From Alex to Zelda… Happy Pesach to all our Humans of JCA


We’ve got an army of editors here at JCA, and the strong advice for this week’s @jcatoday, is keep it short. Pesach approaches. Seder tables are set. Haggadot are at the ready. Elijah’s cup is filled. And Afikomen are waiting to be hidden. Nobody’s got time for a JCA megillah (especially since that’s the wrong festival anyway). But there are one or two things that happened this week that you really should know about, especially in case one of the kids asks you this evening, “Why is this community different from all other communities?” So here goes:

Monday night saw the launch of our 2016 Campaign, Humans of JCA: OUR people OUR stories OUR community. Over 130 communal leaders, workers and volunteers packed into the Linz Family Drama Theatre at Moriah College to hear JCA President, Stephen Chipkin, outline this year’s thinking and theme:

This year, we wanted to focus on the heart and the faces of the human beings who help make our community what it is.

And so for the Campaign this year we look at our community through the lens of Humans of JCA (an inspiration from the successful Humans of New York project). It is all about our people and our stories.

To do that, we arranged for 25 volunteer photographers, some professional, some young amateurs to take more than 50 photographs and to capture the faces and inspirational stories of our community. You will see some of the photos in our Community Source Magazine, you will see the rest of them at our events. We ask you to come and see the people and to hear the stories. Bring your family and your friends too, because we all need to hear the stories, see who we are and take pride in what we stand for.

Stephen then introduced two of the many stories we will feature this year: Zelda Feigen OAM, who at 88 is one of the builders of this community, and continues to volunteer for COA Sydney (and very probably is delivering a few last minute kosher (le’Pesach) meals on wheels to some of our frail and aged as you read this). And Alex Ryvchin who at 32 represents the strong future of our community as he advocates on all our behalf in his role at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Both Zelda and Alex arrived in this community as children, fleeing anti-Semitic totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe, albeit half a century apart. If you want to fully understand the meaning of Zman Cherutaynu– the Time of our Freedom, make sure to watch Zelda before your Seder.

Following the launch, copies of the Community Source Magazine started to land in all your mailboxes. And we have been heartened and humbled by the flood of positive comments and feedback received as you thumb through this year’s beautiful publication. It is a true picture of our wonderful community and the impact your philanthropy has on countless lives. If you haven’t yet received your copy, we may have your wrong address (unlikely, as that joke about a Jew on a desert island, is actually for real). No worry, please get in touch and we’d love to send you a copy, or as many as you like, for your friends and family and communal networks. We need you to help us spread the word.

We also need you to come to our events, which will all be held in our Pop Up Gallery at Bondi (plus another in St Ives) in May and June. We also hope to do something down in the ACT a bit later this year. Invitations will be sent out shortly, but in the meantime, check out this sneak peek video. We need as many people as we can to be ambassadors, invite their friends and stand up to be counted. Look around your Seder table tonight and realise that the future of this community is in your hands, and then contact the office next week on 9360 2344, or email

Shabbat Shalom and Pesach Sameach,

Daniel Grynberg

PS. Despite our army of editors, and our best efforts to check and recheck the donor lists in the Community Source Magazine, each year there are unfortunately a handful of errors that creep in. It would be wonderful to be able to issue an erratum, for those donors who wanted to be included but were unfortunately left out (often due to changed publication preferences). Harder to fix are the donors whose names are listed, but who wanted anonymity. And then there are those who despite our best efforts are not published completely correctly. In this regard, we send our apologies and a special Chag Sameach to Mervyn and Lorraine Basserabie, whose incredible gift to our community last year of $1,000,000 broke our typesetting machine.

More inspirational Humans of JCA

Two very different things happened this week which really brought home the benefits and strengths of having a vibrant,secure and sustainable community. Two more things, that just because you didn’t hear about them, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. And both of them were ultimately about remarkable Humans of JCA – in these cases, our most dedicated volunteers, and a most inspiring donor.

In the first instance, last week saw the inaugural JCA-AICD training course in Foundations of Not for Profit Governance. Now governance isn’t sexy, and it certainly isn’t funny (sorry to those who read @jcatoday for a chuckle), but it is so very important to JCA’s mission – particularly when it comes to the sustainability part of our mantra. Not for Profits like JCA, and our Constituents, are often asked about our administration costs as if this is the only measure of our effectiveness. And while every donor dollar is wisely spent, life is more complicated than any one ratio, and even the ACNC advises us that it is important:

to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and impact as well as costs.

