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1.29.16 Issue

by Mark Kirchhoff, JFO staff writer

The Jewish Federation of Omaha has recently approved expanded benefits for its Jewish Experience Grant (JEG) and Israel Experience Grant (IEG) programs. This action highlights its commitment to the youth in the community by encouraging participation in programs that have proven to be of tremendous value in developing Jewish identity and cultivating Jewish values. These grant programs, funded by the Jewish Federation of Omaha, provide non-income based funding for specific purposes.

“Both Israel trips and residential Jewish summer camps are such powerful experiences,” says Alan Potash, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

“At the Federation, we are very excited to create these opportunities for our youth and help them develop their Jewish identity.”

Jewish Experience Grants have now been increased to $2,000 with a maximum of $1,000 used per summer. JEG grants are for children in grades 3 to 11 and are designed to encourage attendance at a Jewish summer residential camp. The grants are for a Jewish camp session that is two weeks or longer at a camp approved by the Center for Jewish Life. The family must be a resident of the Omaha metropolitan area and be a contributor in good standing to the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. The child must attend religious school and/or Friedel Jewish Academy, as a student, in the year of the camp attendance.

The Israel Experience Grant has moved from a $1,000 award to a  $1,500 one-time grant. The program also now has the expanded benefit of a $1,000 stipend to be used with Omaha’s bi-annual community teen trip. The IEG is available for students in grades 9 to12 or young adults ages 18 to 26 for an approved Israel experience. The grant may also be used for domestic airfare and trip extension fee for participants in any Birthright Israel trip. The program chosen must be an Israel peer program approved by the Center for Jewish Life. Programs must be educational in nature for a peer group of young people and organized by a non-profit organization, educational or religious institution and staffed by qualified personnel. The family must be a contributor, in good standing, to the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Omaha and be a resident of the Omaha metropolitan area. The applicant must provide an article and pictures of the experience within one month of return to Omaha for publication in the Jewish Press.

“I am incredibly proud of our community,” said Beth El’s rabbi, Steven Abraham. “As a community, we are truly committed to helping engage and inspire our young people through programs such as Israel Experiences and Jewish camping. It is vital to prepare our future Jewish leaders in order for them to sustain Jewish life.”

Applications are available by visiting and navigating to the Center for Jewish Life page and clicking on “Scholarships and Grants.” They may also be obtained by emailing Mark Kirchhoff at or phoning 402.334.6463. The deadline for submission of applications for grant programs and scholarships through the Center for Jewish Life is Tuesday, March 1. Additional funding is also available through the financial need based scholarship opportunities through the Center for Jewish Life. Scholarship applications are available on the same link as noted above.

The Center for Jewish Life administers the Grant and Scholarship programs as part of its mission to maximize involvement of Omaha’s Jewish community in imaginative, compelling and meaningful Jewish experiences.