Wonderful job of preserving history and also teaching about Judaism thoughtout the south.
I grew up in Miami (not the South but a suburb of NY or Havana) but because of my involvement in a high school youth group befriended many Jews in the South. I think what they have done to preserve the history of the Jewish South as well as to educate those in the South is fabulous.
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.
Personal Bible study is invaluable to me. For several years I have printed the Taste of Torah lessons to read and reread, finding the portions by the Director to be masterfully taught, insightful, humorous, and at times, even personally moving. I became acquainted with ISJL through my high school best friend, now the Rabbi's secretary. The benefit of my involvement is in knowing that more Jewish children and young adults in small communities in the South will have their very rich and most unique heritage among the world's cultures opened up to them, and nurtured, and that it will change their lives forever.
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!
I am a member of ISJL Board. The leadership is outstanding and the staff, without exception, is talented, efficient, and gracious. The Education program is, in my opinion, the most important of the various programs in which ISJL engages. It is of invaluable help to the Jews in the smaller communities of the region served by ISJL but also of major help to the larger communities. The head of this program is one of the most capable young ladies I have met and her staff reflects her leadership. I also think that the Jewish History program has outstanding and devoted personnel. In fact all of the various ISJL programs are staffed by energetic, sincere, capable people and contribute to the Jewish experience of the region.
I enjoy receiving the weekly Taste of Torah and always find it well written and insightful. I am trying to review and renew and this venue is extremely helpful. I always try and pass it on to others
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.
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!
My husband and I attended the fly-in which was attended by representatives of many southern synagogues, to learn more about putting on Jewish Film festivals in our communties. The ISJL staff were so well organized and hospitable to us and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow Jews from across the south! The religious school curriculum has been a huge help for our children and young people. We always enjoy it so much when the ISJL fellows come and lead services too. I also eagerly await my devar Torah - "Taste of Torah" wrtten by ISJL's rabbi and emailed to me each week. Thank you ISJL for all you do! Suzanne and Jim Geiger, dothan, alabama
having a very positive effect on our sunday school. provides curricula that are consistent year to year.great holiday programs provides opportunities for entire community to participate
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.
As an educator (Religious Studies professor) I have seen ISJL enrich and educate thousands of people in my own community (Jackson MS) and our entire region. My college hosts the Jackson Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by ISJL, and we have sent student interns to ISJL for many excellent experiences and learning opportunities unavailable elsewhere. ISJL has significantly impacted the study of Southern and Southern Jewish history through the unique services and resources of their their History Department. I find ISJL to be one of the most useful, on-of-a-kind, and innovative institutions in our community.
As co-chair of the Mobile Jewish Film Festival I have worked with the Institute for nine years now. I could not have asked for a better experience! When we first began our festival they helped us take those first baby steps and encouraged us every step of the way. The festival has grown more and more successful every year, but we still choose to remain under the umbrella of Jewish Cinema South and the Institute because of their expertise and enthusiasm. We hope to continue and even grow this wonderful event for years to come and will no doubt lean on the Institute's guidance all the way.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
ISJL is an awesome tool for congregations and individuals. They not only provide a curriculum and great support system from our Religious School, but they have also given our daughter resources for Social Studies projects. Just like they do for their Religious School teachers, they initiated follow up with our daughter to ensure that she received what needed and understood what they sent to her.
This organization does an amazing job of serving Jewish communities -- especially isolated Jewish communities -- all over the South. They are committed to documenting and honoring the Southern Jewish experience, to providing rabbinic support to geographically "undesirable" areas, and to ensuring that the Jewish children in these communities receive a high-quality Jewish education. Their annual education conference is an amazing and inspiring gathering of hundreds of Jewish teachers and educators from around the South.