12.2.16 Issue

Ozzie Nogg

Rabbi Moshe Isserles (c. 1525 – 1572) – considered the Maimonides of Polish Jewry – wrote that when one supports someone else who is studying Torah, “it is considered as if he had studied himself.” This support of learning is reflected by the scholarships allocated from Campaign dollars by the Jewish Federation of Omaha. “We’re proud to announce that in 2015-2016, we awarded 414 scholarships and subvention grants totaling $454,141,” said Nate Shapiro, JFO Director of Development. “A significant portion of this money comes from Annual Campaign contributions, while some of the money, especially for college scholarships, comes from the JFO Foundation and family endowments.”

These scholarships and subventions take a variety of different forms, including:

Religious School Subvention. To promote Jewish education for the youth in our community, JFO supplies financial assistance to religious school education at Beth El Synagogue, Beth Israel Synagogue, Temple Israel and Friedel Jewish Academy. This subvention, which totaled over $70,000 for the 2016-2017 school year, is calculated based on the number of children enrolled and hours taught at each institution.

Israel Experience Grants. Our community understands the deep, emotional connection between the Holy Land and Jewish tradition. Whether it be through our Mega-Teen Mission, Birthright or the number of trips through national youth group organizations, JFO is dedicated to helping our community’s young people strengthen, first hand, their bond with Israel.

PASSPORT to Israel. In addition to Israel Experience Grants, JFO helps parents support their children’s connection with Israel through the Passport to Israel program which provides an avenue for families to save for future trips to Israel for their kids. Participants are eligible for matching funds from the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the family’s Omaha synagogue. Currently, over 60 community members are taking advantage of this wonderful program.

Youth Group Scholarships. JFO believes that participation in Jewish youth groups helps build Jewish identity. National conventions and retreats, as well as local events, promote networking among Omaha teens and teens across the country and the world. Youth groups foster cooperation, empower our youngsters, create future leaders and play a crucial role in ensuring Jewish continuity.

Friedel Jewish Academy. The Jewish Federation of Omaha is proud to share our campus with the Friedel Jewish Academy. The school’s low student-to-teacher ratio means the kids receive a superior educational experience which includes an integrated curriculum of general and Jewish studies, as well as Hebrew immersion classes. Education of this caliber can be expensive, and JFO provides scholarships to help ease the financial burden to families. “This year, as well as last year, Friedel leadership approached the Federation board for support,” said Jewish Federation of Omaha President Bruce Friedlander, “and the JFO board was happy to designate incremental dollars to assist with the school’s operations.”

The Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center. The CDC on the Jewish Community Center campus is one of the highest quality child care centers in the city. The Jewish Federation of Omaha is committed to helping parents send their children to the this premier institution by providing needs-based financial assistance.

Residential Camp. For many of our young community members, going to overnight camp is the highlight of their year. Summer camp is a chance for children and teens to take a break from technology, and gives kids time to discover themselves while interacting with their Jewish peers. In addition to scholarships, funding is also available through the recently expanded Jewish Experience Grant program.

Jewish Community Center Summer Camp. Needs based scholarships are available for Jewish children who want to attend the day camp provided during the summer months by the Omaha JCC.

College Scholarships and Loans. The Omaha Jewish community supports our teens pursuing higher education. The Foundation has numerous scholarship funds available for college-bound, vocational and technical students. As college expenses continue to rise, this particular category of scholarship becomes increasingly important.

“Your gifts to the Annual Campaign make a profound impact,” Shapiro said. “Because of you we are able to invest in our youth through scholarships for Jewish education, Jewish camps and trips to Israel. A thank you letter we received last year from a college grad read, in part, “While attending commencement, I began thinking about my past four years and the wonderful opportunity you granted me — the chance to experience all that I have accomplished with a bit less stress of tuition bills. I cannot put into words how thankful I am. This diploma is as much yours as it is mine.”

All Jewish Federation of Omaha scholarships are awarded to recipients with the highest degree of confidentiality. Scholarships and grants are currently being administered through the office of Alan Potash, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Feel free to contact Alan or his assistant, Diane Stamp with any questions at either 402.334.6574/ alanpotash@jewishomaha.org or 402.334.6407/ dstamp@jewishomaha.org. Additional information and applications are available on the Jewish Federation of Omaha website – www.jewishomaha.org.