Normal Medium Large


Home » About the Federation » Our Community »  February 5, 2016
E-News - February 5, 2016

February 5, 2016  |  26  Sh'vat  5776

In November, I attended the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly and heard Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to the need for religious pluralism in Israel. He committed to making changes in Israel to encourage pluralism and respecting the practices of the Reform and Conservative movements.

Well, last week the first step was taken in demonstrating this to the greater Jewish world by opening up a section of the Kotel (Western Wall) for equalitarian and pluralistic prayer. The egalitarian section will be governed by a committee headed by the chairman of the Jewish Agency. The committee will include representatives from Women of the Wall, the Reform Movement, the Masorti (Conservative) Movement, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Israeli Government, with an administrator appointed by Netanyahu.

Many years ago (1987), I interviewed Rabbi Graetz, a conservative from Nebraska who moved to Israel in the 70's. The focus of the interview turned to the challenges facing Conservative and Reform Rabbis in Israel. So when I listened to Prime Minister Netanyahu announce the new egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel and the goal of religious pluralism being part of his agenda, my first thought went back to the conversation I had with Rabbi Graetz and how long it has taken for religious pluralism to be on the agenda of the Knesset. This is a positive move.

Shabbat Shalom!
Alan Potash

Sunday, March 20th
12:00-2:00 p.m.  |  JCC Gymnasium 
The younger members of our community will be able to donate their Tzedakah as they enter into the community-wide Purim Carnival at the JCC on March 20.

For more information or to volunteer please contact Louri Sullivan at  or 402-334-6485.

Kids Campaign Tzedakah cans are available at the Jewish Community Center, Friedel Jewish Academy, the Jewish Federation of Omaha office, Beth El Synagogue. Beth Israel Synagogue, Temple Israel, and the Chabad House.
Kehilla Cup
In a furious bid for the highly coveted Cup, Adam Kutler's Team "OmaChallah" held off the hard charging "Kosher Cash Collectors" and "Flock of Siegel's" (led by Commissioner Brian Nogg and Michael Miller, respectively) to capture the First Annual Kehilla Cup Championship!  Congratulations to Captain Kutler and the members of "OmaChallah":  Abby Kutler, Andy Ruback, Jeff Zacharia, Margie Gutnik, Bruce Kutler, Sharon Kirshenbaum, Paul Epstein, and Scott Simon.

Kehilla Cup Highlights:
  • 493 Total donors assigned to Kehilla Ambassadors
  • 273 donor cards completed with pledges
  •  7.8 % card for card increase vs. last year
    (compared to 3.5% for our overall Campaign)
  • 17 New or re-engaged donors
Thank You, one and all, for a successful 1st year event.   When we make contact with our community donors...good things happen.
Steve Levinger awards winners of the Kehilla Cup
to Abby and Adam Kutler and team "OmaChallah".

Tuesday, February 23  |  5:30-7:30 p.m.
Community volunteers will help the Federation
contact the remaining 220 donors with phone calls,
text messages, and emails.
Call Steve Levinger at 402-334-6433 if you'd like to help. Dinner & drinks provided!
Friedel Jewish Academy Makes Scientific Discovery
Actually, Friedel Jewish Academy made a good number of scientific discoveries when 32 students from kindergarten through 6th grade participated in the 2016 Science Fair and displayed their results on Thursday, February 4 in the JCC Auditorium.  The Science Fair is a voluntary project for which FJA provides the structure and support for students and parents to work together to investigate phenomena that pique their interests.  Earlier in the day students from Creighton University Education program reviewed the projects, listened to the Friedel students describe their hypotheses, methodologies, and outcomes, and recorded their own observations.  The young scientists received highest praise for the quality of their work and their ability to articulate what they had done.  The Creighton reviewers' comments were shared at the evening ceremony.  Friedel Enrichment Co-ordinator Joey Zbylut-Birky ("ZB") added her enthusiasm and hosted the evening with Head of the School Beth Cohen.  Proud parents, grandparents, and friends all joined in sharing the accomplishments of the young scientists.

The 2016 Klutznick
Learning Series Begins
Monday Night, February 8, 7-8:30 pm
JCC Social Hall
In 2014, the Center for Jewish Life and the Klutznick Chair of Jewish Civilization at Creighton University initiated in what has become an annual program providing the opportunity for adults to expand their level of Jewish literacy by participating in discussions led by clergy and lay leaders in the community.  The first series was titled, "What is it About the Ten Commandments?"  In 2015, the series moved forward with the theme "Beyond the Big Ten - And We're Not Talking Football", in which additional mitzvot were discussed. This year's series, again sponsored by the fund of the Klutznick Chair of Jewish Civilization at Creighton University, is titled "Pirkei Avot: Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World".  Presented on three successive Mondays, February 8, 15, and 22, the sessions will follow the established format.  Each topic will include two 15-minute discussions: a clergy member will lead the first section, followed by a discussion on the same topic by a lay member of the community.  Q & A time will follow, a break,  then the second half of the evening will continue in the same manner.  For details about presenters and topics, click here.
Eye on Israel with Community Shaliach Eliad Eliyahu
Tuesday, February 9, 12-1pm
Kripke Jewish Federation Library
In this month's "Eye on Israel" Eliad will examine the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) .  Joining via Skype will be Hillel shlichim in North America who have faced struggles with the BDS movement and who will share those experiences.  Emily Newman, former president of the "Students Supporting Israel" group at the University of Nebraska at Omaha will provide her assessment of the situation on the UNO campus.  Her discussion is sure to provide interesting insights specifically related to the Omaha area.  For more information, click here.
Ben Rabb Live in Concert
Ben Rabb with
the Faerie Tones

