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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Museums

Mission: The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) is dedicated to providing educational and rabbinic services to Southern Jewish communities, documenting and preserving the rich history of the Southern Jewish experience, and promoting a Jewish cultural presence throughout a thirteen state region.

Geographic areas served: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

Programs: Rabbinic & educational services - the rabbinic services department leads services, teaches classes and provides a rabbinic presence in southern congregations that cannot afford a full-time rabbi of their own. The education department supports congregational religious schools large and small. All partnering schools utilize the isjl's comprehensive, trans-denominational religious school curriculum designed to promote a common body of jewish knowledge delivered by itinerant educators.

history/oral history - the history department delivers lectures, maintains archives and is currently building a web-based archive with a history of every southern jewish community. To ensure that the rich history of the southern jewish experience is captured, oral histories as well as research are placed in a digital archive online and artifacts are preserved through the museum of the southern jewish experience. Curatorial-through the museum of southern jewish experience, isjl seeks to preserve, interpret, and document the long and rich tradition of jewish life in the south.

department of community engagement - enhancement of adult education, outreach opportunities, entertainment, fundraising & family programing in the region served by isjl.

cultural & arts programming-the cultural & arts programmming department is responsible for isjl's marketing and delivers a variety of performances , film, lectures and special events to communities large and small.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

We live in an area with few other Jewish families. We are able to attend services once a month in borrowed space at a Presbyterian church. The Taste of Torah from the ISJLl provides us with a weekly d'var torah (sermon) Their dynamic rabbi attended our Seder and and plans to return next Passover. ISJL provides a comprehensive K-12 Sunday school curriculum so that every Jewish child can recieve a quality religious education. Although there are no children in the Shalom b'Harim congregation right now, as our group grows we will make good use of that curriculum. The ISJL education fellows travel throughout a 13 state area working with congregations and their educators. This is an invaluable program for small congregations that are struggling to survive.






8

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a member of a small synagogue in a small city, I deeply value the services and information which we can get through the ISJL. Since I teach in our parent-run religious school, the curriculum and instructional assistance from the Education program has been sanity-saving. It works so much better than each person selecting his/her own books each year and stumbling through based on their limited knowledge. And the Taste of Torah emails are great too!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a former director of our religious school my experience and the experience of our school children has been outstanding. The curriculum is very helpful and the visits from our fellow are always something that everyone looks forward too. I also enjoy receiving "Taste of Torah" in my inbox each week.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since my daughter began her 2 year fellowship with the ISJL, I've naturally become interested in the organization and it's mission. I look forward to the weekly Taste of Torah d'var Torah, especially since our congregation, like many served by the ISJL, meets only once a month. I'm thrilled at the opportunities that are opening up for my daughter as a result of her ISJL work and it's wonderful to see her grow and mature in her faith and traditions. This is such great group of people doing important work with humor, grace and devotion...the Glazer family loves the ISJL!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the Co-Director of a Sunday School program in a small lay-led synagogue, the ISJL's Education Curriculum has been a real life-saver. Our Directors are usually parent volunteers, our teachers are wonderful college students and community members with varying degrees of experience as educators. The curriculum provides a solid foundation for teaching Judaic studies and Hebrew. As the teachers change, I know our youth will continue to be learning new material each year at an age-appropriate level. We also love having support from our ISJL Education Fellow who has helped me already on several occasions when my knowledge has been lacking. The ISJL is providing an outstanding service to our small community and helping us to raise Jewish youth with a strong connection to their Judaism.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a Southern Jewish congregation, with a small membership and the same large challenges as the much larger congregations, we appreciate the depth and breadth of assistance, programs, understanding and personal assistance we have received from the ISJL. Over the past years we sought to get this same level of assistance from the URJ, but seemed to feel "overlooked" rather than looked after. The ISJL treats us as if we are their largest member congregation rather than one of their smallest. We participated in the educational program this year, after passing it up for a number of years, and we are seeing a definite positive result by following the ISJL primer on what we can do. Our educational leaders came away from the program enthused and prepared in ways they had never expected before attending. We are looking forward to our second visit from our educational advisor. This is something we never had working with other programs. We have participated in entertainment programs in the past and would like to do more in the future, as time and money allow. The people of the ISJL, from the very top of the organization down, understand us, and our challenges and give us real world options as solutions. This is why we are so very pleased with the ISJL.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We attended the ISJL summer education conference. Its quality far surpassed our expectations. They were organized, had excellent content, and respected our Jewish traditions, finding ways to embrace all movements. Their Education Fellow has been an absolute pleasure to host in our community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Their Education Fellows are well trained and are highly quaslified. The curriculum is excellent and well-thought through. They follow up with newsletters, regular communications, and Rabbinic input. Their other departments, such as Programming, History, etc. are active and have high quality pograms.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

ISJL is truly an exemplary model for all Jewish communities. I have utilised the curriculum, attended the Educator's Conference, and benefited tremendously from visits with fellows and consultations with other staff. Our community has worked together much more closely since both congregations have adopted the religious school curriculum. The other components- historical and cultural - offer tremendous appeal as well. What a fabuolous vision for Jewish life all across America!

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Overall the most innovative, meaningful, and on target Jewish organization I have worked with in 20 years. They provide outstanding service to Educators, teachers, and synagogues. Not only are they exemplary in the south, the country as a whole would benefit from their vision and challenge to provide Jewish literacy to all Jewish children.