

Don't Forget...Guest Passes Are Available for Purchase
Friends and family in town for the holiday? Bring them with you! Guest passes are available for $10 from the Member Services Desk. Those bringing a guest are asked to review the Guest Policy and Procedures.

Looking to improve (preserve) your Hebrew?
Let's talk some Hebrew! Shulchan Ivrit
Join Yoni Doron, Community Shaliach, on December 1st, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m at RBJH Star Deli to have lunch and speak together in Hebrew. Learn more.
Omaha Yachad &  
KC Kollel's Ahoovim Present: A Winter Shabbaton hosted by Chabad of Omaha

Join Chabad and guests on December 2 to partake in tasty challah baking, lively Shabbat services, fun Shabbat activities, entertaining magic, and a tour of the zoo!  Learn more at
The Importance of Arts in Education:
A Panel Discussion
Experts agree: educating children in the arts is important. On December 3, 2017, at 7 P.M., at Friedel Jewish Academy, a panel of experts will discuss the importance of arts education in children's development, the current state of arts education in the schools, and best practices in arts education. The panel includes four experts including:  Jeremy Johnson, Ph.D., the Director for the Center for Innovation in Arts Education and the head of the Art Education department at UNO; Michelle Johnson, the General Manager of Omaha Area Youth Orchestras ("OAYO") and former Instrumental Music Supervisor for Omaha Public Schools; and Friedel's fine arts instructors Anne Twedt (visual arts) and Julie Sandene (vocal music).  Babysitting available if reserved by November 29th,

Sunday, December 3, 2017  
1:30 PM  |  JCC Auditorium
  •  1st - 4th prizes are applicable to college tuition, an approved trip to Israel or an approved camp or educational program sponsored by a Jewish organization.
  • Participants can prepare on their own, (i.e. read the book) OR
  • Contact a synagogue or religious educator to join a study group

TO REGISTER, email your contact info to by November 29, 2017


Quiz questions are based on: DEUTERONOMY

Questions? Call Steven Riekes at (402) 333-8498 or the B'nai B'rith office at (402) 334-6443 or email

The celebration will include games, prizes, face painting, crafts, inflatable, mitzvah projects, and lunch available for purchase!
Click to download a Hanukkah card. The cards along with the Tzedakah  will be send to Houston.
The Hanukkah Extravaganza is free to attend and open to the community; however, attendees are asked to BRING TZEDAKAH as our community is raising funds for 'Hanukkah for Houston'!

New this year, work on a fun, hands-on mitzvah project called "Wish for Wheels", which provides 30 new bikes and helmets to Omaha's Mercy Housing children in grades K-2nd. Thank you to Michael Staenberg for generously underwriting this project.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Louri Sullivan at  
Funding is generously provided by the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation 

Jewish Business Leaders of Omaha
Bagels & Business - Jan. 17
Jewish Business Leaders of Omaha members are invited to the Bagels and Business breakfast on Wednesday, January 17 at Champions Run. Todd Simon will be our guest speaker. Please RSVP to Tammy Johnson at or
call 402-334-6430.

Todd Simon is a fifth generation owner of the Omaha Steaks® group of companies, serving as Senior Vice President of Omaha Steaks International, Inc., President of OS Sales Co, Inc., and Vice-Chairman of, Inc. In his various roles, Mr. Simon is responsible for consumer sales and marketing of Omaha Steaks branded products and services. Mr. Simon joined the family business over 25 years ago after graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He carries on the strong commitment Omaha Steaks and the Simon Family have always had toward community philanthropy. Mr. Simon is extremely involved in shaping his family's leadership in supporting the arts as well as social and human services agencies and programs. He has been active on the boards of a number of philanthropic organizations including Jewish Family Service, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Omaha Community Foundation and the Young Presidents' Organization.