February 12, 9:00PM
Reverb Lounge
We are honored to share with you an opportunity to see former member of the Omaha Jewish community,
Ben Rabb, who will be in town for a 1 night show.
Click here to purchase tickets.
Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel provides a gift of a peer group, educational trip to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26 from around the world.  The program brings these participants to Israel to see it, experience it, talk about it, and think about what Israel means for them and the Jewish people.  Registration for the summer season of Birthright Israel is now open. Eligible Jewish adults can now claim their free, 10-day adventure with Birthright Israel and Israel Outdoors.  The Jewish Federation of Omaha has funding available for domestic airfare for the trip.  To register for the program, click here.
To apply for domestic airfare funding through the JFO Israel Experience Grant, click here.
Israeli Cabinet Approves Creation of Egalitarian Prayer Space at the Kotel
"In what has been hailed as a historic landmark for Jewish pluralism and the non-Orthodox movements in Israel, the cabinet on Sunday [January 31] voted to radically upgrade an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall and to anchor the arrangement in law.

Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel and North America welcomed the agreement as a breakthrough in their struggle for recognition in the Jewish state and their campaign to present an alternative to Orthodox Judaism in Israel.

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox ) leadership, however, along with parts of the conservative national-religious leadership, strongly denounced the agreement and voted against it in the cabinet vote, but did not fight against the arrangement or threaten to bring down the government..."
~Jeremy Sharon, The Jerusalem Post, 01/31/2016

View this video produced by The Jewish Agency for Israel and Makom TV to reflect on some questions and key milestones in the history of the Kotel.
The Kotel - some questions and some key milestones
The Kotel - some questions and some key milestones
This, That, and the Other Thing
The United Nations General Assembly has designated January 27 - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwit -Birkenau- as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.  This year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada did not say something that President Barack Obama of the United States did say. THIS is what it was.  Click here.

The Iowa Caucus is over.  No doubt the dynamics, the outcomes, and the speculations into the future mean different things to different people.  Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency compiled a list of 5 things Jews should now be asking themselves.  To see THAT list, click here.

In the January 22 distribution of E-NEWS an update on the "Exploring Judaism" class for the Omaha community was presented.  THE OTHER THING is that Omaha is not the only community in which Judaism has an appeal to Jews and non-Jews alike.  To find out who else loves Judaism, click here.

You and Federation
Together with the  Jewish Federation of Omaha, you make our Jewish community more caring and connected. We've made a difference in the lives of so many by providing for those in need, building Jewish identity, and celebrating Jewish life.
2016 Annual Campaign
As of February 5, we have reached 88% of our goal totaling $2,918,275.

Thank you for supporting our mission. 

Upcoming Events
Israeli Wine Tasting
with Steve Kerbel
February 6  |  7:30pm
Beth El Synagogue

JCC Saturday Night Dance Party
Ages 4-12
February 6  |  5:30-8:30pm
Youth Lounge

Omaha Artist Inc. Reception
February 7  |  2-4pm
JCC Gallery

Temple Israel Annual
Super Bowl Party

February 7  |  4:30-10pm
Temple Israel

Klutznick Learning Series:
Pirkei Avot
February 8, 15, 22 |  7-8:30 pm
Social Hall

B'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
February 10  |  Noon
RBJH Auditorium

Ben Rabb with Faerie Tones 
February 12  |  9pm
Reverb Lounge 

Macabbi Information Meeting
February 16  |  6:30pm
CJL Classroom

B'nai B'rith Breadbreakers
February 24  |  Noon
RBJH Auditorium

Life & Legacy™ Training
February 25  |  11:15AM
RBJH Board Room

Project Dreamland
March 4-6
Beth Israel Synagogue
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?

Remember, this is just a sampling from Jewish Omaha! To stay informed,
join our Twitter feed, check out our website, and the community calendar and watch for Federation's bi-monthly e- newsletter in your inbox. Then, most importantly, let us hear from you. We appreciate your feedback and we'll add your Jewish news to the mix.


Jewish Federation of Omaha   |   333 South 132nd Street   |  Omaha, NE 68154   | 402-334-8200