We provide a pathway for Coloradans to connect with the Jewish people and our shared values, through diverse, creative and inviting opportunities, to unite with the people of Israel and Jews wherever they may be, to ensure a thriving and lasting Jewish community in Colorado, by better understanding their needs, and leveraging
our partnerships, resources and capabilities.
JEWISHcolorado, formerly known as the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, is the umbrella community organization inspired by the collective responsibility to build and sustain Jewish life in Colorado, Israel, and around the world.
JEWISHcolorado was organized as a nonprofit corporation on May 23, 1946. Similar to a United Way, JEWISHcolorado serves as a fundraising, programming, and community planning organization. We now celebrate 69 years of service in the Greater Metropolitan Denver/Boulder area.
It's impossible to capture, in the time I have allotted to me, the breadth of programs and events our Jewish Life & Engagement team has planned for the new year. But I want to briefly highlight a few areas where you'll see JEWISHcolorado rising to the challenge that this moment in time presents.
Teens, in particular, are struggling with our new normal. Our Jewish Student Connection program is stepping up and stepping in, and in the 11 public high schools where they operate, JSC Clubs have launched and are offering a mix of virtual and in-person programming. When summer plans had to be rethought, our JSC staff provided hours of one-on-one mentorship to teens struggling to navigate a new reality, and Jillian and Ben will continue to provide both counsel and compassion as the school year progresses.
Politics can be divisive, but our Israel Engagement programs continue to build the kind of person-to-person connections between Coloradoans and Israelis that unite us. Against all odds, we recently welcomed two young shinshinim-our teen emissaries-and, having emerged from quarantine, Adi and Ben promise to become the latest gems in what has become the crowning glory of our Israel Engagement program. We're also updating the Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour experience to better reflect the realities and complexities of what it means for teens to connect to Israel in today's world.
Our Young Adult Division continues to be a central hub for young Jewish adults and families, its programs a way to connect with others. We've successfully piloted a COVID-friendly shabbat at home experience and are confident that we'll continue to be able to provide meaningful engagement in a variety of formats in the coming year.
Another innovative program, one that's engaging people of all ages, is the Volunteer Connection. Having launched a few months ago, Volunteer Connection has matched hundreds of community members in need with others who have the capacity to help. As part of a new partnership with Repair the World, JEWISHcolorado will serve as a home base for 40 young adult volunteers, each of whom will volunteer, in-person and virtually, while they learn and reflect with their peers on issues like racial justice, food insecurity, and loss and unemployment related to COVID-19.
-JEWISHcolorado Board Chair, Ruth Malman's, remarks at 2020 Annual Meeting