To learn more about Jewish Business Leaders of Omaha click here to visit our website.
Interested in becoming a member? Click here  to join.
The FED is Back! January 27th
FED is a Jewish Federation of Omaha food-focused event designed to engage the next generation of Jewish community members, leaders and philanthropists. The event intertwines food, community building and philanthropy in an innovative way to highlight the work of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Picture a pop-up restaurant in an unexpected space showcasing a fun whimsical summer camp experience curated by chef Molly Yeh, with limited seats available, for one night only. That's FED. 

Molly Yeh is the creator of the food blog, my name is yeh, which has been recognized by Saveur and Yahoo as " Food Blog of the Year." She has been featured by the New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and New York Magazine, and she has contributed to Vanity Fair, Saveur, Condé Nast Traveler, Lucky Peach, Food52, and as a columnist to the Jewish Daily Forward. She was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list for 2017 and Apartment Therapy's 10 Under 40 list for 2016.
This "Generation Now" event, along with more to come, is designed for community members ages 21 to 45.
Limited seating is available for this event.
Click here to reserve your seat today!

You can now support the Annual Campaign from your cell phone  
or other device!
Join the Discovery!
We are excited to share the complete report, methodology and findings of the 2017 Jewish Federation of Omaha Population Study:
A Portrait of the Omaha Jewish Community. Learn More.
Upcoming Events
Thanksgiving morning
with Rabbi Ari
November 23  | 9am
Join Rabbi Ari for a great Thanksgiving morning.  Shacharit begins at 9am followed by the class "Thanksgiving the Jewish Way."  Then it's outside for "Football Madness" to burn off some calories to make more room for turkey and pumpkin pie.

Beth El Synagogue Serves Lunch at Nebraska AIDS Coalition
November 24 | 11:30 am
Learn more.

Beth El Synagogue Book Club with Rabbi Abraham
Nov.28, 12pm at Whole Foods
Nov. 29, 7pm at Beth El
Learn more.

Beth El Synagogue Adult Education class with Hazzan Krausman: "Shaliach Tzibour"      
Nov. 29, and Dec. 6 | 6:00 pm   
Learn more.

B'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
November 29 |  Noon
RBJH Auditorium

Beth El Synagogue ShaBroadway: A Kabbalat Shabbat Lead by USY & Kadima
Dec. 1  | 6:00 pm Services  
Learn more.

Beth El Synagogue
USY Mystery Night Out          
December 2  | 6pm
Learn more.

16th Annual Omaha
Jewish Film Festival
Dec. 2  | 7pm | JCC
There are Jews Here
Learn more. 

A Winter Shabbaton hosted  
by Chabad of Omaha
December 2 
Beth El Synagogue Torah Tots - Ages 4-5, Chanukah part 1         
December 3 | 10:30 am
Learn more.
Beth El Synagogue Prophets and the Cities, with Rami Arav 
December 3  | 11:00 am
Learn more.
B'nai B'rith Bible Quiz 
December 3 | 1:30pm 
JCC Auditorium 
Beth El Synagogue Pop Up Chanukah Workshop 
December 3 | 2:00 - 6:00 pm
Westroads Mall
Beth El Synagogue Chesed Committee visits Blumkin Home 
December 7 | 2:00 pm
Learn more.
Beth El Synagogue Miriam Initiative: Latkes and Libations 
December 7 | 7:00 pm
Learn more. 
Hanukkah Extravaganza! 
December 10 | 12-2pm
JCC Auditorium   
Save the Date
Jewish Business Leaders  
Bagels & Business featuring Todd Simon  
January 17 | 7:30 -8:30 am
Champions Run
Generation Now!
FED Event featuring Molly Yeh  
January 27,2018
The Pella in Blackstone  
Community Calendar
Check out what's happening
in Jewish Omaha on the Community Calendar. View
all kinds of upcoming events happening around town.

Have an event and want
to get the word out?

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Remember, this is just a sampling from Jewish Omaha! To stay informed,
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Jewish Federation of Omaha   |   333 South 132nd Street   |  Omaha, NE 68154   | 402-334-8200