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Spending Hanukkah Sharing Gratitude

Posted on Friday, December 14, 2018 by Jessie Goldberg

On Sunday, December 2, we met up at the Family Mentor Foundation to organize and pack Buddy Boxes for children in need. We split up into teams and created an assembly line to make the process smooth and efficient. We assembled, packed and checked the boxes to make sure they had the correct number of items in each box.   The first round of food was sponsored by Kroger, as part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program in partnership with the Family Mentor Foundation. When we finish…


Commemorating 70 Years of Human Rights

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Jill Jacobs

Last Thursday, I had the honor of speaking on a panel with former President Jimmy Carter and Imam Omar Suleiman (Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research) about faith and human rights, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR.) It was especially powerful to sit next to the man who had just become the oldest former president (and who had flown to and from President Bush's funeral earlier that day.)  Much of t…


Inspiring Wexner Reunion at Chicago Jewish Day School

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Wendy Newberger

Good evening, I am Wendy Newberger, Wexner Class of 1999 and Founding Board member of Chicago Jewish Day School. I am honored to be welcoming you here this evening. This may be the first Wexner Reunion of its kind here in Chicago - and we are thrilled to have such a wonderful turnout of Wexner Heritage and Wexner Fellows from across so many years. You may be wondering what the impedance for this reunion was…and you may be surprised to learn that it did not come from the Wexner Foundation…


Bringing Maccabean Light to Modern Israeli Society

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2018 by Chelsea Feuchs

What is Hanukkah all about? In the United States, the wondrous nature of the holiday is emphasized. A small amount of oil lasted for eight days, the period of time necessary to properly rededicate the Temple. We light candles together in memory of this miracle, enjoying the way their light helps to illuminate some of our longest and darkest winter nights. This image is beautiful and comforting, but it is hardly the whole story. In the same way that the violent final chapters of the Purim megila…


Innovating From Within

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2018 by Jonathan Spira-Savett

Last year, of around 150 alumni of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship who came to the annual Institute, there were less than a handful of Conservative pulpit rabbis like me. How different from 25 years ago, when almost everyone in the fellowship was heading for synagogues, day schools and Federations. Much of our network today is in new niches and disrupters. In my own career I have moved from the new sector back to the synagogue. I believe that even a traditional shul that is not urban, hip or cen…


Leading with Honor and Derech Eretz

Posted on Sunday, December 09, 2018 by Judd Kruger Levingston

“There’s a problem with cheating at our school,” I was told when I first arrived at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy), a pluralistic community day school for 6th-12th graders in the Philadelphia area. Colleagues were sounding the alarm bell and because I had just published a book about moral education, they were looking to me to restore trust in our students and to help to steer our school back on course. I was invited my first summer to join the s…


Hanukkah Through Rhymes

Posted on Friday, December 07, 2018 by Becca Thomas

After a tough year filled with tragedy close to home and in the wider world, Wexner Heritage Members Alana Ballon (San Francisco 18) and Tammy Hepps (Pittsburgh 18) were talking about ways to make the holidays fun in middle of such darkness. Tammy mentioned a menorah-making contest she’d heard a day school was doing in Pittsburgh and Alana thought about a poetry seder she’d seen for Passover, and then the idea to elicit “Hanukkah Haikus, Limericks and Short Poems” was bor…


Illuminating the World with Hanukkah Light

Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 by Becca Thomas

This Hanukkah, we hope you feel the light that Wexner members, fellows, senior leaders and alumni are sharing from around the world. In a time when many feel darkness, we are strengthened when others choose to illuminate the world with good deeds, bold work and strong leadership. Below you'll see a sampling of members of our Wexner Network who took their Hanukkiot to special places around their homes. Many also had stories to share about the menorahs that will help light this Hanukkah week. …


Leadership Transition Done Well: Rabbi Rachel Cowan's Legacy

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018 by Rabbi Jennie Rosenn

Rabbi Rachel Cowan, z"l did many remarkable things in her lifetime - some were very public, some behind the scenes. In 2004 she did a remarkable thing that was both known and quiet: she passed on the role of heading up the Jewish Life and Values Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation to me, someone her daughter's age, in a way that was so smart, graceful and full-hearted that both the program and I were able to thrive and succeed. She did this again in 2011 at the Institute for Jewish Spiritu…


Speak Differently and Think Bigly

Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by Rabbi Daniel Kirzane

In a year of surprising, radical and sometimes tragic transitions, at least one has been honorable and celebrated: the dignified retirement of Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D. Dr. Hoffman taught liturgy at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for 45 years, and during that tenure has guided the lives and careers of countless Jewish professionals. I am honored to be counted among them and to wish Dr. Hoffman a restful and enriching retirement.   As a rabbinical student, I stud…


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