July 18th, 2006
It is an extraordinary honor to have been selected the founding Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation. Jim was devoted to the continuity of the Jewish people. He believed that education of children and youth was critical to ensuring that Jews in the U.S. enjoy a secure future. He desired that our young people should be guided by the lessons of our distinctive history and that they grow up to lead lives suffused with Jewish values in personal and professional pursuits. Jim’s generous gift to Jewish philanthropy in support of the education of children and youth is remarkable testimony to his manifest devotion.
I am fortunate to be working with a Board of Directors whose diverse talents promise to make the Jim Joseph Foundation enterprise a fruitful one. President Al Levitt has dedicated countless hours for several years in creating a solid center to our work. The other Directors bring vitality, enthusiasm, extensive community experience, and passion to our work.
Currently, we are involved in intensive study of the field of Jewish education for children and youth. We have contracted with the Brandeis Cohen Center Fisher-Bernstein Institute to map the field.
This August we will host a forum with ten leading Jewish thinkers for a discussion on critical and urgent funding opportunities in support of Jewish education for youth in the U.S.
We will complete a strategic plan by late 2006. The Board has determined to accept grants by invitation only, to give us time to clarify the Foundation’s core values, define our operating principles, and specify a limited number of strategic goals.
In Jim’s spirit, we will be a force that empowers young Jews to connect to faith, family, community, and Israel in enduring, life-affirming ways.