Following on the enormous success of JCA’s Observership Program, a number of communal organisations (not just JCA Constituents) approached us and said that training and education should not be limited to those under 40. And last year the Allocations Committee set aside some funding for training and development of our lay leaders.

So last week saw 25 such volunteer leaders give up their scarce spare time to learn together about transparency, governance, leadership and impact. The feedback we have received has been overwhelming. Even those more experienced board directors and professionals found the collective, collaborative, experience rewarding. A huge thanks as always to JewishCare for hosting this course. And also JCA’s Jenni Bonert who pulled it all together.

In terms of inspiring donors, we are of course privileged to have thousands of them, including hopefully this year, you. And to single out anybody in particular is always difficult. But sometimes there are stories we all need to hear. Last year you will recall, we launched our campaign with one of those remarkable gifts (and if its been a while it is worth revisiting Mervyn Basserabie’s youtube sensation).

Our campaign will be formally launched after the Board of Governors’ meeting on Monday evening. We were scratching our heads to imagine what to say this year following Mervyn’s big announcement. And then last week a letter arrived, saying:

The enclosed donation is for the year  … Unfortuntely I am now housebound with  terminal Leukaemia, and this will be a final donation. JCA is a very fine organisation, a model VIC should copy!

The letter was accompanied by a cheque for $50,000 (50 times the donor’s annual contribution). When we rang to thank this long term donor for this incredibly generous gift, and invite him to our launch, he declined politely and said, “I’m sorry I can’t be there, I’m in really lousy health and housebound with limitations”. It is hard to comprehend how someone in such difficulty, and facing very directly their own mortality takes the time to think of all of us. While he asked to remain anonymous he was happy for us to share his message:

Thank you for your kind note by email concerning my donation, which is one of a number I had prepared for in my will. I selected JCA and the Sydney Jewish Museum for this financial year, so it is a bit more useful than a donation from a will. I hope you encourage others to take advantages of the tax benefits in their final years.I always enjoy reading the JCA Source Magazine, which shows what a sterling organisation it is, and the many tasks it finances.

We will be hand delivering a copy of this year’s Source Magazine to our anonymous donor next week, and thank him from all of us. You too will shortly receive a copy of Source Magazine (or at least will if you contributed to our 2015 Campaign). If you don’t and would like a copy please contact the office and we will send you one.

The message of our volunteer leaders and our anonymous donor, is that we are privileged to have, in JCA and in our community, well run and well governed institutions, which work together in a collaborative and cooperative manner, even a sterling one, with so many tasks financed. But more importantly, institutions and tasks which have real and tangible impacts on the lives of people.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our campaign events where we will feature more stories of Humans of JCA.

Shabbat Shalom,

Daniel Grynberg

Looking for Human (Hosts) of JCA

You don’t need me to tell you this. But technology is a trap. We think we’re getting more connected and engaged, but really these damn screens – the one I’m looking at as I type these words, and the one you are staring at as you read them – are only getting in the way. And we need to find a way to break through them (and not end up forlorn, at the Genius Bar). I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but clearly our relationships depend on it, and sometimes our lives do to.

JCA very kindly sends out birthday emails (you might even have got one, and if you haven’t, let us know your birthday and we’ll make sure you do). And some people, wonderfully, email back – which is usually a great way to start a conversation. To thank you for your support, to engage you in what we are trying to do, or sometimes to answer a query or resolve an issue. Even from time to time to get a donation (thank you).

But this week, the emails backed up a bit (I’m sure you all know what that feels like, as the little red dot on your iPhone email app ticks over into three digits), and some of the emails didn’t get read or responded to as fast as we’d have liked (you know what that feels like too).

And two in particular hurt: One was from a close friend, who understandably felt that a birthday email from the JCA database was somehow not as meaningful a way to demonstrate a commitment to friendship as personal one, or a phone call, SMS or even a Facebook poke (does anybody still do that?). That’s going to cost me a nice bottle of red and a couple of sets of tennis. Hopefully the damage can be repaired, with my usual quota of double faults.

But more serious was an email from a JCA supporter who, due to illness, financial stress and bad luck, had fallen on hard times and reached out to our community for help. It can’t have been an easy thing to do. To email back a relative stranger who sent a birthday email, and express vulnerability and fear. Luckily we read the email and managed to make contact with the sender, and more importantly put him in touch with JewishCare, who are on the case. Hopefully that is one member of our community who will be able to feel a bit more supported this Shabbat.

