18 November 2021
It is amazing to continue meeting more and more community members across NOVA, including recently at the rebrand party for Moishe House Arlington (formerly Moishe House Northern Virginia). Federation is proud to have partnered with Moishe House on their NOVA expansion. With two Houses now welcoming and providing space for Jewish young adults in their 20s to create Jewish communities for themselves and their peers, we are confident Jewish life in NOVA is truly engaging Jews of all ages.
As Gil recently reflected in his message on resilient community, “Today, the importance of interdependence has never been clearer. When we come together, we uplift those in need, strengthen our Jewish community, and build a vibrant Jewish future.” I look forward to working together to encourage and facilitate more of this type of collaboration to benefit the NOVA Jewish community. In this update, I am excited to share with you two examples of that work in action.
We have weathered the pandemic together, collaborating to reduce its impact on any individual organization. We have much to be thankful for and so many opportunities ahead. If you have any questions, are interested in learning more about our work, or would like to meet, please contact me at [email protected] or 301.230.7300.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a light-filled Chanukah!
Northern Virginia Field Manager
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
Cross-organizational collaboration strengthens our NOVA community
Recently, Federation was proud to support several significant achievements and wonderful examples of collaboration across organizations and community members to benefit the entire NOVA Jewish community.
The Fairfax Eruv
In 2019, Federation began strategically investing in Innovation & Impact to mobilize our Jewish community in common purpose, intentional innovation, and effective action. Through this effort, Federation empowers new initiatives to take root, cultivates new partnerships, and enhances collaborations between communal organizations. Among these investments was a $35,000 Innovation Grant to establish and maintain an Eruv (the boundary allowing observant Jews to carry needed things in public on Shabbat) to unite geographically contiguous portions of Fairfax, providing a necessary, unique, and foundational element of Jewish communal life.
Last month, the Fairfax Eruv was completed and immediately impacted and enhanced the lives of Shabbat observant community members in Fairfax. Its establishment also allows for opportunities to:
- Enable the retention of growing families who may otherwise feel the need to move away.
- Attract new Jewish families to Fairfax for whom our region is currently not a feasible option.
- Deepen community bonds by facilitating Shabbat interactions between neighbors.
In addition to Federation’s investment, many partners collaborated on this project, including Gesher Jewish Day School, Congregation Olam Tikvah, Chabad of Northern Virginia, Pozez JCC, George Mason Hillel, George Mason Chabad, and Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi).
Hate Crimes Grant Program Awards
We are all aware of rising antisemitism and its increasing risk to our community. I am proud to share that last month, five NOVA organizations were awarded approximately $300,000 from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to minimize bias-motivated incidents. The funding supports institutions and/or nonprofit organizations that may be at risk based on race, religious conviction, color, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or national origin. Federation partner the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) was instrumental in creating this program and ensuring it was included in the Governor’s budget.
Two groups of organizations, Congregation Olam Tikvah, Gesher Jewish Day School, and Pozez JCC, as well as Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation and Congregation Sha’are Shalom, came together to partner with their respective county offices to apply for grants to be used for physical security infrastructure and/or anti-hate education programs.
Their success was aided by Federation through our partnership with Secure Community Network (SCN) whose work with individual organizations to provide threat, vulnerability, and risk-based assessments made the case for the investment, and by the introductions made by JCRC between the organizations and local municipal offices.
Our NOVA Jewish community will undoubtedly be safer and more inclusive thanks to these collaborations.
We are grateful to everyone who helped make these community projects a reality. Federation’s work in NOVA would not be possible without your leadership and your generous support. If you already made your 2021 Annual Campaign gift to Federation, thank you. If you would like to make a 2021 gift before the campaign closes on December 31st, you may do so at shalomdc.org/donate or by calling our donor relations team at 301-230-7239.