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The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future



The Challenge

Among Jewish institutions, the synagogue is the place where most people engage in Jewish living on an ongoing basis, and where the majority of chil­dren get their Jewish education.  Synagogue experiences often set the stage for a lifetime of involvement with Judaism and the Jewish community. In fact, children who attend synagogue schools are four times as likely to go to Jewish summer camp and participate in Jewish youth groups.

Accordingly, syna­gogues must be dynamic, adapting to the constantly changing needs of members and the community. In the area of education, in particular, synagogues have undergone profound change in the past decade, with a veritable explosion in family Jewish education, adult learning and experiential programming for children and youth. What's needed for each of these initiatives is a thriving Jewish congregation that will continue to benefit from these valuable offerings, regardless of costs or affiliation.

The Solution

A synagogue can be many things to many people. It can be a center of activity that provides nourishment for the mind and spirit. It can be a thriving Jewish community that has served generations of families. It can be the gateway to Jewish life and practice in its many forms. Whatever one's personal perspective, synagogues are central to building and maintaining Jewish continuity. CFJF will be able to provide funding assistance to advance a range of engagement experiences for synagogue members of all ages. From a long-term perspective, CFJF's goal of instilling a strong sense of Jewish identity among community members can ensure that our synagogues will maintain dynamic and active congregations for generations to come.


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A Jew who has been shipwrecked on a deserted island for three years is finally reached by resuers. Proudly, he shows them around the island, pointing out the irrigation system, the pastures and the orchards, the barn the house and all his other constructions. At the end of the island are two small buildings. "And those," he announces, "are the synagogues."
"Two of them?" he is asked.
"But you're alone here!"
"Well," he says, "this is the one I pray in-and the other one I wouldn't go in if you paid me!"