HandsAll this goes to prove that there are all sorts of things technology can do, but in the end of the day, nothing is going to be better than having human beings read the emails sent by other human beings and know who they are, and who they are connected to, and what they need, or can give to, where to find it. And that’s our community at its best:

Humans of JCA: OUR People, OUR Stories, OUR Community.

There are thousands of stories out there, and just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t happen. We are putting the final touches on our 2016 Campaign. We don’t want to steal all our own thunder, but we will showcase the incredible range of people in our community whose lives are touched and even transformed by JCA and its member organisations, thanks to your support. We will do that through our publications and events and communications and technology (because we have to), but nothing will beat the old-fashioned networks of humans: ambassadors, word-of-mouth, telephone calls, and personal connections which really are the glue that binds our community together.

If you can help, in any way, we’d love any assistance you can give. If you want to know more, why don’t you join us at our Campaign Launch on the evening of 18 April (contact the JCA office on 9360 2344 for details). We’d love you to be a Human (Host) of JCA.

Now turn off your screen, and I’ll turn off mine. And spend some quality time with some other Humans of JCA. And let’s both promise not to turn these wretched screens back on again until three stars are visible in the sky at 7:26pm tomorrow evening.

Shabbat Shalom,
Daniel Grynberg, CEO

PS. In terms of stories you might not have heard, did you know thatCOA Sydney (one of JCA’s unsung gems) delivered over 20,000 Kosher Meals on Wheels to provide physical (and communal) nourishment for 324 seniors last year.

Lisa Frank, Nick Goodman and Marianne Van Der Pooten

Lisa Frank, Nick Goodman and Marianne Van Der Poorten

A special Shabbat Shalom from us all to three Centenarians (and long-time JCA supporters), Lisa Frank, Nick Goodman and Marianne Van Der Pooten who between them provided over 300 years of wisdom as they presided over the recent COA Sydney AGM.

Jazz Appeals

Well, following on from last year’s amazing Jazz in the Grounds at Montefiore, and Moriah’s star turn at the Manly Jazz Festival, it was Emanuel School’s turn this week to inspire our community with their Jazz on the Hill.

In some ways the history of Jazz, is an echo of the history of Judaism. If you don’t believe me, check out this slightly reworked Jazz riff:
Jazz Judaism is a music genre religion that originated from African American communities Abraham of New Orleans Ur in the United States of America Mesopotamia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries BCE. It emerged in the form of independent Orthodox,traditional Conservative and popular Reform musical styles religious practice, all linked by the common bonds of African American Ashkenazi and European American Sephardi musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz Judaism spans a period of over atwo hundred thousand years, encompassing a very wide range ofmusic practice and belief, making it difficult to define.

Although the foundation of jazz Judaism is deeply rooted within the black middle-eastern experience of the United States ancient Israel, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the music Jewishness as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz Judaism as “one of America’s the world’s original art forms monotheistic religions“.

And regular readers of @jcatoday will recall the 9 Jews who changed the sound of Jazz and that Satchmo was keen on matza and wore a Magen David.

Wikipedia also notes:
European classical music performance is evaluated by its fidelity to the musical score, with much less discretion over interpretation (doesn’t sound very Jewish to me), ornamentation and accompaniment: the classical performer’s primary goal is to play a composition as it was written (what about the Oral Law?). In contrast, jazz is often characterized as the product of group creativity, interaction, and collaboration (now you’re talking!).

humans of jca

Ruby and Hale

Group creativity, interaction and collaboration – that is what we are all about. And what JCA is all about too. And there could have been no better demonstration of that than at Jazz on the Hill, where JCA’s Elyse Chiert and Ashleigh Levett, rolled out the “Humans of JCA” banner for the first time, with the dedicated help of two wonderful Moriah students, Ruby and Hale.  Humans of JCA (which we “borrowed” from Humans of New York) will be about our people, our stories and our community. Watch this space, as it will be coming to a communal venue near you.  Moriah students, helping JCA, at an Emanuel Jazz event, ultimately to raise funds for an entire community. You can’t get much more creative and collaborative than that. A huge thanks to all involved.

Creativity, interaction and collaboration were also in the air on Wednesday evening at another sell-out Professional Women’s Forum event (an initiative of the Shalom Institute) where a group of younger professional women got to hear from (and be inspired by) last year’s JCA Allocations Chair, Louise Thurgood Phillips.

