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How Do We Mark Yom HaShoah?

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Another Yom HaShoah has come and gone, now 67 years since the end of World War II. Not that in all those years we’ve gotten it just right when it comes to marking these most overwhelming events in all the 4,000 years of the Jewish people. I think about this a lot, as a synagogue rabbi trying to program something moving and intelligent each spring. How should a synagogue community mark Yom HaShoah?   Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s *Zakhor* made us pay attention to the uneasy alignme…

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Heard Round WexWorld: Stronger Together

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Gideon Meretz, Anita Greenwald, Tsachi Mushkin, Michal Shalem, Dalit Caspi Schachner, Deb Housen-Couriel, Eitan Chikli, Yanai Yedvab Ram Shmueli, Joe Kanofsky

Ninety alumni from all of our programs report back on highlights, challenges and take-aways from the recent Summit's concluding gathering in Zichron Yaakov.   How might we (Re)Imagine the North American Jewish Community and Israel's Relationship?   Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, WGF Alum (Class 2) I think one of the most important things that has happened in terms of my own understanding of the relationship between the two communities — as somebody who has spent my life…

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Liberation and Rebirth

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Michal Shalem

Ever since I can remember, we celebrated a communal birthday for my father, Danny Levonovski.  He is one of 25 that survived from a group of 131 children from Kaunas.  They were exiled from their hometown, separated from their parents and sent by train, in the cold, to Auschwitz.  When they got there, sequential numbers were branded on their arms.  Regardless of their own birthdays, they celebrate the day of their rebirth: Liberation Day.   Every year on May 5th we gat…

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Lessons from Pixar Studios: Staying Animated in Leadership

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Miriam Heller Stern

This article was inspired by a site visit that WGF alum Justin Rosen Smolen (Class 23) and I, WGF alum Miriam Heller Stern  (Class 13), took as part of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Alumni Mentoring program.  The Wexner Foundation launched the Mentoring Program for Alumni of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship over four years ago, thanks to a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.  This intense program was created with the understanding that there are now two generations of alu…

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Tipsy Torah? Fighting Fragmentation With Jews' Funniest Videos

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Scott Stone

I have been a TV producer for nearly 40 years.  When my career began there were three networks: ABC, CBS and NBC. The only way to watch them was on a TV set, in your house, and if you missed a show you were out of luck.  Those days are long gone.   Today, TV arrives how you like it, when you like it and on any device you want to watch it, including your phone, which is no longer attached to the wall by a cord that was always tangled!  There are literally hundreds of TV net…

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"Just Look up, People" - The Fire All Around Us

Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Seth Cohen

The other day, among the relentless news stories, my eye caught the headline of an otherwise inconspicuous article: “German city puts traffic lights on the ground — for you phone gazers."   The sum of the story is that in Augsburg, Germany, city officials installed traffic lights on the ground near busy train stations so that commuters looking down at their phones wouldn’t inadvertently walk into harm’s way.  This article was barely noticeable among the other …

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Musings on Freedom: History Repeats Itself

Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Jamie Ramsfelder

Pesach is a story of the long journey from degradation to dignity and is a theme that continues to repeat itself throughout history.  This year at my seder, and during this week when we tell the story and journey from then to now and from bondage to freedom, I am mindful that the journey is far from over.    I recently went on a civil rights trip to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama.  The trip was advertised as a journey not only about the Civil Rights Movement, but…

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Up Close in Washington, DC

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Amir Wasserman

  In the wake of the presidential elections, no place was more fitting to gain an understanding of the new political realities than the US capital.  Over spring break, Class 28 of the Wexner Israel Fellowship embarked on their four-day Institute with an extremely engaging visit to Washington DC.  We planned a varied schedule around group learning goals and arranged for sessions ranging from meetings with Jewish organizations and leaders to meetings at Capitol Hill and the Supre…

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Harmonious Impact

Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Fran Gordon

On my 1992 application for the Wexner Heritage Program, I wrote about Cantor Jerome B. Kopmar as the most influential person in my life.  Long before there was communal conversation about informal Jewish education, Cantor Kopmar was educating Jewish youth in Akron through the medium of Jewish choral music.  I only sang in the choir for one year and was brokenhearted when Cantor Kopmar left, knowing deep in my 11 year old soul that I was losing something special.     When I …

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Building Connections between Israelis and Americans: Two Families at a Time

Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Anita Greenwald

When challenged to dream about and take action on a new project through the Wexner Foundation’s inaugural Summit: Stronger Together: (Re-) Imagining the North American Jewish and Israel Relationship, I knew that it had to be through people to people connections (P2P). When you care about someone, you start to care about where they live.  Lifelong bonds are established.  You travel to see one another.  It works.   I met with Jewish lay leaders from Boston in 2015. &nbs…

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