- Give the Birthright Alumni members of your cohort the tools to do Shabbat their own way with NEXT Shabbat.
- Check out and share our compilation of Holiday Resource Guides to demystify the Jewish Holidays.
- Empower Birthright Alumni to take back Passover with Passover Seder Grants.
American Jewish history is rich, interesting, and documented in a number of different places. Try a few of these resources and archives in adding historical background to your work.
- American Jewish Historical Society documents genealogy and provides 50,000 books, photographs, works of art and artifacts that reflect the history of the Jewish experience in the United States.
- The Jewish Museum audio and media site features recordings of lectures on everything from “Lincoln and the Jews” to “Women in the Dead Sea Scrolls”.
- The Jewish Women’s Archive presents This Week in History and an interactive map showing the physical landmarks in Jewish women’s history.
- MyJewishLearning.com has a stockpile of summaries, commentaries, and text studies on the weekly Torah portions.
- For a service-learning twist, try American Jewish World Service (they also distribute their commentaries via weekly email!)
- G-DCAST offers weekly animated videos that visually interpret the Torah portion with a creative flare.
- Looking for the take of a local? For those based in New York, try the YouTube Channel of Manhattan Jewish Experience.
- For an exhaustive list of written commentaries, try Hillel’s Torah Portion Archives.
- PunkTorah – known for its online learning opportunities – offers a weekly Dvar Torah on its blog.
- The Academy for Jewish Religion also offers a series of Divrei Torah.
With Tu B’Shvat becoming more and more popular, there is a greater demand for quality Haggadot for the Tu B’Shvat Seder. Help your participants and your programming team find a Seder that’s right for them, starting with our list!
- Hazon’s Tu B’Shvat Seder and Sourcebook is true to their mission. Beautifully designed, it incorporates ancient and modern text to encourage awareness of the world around us. Hazon also provides a Leaders Guide, with tips for organizing and hosting the Tu B’Shvat Seder.
- Hillel’s Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning provides a downloadable Haggadah entitled Trees, Creation & Creativity. It is accompanied by a through appendix to provide context to the holiday celebration.
- Jewcology presents a Flowchart Haggadah. This entirely graphical one-page design provides a basic guide to the Seder that you can customize with your own stories, songs, and teachings.
- The Velveteen Rabbi has developed a customized haggadah filled with poetry, commentary, and a final call to action.
- The Jewish National Fund’s Haggadah is a great tool for program facilitation, complete with discussion questions, songs & dances, and recipes for the Seder.
Email us at Alef@birthrightisraelnext.org to add to this list.
While many of your participants may not keep Kosher, Kosher on a Budget offers a great breakdown of how to prep a Holiday menu without breaking the bank.
Rosh Hashana & Sukkot Prep on a Budget
Pesach Prep on a Budget
If you’re not familiar with the Moishe House Rocks series, you should be. NEXT teamed up with the brains behind Moishe House and G-DCast to create several animated shorts that make certain elements of Jewish ritual more accessible to a wide audience.
The first video is a how-to on Shabbat Blessings said at home.
This guide, produced in partnership with Hazon covers everything from setting a kavanah (intention behind the sustainable Shabbat dinner) to preparing, hosting, and learning together at the meal. This is a great tool for more environmentally-minded and eco-friendly participants who are looking for ways to incorporate their values into Jewish celebration.
Did you know that the Maxwell House Haggadah is the most widely-used haggadah in the U.S.? Since 1934, over 40 million copies have been printed and distributed around the world. Now, nearly 80 years later, there are just as many varieties of haggadot as there are blends of coffee.
Help your participants personalize their Seders by finding a haggadah that matches their vision and values. Below, we’ve collected a variety of options to choose from (some of which are free!)
|Many of the titles listed below can be found on your local book store or Amazon.com and range from $5-$15 each.
Image by Brownpau, licensed under Creative Commons.
by Jordan Cohen
The gift of Birthright has left me with many wonderful memories, but my experience was more than just a trip to Israel. It has led me to meet the people and find the organizations that would change my own involvement in the Jewish world and provided me with opportunities and connections throughout the Atlanta Jewish Community, opening doors for me to build networks within my own profession.
Shortly after my trip to Israel, I began my second year of my Master’s program. I am currently finishing my graduate studies at Emory University in the Rollins School of Public Health and have continuously looked for ways to connect my passion for public health with my love for my community. When the semester began, so too began a new student organization, the Jewish Students of Public Health. Formed by classmates and friends of mine, the JSPH was the means by which we could bridge the Jewish Community with public health. We met with Bennie Cohen* to discuss current initiatives within the community and how they could fit in with our ideals and goals as an organization. When he told us about the Atlanta Jewish Gene Screen, I knew right away that this was the kind of connection we were hoping for.
The AJGS is a genetic screening initiative that was started by Randy Gold and his family to raise awareness about the importance of genetic testing. I began volunteering with the AJGS during their first year of existence and have attended many events in and around the Atlanta community. AJGS is constantly finding ways to involve the entire community, whether hosting a fashion show at the Georgia Aquarium or hosting a party for Purim. The mission of the AJGS is to encourage young Jewish couples to get tested for the 19 known genetic diseases that affect the Ashkenazi population. Many of these diseases are preventable and our goal is to prevent children from being born with any of these diseases. When the initiative was first started, it cost thousands of dollars to get tested, but because of the effort of the Gold family and those working with the AJGS, it currently costs a mere $25 out of pocket. Today, because of my involvement and because of the connections I’ve made through Bennie, I am still engaged in activities with the AJGS and have made many more connections within the Jewish community.
I am confident that no matter where I go or what I decide to do, I will still have the connections I have made through my experiences with Birthright and the AJGS. By incorporating my passion for public health into the Jewish community as a whole, I will be able to use the networks I’ve created to my advantage in the next stages of my life.
*Bennie Cohen is the Southeast Regional Director for NEXT: a Division of Birthright Israel Foundation.