If you needed any further evidence of the musical vibrancy of this community, a number of people raced from Emanuel’s Jazz on the Hill to the home of another ex-JCA Allocations Chair, Les Szekely for the launch of this year’s Shir Madness Music Festival. (Chairing JCA Allocations is the Hotel California of communal life, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave). Make sure to save the date (18 September) or sign up to volunteer and get to hear even more jazz (and every other musical genre under the Bondi sun).

Speaking of volunteering, we still need your help. JCA needs to become more open and a platform for our community to express its passion for itself. We’d love to hear your stories of how being part of community has transformed your life or someone in your family. We will do our best to share your stories (anonymously if you prefer). As we wrote a month ago, “this is an endeavor far more important than any mere thermoclock contest. Through your stories you will help our community look at the sky, and hear the music.” Jazz music.

Shabbat Shalom,
Daniel Grynberg, CEO

PS. If you want a hit of Jewish Jazz before Shabbat, check out Paul Shaffer (remember him from Letterman?) leading a very jazzy version of Adon Olam at the historic Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. For those who are super keen, you could even aim to be there for their 25th annual JazzFest Shabbat on Friday, 29 April.

Wagga’s Waratah and Wendy

Longtime readers will recall when we controversially proclaimed:

When you grow up in our community it is like growing up in a country town of 45,000 in the middle of a city of 4,500,000. With all the advantages of living in a large city, and everything good and bad about growing up in a country town. Think, Wagga Wagga by the Sea – only we don’t manage to produce Australian Test cricketers or Rugby League legends. Despite all our wishes, Israel Folau doesn’t count.

That’s where all the “Wagga-Sur-Mer” references started, for those who’ve only joined this conversation more recently.

Well, nothing has generated as much heated email traffic as our failure to acknowledge several Jewish Rugby League legends. And so after that effort, suitably chastened, we’ve steered clear of Rugby in all its varieties (other than of course reporting on the annual Barbara Streisand Cup).

But then this week, there was a frisson of excitement around JCA and all of Wagga-Sur-Mer, as MoriahMaccabi old boy, David Horwitz, debuted for the Waratahs, playing in a team with the aforementioned Israel Folau (who is no longer a Rugby League legend). And scored a try to boot. Suddenly we were reaching for our back issues of the Australian Jewish News which exhorted us back in 2011 to: “REMEMBER the name David Horwitz, because he could be Australia’s first Jewish Super 15 player.” Which he now is. Mazal Tov from us all. The AJN’s headline was, “Future Wallaby stakes claim.” No pressure there.

Of course Maccabi isn’t only for our elite athletes, it is an incredibly important part of the glue that binds our community together, and connects us with Jews across Australia and the world. Especially for those Jews who live in country towns even smaller than Wagga. I was reminded of this over summer seeing the kids from NZ and Queensland rock up to “Carni” and being blown away – they’d never seen so many Jewish kids in their lives.

The work Maccabi has done, since becoming a JCA Constituent, particularly in growing and developing its Youth Leaders shone through. And for this, and so much more, we have to thank Mick Vasin, who is stepping back as CEO after 18 years of dedicated service. We wish his successor Daniel Kresner well, and look forward to seeing him at the JCA CEO’s lunch later this month.

maccabi-jerseyThere he will meet Masada’s dedicated Principal Wendy Barel, who wrote in after our last email to remind us of some of the remarkable generational and gravitational waves (that is all the inspirational things that happen in our community, week in – week out, even if you don’t see them) which emanate from North Wagga. That’s the place on the other side of the bridge in the background of the photo above (which was taken by Shaun Lonstein, talented young photographer – watch this space because we will have many more young photographers sharing their vision of our community this year).

I could be wrong, but since taking on this job, it seems to me that a disproportionate number of young people who get involved with JCA and our community have surfed in on that wave from St Ives (I’m sure a few of them are quite handy at rugby too). So even though we don’t see the wave, we can sense its effect (and we don’t need any kit as finely tuned as a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory to do so).

Masada will kick off its 50th anniversary celebrations at a Living Historians assembly next Friday, 11 March. We’ve spoken to Wendy and she said that everyone is welcome. If it’s been a while since you’ve been over the other side of the Bridge, and seen the vibrant and important part of our community in the north, why not make a morning of it. Wendy’s said she’ll even throw in the bridge toll (but you’ll have to organise your own visa). I look forward to seeing you all there. David Horwitz unfortunately won’t be able to make it, as he will be resting after a cracking game against the Brumbies this weekend.

Shabbat shalom,

Daniel Grynberg CEO

2016 LaunchPad RetreatPS. It’s official….the applications for the 2016 LaunchPad Retreat (a JCA and Australian Jewish Funders co-pro) are now open! This year will bring even greater innovation, inspiration and opportunities to create meaningful Jewish life. Click here to apply.


Gravitational and Generational Waves

Last week’s newspapers (remember them) were full of headlines proclaiming “Einstein proven right, after 100 years“. Like that’s news to us! Longtime readers of @jcatoday will know that Einstein managed to imagine the inner workings of the Cosmos – and in this case the existence of gravitational waves – without the benefit of a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (or for that matter, a JCA Thermoclock).

Gravitational waves – in case you didn’t know – are disturbances in the fabric of spacetime. (Feel free to lob that factoid across your Shabbat dinner table to impress the machatonim). And some astronomers have likened their discovery to turning a silent movie into a talkie: “until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music.”

There are things that happen all around us, every day, even though we don’t see them or hear them – like gravitational waves – and it is as true for the Cosmos, as it is the microcosmos that is our community.

I was reminded of this on Monday night when I had the great honour of attending the first Board of Governors meeting of the year. I’ve written about this before, but it really is something remarkable to see 40 or so volunteer leaders sit around a big table, and work cohesively and collaboratively on the future of our community. I was thrilled when someone new to the big table came up to me after the meeting and said, “now I get it” because that was the moment she heard the music, of our community.

Cameron, Liane, Michael and Jonathan GrafJCA 15/02/16

Cameron, Lianne, Michael and Jonathan Graf

Following the meeting we rolled into the wonderfully inviting dining hall at the Burger Centre (thank you to Bronwyn Elbourne and the team) for a Thank You and Welcome for JCA’s volunteers and outgoing leaders. We had the opportunity to properly thank Michael Graf – who received a unique gift of a month’s run of PJ Library books in his honour (though we promised not to send all thousand to his home).

Speaking of the Burger Centre, a number of people came up to me and said how great it was to have the event there, because they’d never been in the building before. I heard the same thing at JewishCare when I was there for White Ribbon Day last year. And so many people drive past our schools – with their sadly much needed higher and higher walls – and really have no idea about the amazing creativity and energy inside. Of Moriah‘s incredible special needs program, or Mount Sinai‘s cutting edge Feuerstein Centre, or Emanuel‘s inspiring indigenous connections. And that’s just the bricks and mortar.

There is the look of amazement when people hear about the incredible programs our community runs thanks to your support through JCA: Not just PJ Library, but Mum for Mum, Camp Sababa and Sababa Lagamba, Talking about Israel, The Observership Program, LaunchPad, Moishe House, and so many more. We have an entire community of gravitational waves, of places and programs we know are there in theory, but we never really see them, or hear their music.

We are putting the finishing touches on our JCA Campaign for 2016, and this year we want to try to do something a bit different. Perhaps even brave. Maybe even crazy brave. This year we want through our campaign to tell the stories of our community. Of how lives are transformed by the work of JCA and our member organisations and their programs and people.

But we need your help. JCA needs to become more open and a platform for our community to express its passion for itself, and we may as well start with this newsletter. So this is an official call for submissions. We’d love to hear your stories of how our community has impacted the life of you and your family.

We will do our best to share your stories (anonymously if you prefer). And this is an endeavor far more important than any mere thermoclock contest. Through your stories you will help our community look at the sky, and hear the music.

Shabbat Shalom,

Daniel Grynberg, CEO

Check out the Michael Graph


OK so truth be told we nicked this picture from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (and yes, for anyone who’s ever been there, we know the city of Angels does sprawl, but clearly not quite as far as this side of the Pacific). Their theme was 8 real life miracles we created in 2015, and seeing as so many of their miracles sounded familiar, it seemed like a pretty good way to celebrate the achievements of our community this year too, so here goes:

  1. Empower: JCA’s Observership Program has gone from strength to strength, empowering a new generation of community leaders and activists. Though it is not the primary goal of the program, some 20 graduates (out of nearly 100) have gone on to become full-time board members in our community, and others are working on a myriad of innovative communal projects.
  1. Heal: So I looked it up in the dictionary, and this is what it said: /hiːl/; verb: cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again; alleviate (a person’s distress or anguish).  Once again this year, one of JCA’s founding members, Wolper Jewish Hospital, delivered on its mission of providing the absolute best in rehabilitation and palliative care to our community and way way beyond. And once again Wolper, in its most communally-minded way, did not request an allocation from JCA and instead provided significant funding for communal health-related projects from its own surpluses and endowment.
  1. Strengthen: Regrettably, again this year our CSG has had to look to strengthen our defences as we have watched insanity unfold from Paris to San Bernadino. But at the same time our NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has spent an incredible year strengthening our relationships with other communities and friends.
  1. Help: Thanks to your support our JewishCare has this year helped hundreds of families in crisis, as well as our aged, and those in our community dealing with mental health and disability. An absolute highlight this (and every) year, was being at the closing concert for Camp Sababa and Sababa Lagamba earlier this week. There is so much more to do, but it is good to know that our JewishCare is there to help. Of course helping is also what JCA’s aged care constituents do every day and this year thanks to your support through JCA, thousands of our community’s frail and elderly have benefited from the wonderful work of Montefiore, the Burger Centre, B’nai B’rith Retirement Villages, and COA Sydney (check out the Hannukah party photos on their Facebook page – and please don’t tell me that COA is on Facebook and you’re not!).
  1. Teach: Thanks in part to your support of our community through JCA, some 3,300 students were able to be taught at our wonderful Jewish schools: Emanuel, Moriah, Mount Sinai, Masada and Kesser Torah. JCA’s support of the Board of Jewish Education, and the Board of Progressive Jewish Education, helped to teach a further 2,000 students what it means to be Jewish. And at the same time our Sydney Jewish Museum has been able to teach a record 23,000 school kids about the Shoah.
  1. Connect: Our inaugural 10×10 event saw a fantastic group of young adults at LinkedIn (you can’t get more connected than that) stepping up to support some of the most innovative programs our community has on offer: PJ Library, Mum For Mum, and Sababa Lagamba, all of which are supported by you through JCA, and all of which are about making and deepening connection.
  1. Build: Well this year our community didn’t build anything in terms of bricks and mortar, but the annual “capital appeal slot” was given over to what has been perhaps our most ambitious endowment project ever: Y2i. This unique collaboration of JCA, UIA, JNF, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and ECAJ has seen nearly $10m committed to ensuring every child who completes year 10 has the opportunity to go on an organised educational trip to Israel. At this very moment 224 young students are in Israel, building relationships, strong Jewish identities and the future of our community.
  1. Support: We’ve saved the best to last. We still have a little way to go until we close the books at midnight on 31 December (and it’s never too late to DONATE), but we are incredibly humbled and honoured to announce that this year we have received a record quantum of pledges, totalling more than $14m to fund all of the organisations and programs above and so very much more. All thanks to your support.

Of course all of the above was as a result of an incredible team effort, and there are so many to thank. However there is one person who deserves particular thanks, and who wants none. And that is outgoing Fundraising Chair and Vice President Michael Graf. Michael has certainly gone out on a high (literally, the highest ever fundraising result in JCA history). This is the Michael Graph:


During Michael’s time as Appeal Chair, $64m has been raised by JCA for the benefit of our community, an incredible achievement in anyone’s books. On top of that, having sat for 8 years on JCA’s Executive Committee, Fundraising Committee, Board of Governors and given countless hours of selfless work and devotion to our community, we also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lianne Graf for sharing Michael with us (and countless kosher fish dinners).

JCA’s office staff in particular will be so sorry not to have Michael’s gentle and generous energy in our daily lives. But all is not lost (to our community). We are so very happy to be able to wish a heart Mazal Tov to both Michael, and the Montefiore Home, on his election this week, to their board. It is wonderful to see cross-pollination of leadership between JCA and our member organisations, and can only help in strengthening the bonds which make our community so strong and cohesive. And it is so very fitting that Michael is in the vanguard of these moves. On behalf of JCA’s Board of Governors, Executive Committee, staff and indeed our entire community, we thank Michael for his service and congratulate him on his new role.

And so that concludes 2015 for @jcatoday. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making 2015 such an incredible year, and has helped to ensure that our community remains sustainable, vibrant and secure. We will be recharging our batteries and getting ready for JCA 2016. Where we get to do it all again. Only better.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah,

Daniel Grynberg, CEO

PS. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the latest version of Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song.